Officially opening in international theaters yesterday and ushering in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe early for some countries like The Philippines, Iron Man 3 opened and brought Robert Downey Jr. back into the superhero summer blockbuster fold as Tony Stark/ Iron Man. After the significant impact and repercussions felt from last year's superhero team-up movie success that was The Avengers, how can the brilliant yet eccentric hero hope to cope with the new experiences and insight he's gained from that adventure? This is what that movie talks about, as well as continuing the exploits of the armored avenger as he faces a new threat that tests his limits to the very core.
With the movie coming out in US theaters on May 3rd, this review will be careful to dodge SPOILERS, and stick to simple truths and facts of what you can expect from the film as another installment in an already multi-billion earning franchise. If you haven't seen any of the films by Marvel Studios or what makes up the Marvel Cinematic Universe for that matter, do a little back tracking first before watching this movie. Iron Man 3 takes the route back to Tony's world, and it's a whole new ballgame for Mr. Stark to learn and overcome.
I've seen it twice on Opening day in the RP in 2D and 3D, so for the sake of audiences who have yet to see it, I'll keep this review short and SPOILER FREE... with another "more detailed" review to come when May 4 hits.
The first thing you'll need to need to know about Iron Man 3 is simple: Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark, and that hasn't changed with Iron Man 3 one bit. He's back with a suit of armor, tinkering with more stuff than ever before, and he's got the girl of his dreams with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) now at his side. However after saving the world and taking on an alien invasion in The Avengers, Stark's life has undeniably changed - losing sleep and feeling more anxious about things than ever before. It's only when demons from the past start haunting him and those in his life that he realizes he needs to step up, as a terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) uses his resources to attack Stark and those closest to him in his life. Losing his toys and forced to make use of his intellect, Tony embarks on a quest to get revenge against those responsible and prove that he is Iron Man, inside and out.
Since he started playing the role in Iron Man and continued on with Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, the witty and quirky actor has owned the role and brought a new level of excitement and appeal to playing a super hero who doesn't just beat the bad guys, but does it with style and attitude to boot! He has a new armor to show off with the Mark 42, as well as a slew of other suits that fans will get giddy about. Jon Favreau found a real gem in RDJ and cast him perfectly, and he's back in the sequel again as Tony pal and former bodyguard, Happy Hogan. Also returning is Don Cheadle as Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes, who rebrands his "War Machine" persona and goes all red, white, and blue as the "Iron Patriot". Of course, it wouldn't be an Iron Man film without J.A.R.V.I.S at systems interface, and the cool Paul Bettany returns to lend his voice as the sophisticated computer program that assist Tony and his armor usage.
Coming onto the new cast line-up, we have the talented Guy Pearce playing Aldrich Killian - a mysterious inventor who harnesses the power of "Extremis" and leads the organization known as A.I.M or "Advanced Idea Mechanics". Those familiar with Iron Man lore will immediately know the terms and names behind these in the movie, but rest assured all is not what it appears to be. The beautiful Rebecca Hall also stars as Maya Hansen, a botanist who helped developed Extremis and knows Tony Stark as well. Finally, we have Ben Kingsley, aka The Mandarin, who's a villain that's no stranger to Iron Man fans and readers worldwide. Kingsley adds his own unique portrayal of the character in this film, and it just goes to show that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will stand out on its own, despite the nods and references to the comic world and beyond.
Despite Jon Favreau bowing down from directorial duties in this new sequel, the reigns were handed to a worthy candidate and successor in the form of Shane Black. He and RDJ teamed up before in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and the work ethic here has changed much either by utilizing Downey's strengths and wit to his advantage. The plot is a lot darker that Iron Man 2, and echoes the same kind of excitement, tension, and action felt from the first movie and, to a certain extent, The Avengers. It acts like a spy movie of sorts, with Downey stepping into the armor in certain points and dishing out his talents outside of it in other sequences. The casting is well rounded, and I'm happy to see everyone put in their place the proper way. Supporting characters like Pepper and Happy get to shine more, and Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley add new layers of excitement and intrigue into the mix. As far as twists are concerned, Iron Man 3 has a couple of surprises in store for those not expecting the unexpected. There's plenty of things that'll make you feel astonished or sour, so be prepared to keep an open mind regardless of what happens.
So getting down to it, Iron Man 3 still keeps things pumping up for fans of Robert Downey Jr., Tony Stark, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. It's definitely getting things off to a good start for "Phase 2" of the MCU, and we have "Thor: The Dark World" to look forward to come November this year. While definitely not in the same epic scale as The Avengers in featuring a large and monstrous group of superheroes, this movie has its moments too and an Iron Legion to look forward to from the trailers alone. There's a bit of pacing and expectation issues that will keep you pondering about them once everything is said and done, and comic fans will certainly find some elements adapted into the film questionable. Regardless of those things, it's still loads of fun to watch Ol' Shellhead blow things up and more armors flying around in drones. There's no denying that everyone definitely needs to see this if you enjoy watching the armored avenger and/ or RDJ himself.
He is Iron Man, and he'll never disappoint you either way.
Rating - 4/5
UPDATE and P.S: If you haven't learned it by now, please... WAIT FOR THE POST CREDITS SCENE in MARVEL MOVIES!XD