Iron Man Three (I can’t think of a witty title without spoiling it)
*Huge spoilers in this one. I really don’t recommend reading on if you haven’t seen the film.*
When it comes to big noisy popcorn blockbusters, Iron Man 3 does make for an excellent one. With laughs, explosions, surprises you definitely don’t see coming and the most amazing 90s Europop blast from the past, Iron Man Three 3 follows more in the vein of last year’s super smash Avengers Assemble rather than its truly rubbish predecessor Iron Man 2. I must admit that until Avengers Assemble last year I had never been the biggest fan of comic book movies, put off by stuff like Captain America and Iron Man 2 but this new wave of well made, genuinely funny and exciting films is going to be reeling the audiences in throughout the summer.
The film opens to the sounds of Eiffel 65’s classic hit Blue (Da Ba Dee) in Bern with the Tony Stark of old schmoozing and flirting with super scientist Maya (Rebecca Hall) who has developed some crazy plants that can regenerate themselves. On the way up to the bedroom, the pair encounter a somewhat exuberant fan of Maya’s work, in the shape of Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, a speccy, lanky haired hunchback who is a little too enthusiastic. Tony, being Tony, offers to meet Killian on the roof of the hotel, inevitably abandons him, leaving poor old Killian cold and alone as the new year rings in. It turns out that this abandonment effects Killian in more ways that one could have thought (ie it turns him mad as a box of frogs) and sparks the creation of one of the nastiest villains I have seen for a long time.
Flashing forward to the present day, we now focus on Tony Stark post the events of New York that were seen in the Avengers but he is a very different man from the one we previously knew. Yes he still makes sarcastic comments, yes he is still stupidly showy but he can’t sleep, he suffers from anxiety attacks and is haunted by nightmares of the events that went down in New York. The fact that Tony isn’t just all bravado and sarcastic commentary made for a much more interesting film I feel as it brought a more human element to the explosions and the fact that Tony Stark runs an army of metal suits. Robert Downey Jr is an incredibly fun actor to watch and his presence on screen turns this from just another big explosion fest. His best moments are in interaction with Harley, a young boy whose shed he steals to hide his latest suit and in whom he finds a sarcastic sparring partner.
The real star is Sir Ben Kingsley as the incredibly sinister antagonist The Mandarin, a super terrorist who is terrorising American air waves with his footage of explosions he has masterminded and the ultimate threat that is yet to come, something terrible planned for the President. However, the Mandarin is really all that he seems and Kinglsey plays his part in perhaps the best and most wonderful twist of the entire film (If you ignored my warning before about spoilers and haven’t seen the film, stop reading immediately. Trust me, it is so much better if you don’t see it coming. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.)
It turns out that Kingsley is not in fact the Mandarin but a washed up old British actor named Trevor Slattery. Trevor is, by a long way, my absolute favourite character, simply because he is the funniest. A slurring old drug addict, he was glamoured into posing as the Mandarin by the actual mastermind, super scary Aldrich Killian. He has a penchant for footie, likes the birds and drinks Red Stripe like there is no tomorrow. The contrast between Kingsley’ performance as the on screen Mandarin and Trevor Slattery is incredible and makes this reveal so incredibly hilarious. Drew Pearce’s (the British screen writer) influence can be seen here, especially in the line about Slattery’s Lear being the toast of Croydon, much to the incredulity of Killian. I would watch the Trevor Slattery movie in a heart beat, it really was the most brilliant twist.
As a super villain, Killian is one of the most vile. Twisted and angry, he creates an army of volatile genetically modified people, primed to explode at any moment. It is a fairly horrible concept to consider, the fact that you could genetically modify a human in order to use them as a terrorist weapon. Most likely unfeasible, but scary none the less. And he is just relentlessly horrid and destructive despite hiding under a veneer of sharp suits, loafers and charm, making him even more sinister than the fake Mandarin he is using as his puppet. He steals Stark’s lady love Pepper Potts and turning her into one of his army of explosive baddies. (Although this backfires on him when she twats him round the head, bringing about his eventual demise.)
The only real downside to this film was the decided lack of Rebecca Hall, who I love and was woefully underused as Maya and the feeling that the ending had been rather rushed. The removal of the shrapnel from Tony’s heart was a huge revelation that happened in the last two minutes of the film and I felt that the film makers were somewhat cutting their noses off to spite the face in the removal of such a significant part of Tony’s character. But having said that, this film was such enormous fun and I heartily recommend it as a Saturday night popcorn cruncher.
(PS. I had such major ab envy. Gywneth Paltrow is solid as a rock, seriously girl looked hot. I need to get down to the gym.)