You’d be forgiven for thinking that with the seemingly never-ending tirade of Marvel blockbuster action films released in recent years, that yet another Iron Man title might not hit the mark. I admit, massive self-confessed Marvelite though I am, even I had my doubts. Don’t get me wrong, I desperately wanted this film to happen, and having seen it I want several more sequels too, but I was concerned about the ability of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark to generally wow audiences yet again. Yet wowed it certainly has.
After two films of his own and a rip-roaring turn in The Avengers, Iron Man is back with a vengeance. The action, the explosions, the technology, the stunts and the power is all bigger and better than ever, progressing almost effortlessly every time we see Tony Stark don the infamous armour. Yet here Robert Downey Jr. shows off his pure brilliance again as he gives us even more depths to the impeccably individual Tony Stark. I don’t wish to spoil anything for anyone, but believe me when I say that there are yet more sides to this man that we haven’t yet seen, and developments that allow us to love him all the more. We see Iron Man take on an adventure that challenges his own physical and mental ability, the relationships of those he loves, as well as delving into his own past, present and future.
But what else do we see in Iron Man 3? As well as Stark, we see the development of other characters we have come to know and love. The ever reliable Don Cheadle is back, this time wielding the Iron Patriot armour, and of course we see a lot more of Stark’s love interest Pepper Potts, brought to life by Gwyneth Paltrow. Like her hero, this heroine develops also, even getting to grips with her own Iron Man armour at one point. We have another villain in the form of the sublimely sinister Guy Pearce, the ever-present Jarvis voiced by Paul Bettany, and the loveable right hand man in the form of actor (and Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director) Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan. Yet if there was one man who could possibly steal the show from Downey Jr, it would be Ben Kingsley, the face behind antagonist The Mandarin. Again it is a massive spoiler to go into the details of why Kingsley’s performance is utterly captivating, but let me simply say that he rounds the cast of Iron Man 3 off perfectly, by providing a villain that presents moment of chilling drama and sinister threat, as well as moments of sheer comedy.
So the cast and characters of the third film in the Iron Man franchise are second to none. What’s more, the core story of the film, as well as providing wonderful comic book action, romance and comedy, also seems to centre on bringing Tony Stark’s story full circle. Indeed, as the film goes on, I could not escape the feeling that the powers that be at Marvel could potentially be wrapping up Iron Man’s adventures, at least for a while. Of course, I hope this will not happen. Not least because it is almost a given that Iron Man will at least feature in the Avengers sequel which is already in the works, and I feel it would be sheer travesty to entrust the role to anyone but Robert Downey Jr. It is inferred by the end of this film that at least this chapter of the Iron Man saga, after three films and an Avengers adventure, has been brought to a close. Yet, as the man says himself in the last line of the film, for better or worse, actually let’s face it – definitely for the better, the truth is…Robert Downey Jnr. is Iron Man.