Tony Stark is targeted by a terrorist known as the Mandarin, who
forces him underground as he tries to realize who his enemies are.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Directed by Shane Black
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle,
Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany,
Jon Favreau, James Badge Dale, William Sadler, Ty Simpkins
Sequel to 2010's Iron Man 2 and 2012's The Avengers
Based on characters from Marvel Comics
Oscar Nominations - Best Visual Effects
I have very mixed feelings about Iron Man 3. Mostly, it's a fantastic way to start off Marvel's Phase Two. However, it has certain story elements that I found ridiculous and surprising. Fans of the comics know exactly what I'm talking about.
I much prefer Jon Favreau's mildly comical take on the films, rather than Shane Black's darker toned third film. Ultimately, it was the Mandarin that ruined the film for me. Marvel took a formidable enemy of Iron Man's and turned him into a laughable, unfunny, British caricature.
Before the big reveal, Ben Kingsley's scenes as the Mandarin were fantastic. He was intimidating, he was terrifying, and he felt like a force to be reckoned with. If it wasn't for the incredible ending to the film, I would have given it a failing score. I'll admit that it isn't half bad apart from the Mandarin and the end is really exciting.
After starting out on such a high note, it seems as if every successive Iron Man film failed to capture the magic of the original. While Iron Man 3 is my least favorite of the trilogy, there is still some good stuff in it. The film features some of the series most exciting moments and an exciting ending. Unfortunately, it also suffers from a major villain twist halfway through and a much more subdued Robert Downey Jr.
Let me just go on and get to the biggest reason this film doesn't work as much as previous entries. As many know, the twist where it's revealed The Mandarin is simply an idea, and not an actual person, is downright atrocious. To this day, I cannot comprehend why the filmmakers thought the idea of taking one of Iron Man's greatest villains of all time and turning him into an unfunny caricature was a good idea. It completely derails the film. To make matters worse, Ben Kingsley's performance as, what we though at first, The Mandarin was nothing short of perfection, as he was a force to be reckoned with. The film also made the decision to have a much more subdued performance from Robert Downey Jr., which makes the film itself a drag to sit through at times. On the flip side, Iron Man 3 features some of the series most exciting moments. My favorite sequence, in particular, being the rescue of falling civilians near the end. Also, this installment has one of the most exciting endings in the franchise as we get to see all of Tony Stark's suits in action.
To me, Iron Man 3 had the potential to be the second best entry in the franchise. While it wouldn't be able to beat the first one, it had every chance to beat the second. Due to some exciting action scenes and a firstly engaging story, it was close. Unfortunately, the villain twist ruins it for me. Still, for the most part, not a terrible way to start off Marvel's Phase Two.