The plot of Iron Man 3 is wonky. But when you’ve got Robert Downey Jr. donning the suit, it doesn’t really matter. You’re in for a fun ride – especially if you’ve seen the previous two Iron Man movies and The Avengers, one of my favorite flicks of 2012.
This time around, wealthy industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey) finds his Malibu complex reduced to rubble and his loved ones (most notably, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts) threatened by a menacing terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
The movie opens with a voiceover from Tony recounting an encounter on New Year’s Eve 1999, the height of his brash playboy days. Fast forward to “present day” and the still-brash-but-loveable Tony is tinkering with his many flying suits, having trouble sleeping, and suffering from anxiety attacks that appear to be related to The Avengers’ recent battle with aliens. Let’s face it – the guy’s got issues.
Ever the cocky superhero, Tony draws The Mandarin’s ire – and fire – to his doorstep, then must do damage control, while trying to figure out why people are (literally) blowing up around him. The explosions have something to do with manipulating DNA and turning wounded warriors into incendiary devices. His quest takes him to snowy Tennessee at Christmastime, where he enlists the help of a sassy kid named Harley (Ty Simpkins). Their relationship yields the bulk of the film’s heart, soul and humor.
The cast also includes: Jon Favreau as Stark’s hapless buddy Happy Hogan; Don Cheadle as Iron Man’s wingman, Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes; Guy Pearce as a smarmy, misguided scientist named Aldrich Killian; and Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, a biologist specializing in nano-technology.
Kingsley has a scene-stealing turn as The Mandarin. But ultimately, this movie is all RDJ. He’s sarcastic, cynical, charming, flawed, human, and heroic. You know who he is. He is Iron Man.
Note: IM3 isn’t as good as the first Iron Man (and not just because I’m an unseen extra in the opening scene) and the 3D technology doesn’t provide any added value. But it is better than IM2. And, as always, don’t forget to stay through the end credits for a cute little bonus scene.