Posted April 25, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Movies/TV


Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios
Philippine Release Date: April 24, 2013
MTRCB Rating: GP
130 minutes 

You’ll neverrr see meee comiiing.

The trailers have made it quite apparent that Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin is fond of lessons, often showing him dishing them out in his menacing, selectively slurred drawl. Here’s one more for you, then, and this one’s on the house: Iron Man 3 is a moderately successful, albeit somewhat forced, attempt at turning a blockbuster superhero film into a political statement, one that is relevant now more than ever due to recent events. “Evil bears the face we choose to attach to it” is perhaps its strongest message, offset by smaller lessons about morality, trust, patriotism, and the ever-looming peril of corporate greed.

Respect for the source material, while adequately present, gently gives way as the film progresses in order to create a near-seamless transition between intersecting storylines. Elements taken from various points in the Armored Avenger’s comic book career work together in order to bring an action-packed adventure that avoids the “third movie curse”, by a margin of about the same width as that of last year’s The Dark Knight Rises.

In stark (pun intended) contrast to the previous installment in the franchise – essentially an explosive setup film for The Avengers, at its core – Iron Man 3 brings Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) back to his roots, teaming him up with his best friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) to stop a terrorist threat seemingly hell-bent on destroying the United States. Simultaneously, Tony finds himself dealing with ghosts (and sins) of his past as old acquaintances Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) reappear.

New York’s invasion also took quite a toll on our hero, and as he struggles to cope with his near-death experience, he might even be unknowingly pushing Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) away, further complicating their relationship. Opting to tackle everything head-on, Tony goes on what just might be the most dangerously high-stakes ride of his solo career, resulting in much uncertainty for the hero as well as the franchise.

Most of the film’s best scenes involve RDJ being himself; his unique spin on Tony Stark has indeed, at this point, become definitive. Attempting to give viewers something that transcends the tired “big superhero fight” trope, Iron Man 3 capitalizes on Stark’s extensive armory in the comics, showcasing the most creative applications of Stark’s genius as manifested in his various immediate-response suits. Notably, director Shane Black has managed to do with Mandarin what Sam Raimi was unable to do with Venom in Spider-Man 3: use a character he has no particular fondness for, while giving him a unique and interesting spin (whether the comics-reading crowd appreciates it or not).

Despite the film’s success in the aforementioned aspects, other things about the film could have been improved. A bigger role could have been given for War Machine/Iron Patriot, whose combat abilities were unfortunately even less showcased here than they were in the previous film. Revealing some crucial plot points in the middle of the film made the ending feel a bit rushed, predictable, and anti-climactic. In some scenes, the excessive use of humor actually detracted from the emotional weight, significantly lessening any impact that certain…tragic events could have had. Not a single one of his Avenging allies seemed ready to help him out, either, and while that was definitely expected (as this is Iron Man 3 and not The Avengers Assemble Again), a more credible explanation would have been great. His technology, in fact, should have been more than enough to handle his villains, but for some reason, despite the creativity I mentioned earlier, the more practical applications of his armors seem to have been either ignored or completely forgotten here.

All in all, Iron Man 3 is a satisfactory end to the trilogy (assuming that this really is the last film in the Downey era of Iron Man solo movies) and about as reverent to the source material as TDKR was. Here’s to more movies with RDJ as Tony Stark; as someone who was initially apprehensive about his take on Stark in the first film, I am now unable to picture anyone else in the role.

Also, try to resist the urge to read the first letter of every sentence in the actual body of this review.

VERDICT: out of 10 Jack Daniel’s bottles


Thank you, cosplay.ph (like their Facebook page HERE!) and SM Cinemas (like their page HERE!),  for the special screening of Iron Man 3!

Mikael Angelo Francisco