Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ended. Now prepare for Phase Two.
And just like Phase One, Phase Two is beginning with an Iron Man film. Tony Stark (Roberto Downey Jr.) is back as the man in the suit and is faced with another enemy that plans to terrorise the US of A.
The story kicks off a year after Iron Man and his band of Avengers saved the world from an alien invasion. But it¡¯s a different Tony from the one we¡¯re used too. Clearly suffering from a post-traumatic hangover, Stark is less cocky, less self-invested, less, well Stark.
It can also be attributed to Stark¡¯s assistant-now-turned-lover Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow ¨C whose actually being given a big role this time around) becoming the centre of Stark¡¯s life. So why would he risk everything saving the world, if he were to lose the one he loves?
Which is exactly what The Mandarin (a Arabic invested, yet Chinese looking terrorist mastermind), played by a scene stealing Ben Kingsley, is looking to exploit as he reigns terror.
And that¡¯s when Stark acting as his regular self encourages The Mandarin to face him head on. It, of course, backfires on Stark.
Stranded with one un-advanced suit ¨C he is faced with the daunting question ¨C does the suit make the man or does man¡¯s actions define the suit?
The rest of the film is all about answering that question. Stark is pushed to the brink and left to pick it all up ¨C and its here that Downey Jr shines. The point of the film was to leave Stark ¨C a man who had everything ¨C with nothing left and make him find himself to save, not just his self-worth, but the girl and the world.
The film truly soars at this point, with polished direction from Shane Black. The action scenes are spectacularly met, as well the continual desire to show the true bones of Stark. A scene in which Air Force One is shot and people are flung out in mid-air forcing Stark to the rescue is crafted perfectly by Black.
His arrival has breathed new life in the series. Iron Man 2 was a mishmash of setting up the Avengers as well as giving Stark internal problems to deal with (IM2 featuring Stark having to figure another source of power to say alive). Basically, the film lacked and lagged the allure of the original.
Iron Man 3, springs up the oil and fires the series back up. The film is well supported by a strong list of characters, including Guy Pierce as the sly, shifty Aldrich Killian and Don Cheadle as War Machine, Stark¡¯s metal-man and partner in crime. However, Paltrow shows that she can do a me to bicker back to Stark¡¯s cockiness, and it¡¯s a lovely change from the previous two films.
Yet the film truly belongs to Downey Jr, who takes Stark to another level and Ben Kingsley ¨C a villain that the film¡¯s previous two films sorely missed. And of course Black, who knows a thing or two about crafting actions sequences and strong character stories on film (he did create Lethal Weapon)
And while it won¡¯t be the biggest or most talked about film of the year, it nevertheless it shows that the Phase Two is looking just as promising as the first. Next Up: Thor: Dark World