Let’s cut to the chase. Iron Man 3 did not strike a nerve. Maybe my expectations were too high.
The only save was the action sequences. Billionaire playboy Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) Malibu pad is blown to smithereens. There is a great rescue scene for 13 people thrown out of Air Force One mid-air. Robert Downey Jr is an amazing super hero, as always, but the story falls flat for most of the two and a half hours. In the third edition we see our hero still trying to come to terms with the invasion of Earth by Loki to subjugate Earth. Nick Fury, the director of an international peacekeeping agency, cobbles together The Avengers (Stark aka the Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye) as a team to save the world from the powerful Loki.
In Iron Man 3 our hero is shown still trying to come to terms with the New York invasion. For Stark, the success of The Avengers was a big deal. But he has since become a recluse because of his reliance on the Iron Man suit. His anxiety levels have escalated. He can’t sleep and this leads to problems with his girlfriend, Pepper Pots (Gwyneth Paltrow). At this point, new villain Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) enters. Kingsley’s character is a cross between Osama bin Laden and a warlord from Game of Thrones. However, he is just the face of evil — the real bad guy being Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), a stark raving mad scientist who our playboy slighted at a science convention in Switzerland years ago. Yes, the terrorist isn’t the bad guy for once. It is Killian who has a serum that can turn people into living bombs.
The tongue-in-cheek humour helps defuses the tension built up by Kingsley’s character. There are jokes about Croydon, British football and Downton Abbey — but I don’t think many people outside the UK would appreciate them.
There are some parts that the censor boards might bleep/blank out. No, not the making-out scenes but the ones in which Pakistan is mentioned with links to terrorism. The Mandarin is thought to have been in Pakistan (but they later find out that he’s in Miami). In another scene Tony Stark’s best friend Col James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is shown making friends in a hostile Pakistan. I don’t know what part of the country they were trying to show, but it looked like a scene out of Aladdin.
Top 3 Robert Downey Jr movies
1. Less than Zero
You will barely recognise Downey Jr in Less than Zero, the 1987 movie based on a Bret Easton Ellis novel. He delivers to perfection the hopelessness and depths of despair of a young man who is sucked in by a heroin addiction. Not a movie to watch if you’re down but do get the soundtrack.
2. Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
What could have been a tragic freak show ends up with Downey giving a moving performance as a man who suffers from hypertrichosis (extreme hairiness) in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. Although Downey wasn’t nominated for this movie, his performance as Arbus’s hirsute neighbour received great acclaim from all movie critics.
Downey once again pulls off a challenging character in this David Attenborough film. But his performance did not save the work which was criticised for being too formulaic as a biopic. Still recommended for Charlie Chaplin fans.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, May 12th, 2013.
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