Even though the film I’m going to be talking about came out seven years ago (as of this review), I still remember my theatrical experience of seeing Iron Man 3 on the big screen as if it was yesterday. I had just gotten off of work and I went to the theater where I bought the largest soda possible while wearing a black T-shirt with an arc reactor design on the chest portion. As you can tell from that last sentence, I was super stoked to see the third entry in the Iron Man series due to The Avengers (2012) improving on the character again and hoping it was a much better film than Iron Man 2. Did Iron Man 3 fulfill my expectations? Let’s find out.
Set months after the events of The Avengers, specifically during the Advent season, Iron Man 3 follows Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who should be on top of the world at this point. He has a relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), he saved the world from an alien invasion, and he has a whole army of Iron Man suits that he built during his spare time. So why isn’t Tony living his best life? Four words: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ever since Tony saved New York, in The Avengers which resulted in insomnia, he built many Iron Man suits. On top of that, a new threat has emerged in a terrorist known as The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley), who has been associated with a string of bombings that’s been happening across the United States. When one bombing severely injured Tony’s good friend Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Tony calls out The Mandarin out by giving him his home address and settling scores once and for all. This unsurprisingly backfires on Tony when the Mandarin and his forces shows up and destroy the Stark household. Tony, Pepper, and an old associate by the name of Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) survive the attack, but it knocks Tony unconscious to where his A.I., Jarvis (voiced by Paul Bettany), takes control of the Iron Man suit Tony is in and flies towards Rose Hill, Tennessee. The reason for doing that is before the attack Tony was investigating the last known bombing, which was in Rose Hill, Tennessee, where he planned to go there to figure out The Mandarin’s next move. Meanwhile, Pepper discovers that Maya came to visit Tony to warn him about The Mandarin because she believes that her boss Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearse) maybe working for him and had a personal grudge against Tony.
The good news here is that Iron Man 3 is a much needed improvement compared to Iron Man 2. The bad news, however, is that the films suffers from story conveniences and certain plot holes that makes it an irritating watch if you focus solely on the story. That doesn’t mean, however, that this isn’t a fun filled film with great blockbuster moments and character growth, but I’ll get to that later.
The one problem that I initially had with Iron Man 3, and I’m sure many people did as well, was certain plot holes that were going to be present. If you have seen it, then you’ve probably asked yourself during the events of this film “wait where are the rest of The Avengers?” That was going through my mind during the moments of tension. Director Shane Black and writers may have addressed this during film discussions post-release, but to me it just feels like lazy storytelling and setting up conveniences when you already have an established group in this world. This could’ve been an easy fixed if they mentioned the other members of the Avengers, but they failed to do that.
Remember when I said that Iron Man 3 had fun-filled moments? Well, this film does deliver promise on that with moments that I really admired, from the fight choreography to the comedic dialog provided by Robert Downey Jr. This was indeed an overall improvement over Iron Man 2, which to me is my least favorite MCU film. But the one thing I truly was bought into was the ongoing character growth of Tony. At the beginning of the film, Tony narrates how we create our own demons, which was foreshadowing for the rest of the film. That sentence right there is relatable to us Christians, if you consider demons as sins that we fight on a daily basis. As we try to rectify that through confession, Tony does so by protecting the one he loves while he battles through his current mental condition. It’s not an easy feat, but experiencing him going through all that is rewarding and satisfying to see as I always enjoy seeing a character develop into a better person compared to when we first saw them.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is a flawed film that offers great moments of action and comedic dialog, which has become a staple in the MCU. It may not be a necessary watch if you want to watch the Infinity Stone story arc within the MCU, but it’s another film that I do recommend if you get the chance and it’s on Disney +. Fun fact: if you type in the word Christmas in the search option on Disney + this film will appear at the bottom of the list. I mean it does takes place around that time, so it counts as a Christmas movie, right?