Review of Iron Man 3, 2013 Film Starring Robert Downey Jr.

Grade: D

Iron Man 3 is exactly how you expect the final installment in a trilogy to be – our beloved hero haunted by his past faces his ultimate test against his new nemesis, who has the upper-hand this time. Will our hero be able to vanquish his foe and reclaim his place this time too? Will loved ones be sacrificed in this quest? Will our hero get a fitful redemption in the end? All these expected questions are answered in Iron Man 3, topped with a resolution that reminded me of Kevin Spacey’s final monologue from American Beauty. You can even predict how the camera will move around its characters, when it shall pan on its characters’ faces and the kind of expressions the characters will give at a particular moment. You may not be a musician but you’ll know what kind of music will be played for the concluding part of the Iron Man Series. You’ll basically get everything you expected from Iron Man 3, and this is the reason why Iron Man 3 feels predictable. Is it a bad film? Not necessarily. Did I find it unbearable? Oh, yes.

In short, I couldn’t bear Iron Man 3 not because it was a badly made movie, but because I couldn’t put up with its predictability. It’s only been my second science fiction film this year (the other being Star Trek Into Darkness) and I’m already fed up with the ‘seen one, seen them all’ vibe I get from this genre. You breathe the same stinking air of bullet firings, explosions, bomb-blasts and missile-assaults every single time, the only difference being that the 3D brings the assault to your senses and sensibility even closer. And the worst part is that a majority of the audience has acclimatized itself with this stinking air, and this is why Iron Man 3 has made close to a billion dollars. I’m sure there’s an Iron Man 4 in the nearing future; the producers wouldn’t discontinue this profit-making franchise that’s hot on almost everybody’s minds. So much for the American Beauty-style ending! So don’t fret people, you can get your supply of stinking air probably after two years. Till then, you have other options to assault your sense and sensibility, so don’t panic!

Iron Man 3 starts with Tony Stark, the face of Stark Enterprises narrating about his journey towards ‘enlightenment’ and a ‘new beginning’ with his quintessentially sardonic delivery. So at first we have a scene of the past, which happens at a New Year’s party with Tony acting like the lovable jerk and ladies man as usual. He meets Maya Hansen, a scientist and is amazed by the invention she is working on – an experimental regenerative treatment to allow recovery from crippling injuries. The same night he is also accosted by Aldrich Killian, a disabled, eccentric scientist who offers Tony a place in his company called Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M) which the latter rejects, humiliating Killian.

Cut to some years later. Stark is working on advanced Iron Man suits and spends most of his time in the basement with his artificial intelligence companion Jarvis. He sleeps little and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder due to his near-death experience (in the first Avengers film). His relationship with his girlfriend Pepper also takes a toll because of his strangely aloof behavior and because he spies on her on one occasion through his former bodyguard and head of security of Starks Enterprise, Happy Hogan. The occasion: Pepper, who’s now Stark Enterprises’ CEO, is approached by Killian, who’s dapper and dashing now and demonstrates his brain modification experiment to her, proposing a joint alliance between Stark Enterprise and his company A.I.M. She declines his offer, finding the experiment to be too dangerous but Killian nevertheless casts a spell on her.

Meanwhile, there is news of Mandarin, a ruthless terrorist who claims that his organization The Ten Rings is responsible for the bombings at various American landmarks. Sparks doesn’t issue any public statements about Mandarin until Happy is gravely injured in one of the blasts, after which he publicly threatens to take Mandarin down. There’s another conspiracy brewing up, as super-strong men and women capable of generating extreme heat haunt the country. Starks, using his advanced technology, finds out later that Mandarin may not be responsible for the blast which injured Happy. Maya Hansen, the scientist whom he slept with after being wowed by her invention years ago, returns to inform him that his boss, Killian may be plotting to kill him. The game begins for Tony Starks – will he be able to overcome his post traumatic stress disorder and become the Iron Man he was before, or will this be the last we see of Iron Man?

I know I haven’t summarized the film well, but I can’t really help it as my interest in Iron Man 3 dwindled after the first twenty-five minutes. No doubt the screen wipes, cuts and dialogues do make the movie feel like a true comic book adaptation but I was bugged by the constant punch-lines that everyone’s treating like a work of genius, bugged by the elaborate special effects and totally anxious to get out of the theatre. Maybe when I catch the television premiere of this film, I won’t hate it as much and my review would be less harsh and better written. But for now, I can only express what I felt when I watched it in theatre – it was tedium.

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