Saturday, 4 May 2013

Iron Man 3 Review: Is the 3rd time the charm?

Any decent film franchise will try to recover from a failure if the potential upside outweighs the downfall. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Like most people, I wasn't a big fan of Iron Man 2. It had its moments and some great characters, most notably Scarlett Johansson in a skin tight suit kicking butt and taking names. Not to mention any movie that involves Samuel L. Jackson always gets a bump in credibility with me. That man can read the phone book and make it fascinating. Oh, and did I mention Scarlett Johansson in a skin tight suit? Even that can't save a badly told story from a weak script. As a friend recently told me, a good story can make people forgive bad production value but the reverse isn't necessarily true.

Thankfully, Iron Man 3 has a good story and good production value. Whereas Iron Man 2 was more wrapped up in setting the scene for The Avengers and the preceeding Captain America and Thor movies, this movie is about the aftermath. How does Tony Stark live with what he's seen and done? What does a scientist do when his perception of the world has been shattered and he realizes that the world is much bigger and more deadly then he could have imagined? Can a hero even operate under that kind of environment? That's the reality that Tony Stark is living with at the beginning of the film and the theme of the whole movie.

It's a powerful theme and something that's pretty common in the superhero film genre, particularly in today's world. Doing it well and in a fresh way takes a lot of planning and a good foundation. The best part about adapting a comic book character with as many years behind it as Iron Man, you have a lot to draw from. Particularly when your audience may not be as familiar with the character's history as most hardcore fans. The first film raised the profile of the character but I'm guessing that the fans of the first two films didn't go out and read all the best comics of the character. I can count myself among such fans.

Still, I know enough to know what makes a good superhero film for the bigger fans. This film has a lot of those elements but doesn't require you to go out and read through every comic book to understand the context. It also refocuses the story on the main character, something sorely lacking in a film that has such a self-centered hero. In the end though, I think most people will be very happy with the latest installment of the Iron Man franchise. It's smart, funny and has a lot to say about the world we live in. The way a great movie of this type of film genre should do things. Even better is the fact that we know that this franchise is far from over. They have Thor and Captain America 2 coming out and while the film doesn't appear to set up anything for them, it does leave you with room to do another chapter if the folks at Marvel want to.

And with the sucess they have been having lately they most certainly will. Unlike other film trilogies, the character's story isn't entirely wrapped up but many elements which have been carried over through the three films do get a resolution of sorts.

Is the 3rd time the charm for Iron Man? I was definitely charmed by it and I look forward to seeing more from the character and the Marvel Universe.

Check out the trailer below:

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