Monday, May 6, 2013

Iron Man 3

A film can sometimes surprise you for both good and bad reasons and when it comes to the film adaptations of my favourite superhero comics, I'm quite a bit conflicted with regards to how I feel about major deviations from the original plotline of the comic itself. It is with this little disclaimer that l start my review for Iron Man 3, the latest and most probably greatest Marvel adaptation yet.

The first thing you need to get excited about is that Iron Man 3 definitely has quite a different flavour from the previous entries in the franchise. This change is definitely a welcome departure in the light of the quite lackluster second installment. Without giving away too much, let's just say that the situations that Tony Stark finds himself in, are quite dire and grim - much more so than any other entry in the series. This give the film a distinct quality and an enlightening look at the man behind the mask, as Stark spends most of his time outside of the suit this time around. Don't however be worried that Downey's signature humour gets sacrificed - even with all the gloom and doom, this installment manages to deliver some of the series' loudest and greatest laughs. There's a great balance between comedy and dread here and director Shane Black has managed to balance this tricky equilibrium quite masterfully.

"...even with all the gloom and doom, this installment manages to deliver some of the series' loudest and greatest laughs." 

Joining Downey is franchise regulars like Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow, who needs to be commended for her physical fitness alone ( It can't be easy to have a six pack at her age). Whilst their actual performances aren't however nothing special to write home about, you will definitely notice the presence of this film's main villains, namely Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce, who is doing a great job in reviving his career after a long absence from the big screen. Pearce plays the role of villain well, with his minimal regard for human life making him an extremely formidable opponent indeed. He is suave, cool and collected - a modern villain that isn't seen rushing face first into danger.

If you're a fan of the Iron Man comics, you will however certainly be more interested in the role played by Ben Kingsley, fulfilling the role of the Mandarin (Stark's greatest villain in the comics). And it's here where the major deviation from the comics comes to play that I mentioned in the start. Unfortunately, I cannot discuss the deviation in too much detail due to spoiler threats, but let's just say that the Mandarin has been severely rewritten for the film and I am still very much on the fence regarding how I feel about this. On the one side, it does give the film a very surprising plot twist, but on the other side, I fear that fans of the original might regard this deviation as a blatant disregard and disrespect for the source material. Nevertheless (trying to be as objective as possible here) it is a very admirable risk, that is used to the advantage of the film's overall impact.

"... I fear that fans of the original might regard this deviation as a blatant disregard and disrespect for the source material." 

But the controversy of this change is soon forgotten in between all of the amazing action sequences, made even more awe inspiring due to exceptional CGI work that should be the new standard for comic book adaptations. It then should come to no surprise that the film will be remembered for its amazing action sequences, which include a clever aerial scene and an applaud worthy final confrontation that involves more than 20 different iron man suits ( yes, you heard right). The action is tight, fast and impactful.

Iron man 3 is definitely the best in the series, as all the elements of drama, comedy and action blend seamlessly into a very polished final product. It does however come with an important warning for fans of the original comic book series - forget the existing perception you have of the Mandarin and be prepared to be surprised. Those however not too familiar with the source material can rejoice and look forward to one of the best superhero movies of modern times.

Highlight: The final battle involving more than two dozen Iron man suits will have you sit up in your seat. It's so well choreographed, that it might just be the Swan Lake of action sequences. Seriously.


Stark has seen better days, but at least Downey's bank account can cheer him up!