Iron Man 3 ****


Flying in hot on the heels of the success of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (2012) is Iron Man 3, the continuing story of playboy inventor Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) adventures in his high-tech suit. Tony learns a lesson about how the decisions he made in the past can come back to haunt him when the terrorist the Mandarin threatens the world and nearly destroys Tony’s life. Following a devastating attack at his home, Tony must use his smarts to rebuild and try to uncover who the Mandarin really is before he has time to wreak more havoc.

Iron Man 3 is a clear attempt to remake the movie magic that occurred with the extremely successful Avengers. In fact, it follows the same essential formula. First, there is the villain who has a rather lame reason for being so evil. Said villain then goes and terrorizes the world. Villain destroys the superhero’s home base requiring it to be rebuilt and making the superhero want to seek revenge. Meanwhile, the villain continues with his dastardly plan to kill people. Villain’s huge amount of henchmen then attack the superhero, and are eventually overcome by a deus ex machine-type ending. Iron Man 3 follows this Avengers formula perfectly, and comes out with a similarly entertaining, yet weak-plotted film.

Perhaps the biggest issue is that the villains seem to have little-to-no real motives for their actions. For example, the Mandarin’s henchmen all seemed to have been normal individuals prior to meeting him, but then become mindless killers all because he helped them. At first, I believed maybe this was a consequence of the experiment that had been performed on them, but later it is shown to not be the case. Another example is the motivation of the Mandarin himself. His beef with Tony Stark can be compared to a nerd holding a grudge against the kid who stole his lunch money in the fifth grade. Yes, the bully was mean, but it doesn’t seem to logically lead to wanting to murder him in the future, or wanting to murder large amounts of random innocent people.

However, for some reason (much like in The Avengers), this does not detract from how enjoyable the film was. Perhaps this is because action films are not expected to be particularly deep. Or maybe, it is such a step up from the rather terrible Iron Man 2 that all the minor issues are immediately forgiven. Regardless, it is certain that this film will make a positive impact on the majority of viewers and will undoubtedly be quite popular. It will be interesting to see whether the future Marvel superhero films will follow the same formula, and how long it takes before the audience gets bored with watching the same film over and over again. That being said, it is not old yet, and Iron Man 3 is a perfect popcorn film that this critic is looking forward to watching again. (Rose Finlay)

  • Iron Man 3
  • USA/China 2013
  • Starts May 1, 2013
  • Directed by Shane Black
  • Writing credits: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
  • Principal actors: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley
  • Length: 130 minutes