Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review: Iron Man 3


Sadly, it has become a habit for Hollywood to jump the shark when it comes to trilogies - all you have to do is look at Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, Matrix Revolutions and the like to gain some idea of how people may be a touch apprehensive about seeing a third installment of a franchise. However, I am more than happy to report that Iron Man 3 bucks that trend completely.

 The film picks up not too long after the events of The Avengers, with billionaire industrialist-cum-superhero Tony Stark coming to terms with not only surviving those events, but living in a post-alien/god invaded world. He's not at his happiest at the moment, staying up all hours tinkering with new Iron Man armour and suffering from anxiety attacks. But when danger rears its head, this one being the Mandarin, a lunatic terrorist deftly played by Sir Ben Kingsley, Tony needs to get back on the job to save his country.

Those who read the comics will no doubt be familiar with the Extremis story arc by Warren Ellis, where the villains use a substance to hack their own biology in order to become better, stronger and more insane. Iron Man 3 borrows heavily from this story, even going so far as to include characters such as Alrich Killian, the brilliant but money-driven scientist who weaponises Extremis, and Maya Hansen, a one-time fling of Tony's and creator of Extremis. The comic storyline itself is held to high esteem, so it's fantastic to see a screen adaptation.

To this end, the plot is meaty and laden with sumptuous twists to keep even the most discerning movie-goer hooked. One example is what the film does with the Mandarin, which was an incredible curveball that may have made him one of the most interesting villains in comic book movie history.

Director Shane Black, taking the place of Jon Favreau, is a match made in heaven for Iron Man, delivering his trademark acerbic wit alongside a thrillingly executed techno-thriller plot. This is probably the funniest of the three, with plenty of laugh out loud moments littered throughout. In fact, sometimes it does feel more like a comedy than an action-flick, but the plot is punctuated with enough serious threat that it still feels like a tried-and-true superhero yarn.

The action scenes are top-notch, with the third act climax being everything one could really hope for from an Iron Man flick. Let's just say that if you've got an armour kink, you're in for a treat.

Iron Man 3 not only surpasses the good-but-flawed second film but with the crafty dialogue, excellent twists and heart-stopping action, this is probably the best addition to the trilogy, even giving the massive Avengers a run for its money. Bravo to Shane Black for kicking off the second phase of Marvel movies with a bang.

*****