04-20-2013, 01:37 AM
Has a tendency to bite
Join Date: May 2011
Re: Official Iron Man 3 rate/review thread.
Another positive review, this one from London City Nights
The third in the series is usually where superhero films come a cropper. After getting the origin story out of the way in the first film, and kicking up the action a notch in the second, the third always seems to go a bit awry. There's logical reasons for this happening: they range from the director of the first two departing, main character development running out of steam, using up all the good villains or even simply becoming a touch over-confident and throwing too much at the screen, knowing that it's your last shot with the property. So, this film has a lot of expectations to shift; even great film series tend to lose their lustre by this point. With this in mind it's important to note Iron Man 3 wears its 'threequel' status proudly - after all, when was the last time a summer blockbuster came out with an unadorned '3' attached to it?
It can get away with this confidence, because practically every minute of Iron Man 3 is self-assured and most importantly, entertaining as hell. This is the fifth time Robert Downey Jr has played Tony Stark since 2008, and he inhabits the role so perfectly it's borderline impossible to imagine anyone else in the role (or for that matter, audiences getting tired of watching him). Stark is a charismatic and showy role that allows Downey Jr to really cut loose with his eccentricities: a skewed hero, but nonetheless one with obvious reserves of determination. He was easily the best thing about The Avengers and arguably, the dramatic lynchpin and popular centre of the multi-billion dollar Marvel film franchise.
The only fly in the ointment with Tony Stark is that he seems to repeat the same dramatic arc over and over again. Watching a character learn responsibility and humility twice in a row cheapens him a bit, and though we got to see a slightly more mature Stark in The Avengers it suffered from much the same redemptive character cliches. Fortunately, Iron Man 3 begins right where his last appearance left off. This is a Tony Stark visibly altered by his experiences, physically and emotionally vulnerable in a different, complex and more satisfying way than before.
But the absolute shining star here, killing it with every single line is Ben Kingsley. He's the villain, the weirdly non-culturally specific Mandarin. I can't really speak too much about his performance without spoiling things, but suffice to say, every line that comes out of his mouth is gold. He is by a country mile the best villain in the Marvel film franchise, subverting the audience's expectations in every single scene he's in. The villains in most superhero films are playing Whack-A-Mole; the Mandarin is playing chess.
The subversion of expectations is what makes this so much fun. Shane Black takes obvious pleasure in leading us to believe one thing is going to happen, then pulling the rug out from under us. When the audience laughs out loud in this film, they are as much laughing at themselves as what's happening in the film. This light-hearted 'pop' tone is absolutely perfect for a summer blockbuster - the tone achieved throughout Iron Man 3 is what every other Marvel film has been trying to sustain.
This film comes pretty close to my vision of an idealised summer blockbuster. It's a jack of all trades: a perfect balance of comedy, action, science-fiction and character drama that should please pretty much anyone that watches it. I've been pretty middling in my opinion of Marvel Studio films; I tend to see them as fast food films that play it as safe as they can with the property, taking as few risks as possible. Iron Man 3 is my favourite Marvel film by far - don't be under any illusions that's it's a ground-breaking piece of cinema - but by the standards of the superhero genre it's quite outstanding.
The entire review is a good read.
"Don't touch Lola."
Coulson's Army: Stronger than Death