I will do this with as few spoilers as possible, but there is one I am going to talk about.
Iron Man 3 is a very interesting movie, and a very good one, overall. But, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment after leaving the theater, as Iron Man 3 does not live up to post-Avengers expectations.
For starters, this movie is much more about Tony Stark than it is about Iron Man. I can’t be sure, but it felt like he spent less time in the suit than in either of the previous movies. Much of the movie’s focus is on what the events of the Avengers have done to the psyche of Tony Stark, and how he can’t just go back to life as normal after the things he’s seen. I really liked this angle for the movie, as you don’t usually get these kind of character examinations in superhero movies, much less sequels of superhero movies. I was reminded of Superman II, and how well that movie depicted Clark’s struggle and the emotional gauntlet he went through in deciding to give up his powers. Tony isn’t really faced with the same choice in this movie, but the struggle is there, as he can’t unsee the things he’s seen, and the scope of what happened in The Avengers is constantly weighing on him, affecting his every decision.
All of that stuff is great and makes for an interesting movie, just not an action-packed one. In fact, Iron Man 3 feels more like some of the less action-y Bond films than it does a superhero film. There are some great set pieces to be sure, but you’ve already seen most of them in the trailers. When the action does come, it certainly delivers, and it may actually be more satisfying because the movie issn’t just a series of explosions.
What disappointed me about Iron Man 3 was how it had absolutely no connection to the rest of the Marvel universe. SHIELD is nowhere to be found in this movie. The rest of the Avengers are nowhere to be found (unless you count a pretty lame after-credits scene). In fact, if you take out the references that Tony makes to “New York,” this movie has nothing to do with the alrger marvel universe. Which is really sad, because Marvel was so careful to build that universe during Phase 1 of it’s movie plans. It just made no sense to me that they did not capitalize on anything having to do with The Avengers in this movie. I kept waiting for it, but it never came.
So, overall, I really enjoyed Iron Man 3 as a standalone movie. It’s a great end to the trilogy for Robert Downey Jr. and the supporting cast. If they never make another Iron Man movie, this series can still stand tall. But as a part of the larger Marvel universe, Iron Man 3 lacked the connective tissue we’ve come to expect from all Marvel movies now.
4 out of 5 Stark, Tony Starks