Robert Downey Jr.
reviewed by Tom-Tom
Iron Man is the superhero who began it all. A hotheaded ex-alcoholic whose angry outbursts in the comics more often than not led to genocidal behavior not befitting a so-called superhero, Tony Stark as played by the charming, motor-mouth Robert Downey Jr. changed not only our perception of the genius inventor and engineer but also of our perceptions of superheroes in general were changed forever. They don’t have to be invincible Dudley Do Rights or brooding Dark Knights or even misfits with special powers. They can be self made geniuses who wisecrack and have their cake and eat it too. They can be anti-war and anti-violence and be cool about it…while blasting the crap out of warmongers.
Iron 3 is a different film by a different director. It shows Tony Stark as we’ve not yet seen him, experiecing PTSD after the events of The Avengers when he, joining the rest of the members offered to make the ultimate sacrifice to save New York. It was a first time push for the inventor and now, it’s freaking him out. The wormhole, the bleakness of space, the loneliness, he experienced is keeping Tony up nights making yet another Iron Man suit (up to Mark 42 at the most recent count). He’s even made one that flies at him in parts to make one whole. He’s slightly estranged from girlfriend Pepper Potts and sends an automated suit to greet her while working in his basement.
Enter the Mandarin, a grim terrorist speaking with an unplaceable accent vaguely North American. He’s taking responsibility for random explosive attacks in the States and abroad criticizing American foreign policy with the usual rigmarole cinema terrorists spout. Enraged when a personal friend is severely injured, Tony offers the Mandarin a direct challenge giving his own address which proves rather unwise.
In the background of all this is Aldritich Killian (Guy Pearce), the founder and head of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) which is one of the major baddie organizations in the Marvel world alongside Hydra, The Hand, the Sinister Six, and the hordes of Doctor Doom. But for the casual viewer, we simply see charming Guy Pearce giving Potts his best smile and attempting to bedazzle her with an offer he feels she can’t refuse. Not for nothing, though, is she the more than equal better half of Tony Stark and she can tell trouble when she sees it.
Events change and Tony goes underground in Tennessee befriending a tousle haired munchkin who conveniently has an abandoned garage free for use. Their almost avuncular exchanges have a TV sitcom atmosphere about them as Stark has rely on what he had at the beginning in that cave in Afghanistan, his own smarts and what he has before him. Tennessee isn’t exactly Afghanistan so this feat isn’t as impressive as before.
However the underground adventures of the suitless Iron Man (as marginally interesting as the maskless goings-on of Batman in his third Nolan film) give way to an action packed and pretty satisfying 3rd Act in which all of Tony’s hard work finally pays off. The abilities of A.I.M.’s cronies are fun to watch as they make pretty threatening enemies. Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, is dressed in a short-sleeved Polo shirt most of the time allowing for a bit of light side humor as he endeavors to save the President and Tony too.
The upbeat theme in the credits as well as the mystery of the person to whom Tony has been narrating this whole story is a welcome end to a slightly passable Iron Man film.