Well, first Christopher Nolan (with his Batman trilogy) and now Marvel (with their Iron Man) have both broken the "Third Movie Curse" that has plagued every goddamn last superhero movie series since the late 70s/early 80s. See, starting with the original Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, the third act in pretty much every goddamn superhero trilogy has sucked shriveled up Green Goblin balls. Superman 3, Batman Forever, Spider-man 3, Blade 3, X-Men 3... Any good franchise featuring costumed heroes that reaches the third flick usually loses track of what made the hero and his story so much fun in the first place. That was the biggest fear that fanboys had going into Iron Man 3 (especially with John Favreau gone as the director): Would IM3 fuck up such a wonderful universe by trying too hard, or changing its tone, or just by forgetting the hero's personality and purpose of his mission? The answer is of course "No, Iron Man Tres did not."
Iron Man 3 did what most thought was impossible: it followed up one of the biggest and best ensemble action movies of all time (The Avengers) with a fun, thought-provoking, smart, and extremely entertaining flick, featuring only one of the 6 main characters from the previous flick. It was quite a bit smaller in scale than The Avengers, but it had to be — it was a much more personal Tony Stark story. It was a tale that took away every last bit of Tony's advantages (his lovely woman, his armor, his house, his digitized butler, and his sanity), and showed the world that the man behind the Invincible Iron Man was still a bad ass while fighting (figuratively nekkid) against his most deadly foe, the maliciously mad Mandarin!... Wow, that sounded really hackneyed. I apologize. That was simply uncalled for... Ugh, rereading that sentence even makes me feel nauseous Sometimes I really suck.
Iron Man 3 is also pretty jam packed (story-wise) thanks to the Extremis, AIM, and the Mandarin comic book plotlines all rolled up into its 2-hour runtime (Well, at least the Mandarin is kind of in there — he's just far from the magical ring-wearing, racist caricature, Chinese, super crime lord that he is in the funnies, which is for the best). And quite honestly, I was pretty okay with how all those giant themes blended together in this Marvel movieverse. For all you non-nerds out there, AIM is an evil super-science organization that uses knowledge for evil (those devils!!!), and is run by a giant floating head named MODOK (MODOK does not appear in Iron Man 3); Extremis is a serum made up of millions of nanobots that can cause the brain of someone it's injected into to recreate missing limbs (ala the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man), but has the unfortunate after effect of causing its host to explode horrifically if he's not 100% compatible with it (unlike in The Amazing Spider-Man, where the injectee just turns into a giant lizard); and the Mandarin is a crime syndicate leader bent on conquering the world with his magic jewelry that he found amid a crashed alien ship (but said mystical space jewelry does not appear in this movie either, sad as that may be). Needless to say, some of these ideas had to be altered a bit in order to make them work in the Marvel movie universe. And the changes don't really bother me all that much.
So things start off with Robert Downey Stark telling somebody the story of how he almost lost everything due to being a drunk asshole during a science convention in Bern, Switzerland back in 1999. He cheesed off a couple of smarty pants scientists who then became super powerful geniuses who got into bed with the terrorist organization known as The Ten Rings (the same douche-nozzles who captured Stark and tried to get him to build a Jericho missile for them in the first movie). Veterans then start blowing up in public (not with a bomb, just with their own glowy bodies), and not even Iron Man's new super suit can save his home and garage filled with expensive, beautiful cars from getting blown to shit-stains after he publicly calls out the Mandarin, the hiding-in-the-shadows leader of The Ten Rings who is responsible for an explosion that hurt his happy and husky friend, Harold Hogan.
Due to not reprogramming his Iron Man armor's next travel destination after a Google Map search, Stark finds himself in rural Tennessee after the attack on his Malibu mansion knocked him out, but his suit is now out of juice (despite the fact that the ARC Reactor in Tony's chest powers the thing, and that's still running just fine), and he needs to charge it up before his next move. Whilst stuck in Podunk, TN, Tony uncovers what's going on with all the Mandarin's terrorist bombings, and then he travels to Miami, Florida to meet up with his bad ass buddy Rhodey, who's the soldier piloting one of Stark's earlier power suits,
War Machine The Iron Patriot. They find the Mandarin, but are too late to stop his pretty complex plan (which is really naughty and involves Air Force One and a giant Roxxon oil platform, along with a buttload of super [hot] soldiers all powered by a crazy nanobot super serum). Lots of things explode, Tony saves the day, and then he bangs Pepper Potts like a fucking rabid dog attacking a baby bunny rabbit that just called the dog's momma "a fat ho-bag cunt bitch."
The story was really well told, Downey simply fucking NAILS Tony Stark again, and even all the supporting actors brought forth their "A" game (specially Cheadle as Rhodes, and Kingsley as the Mandarin). Yes, yes, LOTS of fanboys detested Iron Man 3's take on the Mandarin, but I thought it was well played, and it really works inside the Marvel Movie U. Honestly, my only real problems with this movie are the following unanswered questions: How did the armor [that's powered by Tony's chest reactor] run out of juice and have to be plugged in and recharged in Lil' Jimmy's garage?; and why is Tony's best, newest, and awesomest megasuit something that falls to pieces whenever it gets hit by an alarm clock or a car? The Mark III in the first flick got run over or hammered by dozens of cars during the battle with Obadiah at the end of that movie.
Very small gripes, and the things I liked more than made up for these few itty bitty titty committee questions (to which the Chief already got a couple of No-Prizes for explaining away to me). I loved that SHIELD played no real part in this movie, I loved how PTSD-messed up Tony was after all the unholy shit that personally happened to him in The Avengers, and I LOVED-loved when we found out who he was actually telling this entire story to in the after-credits scene. Great stuff, true believers! Excelsior!
END OF IRON SPOILERS
In the end, Iron Man 3 is just a super fun story, with incredible special effects, and a loving attention to detail. The plot is complicated, but not overly complex to the point where an average-intelligenced gent (like you... Or even one of below average thinking abilities... You know who I'm talking to) can still follow it and not come out of the theater with an adult diaper filled with confusion.
Tony is hot, Pepper is still bangable, the Mandarin is a bad ass who has the power to keep people from entering a certain room for up to 30 minutes, and, and... well, I just fucking love this movie.
Yeah, wow, great movie. Whatever. But that final scene was literally the biggest toy commercial in a blockbuster film ever created (Still cool, I guess, but when all the Iron Man suits lined up I think I saw them lining up on the store shelf at the same time). It was like, "Buy the regular Iron Man toy, kids, and the more red version toy, and the fat Iron Man toy, and don't forget the one with bigger fists! Pssssst! Buy that last one for your mommy".
It was much better than the second movie, but really, so was Mac and Me. Still, I didn't want to run out of the theater screaming like I do with so many other comic book movies nowadays. And at least the bad guy wasn't a giant, talking lizard.
Oh my goodness! It has come to pass that Hollywood has given us a very big superhero feature film with a genius Asian supervillain as the antagonist for the intrepid hero! A villain who is more cunning, more ruthless than even the very intelligent the wily Dr. Doom of Latveria! The Mandarin! With his ten rings of power he can destroy anything that the Tony Stark Iron Man can throw at him as if it were a soft and fluffy snowball as thrown by a child. He also..... Wait, they did WHAT to my Mandarin?............
It is time for Kuni to end his life with honour. Kim-chi, my seppuku sword please. And please be Kuni's second, my dearest sister. Thank you, and goodbye.