I was really quite curious how this one would follow up on the previous two. The persona of Iron Man, where would this be headed? With a detailed origin story which sets up clear hero dynamics and character foundations, followed up by a second, personality-identity crisis ending up with an even stronger resolve and finally the climax of Stark being the unifying drive of the non- or super-human Avengers bunch. What could possibly happen to him that would be further interesting and bringing new horizons? Take it as a movie and you would have the danger of accomplishing the modern phenomena of the failed trilogy. Also, how could it possibly live up to the buzz and success of The Avengers (which I really loved).
And so there is Iron Man 3. It is different. And it is good.
It does not only provide a worthy continuation of both the first two Iron Man-s as well as the Avengers, but adds up and spins an entirely new and exciting dynamic.
In what seems to be a normal Iron Man world following the “prologue” and the first few minutes of the movie, we are soon very quickly diving into a very new shade of things. “Everything changed since New York.” We are to realize that we are now facing the real Tony Stark, more real than we have ever seen him before. The line of him having in his life the only thing worth living for, or some such romanticism directed at Pepper Potts avoids the danger of a “what could have happened after the happy ending” storyline by bringing in real life nuances and conflicts in their relationship, without missing out on the old and very characteristics charms. They are who they are, but they somehow work together. Thank god for that – I was very worried that another “she is mad at him” scenario would be too much to handle even for a fan like me. But this is not as interesting, there is Stark himself. He is funnier than ever, yet more vulnerable and human than ever. After fighting side by side next to gods and superheroes, he feels a sense of inadequacy which coupled together with his hilarious at times, though largely realistic (he did fall through a black hole) PTSD and confidence issues end up being the very interesting character growth of the previously largely narcissistic and unchallenged from within Tony. The exploration of his inner self defied by the fear that he is nothing more than a suit provides for a very interesting and true growth from script and cinematography standpoint. The inner chaos.
This is not where all the good things end, though. It is hard to miss out on the excellent set up of the main villain storyline. The strikingly similar to modern day setting of the world around Stark, places this out-of-our world character we got to know in the previous three movies in a very realistic set up which provides for the growth of the overall, trans-movie Iron Man plotline. Aliens and evil geniuses is not all there is, as he now faces real human threats – the biggest threat of all, the terror and fear of… terror and fear. It is hard not to make the analogy with modern day post 9/11 realities and the setting of this movie. I am not as much of a comic book geek as I wish I was, but from my understanding the Mandarin is a complex anti-hero and among the most notorious within the Iron Man universe. As such, even if this is not the last Iron Man movie, what a better place for him to face the Mandarin than now? As is being speculated in the inter-webs already, the striking similarity of the Mandarin with a modern-day terrorist is amplified by him being the embodiment of Bin Laden, the hacker group the Anarchist and hm well…Kim Jong Il? And the sweetest of all – the twist, which I will not reveal here but which proved to be one of the most interesting plot turnarounds I have witnessed in years (and very Joss Whedon-like). Real life-like, deeply motivated and strictly convinced surroundings– something wicked is stirring around Stark. The outer chaos.
And thus you have it – a character real, naked and vulnerable thrown into a new and realistic chaos. And then you add epic Iron Man suits, spectacular special effect, an ever more hilarious Robert Downy Jr, sexier and more kick ass Gwyneth Paltrow and you got it – a ride worth your while.
Don’t get me wrong, the movie has problems , examples the character of Rebecca Hall is nothing but a shallow plot tool (too bad she is an interesting actress) and the “lava” villains are nothing else than a cliché both visually and artistically, yet the negatives thank god do not outweigh the positives, not even close. So go and see it! .. and yes I am one of those that hope there will be another one.
Movie score 8.5 (out of 10)