Iron Man 3 gets us back to Tony Stark’s story by largely drawing upon the “Extremis” arc so as to lend the film more of a thriller element.
The film flashes back to New Year’s Eve 1999. This is when Tony Stark first encounters Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). She comes up with technology that allows for the regeneration following injuries. It’s no surprise to see that Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is interested in the technology for his company, Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM).
Flash forward to seven months after the New York battle in December 2012. Stark is having a number of panic and anxiety attacks. It’s clear that New York did a number on him. This was a traumatic experience for anyone. To see him this fragile and vulnerable is not really a surprise. Not at all! After all, he’s the man who had to deliver a missile to another dimension. While Stark is dealing with his own issues, the Mandarin is causing a bunch of damage. Is he ever! Among the number of victims injured due to the Mandarin’s bombings are Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). The injury basically takes Happy out of the film. Stark’s Malibu pad gets destroyed in the process.
Stark is somehow able to escape by flying a suit to Tennessee of all places. This is where the film starts to show some of that humor that we know Marvel films to be capable of. Nobody could ever predict what would happen next. Stark ends up working with ten-year-old Harley (Ty Simpkins) to get his suit back to working condition. Meanwhile, there is cameraman Gary (Adam Pally). No matter what thoughts there are about the Harley storyline, Gary adds the best comic relief to the film.
The third act of the film sees Killian holding Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and President Ellis (William Sadler) hostage. Both Stark and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) have to somehow save the day. Rhodes doesn’t have access to his suit while Stark uses as many of his as possible.
After a long wait, we finally get to see the Mandarin in action. Only this long-awaited battle comes with a twist. The twist makes for some nice humor along the way. I certainly did not see this coming at all! Even upon watching the film again, I still am not sure that I like this particular twist.
The other thing about this film is that we get to see the serious ramifications from the events in New York. They aren’t serious in the way of there being more chaos on earth. Instead, it’s more psychological with Tony Stark suffering from PTSD. When we see Stark suffering from these panic attacks, it shows that he’s human like the rest of us.
Iron Man 3 is a nice rebound from Iron Man 2, which mainly had to serve as a lead-in to The Avengers. For all intents and purposes, this film is a solo film for the titular character. There is no Black Widow or Nick Fury. I love the team-up movies as much as the next person but once you add too many people, there’s only so much action for a person to follow. While Tony Stark will live on as Iron Man, Iron Man 3 serves as a satisfying conclusion to his personal story.
DIRECTOR: Shane Black
SCREENWRITERS: Drew Pearce & Shane Black
CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stéphanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley