3 Reasons Iron Man 3 is the Best of the Iron Man Movies

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3 Reasons Iron Man 3 is the Best of the Iron Man Movies

It’s been out for over a week now and my impression is that Iron Man 3 has gotten some mixed reactions. This is true at least for the people in my circles that I listen to. I initially had some concerns about this film. First, it had the unenviable task of being the first of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” movies to follow The Avengers. It also is a “part 3” and there is a stigma against those in general. But as production progressed, bits of news were released, and a very vocal sign off was given by Joss Whedon, I let go of my concern.

I know I’ll get grief for this, but in this blogger’s opinion, Iron Man 3 is the best of the Iron Man movies. That’s not to say the other two weren’t good. Quite the contrary. But for me, this was a more solid movie and here’s why:


1. It built on its history without relying on it or buckling under the pressure of it. This is a more overt dig at Iron Man 2 than the first movie as the first movie had nothing previous to build upon. Iron Man 2 was a good rewrite away from being a solid movie. But the need to begin peppering in (no pun intended) more Avengers references into the movie detracted from the film rather than add to it. Here, not only the events of The Avengers, but things from the previous two movies bring Tony and the supporting cast to where they are and help point them in a direction for where they go in this film. Nothing feels grafted on as an afterthought. The references to events in The Avengers or the guy with the big hammer don’t feel like throwaway lines, but rather paint a picture of what the world is like now.

2. The supporting cast actually, you know, supported. Again, this is more of a dig at Iron Man 2 but to some extent, the first one was guilty of this, too. While I loved his team up with Black Widow in Iron Man 2, John Favreau’s Happy Hogan character helped advance the plot more in this than he did in the previous two films. Pepper seemed more justly frustrated with Tony in this film than in Iron Man 2. And James Rhodes finally seems like a guy I could see being friends with Tony. He comes across as a jerk in Iron Man 2 and isn’t given much in the way of character development in Iron Man 1. Even more impressive perhaps was the new supporting cast. From the kid character of Harley to the super-fan Gary, there is a fun interaction between Tony and these people that isn’t just there to be a vehicle for laughs, but also helps advance the plot and show us something about Tony at the same time.

3. Finally, a villain worth giving Tony some trouble. Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger was a good first villain and did it’s part to give us the Iron Man action we were wanting to see. But on subsequent viewings, the first movie sort of dies for me at the big final action sequence. And there is something a little disappointing about seeing him face off against a version of himself. With Iron Man 2, I was looking forward to a better villain situation but instead Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash and Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer was just Tony Stark split into two (Hammer with the swarmy charisma and Rourke with the tech know-how). Whiplash’s plan to destroy Stark seemed ill-conceived and more like a suicide plan initially. Only out of sheer luck, did he have a second chance to try again.

Iron Man 3’s villain situation finally moves away from armor and robots and into super powers. And with the previous movies in the Avengers series, a super-powered villain and set of henchman feels like it could fit where it might not have before. And the entirely villain cast line up is great. Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley are delights to watch. Even 24‘s James Badge Dale was a great henchman. And while I saw the twist coming, I thought it was a great plot device and fit the movie perfectly even if it went against what was in the comics.

3.5. Great music. Hey, one more quick reason just for good measure. No slight to the scores of the previous Iron Man movies intended, but Brian Tyler’s score was excellent. The end credit main titles were a blast to watch especially with that peppy 70s sounding music.

Okay…so you’ve seen it. Tell me how I’m wrong. Or do you agree and think this was the best of the three films?

By | 2017-03-17T00:42:03+00:00 May 13th, 2013|Categories: Article|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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  1. Aaron N. February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Good call on the Gary stuff. I honestly forgot all that happened.

    And I agree. I'll definitely be watching it again and knowing what happens might let me enjoy it a bit more.

  2. CT February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. Let me jump in and respond to a few of the things brought up.

    Aaron, you make a good point that my items seemed aimed (no pun intended) at Iron Man 2 more than 1. That certainly is the case, but something I did mean to mention about the "history" aspect in regards to the first movie is that with 3, we didn't have to get through the origin story of Iron Man. He already was Iron Man in three previous movies. While there was nothing wrong with the origin story or even doing one, the potentially great thing about a sequel is that you can jump into a cool super hero adventure a lot quicker.

    All that said, your last paragraph in your second comment does mention that Tony's arc is stronger in 1, and I wouldn't disagree with that. Iron Man 1 is a strong movie. Ask me a different day, I may think it is the best of the Iron Man movies.

    And let me just speak up for Gary real quick … Gary shows us the impact that Tony Stark has had on society. The fact that Gary had the Stark haircut and facial hair and was a big Stark fanboy showed us one more way that Tony has changed and impacted society. He's become an inspiration to people that when he needs to call on the common folk for help, they rise to the occasion and do what needs doing. In a sense, it's what I liked about the rescue scene with the people sucked out of the plane. Absurd? Yeah, probably. But I didn't care. Heroes get the job done and that's what I wanted to see.

