PG Cooper: Iron Man 3 Review

Posted: May 5, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Iron-Man-Pepper-Iron-Man3-FNL-poster-610x976One of the most surprising things I heard from people going into Iron Man 3 is people saying they weren’t excited because of Iron Man 2. Normally that would make sense, but this felt more like a successor to The Avengers, which was awesome, than Iron Man 2. Plus Iron Man 3 had a whole new director and writer than the previous Iron Man film. The Avengers lifted the standards of the Marvel Universe and I’d hoped Iron Man 3 could keep the streak going. While it doesn’t fulfill that hope, it makes an admirable effort.

Following the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark finds himself suffering from anxiety attacks and insomnia. To cope, he spends a lot of his time working on new equipment and suits. Meanwhile, a terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is wreaking havoc against America and eventually targets Stark. Looming in the background is the threat of Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), a business man from Stark’s past.

One thing I really admire about Iron Man 3 is the goal of telling a more complicated story. All of the other Marvel Universe films had really simple stories which played out in a very predictable manner. Iron Man 3 however takes some risks and tells a story with some genuinely interesting turns and focus is put on the story. Granted, this isn’t some revisionist superhero tale; there’s still plenty of action, special effects, and humour, but the path it takes is a bit more interesting. But this story comes at a price; Iron Man 3, like so many other sequels, suffers from bloat. There are so many characters and side stories that a lot of points feel under developed. So while it has a more unique story than say Thor or Captain America, those films flow more naturally.

All the returning actors deliver good work and are fun to see return. Robert Downey Jr. has played Tony Stark in five different films now yet he still brings energy to the character and keeps him fun. The new cast is a bit more problematic. I wasn’t fond of Ty Simpkins as a little kid sidekick to Tony. He wasn’t horrible but added nothing and should have been cut. Rebecca Hall is a talented actress but she isn’t given much to do. She’s ultimately inconsistent and I didn’t care about her at all. Then there are the villains. Guy Pearce gives a solid performance and the film stresses his power as a villain, but at the same time he’s not terribly interesting or original and I’m not entirely sure what his goal was. Ben Kingsley and the film’s treatment of The Mandarin have divided people. I’ll just say I loved it and leave it at that.

The film’s highest points are the action scenes. There are quite a few action scenes, all of which entertaining, with three set-pieces really standing out. These are the attack on Tony’s mansion, a scene involving a plane, and a shootout where Tony is lacking most of his suit. These three scenes are all awesome and the best action in any of the Iron Man films. I was less fond of the film’s climax. The scene is entertaining on its own but within the context of the film doesn’t make any sense and shatters the tone to an extent. I also found the rules of the villain’s powers pretty undefined. And while we’re on the topic of things that don’t make sense, I don’t understand why Tony never contacted S.H.I.E.L.D. I can buy that the other Avengers are busy, but you’re telling me this government agency devoted to national security couldn’t lend a hand, especially when they played such a prominent role in the first two Iron Man films? This is especially odd considering The Mandarin is a terrorist and a threat to American security. I realize this is a hump these Marvel films will have to get over and I tried to just go with it, but it became harder to swallow as the film went.

Overall, Iron Man 3 is a good film. There are elements that don’t work, things that don’t make sense, and stretches were the film just sort of sits there, but the movie’s high points elevate it to being something worth seeing. Robert Downey Jr. is still a blast to watch, the special effects are great, and there are some excellent action scenes. It is also fun to see a big budget Hollywood film with a genuinely unique and unexpected twist, even if it won’t work for everyone. It isn’t on the level of The Avengers or even Thor and Iron Man, but it’s still a solid movie that holds to the Marvel Universe tradition of being solid but not great. At least Iron Man 3 had the ambition to be more.


  1. I agree with a lot that you say here PG, including your final score, but I wouldnt agree that the action here is the best in the franchise. I found it a let down, which really contributed to the film as a whole being a let down for me. I would agree that the finale is a mess though, LOL. :roll:

    “There are elements that don’t work, things that don’t make sense, and stretches were the film just sort of sits there” is dead on. ;)

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      I’m surprised you didn’t like the action scenes. Well, the climax I can see, but stuff like the attack on Stark’s home I thought was great. It’s overall a mixed film but I liked it more than I didn’t.

  2. Spikor says:

    Good review. Sounds like you enjoyed it about as much as I did. You can see the flaws, but still had fun.

  3. Good review and fair score :D

  4. CMrok93 says:

    Good review PG. It’s always fun and entertaining, even though it doesn’t deliver the same type of joyful glee of promise like the first one did.

  5. Good review! I’d personally give it a higher score than B-, but you bring up some good points. Overall, a fun film and another great performance from Robert Downey Jr. He’s going to be tough for Marvel to replace!

  6. very ambitious indeed, but not overcrowded. i really found ti entertaining.

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