WARNING - This review will contain spoilers - WARNING
Iron Man 3 is the first film in Marvel Studios ‘Phase Two’ following hot on the heels of last years massive hit Avengers. Unfortunately Iron Man 3 feels like a misstep rather than the run away hit they needed at this stage. The first film of ‘Phase Two’ will go a long way to shape the style of this second batch of movies, and unfortunately it feels like Thor 2 is going to have to pick up the pieces that Iron Man 3 let slip through its fingers.
The plot focuses on Tony Stark as he deals with the aftermath of the alien invasion in New York whilst combating the threat posed by the international terrorist known as The Mandarin.
Tony is initially on the periphery of the Mandarin and his campaign of terror, but when his friend Happy Hogan is injured in one of the terrorist attacks Tony issues a challenge to the Mandarin, one that is very quickly accepted with dire consequences.
On the run, with failing equipment and a shattered psyche Tony is forced to confront The Mandarin head on, and instead finds a much deeper web of intrigue.
Iron Man 3 takes a lot of inspiration from the comic book story line Extremis and takes the ideas from the book in their own direction, pushing the character of Aldrich Killian to the fore as the films main antagonist.
Taking a page from other Marvel stories the team behind Iron Man 3 also give don Cheadle’s Rhodey a make over, upgrading his armour from the classic War Machine to the much more colourful Iron Patriot. Despite being a whole other character completely Rhodey’s transformation makes complete sense within the film and gives him a stunning look.
Despite the film feeling like something of a missed opportunity the change of directors from Jon Favreau to Shane Black gives the film a completely new feel and prevents the franchise from becoming stale, especially when Black is able to work some of his Lethal Weapon style magic by having Tony and Rhodey taking on the bad guys out of their armour.
The main fault with the film, however, has to be the portrayal of The Mandarin. Iron Mans most iconic villain, bringing him to life on screen was bound to be something of a challenge. Instead of stepping up to the challenge the team behind the film don’t actually deliver The Mandarin, but instead give us a ‘fake’ villain who is simply a front man for the films real puppet master. For the casual viewers this probably won’t be a problem, but for comic book fans it feels like we were promised one thing and given another. No matter how good the rest of the film might be having spent several months waiting to see The Mandarin and being given nothing is a major, major let down and has me doubting the future Marvel movies.
An entertaining film with some great action sequences and character moments that the casual viewer will enjoy but the hardcore comic fans will be disappointed with. 6/10.
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