One of the great turn-around/recovery stories in Hollywood, is that of Robert Downey Jr. A man notorious for his addictions and legal woes has since gone on to be one of the most entertaining and biggest box office draws currently working. His resurrection has been nothing short of spectacular with some great films and performances including an Oscar nomination for his role in the film Tropic Thunder. But the feather in Downey’s cap just might be his bringing to life the comic book superhero, Iron Man and the man in the suit Tony Stark. His role of Stark in 2 Iron Man movies and the Avengers and a cameo as Tony Stark in the incredible Hulk has significantly helped push The Avengers movies forward and make Marvel Studios the leader in superhero movies.
In Iron Man 3 Downey once again dons the iron suit and takes on the quick witted and always charming Tony Stark to take on his latest foe, The Mandarin played by Sir Ben Kingsley. Iron Man 3 takes place directly after the events of The Avengers movies tho that is more or less referenced and has no bearing on the plot or your ability to follow it. With The Mandarin viciously attacking various spots throughout the country he soon directly targets Tony Stark and those whom he cares about including his love Miss Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow. After his former body guard and head of Stark Industries security, Happy Hogan is severely injured in one of The Mandarins attacks, Stark calls him out publicly, leading to an attack on his home almost killing him and Miss Potts. He is then sent on a personal mission which leads him to Tennessee where he is alone and without the use of his lab left to repair his suit and try and stop the heinous mad man. With the help of a young boy who remarkably shares Starks love of mechanics and engineering he is once again able to do what it is that Stark does.
This is the first of the three Iron Man films not directed by Jon Favreau and therefore naturally has a different feel to it than the first two. Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black who had previously worked with Downey on the mystery/comedy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and is more well known for his writing such as the Lethal Weapon series. Black brings a tougher more real element to the Iron Man franchise. This element of realism fits well at this point in the franchise because of the events of The Avengers and Tony’s deeper and growing love for Pepper. Dealing with a form of post traumatic stress disorder and the fear of not being able to protect those he cares about is not the side we normally see from a superhero. This is the side of the story that Black brings to Iron Man.
Make no mistake the sharp wit and humor of Stark is still a plenty and everything we have come to love about Stark and his alter ego Iron Man is still present in this edition of the series. The action and battle scenes are second to none with spectacular effects and no shortage of explosions to keep everyone enraptured for the whole two hours and twenty minutes. Shane Black and the whole crew aren’t without their surprises as well, within the story and even with their Avengers ties after the credits. One thing is for sure, we know The Avengers 2 is happening but what we don’t know is if this is the end for the Iron Man franchise. With all that said, it is the perfect beginning to the summer blockbuster season.