A shockingly-indie feel for a Marvel movie with mega-ambitious action sequences, phenomenal new castings, and fantastic trilogy-ending character development, challenged by one of the most inane twists in movie history wasting, Kingsley & insulting comics-lore. Mixed. 7.8/10.
Plot Synopsis: Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), now, is more dependent on the suits that give him his Iron Man persona — so much so that every aspect of his life is affected, including his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). After a malevolent enemy known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) reduces his personal world to rubble, Tony must rely solely on instinct and ingenuity to avenge his losses and protect the people he loves.
*Possible Spoilers Ahead*
Pros: Phenomenal opening and one of the best scene-sets/establishing sequences in the history of the MCU comprehensively setting the stage for the entire plot gracefully and skillfully /// The tech – true to its series’ biggest achievement – the wowing CGI and technological wizardry is absolutely insane – from CSI interfacing a crime scene all-digitally to electrostatic beads summoning the suit to artificial limb regrowth. This is one of the best blockbusters with a science background since.. ever. And even better than IM2 which packed a lot in its new element discovery /// The soundtrack – literally the opening of the entire film is a serenade of elegant strings and rich timbres that are highly-emotional and create a foreboding sense of imminent disaster and create-demonization as Tony narrates – juxtaposing a slew of pop and classic soundtrack selectors like Eiffel 65 for one of the best soundtracks of the MCU (at least until GOTG came the next year and blew it out of the water to set a new benchmark /// RDJ’s development – the world-building is strong creating a tenuous whole of continuity with the MCU and Avengers’ events and how powerless he must feel being a ‘man in a can’ when universal invaders are lurking at every corner with fantastic abilities mortals couldn’t possibly match. That certainly creates anxiety attacks and would give him trouble sleeping as well as a perfect excuse for a clever plot point to exponentially escalate the tech of his suits with all that free time such that the orgasmic HUD displays and weaponization as well as designs go into the stratosphere of hyper-attractive futurism. Fantastic starting point for characterization basically flipping the celebratorial and powerful status of RDJ previously into a bug on a windshield trying to regain some of what he’s lost and protect all close to him – as well as learn from his douchey past mistakes and how he mistreated people as a lesson that past can come back to haunt us. Happy is also given a funny promotion to head of security and Pepper having to cope with loss of tony cementing their love for a great trio trilogy end /// The Mandarin – while we’ll be discussing the infamous and mega-controversial twist later on, one thing that’s not up for debate: the mandarin/terrorizit seuqnces in the Middle East are absolutely JAW-DROPPINGLY brilliant and the perfect ghastly and cinematic portrayal of how incredibly malicious and badass this character can be – while still having motivations grounded in reality and selective justice teaching ‘lessons’ (some that do have some remote semblance of truth to them like the braves and depraved things early white settlers did to genocidically wipe out native american populations, despite the crazy way he goes about them). Kingsley brings a power and perspicacity as well as composure to the role that cements it as what could’ve been its greatest triumph – if it weren’t for that damn twist ruination. The lessons all have points and are sadistic yet effective too tackling the institution of america and even embarassing the president. GOSH i wish the twist didn’t exist – he might’ve been the best villain in the MCU’s *HISTORY* if not for it /// the new faces added to the canvas are all fantastic – Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian plays a great empathy-twinged nerd in the beginning you can’t help but feel sorry for how much of a douche/bully tony was to him that cold NYE in Switzerland turned into a cool and suave demeanor mover and shaker as well as what wouldve been a fine villain in any other movie – if it weren’t recompence for the mandarin twist that 95% of people will hate and judge harder. old botanist pal rebecca hall a fine unassuming wildcard unknown and Killian’s henchman a swaggerful muscle. then there’s ty – steals the show harley the kid actor is sensational and the childlike innocence and shockingly great back and forth as a buddy duo the antithesis of stark in a chemical equilibrium of hilarity (wherein stark is able to deliver some zingy and classic-douchey one-liners about his dad leaving and the sandwich before being used as a crux for further char.dev to become a father figure to him and see himself in him) /// WILDLY-ambitious action sequences like the Malibu blowout and plane monkeys and iron legion oil rig finale – three of the best and most innovative/boundary-pushing and exhilarating pure blockbuster wow scenes of the MCU to-date /// RDJ taken to the limits of his character no suits and no jarvis no houses to find out about himself and how to face his biggest foe without any of the tech he’s come to rely on – why it’s a great trilogy ending and one of RDJ’s best performances in the role /// the scenery’s a nice change of pace and backdrop compared to the normal one of malibu and skyscrapers refreshing pure ice snow winter wonderland of rose hill, Tennessee and extenuates the christmas feel of the film – might actually qualify. even some horror twinges and demonic flair in the whole synaptic element and bar scene /// comedy is great too all tony’s lines classic plus kid duo and stan lee funniest cameo old man judging beauty pageant too excited and mega-fan tv guy obsessed mom i need to call you back something magical is happening and patterned whole look plus tattoo hilarious gary purest scene in the film and one of mcu’s funniest improv scene /// at least a much better and more epic finale learning to correct its last two entries’ biggest flaws /// wraps up the trilogy with a bow beautifully towards the end bringing everything full circle in char.dev with Tony learning independence from the ultimate sarcophagus/cocoon and small details like happy surviving and pepper learning what it feels like to have superpowers – and nice touch i am iron man giving an overall-satisfying and MASSIVE conclusion to dissect to the trilogy, my favorite Marvel trilogy and one I will miss dearly not having RDJ’s one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-decade performance anymore
Cons: Literally only one, but it’s one of the biggest of blockbuster history: The Mandarin twist. I cannot put into words how fcking AWFUL and UNFORGIVABLE a twist this was. It hits you like a sledgehammer – and completely decimates any possibility of taking thereafter seriously. I do not blame the slightest anyone who (and there will likely be millions) say it ruined the film for them – to create one of the best villains not only the villain-problematic MCU, but blockbusters in general have seen in years – then throw him away wasting a BEN KINGSLEY performance and nearly-flawless blockbuster preceding in the process on dumb juvenile comedy like poop smells (’cause funny words and poop is funny!!!!) and the biggest joke of a villain ever in Trevor is high treason and pretty much sacrilege spitting in the face of the entire 50+ year history of Iron Man’s comics’ greatest villain – the MCU isn’t known really in the slightest as being comic-accurate, but this is a new LEVEL of disrespect and ego against your source material. How dare you. Oh and btw, the extremis is full of inconsistencies – what exactly does it take to defeat them?
Official CLC Score: 7.8/10