Avengers changed everything, and Iron Man 3 shows how Tony’s previous actions have impacted his present. He is just as brazen, but with the emotional volatility of one whose world has been shattered.
But enough of that emotional stuff. Director/writer Shane Black took 8 years between Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, and the brilliant voice and style presented in his previous work continue to shine even when expanded into superhero cinema. From the quiet opening narration to the illogical but hilarious tag, Iron Man 3 is a smorgasbord of action, explosions, metal and humor. The stakes are clearly raised, along with the amount of metal suits (almost to the point of bloat) but Tony Stark remains a solid foundation, as sly and nonchalant as ever.
Several stretches would be dull or too sweet if Tony weren’t such an awesome jerk. Yet even at his most arrogant, he remains giving (you know who he is). Once again, Downey Jr. proves he is Tony Stark. The rest of cast does their jobs admirably as well: Paltrow’s presence is significantly stronger, Cheadle’s screen time may be reduced but his character is not, and Kingsley is perfect for his part.
Any doubt there was toward handling the Mandarin’s magic in a scientific world is wiped by a plot that takes the current global climate to superhero proportions. While the story is predictably convoluted, and the technology so advanced it may as well be Asgard, there are many serious issues eluded to (war on terror, use of stagecraft for fear, perversion of science). It’s a little odd that an international terror plot eventually bottlenecks on Tony, but among the litany of logical fallacies presented, this one is minor. Besides, if Iron Man 3 stuck strictly to the laws of reason or science, it wouldn’t be so damn much fun.