Saving the world along with his comrades has left Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) with memories. Too many memories, the sort that leave him unwell – he’s found that he cannot process his selfless near-death experience and it’s destroying him. It’s now not just affecting him, it’s also beginning to come between him and the woman he loves, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Just when things look bleak, Tony’s past rears up to haunt him again. Thirteen years ago he met a man who wanted to sell a theory to the brilliant Tony Stark and also a woman developing extraordinary regenerating powers that manifests itself as fire. That man, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) has now pitched his idea to Stark Industries new CEO, Pepper, only to be turned down again.
Coinciding with Aldrich's return is the rise of a terrorist whom everyone knows as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). This puts Tony’s friend Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) on the path of finding and bringing to justice the man who has taken credit for multiple of the overseas terrorist attacks. But that’s only one part of the fight – Tony has just been personally attacked at his home and somehow, he ends up in tiny town rural America in Tennessee where a pint-sized version (Ty Simpkins) of himself helps put the pieces back together and reminds Tony of the reason he is who he is.
Writing this review has left me with two observations. One being it’s Friday which means there didn’t seem to be any other review or post that I’m working on more appropriate than this to publish and also, yes, this is going to be the second blockbuster I opted not to see on the big-screen and am instead finally saw it only to, naturally with ranting and raving involved. Because of this, I will ask your indulgence while I use this blog as a place to share those sentiments. Of all the superheroes Tony Stark is likely the most egotistical there is. If you didn’t make it through the first movie for this reason or haven’t returned to the series since, you may want to give the guy another shot – like any good hero should, Tony has risen to each occasion and in fact has become the kind of guy you don’t mind seeing get the girl. Does this mean he’s no longer an occasional jerk? No, but he doesn’t just think about himself and that speaks volumes. Scripter’s have “grown him up” and believe it or not, there are moral lessons to be gleaned from this film.
Though my memory of the first two films is fuzzy as it’s been a while since last seeing them, I have to say this script is comparatively smart. The sign of a “good movie” is when writers can make the action genre work well with humor and as usual there is no shortage of either in this plot, two elements that mingle together well. Instead of cheesy, a lot of the laughs are inspired by witty antidotes and of course, no one delivers the lines better than Robert Downy Jr. The references to The Avengers were fabulous (something I suspect aren’t just for the reminder of their joint save-the-world-gig, but to heighten excitement for their second outing in 2015) as was the flirty banter between the leading couple – their conversations and moments of “cute” romantics never cease to lighten the mood, and remind us why the beloved Pepper and Tony are a couple worth rooting for – a fandom worth a happy ending.
Unlike the previous outings, this film took a unique approach by having Tony fight the baddies as a “mere mortal” instead of always being Iron Man. Here the plot takes Tony out of his safety net (of a sort) and strips him of being always the superhero. This reminds us he’s only a man – albeit a brilliant one, not some supernatural being. The climax was quite good and it was also interesting to see what writer’s did to Pepper. If this really is the end of the franchise, I think fans will be satisfied with the ending. It’s complete while also teasing of “more” should a fourth movie ever be bought, plus there’s a funny little scene at the end credits that explains Tony’s narration. In my opinion, this is the best Iron Man yet. It’s snazzy and classy in equal parts and in closing, should a writer ever want to know a way to endear their story to me: Why, just add in some Downton Abbey references and you’re golden.
(Parental concerns: minor flirting between Tony and Pepper, who also happen to live together [we see one shot of them in bed together, clothed]; the film opens with Tony having a one-night stand [implied]. Women wear inappropriate, low-cut ensembles, including Pepper being in a shorts bra once and there are some crude sexual references. Multiple scenes are “violent”; bombs explode at various points in the movie and several people are injured and/or die. There is a lot of fighting between Tony and Aldrich's "army," as well as a terrorist boasting about killing Americans. There is some profanity [a**, da*n, h*ll]. The film is rated PG13.)