Iron Man 3 (2013)

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!

Starring

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes
Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin
Paul Bettany as Jarvis (voice)
Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener
William Sadler as President Ellis
Miguel Ferrer as Vice President Rodriguez

Directed by
Shane Black

Running Time:
130mins



 

Review and Summary

Let me start off with WOW! Simply WOW!

There is a lot that is really good with this movie, actually more like great with a few grains of WTF thrown in. Much like the first movie started off about at a point that you get too about 30mins into the film, this one does too. Stark is narrating as we watch Suits in the closets blowing up. Then he corrects himself and we go back to the beginning.

However, this beginning is in 1999. Tony and Happy (with Mullet) are in Bern Switzerland for a conference during New Year’s Eve. Now this isn’t today’s Tony devoted to Pepper, so we get to see him operating. In this case the target is Maya Hansen. Who happens to have developed research that enables self-healing or rejuvenation from injuries. Unfortunately there is a bit of a glitch that’s explosive in nature. He also meets Aldrich Killian, who is trying to recruit Stark for his Think Tank. It doesn’t go well, and Aldrich is left with his own thoughts.

Fast forward 13 years, back to Tony in his “Man Cave”. It seems that since all of the action that he experienced in New York (aka “The Avengers”) he is having some psychological impacts to work through. Instead of taking it out on any one or being depressed, whats a genius do? Well he throws himself into being creative. His most current project, the Mark 42 suit, is a bit different. Tony has been focusing on special purpose builds, suits that can handle explosions and other situations.

At one point he tells Pepper, as he comes clean, since New York he can’t sleep, he worries that he isn’t ready to protect the things that mean the most to him, her. When they go to bed, he comes back to the Man Cave and builds more things. His latest addition to the suits is the ability for Jarvis to control them or for him to control them from a control headband he wears. He also injects himself with small microchips that allow him to control the suits with gestures. The Mark 42 is a perfect example of that. It can act as a suit, or the separate components can autonomously. The special effects alone are pretty impressive.

The culmination of this is when Tony has a nightmare, Pepper tries to wake him up, and in the middle of that the Mark 42 shows up, controlled by Tony in his sleep. Yeah it’s a bit of a cuddle breaker alright. Tony is left to contemplate his anxiety.

Meanwhile a terrorist known as the Mandarin is on a roll attacking US assets abroad. His goal is to teach the President some lesson in terror and control. I’m not familiar with the Mandarin character from the comics, but it seems that Black has taken extreme measures to evoke a Bin Laden-like character to play to already stirred up emotion among the audience. And he does a good job.

Enter again Aldrich Killian, this time he is meeting with Pepper to encourage Stark Industries to join his Think Tank, AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Using a hologram he shows her that they have actually made strides in gene engineering, and can in the near future help people reach their full potentials.  Pepper politely declines, stating that there is too much potential for it to be militarized. Happy sees all this going on and is suspicious, he decides to follow Killian and his associate to see what he can find.

Happy is right, it turns out he catches Killian’s associate making a drug exchange at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. However, the whole thing goes sour, and we end up seeing that the drug that the man is taking causes him to go into self-combustion of a nature that takes out the whole place. The Mandarin takes the credit for it. This pushes Tony into issuing a challenge for the Mandarin to “bring it”, now the stage is set.

It’s kind of funny how these kinds of formulas work so well. This is ultimately where the hero has to learn some kind of lesson and realize change must come.

In this case, Tony is investigating the Mandarin as it is now personal. His meeting with Rhodey, ends with an anxiety attack. Again New York is making its impact felt. As Tony finishes his research with Jarvis, he makes plans to visit Tennessee where a similar unassociated explosion has occurred. Before he can do this though, he gets a visitor, reenter Maya Hansen.

Maya comes to Tony to get help because she thinks her employer is involved with the Mandarin. Just in time, they notice that there are streaks of smoke heading towards the house. And yes all hell does break loose. Using the Mark 42 Tony is able to get it onto Pepper to protect her, and allow her to get Maya out of the house that is taking a pounding.
Once she and Maya are safe, Tony then takes the suit back and it’s on.. or at least he wants it to be, as Jarvis tells him that the suit is really more a prototype and is having some malfunctions. Tony uses a few unique ways to take out all but one of the choppers attacking him. The house comes crashing down around him and pins him at the bottom of the ocean cliff. Jarvis kicks in and helps to get him out of there. Leaving everyone think that the Mandarin has successfully taken him out.

With his suit damaged, and Jarvis doing everything to keep him safe, Tony ends up crash landing in Tennessee. He is able to get some help from young Harley, who seems to be a young Tony. We get a glimpse into Tony’s youth. You have to pay attention and listen to his conversation with Harley. With Harley in tow, Tony goes on with the investigation while Jarvis and the suit are charging up.

Seems that Tony is on the right track, he speaks with the mother of the bomber. With perfect timing he ends up getting ahold of the man’s collection of files on project Extremis that he was involved in. Unfortunately the bad guys are not far behind him and we get a bit of action as he has to deal with these super soldier’s. Thanks to Harley he is able to escape and begins to put the pieces together.

