What I’ve Been Watching: Iron Man 3

Iron man 3 poster

Tony Stark is back! Kind of. You see he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Whether this is a smart thing or a ridiculous notion is up for debate. However, after the events of The Avengers, Stark is feeling nervous. If someone mentions the word “wormhole” he freaks out.

It is fun to imagine trying a similar trick on other superheroes. “Bus full of kids” to Spiderman, “Kryptonite” to Superman, “Robin” to Batman.

It seems like an appropriate opening to The Avengers 2 would be the “super-friends” attending a self-help group as they unpack their emotions after their harrowing ordeals in each of their stand-alone films.

This is simply a long way of saying I am surprised this idea has never been explored before. And actually, it does make sense that the confident yet fragile Tony Stark would suffer from anxiety. The films thus far have shown us how his over-confidence has gotten him into and out of a whole heap of trouble.

In Iron Man 3 the trouble comes in the form of terrorist Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). A man with a vendetta against America who is capable of taking over the televisual airwaves to get his frightening message across. Apparently he’s never heard of the internet.

Meanwhile, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) has come to Stark Industries with a formula capable of repairing human DNA. Potts rejects the serum, fearing it could be used to on soldiers in warfare with unforeseen consequences.

Iron Man 3 is an enjoyable superhero movie pretty much from beginning to end. Downey was pretty much born to play Tony Stark and does so once again with the perfect blend of humour, arrogance and vulnerability.

Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) once again shows how well he can balance action and comedy. One compliments the other with such an ease one cannot help but wonder why this is only his second directorial credit.

He even manages to pull-off the lame child sidekick trope without annoying the hell out of the audience in the process. “Can’t I come up with” child sidekick asks at the end of this sequence. “No.” Stark flatly replies and drives off.

That’s not to say the film is perfect, it’s not without its faults. In particular a deus ex machina so big and obvious I’m surprised Thor himself did not appear out of Tony Stark’s iron man suit to help save the day.

However, the fact I am willing to forgive “House Party Protocol” shows just how enjoyable the rest of the film is. The thrust of the narrative attempts to answer the question “Who is Tony Stark?” Surely the answer has to be more than “I am Iron Man.” It is telling that Stark stays out of his iron suit for much of the film, a wise choice that allows it to largely steer clear of comparisons to Transformers.

Iron Man 3 is another solid edition to the Marvel universe which reflects a studio at the top of its game in terms of producing highly entertaining superhero films. Now does anyone hear the sound of thunder?

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