Iron Man 3 is certainly a welcome improvement on the ill-judged Iron Man 2. Unfortunately it suffers the hardship of following on from the superlative Avengers movie (a problem also shared by the impending Captain America and Thor sequels). There is just no way it could live up to that movies huge epic scale, and for the most part, it doesn’t seem as if it even wants to. It just follows its own path, albeit with some welcome consideration of the impact that the events of the Avengers movie would have on the characters, particularly Iron Man himself, who glimpsed things through the wormhole that have left a mark on his once overconfident psyche. It may be somewhat superficial in execution but its surprising nonetheless. Just a pity it involves an irritating and needless child sidekick for some of the movie.
In this film, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) stays out of the Iron Man suit for a lot of the time, even for many of the action sequences, and I can understand the logic behind it. Its a problem many of these comicbook films suffer from- why spend millions for a ‘star’ actor only to hide them behind a mask for most of the time? Indeed, it could be anyone once the mask is on. There is also the dramatic element of seeing the hero’s face/eyes etc and emphasising with the character, rather than the distancing (albeit iconic), features of a mask. As a dramatic device I can appreciate its value, but it is something that irritated me endlessly with the Spiderman movies- in every film’s grande finale he seems to spend most of the time without the mask even on.
In the case of Iron Man3, it can be argued that over three movies prior, we’ve seen everything there is to see regards Iron Man suited up in action. We know what he can do. Having the character out of the suit and in jeopardy can only increase the tension (and get the studio more quality time ‘seeing’ the expensive actor rather than his cgi double, so everyone wins).
Unfortunately by the film’s end it falls into the same old trap as many other blockbusters, resorting to the eye-candy of OTT cgi and explosions and shouting etc. We still get to see Downey Jr out of his suit but instead replace him with forty-plus automated Iron Men battling an army of superhumans that glow in the dark. It sums up all the current thinking in Hollywood and these epic sequels (what’s more exciting than a cityblock being totalled? Lets see a city destroyed! (Transformers 3), or in this case, what’s more exciting than one Iron Man? Lets have forty!). Its supposed to be exciting but it really serves to undermine the dramatic tension and betrays a lack of imagination and ambition. I couldn’t care less about the cgi cartoon uber-violence. The real dramatics are of Stark and the villain rival Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) battling, even though even that is somewhat undone by the cgi effects. And in a curious similarity to events in Star Trek Into Darkness, even death no longer means anything when you have Magic Blood. Hell, seems anyone can be a super-hero these days. Maybe Paltrow will get her own Super Pepper spin-off movie.