'Iron Man 3': Attitude, a hero's best quality

Robert Downey Jr. comes back with his best Tony Stark and an adventure full of masks, action and humor. It's 'The Avengers' perfect little sister. Review without spoilers.

April 25 2013 | 18:24


In these times, and with these ticket prices that we have at the moment, it seems fairly logical that cinemagoers have become "gourmets" and spend much more time choosing the films that they want to see. It's a sad situation, but one that nobody is able to overcome. Many will scream blue murder when 'Iron Man 3' ransacks box offices across the world. But that is what happens when you offer a product that a particularly large section of the public is looking for, and when you give them what they're asking for.

Shane Black has had the arduous task of overseeing Marvel Universe's next film, following 'The Avengers'; yes, that film that made more than one and a half billion dollars at the box office, and what's more, went down a storm with the audience. Perhaps it was Tony Stark who had it easier to succeed in following their footsteps, but expectations play a big part too. Relax everybody, 'Iron Man 3' is everything it promises to be, and more.

The story picks straight up from where 'The Avengers' left off, with Tony Stark overwhelmed by events in New York, constantly worrying about what might happen to Pepper. If we add to this the threat that could be posed by Mandarin, who has set up surveillance in front of his house, not even the most charismatic millionaire of the big screen can help worrying. The attack is imminent, and the protagonist will face a challenge that perhaps even he isn't prepared for.

Sir Ben Kingsley could not have better described what it is that makes this film: "It's a story about masks." Shane Black exploits to the max Robert Downey Jr.'s love of showing us the more profound side of Tony Stark's character. With an actor like him it would be a crime not to. If the two previous instalments were already a whole "tour de force" in the comic-book genre, this is a whole tribute to the actor behind the character. Stark may be worried, but he doesn't stop offering us incredible dialogues, spectacular performances and one-liners packed with irony and sarcasm. It's his attitude that makes it impossible for us to ever get tired of Iron Man.

As well, it's very rare that the charisma of one character's interpretation could have the effect of making the rest of the cast work so well too. The chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow, his jokes with Jarvis or his dialectical encounters with his enemies make him even greater, and give the support the rest of the cast needs to really shine. Tony Stark works as a tough guy, a father, a lover and a reveller for excellence.

Kneel down before powerful Mandarin

'Iron Man 3' is an example that a blockbuster can have, and in fact does have a cast full of talent. Not just the main character, but the supporting roles too. But there is one person that knows how to steal the spotlight from him, and that is Ben Kingsley. It's clear that he's not lacking in talent, but his surprising character leaves us with one of the most memorable roles the British actor has ever played. The Mandarin that he presents us with deserves a monument. All of the dark side in the film is shown to great effect, and what's good is that Kingsley is merely the tip of the iceberg. A complete leap in quality in comparison to Mr. Stark's previous two instalments.

In the technical department, there will be little left to surprise us after 'Iron Man 3'. 'Iron Man 3' gives us everything we hoped from it, making it a great disciple of Joss Whedon's acclaimed film. The two hour duration doesn't give us a moment's rest, the battle scenes are at just the level of excess that we're looking for, although they sometimes come across as a bit bizarre. It's hard to get bored with a spectacle choreographed magnificently and as full of humour and action as this.

Obviously 'Iron Man 3' cannot be perfect. There are too many appearances (Rebecca Hall), and the philosophical background fails to convince of whether it's "the man that makes the armour, or the armour that makes the man", for example. But it makes up for this with some attractive plot twists, and altogether what is a great popcorn-muncher. Equally, it carries on making its mark with the comic books, managing to surprise even the Marvel experts. It's not just an improvement with regards to the previous instalments, it's a more than praiseworthy successor of 'The Avengers'. Joss Whedon knew how to create a school, and Shane Black is an outstanding disciple.

Those that have been waiting anxiously for Phase 2 of Marvel will be delighted when they go to see 'Iron Man 3', and will probably leave just as delighted. That's because it's a production that doesn't hide behind pretences. It's what it is, a blockbuster and proud of it. The critics of this film can choose just as well as the lovers of Marvel what show to go and see, but they have the good fortune of being able to work with films that are practically made to measure, and perhaps that's the secret behind their triumph. They don't pretend to be reinventing the Seventh Art, nor even reinventing themselves, they just want to entertain. And, again, they do this with astounding ease. With all that's left to come in this genre, Marvel shows time and again that they have found the right way forward, and there's no chance they're going to miss out on it.

P.S. Make sure you stay until the end of the credits.