Review: Iron Man 3


By Emma Birkett and Nathan Blades


The latest instalment in the Marvel film collection sees Robert Downey Jnr’s Iron Man take on new terrorist threat The Mandarin.

The story follows on quite neatly from the 2012 Avengers film and has some clever references to the events that took place in it.

Although the film takes some time to get going, it does set up the preceding story nicely.

The plot has one major twist in which I won’t spoil, but is fairly surprising.

Even more surprising was that Croydon gets mentioned as some sort of in-joke by Ben Kingsley.

This got a lot of laughs where I was watching it, as indeed I was in Croydon at the time.

Gwyneth Paltrow gets a lot of well-deserved screen time as she reprises her role as Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s erstwhile long suffering girlfriend, played by Tony Stark.

There are some silly moments which are to be expected in an superhero film, but overall everything plods along fairly consistently.

The best moments come from the interactions between Tony Stark and a boy he meets in a small American village.

Iron Man 3 is definitely worth seeing on the big screen. I watched it in 3D and thought it lent itself well to the format.



While I’m reasonably fine with the recent flood of Marvel superhero films, they’re not particularly complex or challenging viewing. Avengers Assemble was generally well liked, but it’s still just a bunch of guys fighting aliens for two hours.

The only two characters to have anything close to an explored personality in Avengers were Iron Man and the Hulk – which was what drove me to check out Iron Man 3.

What makes Iron Man so compelling as a character for me is the conflict between the iconic suit, and Tony Stark, the man underneath. He’s incredibly competent in battle, but when he’s not shooting energy, Tony is shooting off sarcastic remarks. Both with the potential to sting more than a little.

But after the events of Avengers, Tony has been lumped with an interesting character flaw. When he’s reminded of his near death experiences fighting aliens, he starts to panic. These panic attacks are convincingly desperate and surprisingly accurate, though the explanation for them is a little simpler than the real life condition.

The antagonist in Iron Man 3, The Mandarin, is also worth bringing up. In the original comics, The Mandarin was a supervillain best left to the 1960s. As the name suggests, his general presence was an incredibly racist stereotype to be defeated by American champions.

The film rolls with this concept, but with a clever subversion that you’ll have to see for yourself. Much of the first act is spliced with propaganda videos from The Mandarin, hyperbolic and ridiculous in the way that comic book villains should be.

Indeed the whole film manages to retain a solid sense of being a comic book, but shies away from making things too simple, or entirely pandering to a male audience.

There are a lot of women kicking ass over the film’s plot, the best of which being Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s love interest. She sadly ends up being kidnapped for a lot of the latter half of the film, but watching her thoroughly break one of the particularly menacing bad guys is almost worth the entry price alone.

Catch Iron Man 3 at ODEON Wimbledon, Wimbledon Piazza

Photo courtesy of Georges Biard, with thanks. 

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