Directly following the events of “The Avengers,” we find Tony Stark suffering PTSD from his actions in not only stopping a nuke from striking New York City but from fighting aliens, as well. While this is going on in Tony’s life, we find that the mysterious Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) has been killing innocent people on national television.
While “The Avengers” was the biggest Marvel Studios film to date, you’d be safe to assume they would have a difficult time trying to figure out where to go from there. Marvel made a bold choice by going in the direction of telling a smaller story about a man struggling with his past (while also facing the present), rather than continuing with world-ending scopes. Director Shane Black had a lot on his plate with this film, but how did the audience respond?
Generally, the audience was split on this film upon release. Since then, it seems some people have warmed up to it, while others are disliking it even more. Marvel Studios would have faced a difficult task regardless of what direction they went with. While going with the character who launched the MCU, “Iron Man 3” delivers on some fronts, while coming up short in others.
Robert Downey Jr. is once again, back as Tony Stark and he just gets better and better. While most people fell in love with his performance in the first installment, Downey seems to be more seasoned as Tony Stark in this film. What makes the character of Tony so special and refreshing is that he keeps evolving. While still holding his persona, Tony hides a lot of his inner demons and you can feel his struggles and what he’s been through. Don Cheadle as Rhodey was pretty good in “Iron Man 2,” but he was exceptionally much better in this film while having more to do. Gwyneth Paltrow back as Pepper Pots was also given a lot more to do and she continues to deliver in every way.
While most of the cast did a fantastic job, Ben Kingsley didn’t really have much to do in this film and was definitely upsetting. Many people were looking forward to his performance, but due to what direction the narrative takes, there’s not much of Kingsley at all. Guy Pierce playing the real villain, Aldrich Killian does a great job, but he’s mostly forgettable. There are some scenes in the first and second act that flowed well with the character, but he was generally wasted along with Rebecca Hall’s Maya character.
When the action was taking place, it certainly felt like an MCU film, but it also dialed back in a sense. For the third installment in the Iron Man franchise, and coming straight off of “The Avengers,” you would think that this film would have contained epic moments of Iron Man. Although the film does have this in the final act, the rest of the film doesn’t necessarily have Tony as Iron Man, which was an intriguing direction for the film. This decision didn’t settle well for most, but it was pretty refreshing seeing Tony use his intellect rather than relying on his suit.
Overall, this film delivers on the action, the narrative (for the most part), and the acting among other levels as well. You definitely feel the humor of Shane Black, which genuinely worked, overall. The story was executed very well but it did have minor setbacks with some of the characters and plot points. This film is ultimately a crowd pleaser and it’s certainly worth a rewatch if you haven’t seen the film in quite some time.