After contacting Rhodey, who is busy as Iron Patriot trying to track down The Mandarin, he gets access to secured systems and is able to track down where the transmissions are coming from. Meanwhile, Rhodey is captured by The Mandarin’s forces.

While this is going on, Pepper is captured by Killian as he reveals himself to her when he confronts her and Maya. Turns out Maya was acting in parallel to Killian to get Stark to help resolve the glitch in her equations, based on the card he left her 13 years ago after their one night stand. But Killian has other plans for Pepper that doesn’t involve Tony.

Tony shows up at the Florida mansion, and is able to get to The Mandarin. However, it turns out that the Mandarin is really just an actor who is a decoy for Killian. Ben Kingsley does both parts well. As the Bin Laden/Mandarin, and as the drug/drunk actor, almost channeling a Reverend Jim / Ringo Star like quality. Unfortunately Tony is caught by Killian’s men and strung up.

With Tony captured, Maya reveals what his involvement in all this is, she needs his solution to the glitch to make it perfect. She still has the cloud of science in her eyes and doesn’t really see that Killian has no intention of perfecting what he already feels is perfect. In the conversation Tony gets her to see the light of day, but too late. Killian shows Tony that he has Pepper and she is in the process of being converted with the solution. If Tony doesn’t cooperate he will kill her. He leaves Tony to contemplate this. Killian’s real purpose for Pepper is to make her his queen.

Meanwhile, Killian and his soldier’s work on getting Rhodey out of the Iron Patriot suit. As a side note, what started out as War Machine, was changed to being called Iron Patriot, and getting a new Red-White-and-Blue paint job, thanks to the AIM think tank’s advice to the government. This gives AIM even more access to what it needs for the final plot. During the fight to get Rhodey out, Killian shows that his upgrades now include the ability to not only control and create massive heat, but also spit fire. Very impressive, and sure to be the hit at the party. With Iron Patriot in their hands their final plan begins. Killian’s right hand man uses Iron Patriot to get onto Air Force One with the President. His mission is to capture the president and get him to Killian.

While Tony, with the help of the Mark 42 showing up, is able to escape, after putting a considerable number of Killian’s henchmen out of action. Hooking up with Rhodey, who has also escaped the two make way to where Jarvis has tracked them. While they head there, Killian’s henchman manages to capture the president on Air Force One. Tony gets there and attempts to save the president only to have them blow a hole in the plane. With people being sucked out, this leads up to one of the most daring action scenes of the movie. 1 Iron Man suit, and 13 people freefalling from a plane. Using the monkey in a barrel’s methodology, Tony is able to rescue all and drop them into the water safely. However, the President isn’t one of them. It turns out that they used the Iron Patriot as a vehicle to take him to Killian’s next and final location for his lesson to America and the world.

While on their way to this final showdown, Rhodey contacts the vice president and gives him the low down, counting on him to get the troops rounded up. However, we find out that the VP is in on Killian’s plan for several reasons.

Tony and Rhodey arrive at the pier and ship that Killian and his guys are held up at. They sneak in so far before they are discovered. As they are pinned down, the cavalry arrive in the form of the 40 other suits that Jarvis is controlling. Jarvis is turned loose on the super soldier’s while Rhodey goes to rescue the President, and Tony works on saving Pepper. Those 40 suits come in handy as they all seem to be one hit wonders as it seems that they don’t last long in each confrontation. In the climatic finale, Tony has to take on Killian directly, however, it is Pepper who gets the final shot and takes Killian out.

As a gesture of finally understanding it’s the man not the suits, Tony orders Jarvis to destroy all his suits. It’s not clear if this includes War Machine too or not. As part of the epilog Tony is able to help undo all the changes to Pepper’s DNA that Killan did, and as a final piece, he finally has the shrapnel removed from his chest and no longer needs the chest piece.

All and all it’s a great movie. The banter between the characters, and action, and special effects make the movie an overall blast. Downey and group have a great chemistry that makes it all rock. I just have a problem with the last 10mins of the film.

The most problematic of them for me, is the whole thing of removing the chest piece. It’s a symbol of Tony’s redemption and need to atone, in some fashion, for a life of creating weapons. Now suddenly you remove it?? Just don’t see that working. This to a certain extent is like the Star Trek and Doctor Who episodes where anything goes, and in the last 5mins the clock is turned back and none of it happened. Although here it did.

The other problem I have is the whole destroying of Tony’s house and suits. How do you do this unless you are planning a further reboot to come about? What’s the bigger plan here? Does this involve the next installment of the Avengers?

So basically I loved 125 of the whole 130mins of the movie. Even so I highly recommend this movie. But to do it justice make sure you watch Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers first so you are in the mood and mindset to enjoy this overall.

One of the Easter egg’s in the movie comes in the end, as we learn that Stark is recalling all of this to Dr. Bruce Banner. It’s a priceless moment and well executed.


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