In the first five minutes of Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3”, it becomes clear that this is not just some rehashing of the first two movies. After the title faded, and exploding metal suits filled the screen, gone were the thoughts that this would be just another light-hearted, silly ‘popcorn flick’.
As the first post-Avengers movie, “Iron Man 3” had big shoes to fill if it wanted people to forget the $1 billion grossing film. Prior to release, Marvel and Disney said that “Iron Man 3” would different as Jon Favreau, director of “Iron Man” and its first sequel.
In Favreau’s chair was 51-year-old Shane Black, known for his directorial debut “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, a film that also starred Robert Downey, Jr. Despite underperforming at the box-office, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” became a cult success and helped Downey rebuild his career after his drug arrests in the late ‘90s.
Black and Downey’s reunion film is bold to say the least. The film follows Downey as Tony Stark, who must battle The Mandarin, a villain of unknown origin who wants to bring the United States to its knees.
Stark also suffers from anxiety attacks due to the events of 2012’s “The Avengers”. That, coupled with a lack of help from Shield, or the Avengers, leaves Stark to battle The Mandarin and his minions alone.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also return as Pepper Potts and Capt. James Rhodes, respectively. They earn their screen time due to great chemistry with other supporting pieces and Downey.
Guy Pearce also co-stars as Aldrich Killian, a villainous opponent from Stark’s past. Pearce performs with intensity, similar to his roles in “Memento” and “Lawless”. As far as villains are concerned, Pearce has become the go-to guy for all things evil.
Ben Kingsly plays The Mandarin in a way not depicted in any of the comics. The character starts out dark and mysterious and Black goes to great lengths to make the unraveling as enjoyable as possible. Kingsly’s 41 years of acting experience do well as he brings in several dynamics to Tony Stark’s arch-nemesis.
Black’s directing is very much the same as in his other film, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. Black’s use of light, and darkness, provided gloominess not yet utilized in a Marvel film. His directing differs greatly from the other well-known Marvel directors, like Favreau, Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon.
The script, co-written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black, mixes Iron Man lore and an original tale that works exceedingly well. While there are liberties taken in regards to the series that film is based on, this does allow for an unpredictable film.
The film’s dialogue is similar to Black’s previous movies, with many one liners reminiscent of “Lethal Weapon”. Some of the film’s darker scenes are still filled with witty dialogue, which is always nice.
While it might alienate die-hard fans of Iron Man, this film is worth the price of admission.