Iron Man 3 is a bag of mixed nuts. An enjoyable popcorn movie with some gaping plot holes that will derail it for anyone that isn’t along for the ride. Personally, I was along for the ride and enjoyed it quite a bit, but I’ve encountered plenty of people who were outright horrified by it.
The biggest takeaway from Iron Man 3? Thank goodness for Karl Urban – that rarest of actors that understands certain characters are supposed to wear the damn helmet/mask/what-have-you. Something somebody involved with Iron Man 3, be it Robert Downey Jr or director Shane Black, clearly had a little bit of trouble with.
Iron Man 3 is a bit more of a spy movie than you might expect. This is emphasized by the end credits taking a very retro motif that looks like what Tarantino might do with a 60s spy flick, a la Kill Bill. A lot of the plot has Tony Stark running around while his armor is damaged, trying to track down an international terrorist. Is this just the plot that came to mind? An excuse to have Downey’s face outside of a helmet for most of the movie? A way to save the budget for the final fight scene? Is the armor just too powerful now for more conventional (i.e., non-Asgardian gods) villains?
There’s plenty of charm with Downey’s take on Tony Stark bumbling his way through a terrorist hunt in eccentric/distracted genius fashion. And that’s what carries the movie through… despite the idiotic insertion of the incredibly clichéd “little boy genius in a small town there to save the hero.” (*Cough* Probable studio notes. *Cough*) That disgusting insertion geared towards an audience younger than the film’s PG-13 ruined it for several people I’ve heard from. I was Ok with it… barely, but your mileage may vary. Likewise, the toys Stark pulls out of the bag in the final act were a bit too convenient, if a nice spectacle. There was a 2 second explanation of their absence from the game, but something that should have been alluded to earlier as not to cheapen the effect, but rather emphasize a ticking clock.
The most interesting thing was how this really felt like the end of a trilogy. The obvious change in the status of Iron Man is only implied, not shown. (You won’t get the obvious reference if you haven’t read the comic.) The Mandarin seems to be completely off the table for further use, though I suppose AIM is set up to become a big bad in the Iron Man universe… if the series continues.
I can recommend this as a good fast paced popcorn movie and as a spy movie in the general Bourne spectrum with superhero fights instead of martial arts + shootouts. If you’re the sort who’s coming in looking for tight plotting, this isn’t the one for you. On the other hand, this isn’t a giant plothole pretending to be deep, carefully structured film like Prometheus. Fun romp.