Movie Review: Iron Man 3

(May contain Spoilers) Do not read unless you've seen the movie already!
The explosive third installment in the Iron Man film series, Iron Man 3, again dazzles and blows the minds of the audiences of anxious moviegoers with its fresh take on the Armored Avenger known as Iron Man. In the newest addition to the series, Iron Man aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), faces off against a number of foes and dangers, including a mad-man scientist, a dangerous terrorist, and worst of all, panic attacks. In a brief flashback to 1999 on New Year's Eve, we're introduced to two new characters to the series: botanist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), the inventor of Extremis, an experimental regenerative drug intended to allow recovery from crippling injuries, and disabled scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who offers Tony a place in his company, Advanced Idea Mechanics,or AIM, but Stark arrogantly ignores and declines him. Years later, Tony, now suffering from anxiety and panic attacks from the events in The Avengers, has distracted himself by creating many, and I mean many, new suits of his Iron Man armor. At his side is his trusty head of security, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and his loving girlfriend and CEO of his company, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Already suffering from nightmares and a frictional relationship, all Tony Stark needed to go over the edge was news of a terrorist threat and the burden of stopping him, which causes Tony to do something a little unnecessary, such as threaten the terrorist by giving him his address. Now, with his and everyone around him's life in danger, Tony decides he can take on the terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and whatever the terrorist may have up his sleeves, which in this case, would be an army of deadly mutated living time-bombs. After an attack on his Malibu chateau, Tony is forced to rely on his mental tactics and intellect when he is thrown into the wilderness of rural Tennessee and must work with a local kid who gives him supplies to fix his damaged suit. After discovering that "the bombings" committed by the Mandarin were really triggered by soldiers subjected to the drug Extremis, Stark tracks the Mandarin to his headquarters in Miami, Florida. Tony infiltrates the headquarters and captures the Mandarin, who is later revealed as actor Trevor Slattery, who acted as a cover-up for the true Mandarin, who is Aldrich Killian. Tony, along with friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), the former War Machine, now re-branded as the Iron Patriot, track Killian to an impounded oil-drilling platform where he intends to kill the President on live television. A final showdown breaks out as Tony and Rhodes work to rescue the President and also Pepper, who had been injected Extremis earlier. With a little help from Tony's army of pilot-less suits, they successfully defeat a mutated, and quite relentless, Killian and rescue the captives. Tony, now feeling that he must spend more time with Pepper, makes a risky decision that affects his future as Iron Man. However, Tony feels that he can still be Iron Man, even without the armor.

With the season of summer close at hand, another season of superheroes has risen once again, with Iron Man 3 at the head of it. This explosive new installment to the Marvel-hailed series has delivered again with its fourth appearance of the Armored Avenger (including The Avengers). In this mind-blowing sequel, we see Tony Stark, played by the irreplaceable Iron Man legend Robert Downey Jr., pitted against an array of deadly foes, such as Aldrich Killian, a mild-mannered terrorist-turned scientist who uses a drug known as Extremis to create time-bombs out of living, breathing soldiers. One of his willing victims, Eric Savin, is transformed into a walking volcano who becomes bent on melting Stark anyway he knows how. Unfortunately for Savin, Tony blasts a hole through him, resulting in some minor chest pains...or maybe not so minor. Killian, who by the end of the film becomes a hot head with one heated temper, explodes at least twice and dies (or so we think) finally after Pepper chucks a tank-missile at him. The second foe Tony meets is the terrorist leader, The Mandarin, who starts off on a good note as a "Osama Bin Laden" sort of terrorist, but then is revealed to be a British actor hired to act as a cover for Killian. His character in the film, Trevor Slattery, does gain some laughs from the audience as he drinks beer and is completely oblivious to the actions caused by his role as the terrorist, but overall disappoints them as he drains the reputation of the proclaimed comic villain. I expected the Mandarin to be this harsh dictator that outsmarts Stark in the end, but he is truly far from outsmarting anyone. I can admit that they did a fine job on making the character comical, if that was their only intention. They did well on making Killian an interesting antagonist, but I felt the Mandarin wasn't needed if they didn't want him to have a major role.

The epic conclusion of the film, where Stark is stripped of everything but a gun and his wits, leads to him calling in for some strongly-needed help. This help includes all 42 of his suits, give or take a few, that fly in, unmanned and fully armed. Controlled solely by JARVIS, Tony's computerized ally, the suits snatch up and blast away any of the fiery time-bomb foes that get in their way. Fulfilling every Iron Man fan boy's dream, this scene revolutionizes everything we've seen so far on the big screen. Now, Tony Stark can easily put on and take off the suit, but he can also conjure up the suit just by holding out his arm, and it'll fly right to him. I also like this scene because it gives you a peek at what we might just see in future films. New suits, like the stealth one suggested by Tony's young Tennessee ally in the film, are hopefully seen soon in future Marvel films with Iron Man. As the directors and producers of these films know, the cooler the stuff, the more excited and crazed the audience will be. Tell me, who wasn't excited the first time they saw the suit fly onto Stark like that? I know I was.

Now, regarding the ending of the film, where Tony removes the shrapnel from his chest and also his arc reactor that created the idea of Iron Man, I was overly surprised that they included that in this film. I always thought him having the arc reactor in his chest was a symbol, that he couldn't live without it. But, apparently he could have gotten the shrapnel removed at any time, even right after he returned from the terrorist capture in the first film, resulting in the film not really having a point. However, it was a wise choice to not have it removed and have Stark struggle to innovate it further to keep himself alive. That's why I don't think they needed to do that at the end of this film, because Stark seemed to be doing fine with the shrapnel near his heart for the whole movie. But, I do see director Shane Black's idea of how Stark can be Iron Man without the armor, even if his chest doesn't have a glowing circle illuminating from it. As the film entailed, this could have possibly been the end of Iron Man, however that wouldn't have been the smartest move when there's a second Avengers film in the making. Yes, The Avengers can live without Iron Man, but who wants to see Thor, Cap, and Hulk battling Thanos (possibly?) without their Armored Avenger at their side? Well, they can always bring in Avengers natives Ant-Man or Wasp, but we'd miss Robert Downey Jr. as the comical Tony Stark. As the film said, if you sat through the lengthy credits, Tony Stark would return, and return he shall. In a fourth stand-alone film? In the Avengers sequel? Or simply in cameos in other Marvel films? We'll just have to sit and wait until Marvel is kind enough to release something, anything to reveal the fate of the armored hero known as Iron Man.     

I gave this film a 9 out of 10 because it had amazing special effects, a good, but jumpy, plot, and array of new tech and suits that kept my love for Iron Man alive.The Mandarin made a convincing terrorist, even though he wasn't really the terrorist at all. Aldrich Killian was a great villain, but didn't seem completely bent on revenge as I would have hoped. Also, loved Yinsen's cameo...never knew they had met already before Afghanistan :)                 

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