The final film in the Robert Downey, Jr as Tony Stark, Iron Man trilogy is finally here. The first film was an amazingly entertaining origin story, followed by a mediocre 2nd installment that was less than entertaining, Shane Black directs this 3rd film to wrap up the storyline. Interestingly enough, after waiting months for this film to come out, I got so caught up at work that I completely forgot that May 3rd was the Iron Man 3 release date in the U.S. Seriously though, I was swamped at work. We quickly readjusted, and I bought four tickets for an Ipe family outing on Saturday afternoon at our local AMC theater.
The film stars Robert Downey, Jr, with Don Cheadle returning as Terry Rhodes, and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Jon Faveau even returns as Happy Hogan. Who are the big bads in the story? It’s important, because if that Disney short on villains taught me anything, villains are important.
Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin, the original archenemy from the Iron Man comics way back when. I was curious if Marvel would ever use the Mandarin in one of their films, because there’s a whole racial Fu Manchu stereotype with the Mandarin. I mean, come on, the Mandarin first appeared in publication back in 1964. I did think there was a possibility, because he was somewhat implied in the 2008 film Iron Man, because the name of the terrorist group in that film was known as “The Ten Rings”. And the Mandarin has 10 magical rings that he uses. Of course, would Marvel and Disney want to go down the fantastical route in one of their big summer blockbusters? I suppose not.
The other key villain is Aldrich Killian, a scientist who played by Guy Pierce. The Aldrich Killian character is from a more recent (2005) comic book storyline called “Extremis”, about a scientist who creates this virus with a nanotechnology spin on it. They actually adapted it into a motion comic that I later watched on Netflix streaming, so that was pretty cool. In Iron Man 3, they adopted portions of the original Extremis story.
How was the film? I thought it was pretty good. The story is decent, it didn’t get bogged down in any nonsense like the 2nd film when Tony was drunk and acting ridiculous. The film was less about Tony as Iron Man, and more about Tony being smart and creative without the suit. There was much more time spent with him outside of the suit, and I think the film was better for it. Sir Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin was an inventive and different take on the Mandarin character, and I was pleasantly surprised to have Aldrich Killian as the founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics (or A.I.M.), a shadowy technological terrorist organization out to grab power. Just to keep it more grounded in today’s reality, there was no giant flying M.O.D.O.K.