A few notes: I’m a huge Iron Man fanboy, and I’ll try to keep spoilers out of the first paragraph. Beyond that, you’ve been warned.
My son and I went to see Iron Man 3 last night, and had a lot of fun. I think, at this point, they are never recapturing the magic of the first movie but I could watch these characters forever. I wish there was a defter touch with the dialogue – too many times it felt like “here’s a funny line!” being put on display, rather than just having great dialogue all the time. It sapped some of the emotional pull out of the film that we had in the original Iron Man (and The Avengers).
Now, on to spoilers. Tony’s in trouble. He’s not sleeping, he has nightmares when he does, and he even graduates to anxiety attacks. We flashback to 1999, and get introduced to Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian, and the beginnings of Extremis. Tony one-night-stands Maya and sends the nerdy Killian on a wild goose chase for a meeting. Oh, and it’s the same conference where Stark doesn’t remember meeting Yinsen. This part of the movie is worth it if only for Happy’s long 90s hair.
Flash-forward to now, and Killian approaches Pepper (in her new role with Stark Industries) with the Extremis tech. She’s impressed, but turns him down – it’s too easily weaponizable and Stark Industries doesn’t do that any more. Meanwhile, there have been bombings across the country with a specific signature, and when Happy gets caught up in one and severely injured, Tony makes it his duty to seek vengeance on the perpetrators.
The terrorist known as the Mandarin takes credit after each of the bombings, but it’s not what you think, Let’s just say there’s a reason they weren’t worried about accusations of whitewashing with Sir Ben Kingsley. Some diehards are NOT going to like that change to the character at ALL but I thought it fit well with the cinematic universe. Even with aliens and stuff added into the MCU, there was no way the comic book version of the Madarin was going to appear.
The actual Extremis tech actually combines that plotline with one of the follow-up plots from Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man run, with the human repulsor bombs (in this case, if you lose control of Extremis, you go boom like those bombs did). That allows Tony to do a bit of holographic computer detective work, a staple of the series at this point.
I tweeted last night that the film ends with a note of finality – it’s actually more than a note. The credits note that “Tony Stark will be back”, it does not say Iron Man will be back.
What I didn’t like: Well, like I mentioned, the dialogue was lacking. The…realness of it was gone. Also, it seemed like Shane Black was afraid of us having an emotion, and several times when a scene seems to be building towards something like that, it would get cut off with an ill-timed joke. It’s okay for there to be serious moments in a comic book movie, guys, even if it’s not a grimdark one.
I definitely enjoyed the movie, and the action set-pieces work well. It is not an instant classic or anything like that but it’s a solidly enjoyable action movie. I miss the heart of the first Iron Man movie, but perhaps that was lightning in a bottle.