In 1999, on New Years Eve Tony Stark is at a convention where he meets Maya Hansen. In the present Tony is still dealing with the events of the Avengers, and the America's being attacked by a terrorist called the Mandarin. Also Aldrich Killian is the head of the company A.I.M., and is using Maya's Extremis development.
Now I really wasn't sure whether to love, or hate this film, as there were parts that I love, which were awesome, but there was also things that I seriously hated. To start of with this was a very different type of film to the other two, as although like the first film it puts Tony between a rock, and a hard place, it's in a much different style. There was however things about the film as a comic book fan I hated, and I'll speak a little more on that later (without spoiling), but as a film fan I loved this, and it was much more exciting than Iron Man 2. This film also marked the first Iron Man film not to be directed by Jon Favreau, who opted to direct the upcoming Disney movie, Magic Kingdom instead. This film was directed by Shane Black, who's only prior directing credit was Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (which also stared Robert Downey Jr.), but who's also more well known as a film writer, with Lethal Weapon 1, and 2 being the more well known films he's written. Black didn't do a terrible job, but having also helped with the script you could see that it was more along the lines of the action comedy films he's used to, which although not bad, isn't quite the same as Favreau's more techy films.
Most of the main cast from the previous films returned, with Robert Downey Jr. returning as Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes (now as the Iron Patriot), Paul Bettany as the voice of JARVIS, and former director Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan. This film would however not have the S.H.I.E.L.D. characters of Nick Fury (who's was played by Samuel L. Jackson), and Black Widow (who's was played by Scarlett Johansson). I was really happy that the mentioned cast returned, and although I liked Jackson, and Johansson in the previous film, it was nice to see this film retract from S.H.I.E.L.D., becoming more focused on being an Iron Man film, and not a bridge for other films.
There was naturally however also some new characters added to this film, with Guy Pearce coming in as Aldrich Killian, Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, Ty Simpkins as a boy named Harley, and Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. I'll talk about the characters Killian, and Mandarin more later in my review, but besides that the addition of Maya to the film was brilliant, especially with the story that's being used (Extremis), and the kid Harley was also interesting, and the perfect type of character for Tony to interact with considering the position he's in. I also felt that all of these characters, as well as the additional characters that featured were portrayed brilliantly, and although there was a few things I didn't like about one in particular (will talk more on that later), that wasn't really the actors fault, and more a script issue.
Like the last film this would also feature a new set of armour for Tony. In fact there were many sets of armour in this film, but I won't go into detail about them, as to avoid spoilers. I will however talk about the main armour that he wears in the film, the Mark 47, as well as the new Iron Patriot armour that Rhodey's wearing. To be honest I wasn't really a fan on either of the designs, as the colours didn't really suit Iron Man, and having War Machine become Iron Patriot felt a bit forced, and I was actually glad that Tony, and Rhodey made jokes about it. I did however like the idea of Iron Man having a set of armour that he can put together by thought, being able to summon it to himself, or even put it on other people. I also loved that JARVIS developed a bit in this film, as he seemed a bit more self aware, making his own decisions which was very interesting, and showed the development in the AI.
I really liked how this story was inspired by Extremis, as that was one of the first Iron Man stories I read, and I loved it. Although not quite to the source material, the way that it was used in this film was brilliant, and I loved how despite having similarities to the original story it became it's own, unique story, that was both interesting, and exciting, as well as also being slightly mysterious. Besides this I also felt that the story was many things in one, as it felt like an action film, a sci-fi film, a comedy, and a buddy cop film all rolled into one, and although these newer elements (the buddy cop one in particular) were interesting, and entertaining, I did question whether they were appropriate for this type of film. I finished up forgetting about it, as there were things that I liked and disliked about these changes to style, and although I couldn't be swayed in one particular way, I decided to enjoy the good parts more than thinking of the bad ones.
This film would feature two villains with the main villain being Aldrich Killian, who featured in the Extremis story. Now having only read Extremis once I can't actually remember what Killian was like so can't judge on comparisons, but as a villain in this film he was brilliant, and Guy Pearce did an amazing job. I really liked that the film took the time to develop his backstory slightly, showing a more nerdy, and unattractive character, who turns into a sharp dressed person, running his own company, A.I.M. Now although I wasn't entirely happy with the way A.I.M. was portrayed in this film, it was nice to see them make an appearance, and they could always develop into the group that we know in the comics, and they fit perfectly with this science style backstory. Killian as a villain was also very maniacal, and smart, being everything I'd expect from a villain, especially one that's been bullied in the past.
The other villain that featured in this film was the Mandarin, probably one of Iron Man's biggest villains. Now this was what I really wanted to see in this film, as I was really wanting Mandarin to appear in an Iron Man film, and after hearing that Ben Kingsley would be playing him I was even more happy. Now Kingsley actually did a good job as the Mandarin, as although he wasn't Chinese, he was very maniacal, and uncompassionate like I'd have expected. I did however hate how Mandarin would be used in this film, as although I won't go into details as to avoid spoilers, I will say that I wasn't very happy. Now what they did do was smart, and made sense for the type of story that featured in this film, but it made Mandarin a joke, and I was actually very angry at the time seeing this, even though I found it funny (PM if you want an explanation).
There was however plenty of action in this film, and although there were times that it'd get a bit slow, it was well worth the wait for the action scenes, as the slower parts helped to add depth to the overall story, whilst also setting up the more exciting moments perfectly. I also liked that during certain parts of the fighting that Tony would fight outside the armour, as this showed a different side to Iron Man, as well as the development of the Iron Man armour itself. At the same time there will be people who will be disappointed that Iron Man isn't in his suit as much as they'd like, but the story, and direction of the film during the action scenes make up for that, and were really entertaining, and exciting, as well as being emotional, and dramatic.
Now my previous Iron Man film reviews I've talked about the post-credits scene, but due to this being a new film, that hasn't even been released in certain countries yet I'll refrain from mentioning any details. I will however say my opinion on it, which is that it's the most unnecessary post-credits scene so far, and made me feel that the time spent waiting for the credits to end was wasted.
Although not as good as the first film, overall it was better than the second film. This however may not be to everyone's liking, and extreme comic fans will probably actually hate it, but after weighing up everything I personally found it a very entertaining, and enjoyable film, and although it angered me at certain points I was still happy that I'd seen it. I would recommend this film, as even if you don't like it, it's worth watching, and you're bound to like some of it, but people who are sceptical, or are people that like comic films to be very close to it's source material should avoid it.