In Iron Man’s cinematic history, he’s been through a lot. Captured in Afghanistan, living every day where an electrical failure could kill you, all the way up to throwing a nuclear bomb into a wormhole and not knowing if you will make it home alive.
Iron Man 3 is the culmination of all of that trauma. Tony has finally gotten to the point where he is not sleeping and is looking back on his life and dwelling on his mistakes.
Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, and Jon Favreau return as Iron Man, Pepper Pots, James Rhodes, and Happy Hogan, respectively. Binging this core of characters back from Iron Man 2 allows an expansion of not only the characters themselves but their relationships with each other, too. From Happy becoming the head of security at Stark Industries to Pepper going from damsel in distress to hot mess badass, the characters’ development is what this film does best.
After the Battle of New York in The Avengers, Tony Stark has come back with a severe case of PTSD. Not able to sleep and having major anxiety attacks at the mention of New York is the biggest character change that we’ve seen in Stark. It’s this PTSD that forms the base of where we see Tony and Rhodey. You finally see the big brother aspect from Rhodey and how much he does truly care for Tony.
While overall I enjoyed the main twist of the film, where it truly ends up is a disappointment that will leave you asking why. And once you see the twist and realize who the antagonist really is in the story, it feels weak at best and pointless at worst.
The film’s final act tries but has too much going on. You have a jumble of action that is difficult to follow and doesn’t feel like there is much at stake. Usually, the best part of Iron Man is the tech that he gets to play with and this final act gives you a lot of that but doesn’t really let you look at it.
Iron Man 3 feels more like an epilogue to The Avengers than the start of a new chapter. You have Tony Stark acting completely out of character, even with the PTSD that he is clearly showing, there are times where his actions make you really look at him in a negative light.
There is one side character that comes in near the middle of the movie that I have a hard time understanding. A little boy named Harley that spends most of his time trying to make a friend of Tony, tends to come off as annoying and needy.
Overall, I only would recommend Iron Man 3 to people who are interested in seeing everywhere that Tony Stark has been in the MCU. It is a film that isn’t necessary for the complete universe story and has more negative factors than positive ones.