Taking a slightly different approach today, I wanted to add some quick thoughts on Iron Man 3. I will keep this relatively brief and spoiler free for those who have not seen the film.
I am amazed by what Marvel has been able to accomplish in their cinematic world over the last few years. The masterful building of 4 separate film franchises, with each film standing on its own yet interconnecting, culminating in the colossal team up that was the Avengers. It was so skillfully handled that you cannot help but admire the level of foresight, attention to detail, and overall quality of the individual pieces that build to an even greater whole.
Iron Man 3 is the first film in phase 2 of Marvel’s plans, essentially the first of the solo character films taking place after the Avengers. Tony Stark is now a damaged and shaken man, unable to wrap his brain around the cosmic events that have opened up before him during the events of the Avengers. He has essentially cut himself off from the world, as his armor becomes a literal and figurative shell between him and others. He spends all his time working on new iterations of his famous suit, hardly even stopping to sleep, much less shower the deserved attention oh his beloved Pepper Potts.
All that changes when the terrorist known as the Mandarin shakes his foundations to their core, leaving Tony desperate, alone, and angry. With one barely functional suit he must track down and stop the Mandarin. What follows is a series of political twists and turns and some incredible action. Iron Man 3 somehow manages to tackle contemporary themes of terrorism and political corporate entanglement with a retro adventure film feel. Comic fans have balked at the liberties the film takes with the source material, particularly the portrayal of the Mandarin. However, in the context of the film itself it works great, and careful viewers will notice some questions about the character left open.
In the context of the other Iron Man films I would say I still prefer the first one, but found this one better than the second one. Filled with great humor, strong characterizations, and non stop action and intrigue it is a great time at the movies. One thing I noticed, and my eight year old son also brought up, is there is a lot of running time where Tony is not in the Iron Man suit. However, I found it worked for the story being told. Chalk another one in the win category for Marvel.