I’m always wary when watching the third installment (the three-quil, if you will) of a movie series. Think Godfather 3, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Spiderman 3, or the Matrix Revolutions. Then again, there has been a reverse in the trend recently with The Dark Knight Rises, and now, with Ironman 3.
What separates Ironman 3 from its two predecessors is that the focus of the story shifts to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) rather than The Suit he wears. There are plenty of flaws in the exposition in an attempt to tell an over-complicated story (see also, The Dark Knight Rises), but in the end, do we really watch movies like Ironman for the logical consistency of the story?
Ironman 3 picks up where The Avengers leaves off (which is good, considering I’ve seen the Avengers). Tony Stark is having nightmares and anxiety attacks from his experiences from New York City, and, instead of working on his relationship with the lovely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), he chooses instead to build every iteration of The Suit he can think of (going up to 47). When bodyman Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is put into a coma by international terrorist “The Mandarin” (Ben Kingsley), Stark lashes out at the organization, prompting Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and his thugs to destroy Stark’s home. An old flame of Stark’s, Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), is part of the impetus, and the threat extends all the way to the President of the United States (William Sadler) who is protected only by “Iron Patriot” (Don Cheadle).
While I’m not one to nitpick for a summer popcorn movie for its plot, there are holes in this movie that you would drive a truck through, and it takes away from the overall experience. The Mandarin proves to be extremely effective, at one point capturing the President to the shock of a nation. With the United States on its knees, shouldn’t the rest of the Avengers step in? At one point, a cheap “it’s a United States thing and therefore not our jurisdiction” is thrown in there, but even that explanation wouldn’t bench Captain America. And by the way, the Avengers took place in New York City, so I’m not entirely sure that would work, anyway. At the very least, y0u’d think that a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury would’ve been in line, especially considering the role he played in Ironman 2. Sadly, there was no Fury sighting.
I was also a little puzzled by **spoiler alert*** the massive attack that Stark was able to launch on The Mandarin’s organization with each of his Ironmen in the final battle scene. Weren’t these Ironmen destroyed when Stark’s house was obliterated? And if they weren’t, then why did Stark not summon one of them when he was being attacked in a sleepy town in Tennessee?
Then again, ignoring the holes in the plot, it was still an entertaining movie. The dialogue is a bit choppy between the enjoyable action scenes, but the action isn’t a carbon copy of the previous two movies, which is refreshing. There’s also a tendency to make the third movie much more campy and cartoony, but of the three, Ironman 3 was the most dark.
The final scenes make it seem like a logical place to end this series, but it seems like Downey Jr. could suit up again for the fourth movie. There will be plenty of movie-goers and money to go along with it, and while there was some hint at the end of Ironman, there wasn’t the finality of the character like in The Dark Knight Rises. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.