Plot: Tony Stark, Iron Man, must fight against a terrorist known as the Mandarin while also dealing with anxiety problems after the events of New York as seen in the Avengers.
Review: So let me get the spoiler-free review out of the way. This is quite a good Iron Man film. It does have a bit of a clunky beginning but I blame that more on the director finding his grove and once it does it gets bad ass. The action is actually quite exciting and the finale is actually long and worthwhile which the last two films weren’t. Also the film steers clear of Tony just fighting another guy in the suit while still keeping the tone of the iron man movies (note I did not say The Avengers as Iron Man the Avengers are different films.) Overall this was a good film and if you liked the others you will like this one. Okay let’s spoil this bitch
SPOILER REVIEW: Okay so let’s talk actors first. Everyone was top form here. Robert Downey Jr. has the most to do in this film than any other film and he handles it amazingly. The depiction of his anxiety attacks was super realistic and well-done. Having gone through anxiety attacks recently as well I can say that this film pretty much portrayed them well and I liked that they didn’t just gloss over it as a way to introduce Tony and then forget about it. It actually plays into the film and gives us another depth to Tony. Gwyneth Paltrow turns in her best turn as Pepper Potts but that’s also cause she has more to do than look concerned and be kidnapped. Especially after last movies, annoying ass Pepper is replaced by bad ass Pepper and it was awesome. I think my favorite character was Don Cheadle as Rodney. He also actually has something to do. I think that’s the problem with the last film, it wasn’t that there were too many characters but more that they were only in service of Tony, which can work but didn’t there. In this film, not only is Cheadle part of the film but he has his own arc about being his own man outside of Tony and trying to hunt down the Mandarin. It was another fresh start and also made Cheadle actually worth following instead of the bland one we got last time. Guy Pearce is awesome as the Villain and they managed to do the smart genius without going overboard. Ben Kingsley was awesome but we’ll get more to that a bit later. The only one that was wasted was Rebecca Hall. I don’t know about her character but in about ten minutes she is introduced, turns bad, turns good and dies. It seemed rushed and I wish we had more time with her or gotten rid of her completely.
Okay let’s talk theme. The theme of this film is about growth. Tony is stuck in a funk after the events of New York and is having a bit of a midlife crisis. He isn’t sure if he is worth anything outside of the suit and doesn’t know if the suit is even worth it when he has gods all around. This is resulting in panic attacks and lack of sleep. The cool thing about the Iron Man films is that the villains always play one of Tony’s demons: Obadiah (Jeff Bridges) played Tony’s selfish greedy side, Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) portrays Tony’s obsessiveness and daddy issues and finally Killian (Guy Pearce) plays Tony’s reliance.
Which leads us into the Mandarin. I have seen a lot of hate about how they didn’t portray the Mandarin right but I thought what they did was genius. If Killian is the embodiment of tony’s reliance on the suits than it makes sense that he isn’t the Mandarin as we think. Killian has become so reliant on the Extremis formula that he literally can’t live without it. (As stated by Rebecca Hall in her only addition to the story.) And as Tony is worried about his own reliance of the suit, he sees in Killian where that could lead. Also as Tony has a different face when he is Iron Man, Killian also has a different “face” when he is Mandarin in Ben Kingsley. The Ben Kingsley character is what Killian wants people to see him as and again tying into the theme, Ben Kingsley isn’t the Mandarin: Killian is. The Killian has ceased to exist by the end of the film and the only thing left is the Mandarin (again told to us by Pearce saying “I am the Mandarin.) This is Tony’s fear and this is what he’s really fighting. Also it’s quite perfect that Tony isn’t the one who stops the Mandarin but Pepper. The one thing that keeps Tony a human is also the one who stops the embodiment of Tony’s fears. How awesome is that guys? Do you see what they did? Anyway, I may have been more annoyed if the twist just seemed like a way to trick the fans or something to spice things up but it is handled so well and done as such a part of the story it makes the story stronger. If you don’t understand that I don’t think you understood the movie.
In conclusion this is a good end to the Iron Man story. If this is the end, it has tied up the end of the theme that has lasted across the whole series. The Iron Man series has been about a playboy changing his life to do worthwhile things and all the doubt and pain that comes with that. It has been about growth and so in the end all the changes and robots blowing up was about that realization. Tony has finally realized his self-worth and the fact that they extended the them across three movies is a interesting chance to take. In the Avengers, Tony became a true hero but in this film, finally, Tony has become Iron Man. And there is something special about that.
Trivia: The dragon tattoos on Killian’s chest are of the Iron Man Villain: Fing Fan Foom. (also are extremely ridiculous)