- Released Internationally on 24/04/13
- Released in Malta by KRS on 01/05/13
Preview (as published 01/05/13 in VIDA Magazine)
If you thought Iron Man’s exploits ended with the multi-hero love-fest that was last summer’s Avengers, then you might be pleased to know that that was apparently only chapter one. Most of the superheroes in question will continue to have their own individual outings, and we can probably assume that this gigantic cash cow will be milked well into the next decade. Personally, I thought Iron Man was the most entertaining of the related films so far, although the period setting of Captain America added some class to that character. Most of Iron Man’s credit goes, of course, to Robert Downey Jr., who managed to combine effortless panache and good acting to make him likeable, but in a ‘roll your eyes’ way.
His new antagonist, because there must of course be a bigger and badder one each time around, is ‘The Mandarin’, portrayed with interesting hair arrangements by Ben Kingsley (Elegy, Gandhi). So Downey Jr. might have met his match in the class and acting departments too. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as the hero’s steadfast partner, and Don Cheadle (Ocean’s Eleven) returns as his sort of sidekick. Guy Pearce (Memento) and Rebecca Hall (The Town) are other high-profile additions to the cast. It remains to be seen how much of what happened in The Avengers will be referenced here, since this film is set after those events. So why exactly is he back working solo?
3-word review: Better than 2.
The song that kicks off this highly entertaining film wasn’t exactly a good start, but it did the job of transporting me back to the turn of the millennium, for an amusing flashback sequence set during one of the many overhyped New Year’s Eve parties that ushered in the year 2000. It reminds us of the Tony Stark of the first film, and also shows us how easily he made friends and enemies.
Fast forward to the present day (at Christmas-time, which is odd for a summer blockbuster), and Tony Stark is having a bit of a delicate moment. The epic events depicted in last summer’s Avengers have taken their toll, and he doesn’t exactly like to talk about them. Which might be why he doesn’t meet his superhero friends for drinks (or a shawarma). Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts gets a bigger, meatier role this time around, and she is clearly one of the few things holding Tony Stark together.
A sort of forced timeout helps Stark regroup, rethink and get his act back together, which is helpful, since the new nemesis, The Mandarin (a wonderful and surprising Ben Kingsley), is proving to be too much for the authorities to handle. The action unfolds with enough twists and surprises to keep it entertaining, and the science-fiction element is taken to even greater heights than it was in Avengers.
As expected, the various Iron Man suits Stark has built over the years feature prominently, and this film provides a sort of greatest hits of all his past models. The film cleverly highlights the man himself, however, clearly showing the suits as mere tools, and ones which can be used and abused as necessary. Once the aura that used to surround the suits is dampened, Stark himself can emerge as the true hero, and hopefully a more stable one than he was in the previous film.
The trilogy is nicely wrapped up by the end of proceedings, and whether or not Iron Man or Downey Jr. return, this chapter is most definitely closed. Everything is rounded off by a wonderfully stylized and scored end credits sequence, and the by now obligatory post-credits scene. I left smiling, and much more entertained than I thought I’d be.