It’s been over a week since I saw Iron Man 3. It left me with mixed emotions and a bittersweet feeling. I have come to terms with this and have decided that I loved it. The movie was good to be sure, and there was a surprising level of inner struggle on Stark’s part. What I appreciated about this struggle was that the director did not feel the need to spell it out for the audience. Kudos for giving us the benefit of the doubt and trusting that the nuances wouldn’t be lost on the general public.
That being said, I was expecting an Iron Man reminiscent of the first two movies with a confident Stark and his no holds barred attitude. What I got was an insecure hero on a journey of self-discovery. I wasn’t ready for nervous-ball-of-anxiety Stark. I came away from the movie not sure how I felt about all the personal growth Stark did by finally growing up. I liked him just the way he was, a narcissistic, spoiled genius who was unapologetic. This is why he is my favorite superhero. Stark is a refreshing change compared to his boring superhero counterparts. Don’t get me wrong, I love Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and pretty much all the “mans,” but Stark is the anti-hero hero. He is outrageous, selfish, open, and knows how to put on a fabulous show. But everyone has to grow up sometime, right?
Now, I must admit I don’t read comic books. Gasp! And you call yourself a Marvel fan, you say! I was more than a little miffed that Pepper didn’t get to keep her new kick-ass powers and become her own superhero. I suspect that this would have been a serious deviation from the original comic book storyline, but since when did that stop Hollywood? They’re not exactly known for their ability to stick with the script, if you know what I mean. Gwyneth Paltrow was wonderful, and I enjoyed that she at least got to wear the Iron Man suit this time and was a bit tougher in the role. Even her body screamed superhero. I am bummed. Ha-ha! There is a serious lack of female superheroes. I’m just saying.
Robert Downey Jr. was fabulous, as always. I have to admit, when Downey first made his comeback, I was pretty skeptical. I remember watching him in Less Than Zero and figured that was where he was headed. I thought he’d make a few movies and then sink back into his old habits before disappearing to become a sad footnote in Hollywood history. Not only has he managed to avoid that cliché, he has reclaimed his life and career, far exceeding my expectations. I have loved him in every movie I’ve seen him in, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
This brings me to the surprising ending to Iron Man 3. Yes, Stark saves the world and gets the girl, as expected, but this movie ties up all the loose ends and heralds the end of the Iron Man franchise. I have no doubt Hollywood will try to resurrect the series later with a new Stark or follow the adventures of James Rhodes as Iron Patriot because Hollywood in general does not seem to know when to quit. (Rocky VI, Halloween 583 or Friday the 13th the Geriatric Years anyone?) But Downey’s parting words at the end of the movie will always ring true for this movie goer. “I will always be Iron Man.”