Whoever said there are no second chances clearly hasn’t been watching Robert Downey Jr. lately. His performance in the first Iron Man was a career reviver, sending Downey back onto the A-list while miraculously keeping the now-clean-living actor’s bad boy vibe intact. Both Iron Man movies were also game changers for the action adventure genre; far more sophisticated than your normal action adventure, they provided thrilling action scenes, sharp plotting and dialogue, characters that grew and evolved, all wrapped with clever one-liners and droll humor. It’s no wonder Marvel wants to keep the franchise going, so Downey will put America’s favorite metal suit back on as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3.
This is the first Iron Man movie after this summer’s The Avengers, and while it isn’t necessary to see that movie first, it helps in understanding some of the smaller details and subplots. In Iron Man 3, brilliant inventor/industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) finds that evil forces have finally hit far too close to home—literally—and that a new enemy, the terrorist Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) might be far more powerful than anyone he’s encountered before. The Mandarin was responsible for the kidnapping and imprisonment of Yinsin, who co-created the Iron Man suit with Tony Stark while in captivity. The suit, in fact, remains the center of the movie, except trailers to Iron Man 3 make it clear that Stark might have to face his demons and enemies without it. Gwyneth Paltrow returns in her ever-expanding role as Stark’s gal Friday-turned CEO-turned girlfriend Pepper Potts, but might get some competition from biological researcher Rebecca Hall (Maya Hansen), an old friend of Tony Stark’s, as well as real danger from the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Don Cheadle reprises his role as Colonel Rhodes, Stark’s loyal but often conflicted connection in the U.S. military, who puts on the suit as War Machine to fight alongside Stark, and fans will welcome the return of Paul Bettany’s voice as Jarvis, Stark’s electronic butler and voice of the suit. New to the franchise is Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, a scientist whose research in nanotechnology alters Tony Stark—and the Iron Man suit—forever.
Jon Favreau, who directed the Iron Man blockbusters Iron Man and Iron Man 2 has ceded his directors seat to Shane Black (although he does reprise his role as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark/s chauffeur/comic relief). Considered one of the action genre’s best writers (his credits include work on all five of the Lethal Weapon movies), Black is a still newbie director, and given the critical and popular successes of the earlier movies, Black has some big shoes to fill.
Regardless, most audiences will flock to for the special effects and explosive action sequences, and the early buzz is that it’s as solid as both preceding films. The property damage is impressive and expensive, and there’s nothing like watching one suit explode after the other to convey the level of annihilation that Stark is facing.
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