‘Iron Man 3’ Turns Tony Into Yet Another Self-Loathing Superhero

After an amazing first installment and an amazingly lame second outing, Tony Stark and Iron Man are back one more time for the logically titled Iron Man 3 in which the hero mouths off to an evil terrorist and gets in over his iron head.

In hindsight, he should have really seen that coming.

Iron Man is one of the few instances that the secret identity is actually more interesting than the superhero himself. Here, Robert Downey Jr. once again owns the role and drives the entire thing. I honestly don’t believe that Iron Man would have been half as successful if anyone else had been in the role.

So, Iron Man 3. How is it? 

It’s pretty good, but I have to admit that I’m getting tired of the self-loathing superhero. You remember when Tony Stark was all like, “Forget it, I’m Iron Man” and stood up to congress and poked Bruce Banner with a probe for no other reason than because he was Iron Man? That Tony Stark is missing now… replaced by a regretful Tony who is feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders and is terrified that donning the suit is going to cost him everything… which sucks because the carefree attitude of Iron Man is what made me love the movie in the first place.

Yeah, Iron Man 3 starts out confident and cocky, but then slides into Spider-Man territory.

Tony… Iron Man… Bro… you’ve got a flying suit of armor!  Stop acting like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you!

That’s not to say Iron Man 3 is bad, far from it. It just boldly goes somewhere that many other movies have gone before.

Still, I suppose that it was a necessary evil to tell the type of story they wanted to tell. For Iron Man 3, they needed to tear Tony down and rebuild him in a completely new way. The end result is a movie that, while tried, is true and fun despite the dour subject matter. I guess when someone has as much hubris as Tony Stark, they have to pay for it eventually. This is Tony’s comeuppance.

Perhaps the real strength of this story is not how far Tony is smacked down, but rather how strongly he comes back after having everything quite literally taken away from him. We already like Stark, so we’re already rooting for him no matter how douchy or full of himself that he acts.

I’ve already sang the praises of Robert Downey, Jr., but I also have to talk about Ben Kingsley and how amazing he was in this movie. Now, there is a surprise about the Mandarin, the character he plays, that I will not give away here but it is carried off so well and wonderfully that despite the far-fetchedness of it all, Kingsley sells it majestically.

If Iron Man 3 is the last Iron Man movie, I will be extremely happy with it. My gripe about the self-loathing superhero is minor one as Iron Man 3 is snappy, quick, and entertaining. It’s got several amazing action sequences, some strong performances, some witty writing, and a conclusion where all kinds of stuff explodes all over the place. 

The movie also leaves Tony Stark in a fitting place where it seems like he was heading the entire time. Aside from any Avengers sequels, it almost seems a shame if there will be any more Iron Man movies as the ending is so perfect.

I’ve seen trilogies crash and burn in disappointing third installments, I guess Iron Man was smart and got its disappointing installment over and done with.

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