After the actions of international terrorist, The Mandarin, hit Tony Stark a little too close to home, he calls the villain out, only to have his life ripped out from under him. Now he must face more threats than he could ever have conceived without the aid of his near infinite recourses.
Without the triumph of the original Iron Man film it’s fair to say that the plug would have been pulled on the filmic Marvel Universe right then in 2008, but under director Jon Favreau’s guidance it turned out to be a massive success, both creatively and critically leaving any follow-ups with large shoes to fill.
Iron Man Three, the first Iron Man film without Favreau at the helm, has found itself with a new captain in the form of Shane Black. Responsible for Robert Downey Jr’s second coming in the brilliant Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black might seem like a good choice to pen the sequel but his relative lack of directorial experience would rather indicate that a film of this size could be a little beyond him.
Put those worries to bed, because Iron Man Three is absolutely fantastic.
Right off the bat it’ll be clear to fans of Black’s work that his fingerprint is all over the dialogue; it’s fresh, funny and weaves in directions you couldn’t predict, which as the film goes on, becomes a pretty apt description for the story in general.
Enthusiasts of the comics will have guessed from the trailer that Warren Ellis and Adi Granov’s Extremis storyline has a large part to play in the proceedings, but there’s so much more layered in there, The Mandarin not withstanding. It’s hard to believe but this instalment supersedes both its predecessors in really getting to the heart of the MAN in Iron Man. When his back’s to the wall and he doesn’t have near infinite cash and an awesome lab to rely on, how does Tony Stark deal with world shattering threats? With a crap load of ingenuity, that’s how.
As is traditional with the Iron Man franchise an excellent cast has been here assembled with Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, William Saddler and Ben Kingsley being added to the usual suspects, and all acting up a storm. It’s nice to see that Favreau’s exit from the director’s chair hasn’t closed the door on his participation in the franchise as a whole, as his roll of Happy Hogan has a large contributing factor to the story this time around.
The actual production side of things, remarkably for such a green director, are practically faultless. The CG is the best so far, the action is breathtaking to the extent that ways of using the armour’s powers have been conceived that have never been thought of before; the pace is spot on and the scale escalates to a remarkable climactic crescendo. Black will, without a doubt, be getting plenty of job offers off the back of this.
Let’s get down to brass tacks, how does it compare to the first two? Well, it’s better than Iron Man 2 in every way, full stop; and maybe, just maybe there’s the possibility that it’s better than the original, after all the dialogue’s just as good, the story scale’s bigger and the action’s so much more varied, but there’s a story point that might get some fanboys (not this one) a bit antsy and… hmm… err… well, there’s no AC/DC in the soundtrack… aaand that’s it, there is literally nothing else to pick fault with, so if you still found that you enjoyed the first more I guess it must be that it came with no expectations attached where as Three has a world of them hanging like an albatross around its neck.
It might just deliver on all of them.
A grade – for storytelling
A- grade – for action
A- grade – for acting
A grade – for visual FX
Overall grade – A