Even after five years since the first Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. still remains a total badass. The 2008 film adaptation of the Marvel superhero comic series not only revived Downey Jr.’s celebrity lifestyle, but thoroughly recognized him as one of the greatest actors in the current film industry. His irresistible charm, lingual dexterity, satirical sense of humor, and committed acting has rightfully earned him the role of Tony Stark, a womanizing philanthropist, whose deft engineering skills shapes his superhero alter ego, famously known as Iron Man. With the help of his assistant/lover Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and his best friend/partner in crime Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Tony Stark fights off both crime and publicity, while still managing to crack up an entire audience and keep them on the edge of their seat at the same time. After two critically and commercially successful Iron Man films, as well as last year’s summer blockbuster The Avengers, Tony Stark returns as the titular character in Iron Man 3.
Though some may think the external appearance of the sequel looked a bit predictable, I was surprised by its unpredictability after watching the trailer and the actual film. Firstly, every single scene blew my mind, whether it was the epic opening, the eye-opening plot twists, the gripping action sequences, the comical moments, or the satisfying ending. Although Jon Favreau stepped down as director after making the first two Iron Mans, director Shane Black continues the impressive progression of a franchise that was already producing at a high level. Plus, we still get to see Favreau reprise his acting role in Iron Man 3 as Stark’s overly protective bodyguard Happy Hogan. Shane Black already has experience with Downey Jr., after both collaborated in Black’s dark comedy debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Thus, he helps maintain the franchise’s durability by making Iron Man 3 in his own way without going over-the-top (i.e. Michael Bay).
In continuation from The Avengers, Tony Stark narrates the aftermath of his experience in New York in Iron Man 3. The premise depicts a sullen, post-traumatic Stark up against two new villains: a mysterious terrorist named The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and the equally mischievous “mad scientist” Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Both pose threats towards Stark, his loved ones, and even Iron Man himself. Given its ambiguous plot in the trailer and its many spoilers in the actual film, I won’t reveal much. But I will say that it was way better than its adequate 2010 predecessor and almost as good as the acclaimed 2008 debut.
With impressive visuals, a strong story, a well-written script, and even a few surprises, Iron Man 3 works as both a witty Marvel action-adventure and a riveting, cerebral thriller. Iron Man 3 might also be the most intense and dramatic out of the three films. In addition, even though Tony Stark does remain the same self-absorbed narcissist that we love, we get to see a more human side of Stark that feels more compelling than overly sentimental, thankfully. Downey Jr. also continues to do some great acting, but even more from its amazing supporting cast, which includes the aforementioned Ben Kingsley, Guy Pierce, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a small but intriguing role performed by Rebecca Hall.
Though this sequel might not appeal to the non-superhero fans as it did for the first film, watching Iron Man 3 will still be a satisfying experience and one never to forget. For the actual Iron Man devotees, this will definitely be worth watching and, like I said before, way better than Iron Man 2. Out of the many spoilers in the film, I will only reveal one that I hope will give optimism for fans of the franchise, who haven’t seen it yet: Tony Stark will return.