Tony Stark is back for likely his final stand-alone film. All the major players also returned, however, Jon Favreau stepped away to allow Shane Black to direct. Black’s influence was almost immediately apparent in the darker comedic tone. Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is more sarcastic, although slightly more introspective.
Suffering from PTSD thanks to the events of The Avengers, Stark is struggling to keep grip with the expectations of Iron Man, his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his growing obsession with “tinkering.” While Stark tinkers, Col. Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is becoming the Iron Patriot, a new villain named The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is terrorizing the world with hatred set on the USA. At the same time, an old aquantence of Stark’s and Pepper, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), arises with new biological technology Extremis.
Stark’s former demons are coming back to haunt him full force, and couldn’t be arriving at a worse time. The film is paced slightly differently than previous installments, a bit more like a roller coaster. The plot development and character moments can be a bit slower, right before the intense and extreme action sequences. The pacing however didn’t suffer because of this. If there are any faults, it’s that the expectations of the Mandarin are much different than the comic origins and those who have watched the trailers repeatedly in advance of this weekend. While I was initially disappointed with the treatment of the Mandarin, in the end, I actually enjoyed the unique approach to his character, his relationship with those he terrorized and his allies. (I won’t say anymore as to not spoil anything).
All in all, it was a really fun movie. The effects are spectacular, the scenes between Stark and a young boy are authentic and funny. If you had to rank the film in comparison to the other Iron Man films, it would probably fall a very close second to the original film. It’s well worth seeing on the big screen and for Marvel fans, shouldn’t be missed.