'Iron Man 3' Movie Review: The Third Time's a Charm

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The adage says it right there: try three times. When it comes to Iron Man 3, there’s more here than what many might believe.  I will tell it to you straight: I am an Iron Man fan, both the comics and the films to date. Marvel Studios hit it right out of the park when they cast Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Before I regress here, allow me to steer it right back on track and say Iron Man 3 will make the first two films seem a distant memory.

This is the first major release from Marvel Studios since the enormous success that was The Avengers. This is also the first major release of the summer season (yes, I know, it gets earlier every year). With that in mind, I thought I would share just a handful of thoughts I had about what is sure to be another stellar commercial success for Marvel Studios and Disney. I know it's already been reviewed by several critics, but for what it's worth, here's my five reasons why number three will ring true for the Iron Man franchise.

1. Ch-ch-changes


How could a third film in such a franchise ever hope to compete yet alone rise above its predecessors? The answer is change. Everyone can name a third film in a franchise that sucks, but can you name a decent one? If you can’t, that’s not your fault.  There aren’t many choices to select from. However, if you change the writer and the director (from Jon Favreau to Shane Black), you already have given yourself a chance to succeed in ways that the previous films failed.

To rec-cap quickly, Iron Man saw the origins of Iron Man and the rise of the narcissist Tony Stark taking on the mantel of hero. In Iron Man 2, we saw Tony Stark deal with ghosts of his father’s colorful past, a new relationship, and health problems. Honestly, there wasn’t time left in the film for other developments, but that’s what can happen now that you have changed the writer and director. At least you can give the film that chance by so doing.

2.  Lots of material


In most film series, a trilogy is the best you can hope for. However, most material is not coming from a seemingly inexhaustible resource of story lines called comic books.  What, did you forget that facet of this tale? While a great deal of respect has been given to the material, the Iron Man franchise has a well-grounded sense to itself born long ago in the pages of Marvel comics. Tony Stark’s checkered past has tackled alcoholism, corporate espionage, heart failure, innumerable relationship problems, bankruptcy, and supporting friends in hard times. That’s some jaw-dropping material right there for a comic book super hero, right? What this means is that this franchise could go on as long as the studio wants it to (and as long as RDJ wants to continue in the role).

3. A proper villain


What can we look forward to with Iron Man 3? As I said, we will see change, but far more importantly we get a proper villain. Iron Man 3 boasts the Mandarin. Now, I’m not sure how they are going to present him, other than as a terrorist (as seen in the trailers). This is something that fans of the comic book have been eagerly awaiting.  The Mandarin is Iron Man’s nemesis, akin to Lex Luthor in relation to Superman. So, we have the Mandarin finally on the big screen opposite Shell Head, but what else? 

4. The surrounding story arcs


Iron Man 2 gave us War Machine, a.k.a. Tony Stark’s best friend, “Rhodey.” Iron Man 2 introduced the relationship between Tony and Pepper Potts. However in both instances, this second film in the franchise didn’t give us much ground to explore with either of these keys pieces to Iron Man’s story. With Iron Man 3, audiences finally get the chance to see those plot lines (and hopefully characters as well) develop. While some critics are already blasting Iron Man 3 for being too much flash and not enough substance, all I can see is watch this

5. Marvel: Phase Two


There’s one last thing Iron Man 3 has that neither of its predecessors had either: a massive storyline of which this film is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I am talking about Marvel: Phase Two. Consider this film as a warm-up to Avengers 2.  Now, I don’t know many other films that have this kind of support to begin with. I have great faith that Marvel Studious will be building the Phase Two storyline starting with this film and will do it as much justice as with each of the other Marvel films that lead us to The Avengers. Heck, even the trailer for Thor: Dark World will be running before Iron Man 3

Actors that know their parts well and are reprising said roles? Check. Proven writer & director that takes the helm of established franchise? Check. Being the first film in uber-onslaught of multiple super hero films that will culminate in the next highest grossing film of all time? CHECK. So, with all of these advantages going for it, I think Iron Man 3 will have plenty of gumption to top the previous two films. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jef Cliber

Avid fan of Star Wars, fantasy, and comic books, Jef is a classically-trained studio artist that works in theater management and is a published movie critic.

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