With the summer movie season already kicked into high-gear and Nik's awesome review of Man of Steel, it occurred to me that we neglected to do a review of the comic book movie that kicked off this summer's blockbusters: Iron Man 3!
Since it is still in theaters and some people may still have not gotten around to seeing it, this review will be spoilers-free.
Now, after the unfortunate let-down (story-wise) of Iron Man 2, it was going to take a hell of a move on Marvel's part to get the hardcore fanbase back behind shellhead's solo films. Even the excellent casting of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine only bolstered it slightly. Then came The Avengers and every fanboy, fangirl and casual fan alike collectively splooged themselves over Marvel Studios' franchise culmination. But then comes the inevitable question: what next?
With Marvel announcing their film production dockets in "Phases" and "Phase 2" on the way, you have to ask, "what are they going to follow The Avengers up with?" Thus, Iron Man 3 was announced and as much as the character soared in The Avengers, there wasn't quite as much excitement for a new solo adventure starring Tony Stark. So, knowing how much they were going to have to step up their game for this capper to the solo franchise that originally gave Marvel Studios a future, they not only stepped it up, but they changed it in the same swoop.
Taking on narrative more in tune with an espionage thriller/mystery, Iron Man 3 definitely stepped up with guns blazing. As Tony Stark deals with some unexpected aftershocks from what is simply being referred to as "New York" (the final battle of the The Avengers), some faces from his past and mysterious new menaces turn his world upside-down and may potentially even render Iron Man and his creator obsolete in the process.
To be honest, I was extremely hesitant about this film when it was first announced because of the bad aftertaste of Iron Man 2. But as I heard more and more about it, including the story line being inspired by the comics, I started to loosen up and get a bit more excited for it. And when I finally saw it in the theater, I was not disappointed. It was a suspenseful, emotional and action-packed thrill ride that kept you wondering from scene to scene. The characters remained engaging as each went on their own emotional journey and the action kept you at the edge of your seat. If you were to compare it to The Avengers, what Iron Man 3 lacked in scope and scale, it made up for in emotional content and suspense with just as much action. Any fan of Marvel Studios' productions will not be disappointed by the opening salvo of their "Phase 2."
And just so that I get to geek out a little (and this is actually not a spoiler because it was released months before the film as promotional material), and regardless of the clowning I'll get from the guys for this, one of my favorite armors made a significant appearance in the film. And by that I mean, the armor that Stark wore when I first started collecting Iron Man comics: the Silver Centurion! Yep, it wasn't quite on par with the nerdgasm that was the first appearance of Helicarrier and the first assembly of the team in The Avengers, but it was damn close!
P.S.: And just so we're clear, I was actually completely okay with the so-called "twist." I thought it was damn clever and really well executed.