Being a comic book fan, I tend to be a tiny bit critical when it comes to movies based on the comics. I can understand that when bringing a story from the comic universe into our world, it’s not going to be exactly accurate from the printed page. However, the story has to be tangible, believable, and grounded to make the audience connect with the hero and his journey. With the Iron Man movies, I believe it has done all that. One of the main reasons why the Iron Man movies has become so successful is not because of the technological wonders of the Iron Man suits, not because of the great choices of villains, and not because of how the storyline really grips you and takes you on a great adventure, but it is the choice of who they picked to play the billionaire genius playboy, Tony Stark.
When I first heard that they chose Robert Downey Jr. to play the role of Iron Man, I was intrigued. He has been around for quite a while, playing roles that did not stand out in the mainstream, but playing Iron Man definitely put him back on the map. He has the look, and the attitude to play Tony Stark. I don’t think anyone could have done better. With each movie, his journey and self-discovery challenges his very way of life and re-evaluate what is important to him. Robert uses his personality and charisma to give Tony Stark a duel personality in the first two films, trying to find out where Iron Man and Tony Stark fit in the real world. Could the armor be used for good, or is the armor a crutch holding Tony up and using it to hide from his responsibilities. That could only be answered by Tony. Robert gives the main character a sense of vulnerability and dependence to make these films not just any superhero flick, but a more complex and deeper film.
With the two Iron Man films out of the way, the journey of Tony Stark is far from over. The third film concentrates solely on the aftermath of the alien invasion in New York, and Tony is dealing with that. The difference between the first two films and this one, there is a lot less partying and a lot more soul searching, plus a lot more explosions and action sequences. Relationships tend to be the main theme of this movie. It digs deeper into the relationship of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow are great together. They counterbalance each other very well.
It was great to see Gwyneth get more screen time. You can definitely see that she has toned up for the part. In this film you get a better understanding as to where her role fits in Tony’s crazy world. You get to appreciate what she has done for Tony and his company. I have to admit, in the first two films she came across as being a little annoying and I just wanted to slap her and say shut up! But then when she showed me in the third film that her presence played a significant part in the storyline, I began to respect her more. Gwyneth is a wonderful actor and a great addition to the cast, not mention very sexy also.
The other supporting cast members that complete this ensemble is Don Cheadle, who plays James Rhodey Rhodes, a.k.a. The Iron Patriot, and Jon Favreau who plays Happy Hogan, best friend/former bodyguard to Tony Stark. Don Cheadle was brought in to replace Terrence Howard in the second film, for reasons that I’m not certain, but is definitely a major improvement. I love Terrence Howard, he is a great actor, but I think the character needed to be more physical and I didn’t think Terrence Howard could not pull that off. Don displayed his action chops in a few small scenes in the second film, but they were still very entertaining. In the third film, he still didn’t have a lot of screen time with the Iron Patriot, but it was still good to see him in the suit anyway. Don Cheadle gave the character of James Rhodes/Iron Patriot a sense of duty, both to his friend Tony and to his profession working for the government as the Iron Patriot. Jon Favreau who played Happy Hogan had less screen time that Don Cheadle’s character, but he was no less important to the storyline. I think his approach to the character is comical, and yet he gives Happy strength and determination that makes you want to really respect him as well.
The antagonist of this film is none other than the Mandarin, who is played the brilliant Sir Ben Kingsley, and the super soldier program created by a ‘think tank”R&D company called AIM which is spearheaded by Guy Pierce’s character Aldrich Killian. Both actors did their character justice, but I believe that Sir Ben won me over. His take on the Mandarin was creepy and cool at the same time. I loved how he used his voice to try to bring a menacing tone to his role. The director wanted to approach the Mandarin in a non-mystical kind of way. I thought making him to be a leader of a terrorist organization was a good idea. He was cool, and I’m glad that they chose him to be the villain. Guy Pierce’s character Aldrich Killian, was also a a good choice as the other villain, but he wasn’t that convincing like Sir Ben Kingsley. To be honest, his demeanor is a little too flamboyant for my taste. It’s true that he did some pretty evil stuff, but I really wasn’t impressed.
I felt this movie definitely hit a home run with giving Robert Downey Jr. a chance to open up his acting skills and letting us to see more of a personal and vulnerable side to Tony Stark. His supporting cast from Don Cheadle to Sir Ben Kingsley definitely helped Robert take Tony Stark’ s journey in a direction that was challenging and life changing. This movie was exciting, dramatic, humorous, maybe a little disappointing, but yet still a worthwhile film to watch. If this was the last film of Iron Man, or without Robert Downey Jr., I would be satisfied with this trilogy, but I know that if this film rakes in the bucks, there will be another Iron Man. Can’t wait!!!!