Darker than the two previous Iron Man movies, Iron Man 3 is a cautionary tale. It reminds me, oddly enough, of an episode of the TV series Touched By An Angel, in which the angel Monica, in an uncharacteristic bad mood, snaps at someone, setting off a chain of events that results in a woman's suicide. One never knows what impact a seemingly unimportant act or comment might have on another.
At the start of the
film, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), in voice-over, says that he
created two of his own demons. He recalls the events of New Year's Eve
1999. His callous treatment of two idealistic young scientists, Aldrich
Killian (Guy Pearce) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), at a party in
Switzerland set into motion a thirteen-year quest for revenge that would
lead to countless deaths and destruction.
must face those demons, the timing couldn't be worse. He's been
struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder since his all-too-close
brush with death in New York (in The Avengers). He's unable to
sleep. He's plagued by self-doubt. He builds one Iron Man armor after
another, for a grand total of forty-eight. He worries that he can't
protect the one thing--the one person--he can't live without:
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), now CEO of Stark Industries. Yet in his
manic state, he seems to be neglecting her, and that worries his friend
and former bodyguard, now head of Stark security, Happy Hogan (Jon
Favreau)--especially when Aldrich Killian shows up at Stark Industries
one day, presumably in search of funding for his Extremis project (which
reminds me a lot of the supersoldier project in Captain America: The First Avenger).
is one of those discoveries that, in the right hands, could have been a
gift to humanity--but it's in the hands of a madman, and it's
dangerously flawed. But is the madman the Asian terrorist who calls
himself The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley), or is it Killian himself? Not
everything in Iron Man 3 is what it appears to be.
The movie could be subtitled Tony Stark Finally Grows Up,
because until now, he's been, for the most part, a big kid with a lot
of really cool toys. He's the boy who never thought his father loved
him. I've often wondered what his relationship with his mother was like,
and what role it played in his inability to commit to Pepper through
two movies and countless comic books. A shrink could make a career of
Iron Man 3 is more about Tony Stark
than it is about Iron Man. As he searches for the identity of his enemy,
he also searches for his own identity in his post-Avengers
world, and what he discovers in the midst of all the explosions, battles
and confrontations is, I think, as surprising to him as it will be to
his audience. I loved it--as always, RDJ delivers the rapid-fire wit in
abundance, and though there's less banter between him and Paltrow this
time around, there's some funny dialogue between him and best buddy
Rhodey (Don Cheadle), who hates having to trade in War Machine for
Killian's flashier Iron Patriot armor--Rhodey's password,
WARMACHINEROCKS, pretty much says it all. There's also some great scenes
between Tony and a young Tennessee boy (Ty Simpkins) that makes me
wonder--could there be a baby in Tony and Pepper's future?
At the end of the credits, a message appears on the screen: Tony Stark will return. Not Iron Man will return, as in previous films. Could this be a hint of things to come? Robert Downey Jr. is under contract to appear in the next Avengers film. Will he appear as Tony, a SHIELD consultant? Maybe Iron Man is destined to be a drone, controlled by Tony from the SHIELD Helicarrier?
I have the Blu-Ray edition, which included some great extras, like a gag reel (I think every film should come with a gag reel--though granted, it might not be appropriate to include cast bloopers with movies like Schindler's List, Lincoln or The Godfather), a Second-Screen Experience hosted by JARVIS, a deconstruction of an action scene aboard Air Force One, and a Marvel One-Shot short films, Agent Carter--featuring Hayley Atwell, reprising her role as Steve Rogers' love interest from Captain America: The First Avenger, now about to become one of the first members of SHIELD (along with two more familiar faces from that film). There's also a featurette, Marvel's Iron Man Unmasked, and some deleted and extended scenes.
Since we'd already seen the movie, when we brought the DVD home, we spent the first evening just watching the extras!