Iron Man 3, one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s more enjoyable instalments, is as kinetic and enjoyable as the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Iron Man 3, being the first puzzle piece in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Phase 2, had to step outside of The Avengers’ shadow, slot writer/director Shane Black into the blockbuster mould, and keep audience and studio expectations in check. Thankfully, it succeeded.
In 1999, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is at the top of his game – bedding babes and making enemies at will. The film soon jumps to the present, and Stark – having saved the world – is a frightened, cynical mess butting heads with girlfriend/Stark Industries head Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), friend Lt. Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), sketchy entrepreneur Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), and terrorist figure The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
Topping the disappointing Iron Man 2, this third instalment delivers the perfect balance between writer/director Shane Black’s style and that MCU bang for your buck. The barrel-of-monkeys sky-diving scene alone is, unquestionably, one of the past decade’s most clever and exciting set-pieces. Black, having directed only one film prior to this instalment (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang), injects his outside-the-box tropes into every scene and convention. From Stark’s first suit-up to the dockyard climax, Black’s 1980s buddy-flick sensibilities strike at a fluid rhythm and thumping beat.
Black’s pithy, witty dialogue adds to the film’s light-hearted tone and rollicking pace. Multiple sequences and comedic interludes play to Downey, Jr’s sweet spots. One scene alone – depicting Stark’s kooky interactions with two henchmen – stands out from the vast number of MCU gags. Grounding every plot-point and character, Black makes sure each protagonist and antagonist is equal parts sympathetic, charming, and over-the-top.
Iron Man 3 fits succinctly with the Christmas spirit – a unique and electrifying superhero-action flick with its fair share of explosions, romance, and hilarity.
Images courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures