In the film industry, people like to believe that if a series has been going good for two installments, its third entry will come along, be bad, and mess everything up. Granted, I've only seen this in the Shrek franchise, but apparently it's happened quite a bit. Of course, once in awhile, there comes a movie which shatters this theory by being great a recent example of this being 2010's Toy Story 3. Iron Man 3 is one of those movies too.
Iron Man was the first movie to come out of Marvel Studios as part of their Cinematic Universe, whose goal was to take a bunch of superheroes, make some films out of them, and then unite them in one big action-packed flick. That goal was accomplished one year ago today with the release of "The Avengers," which went on to become the third highest grossing film of all time. Now we're in Phase II of the franchise does IM3 hold its own against Avengers, or does it fails to live up to the hype of its precursor? The answer? The first one.
If you restrict IM3 to comparison with just its mini-series, it goes without saying that it's the best in the trilogy. Its prequel, Iron Man 2, in all honestly, wasn't that great
Not terrible by any means, but it didn't touch the first Iron Man, which was a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre. Iron Man 3 improves upon IM2 in every angle better villain, better action, better humor, better everything. It even surpasses the initial entry, mostly thanks to new director Shane Black, who gives previous director Jon Favreau a run for his money.
IM3 is basically about Tony Stark wanting to get revenge on the Mandarin, mainly for doing a bunch of really mean terrorist stuff, like blowing up his swanky home in Malibu. Or at least, this is how it is at first, as the movie takes so many twists and turns during the course of itself that it's almost a different thing entirely at the end. This isn't a complaint though, the movie does start off kind of weak and I was beginning to wonder if it had a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason but it ramps up quickly, and it put me on the edge of my seat near its conclusion.
Iron Man 3 seems a lot more lenient on laughs than the first two Iron Men, but when it gets its comedy done right, it is done excellently. It has the best action in the series, and definitely the superior final battle sequence. While in Iron Men 1 & 2, they didn't last long and weren't particularly gripping, 3's final fight takes a note from The Avengers, as it's on a much bigger scale, is of a thankfully longer duration, and it might even make you nearly shed a tear. Of course, it doesn't feature a team of superheroes battling aliens all over New York City, but it's very much on par with Avengers', standing toe to toe with it, even if it doesn't quite eclipse it.
The supporting characters are great as well. With better material to act from, Don Cheadle shines as James Rhodey, and Gwyneth Paltrow is still great as Pepper Potts. Ty Simpkins certainly caught my attention as Harley, the first majorly featured kid in the series, and Ben Keighley does a hilarious job as the Mandarin. As usual, Robert Downey, Jr. continues to be the best thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If you have a chance to go see Iron Man 3, do so, it's a great way to kick off the summer blockbuster season. Oh, and in case you didn't know, yes there's a post-credits sequence, and it's a real treat.
Playing: With your emotions!
Eating: I had a donut a couple of hours ago...
Drinking: Diet Coke