johnlink ranks IRON MAN 3 (2013)

I quickly punched back through the initial two IRON MAN films last week before taking a quick three-movie jump through some independent pictures which were the polar opposite of an IRON MAN film. The budget of ROBOT & FRANK was $2.5 million. The budget for the documentary DEAR ZACHARY was primarily made on a $30,000 before filmmaker Kurt Kuenne raised the bulk of the late-production and post-production costs through personal donations. We will give it a (probably inflated) total budget of $100,000. GRAY’S ANATOMY was made on $350,000 (albeit in 1996 dollars). Those three movies were all made for a total of under $3 million combined and were each, individually, better than the $200 million IRON MAN 2. So, now, here we are at another $200 million IRON MAN 3 with a budget almost 67 times greater than that of those three movies combined. No pressure.



I watched IRON MAN 3 (2013) on 5.2.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

The third IRON MAN film is more a sequel to AVENGERS than the previous IRON MAN films. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has been emotionally effected by the alien invasion of New York City. He can’t sleep, he has anxiety attacks, and his budding relationship with Piper (Gwyneth Paltrow) is threatening to crumble before it even starts. He spends his time in the basement building scores of IRON MAN suits to do different things. He’s an inventor without a reason to invent other than to satisfy his increasingly eccentric need to stay busy.

Meanwhile, a threat is growing. Some guy who calls himself The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is out there slaughtering innocent people and threatening the President. He is protected by a tech genius, once spurned by Stark, named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). The government is weary of having Iron Man intervene, so have re-branded the Colonel Rhodes (Don Cheadle) suit of honor. No longer the scary sounding and cold metallic War Machine, he is now a red, white, and blue painted Iron Patriot.

The film, directed by Shane Black, is smart on a number of levels. It gets back to the sarcastic and snarky Tony Stark which made him an icon in the first place. The film finds a way to neuter his assets as well. Instead of being an invincible machine without limits, the script puts him in a place to struggle and be vulnerable to attack. There is a good deal of action which involves Tony Stark infiltrating places without the suit by necessity. This is a move which brings danger back into the fold. There are multiple moments in this film which feel like a good outcome is not inevitable. That was not the case with the second film.


Unfortunately, the climax feels the need to again make a robot-filled explosion fest. The invincibility of the suits is suddenly less sure, but the reason for that is unclear. It is one of many holes in the script which include, mostly, the Ben Kingsley character and his seemingly impossible explanation for why he was doing things. Further, a couple of coincidences of timing also strain belief.

But, hey, the third IRON MAN is a marked improvement over the second installment, even if it is not a return to the surprise of the first. This IRON MAN exists in a post-AVENGERS world. The body count is startling high for a PG-13 film. The danger seems less funny, which makes Tony Stark’s wit all the more vital to distinguishing this universe from Nolan’s Gotham. Nolan was smart to get out when he did. That dark and moody world can only sustain so many films. For Marvel’s AVENGERS universe to work, it needs to operate on a level of danger, surprise, and (perhaps most importantly) fun. The fact that the IRON MAN franchise managed to introduce a kid sidekick in the third film without ruining or derailing it is a testament to the strength of the universe.

I’m looking forward to the next AVENGERS. In the mean time, if they keep churning out quality entertainment in the solo films like this, I am certainly on board.




The bonus point is for the CGI. Both the believability of the computer work and the ingenuity of the design is vital to making this a world we don’t question.


FINAL SCORE: 7.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on May 3, 2014.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks IRON MAN 3 (2013)”

  1. Had a whole bunch of fun with it, even if it was a little long and convoluted by the end. Still though, it’s a lot better than the second. Good review John.

  2. Great review! I am curious, what did you mean by “The invincibility of the suits is suddenly less sure, but the reason for that is unclear.” Did you mean the suits seem more fragile than usual? If so, that could be a testament to the fact that Tony wasn’t working at 100 percent in the movie and therefore might not have made the suits as well as he could have.

    I did like this film. Tony having to rely more on his natural intelligence and resourcefulness was a nice change. The movie could maybe use a bit more Iron Man in it, and I’m mixed about the plot twist. Otherwise it’s pretty good.

    • Yeah, I was thinking about the heads of suits suddenly vulnerable to getting ripped off and the sudden ease with which they were destroyed only because there were so many of them.
      But your counter makes sense too. He was probably producing and not perfecting.

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