    And you're right, Yinsen is an excellent supporting character. Perhaps the best of the entire Avengers franchise ranking right up there with Stanley Tucci's Dr. Erskine from Captain America.

    To wrap up these incoherent comments, I'm with Pax and Jeeg on the whole needing to see it again thing. And I wonder if subsequent viewings will cause people who didn't like it as much to like it better, and vice versa. Without seeing again, Robert seems to be flipping on it. This is a movie that sticks with you a little bit. It's all a matter of whether or not you dig the burps this movie gives you in its after taste. #doesthatmakesense?

  3. Jeeg February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Aaron and I must have been sharing a brain when we watched this. I enjoyed Iron Man 3 and it is definitely better than the second installment, but the first film is clearly the most complete. I think the bones of IM3 are good, but the story could have used some honing.

    Personally I'll be curious what people think after some time and additional viewings. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't help but think about The Avengers and its sheer awesomeness as I watched this.

  4. Robert February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    All great points!

    Whereas I initially thought Iron Man was great and still do and thought Iron Man 2 was great and now do not, IM3 sort of let me down a little bit but I'm realizing that I really enjoyed it. You're absolutely right about your "this is what the world is like" now comment. This movie really felt like a natural extension/progression. I'm still not too keen on Pepper and some of the stuff they did with her was a bit annoying (c'mon, did anyone really think she died?) but Don Cheadle was great here. Guy Pearce was great but he's great in everything.

  5. Paxton February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    SHIELD was mentioned once during the scene where Tony is looking at the 3D map of fire signatures. Before he decides to go to Tennessee.

    Pretty much agree with CT. Guy Pearce was awesome as usual. James Badge Dale was a surprise. I actually thought it was Luke Goss for half the movie.

    I loved that it was more a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man vs adversary movie. The remote controlled autonomous armors were pretty awesome. I loved that we actually see Tony meet Yinsen at the Bern conference calling back to a dropped line from the first movie. Excellent call back.

    I too liked the Mandarin reveal (didn't see it coming) even if it went against the comics. Seems this is the big point of contention for people.

    I don't like that they killed Killian. I wanted him to stick around. I think Tony needs an anti-Tony as an adversary. He needs a Blofeld, if you will. Pearce could have been it.

    Excellent movie. I need to see it again. My wife actually said she liked it better than Avengers.


  6. Aaron Nix February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    And I'm sorry, but those end credits were annoying and I really didn't like them. The credits in IM1 were absolutely amazing and there was nothing more satisfying than Black Sabbath's Iron Man playing at the end.

    But overall I think Tony's story in 1 is the best story. It being an origin story, it was by far his biggest transformation, going from Tony in all his glory making military weapons to having a reality check and becoming a compassionate humanitarian. In 2 it was all about Tony dying and trying to find a cure. And 3 was all about his PTSD after The Avengers and him getting over that. Neither 2 nor 3 had what I would consider a “feature length plot” for Tony. If anything they would have been better suited in a short format (such as a comic book, go figure.)

  7. Aaron Nix February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Hey CT. You know my thoughts on IM3 and how I feel about it. But I thought this post was interesting.
    It's hard to debate your points because I mostly agree. I agree that IM3 built on its history well without relying on The Avengers or SHIELD. In fact, SHIELD wasn't mentioned once was it? I thought that was a tad strange considering there was a serious terrorist threats from superhumans.

    And yes, the supporting cast was good. And yes, I thought Guy Pearce's villain was a natural step up from the other villains seeing how there are now gods and aliens in the Marvel Universe. Why not take Iron Man a little more fantastical?
    But it seems all of your points are aimed toward IM2 and not so much IM1 as you state several times. IM1 didn't have a history to rely on so your first point has no relevance to the first film at all.

    I never was a fan of all the SHIELD action in IM2 and I agree Rhodes was more of a blockade for Iron Man than a friend. At least until the end. But I actually thought Happy Hogan was a lot more useful in IM2. In IM3 he starts out great but obviously is taken out of the movie rather soon. Black Widow was nothing more than eye candy in IM2. What does she have, three lines and a couple kicks? And yes, Rhodes definitely is more Tony's friend in IM3 than in either 1 or 2. But I thought that was a realistic arc for him. In 1 he's friends but then Tony betrays him. In 2 He's slightly bitter toward Tony and wants the technology. And then in 3 he has the technology and doesn't really have any beef with Tony anymore. So I'll agree that Rhodes is a fun character in 3, but that doesn't mean his character is any less significant in the other two. As far as Harley and Gary in 3, I thought Harley obviously served a purpose and made for a few laughs, but as you heard me say, they missed a real golden opportunity to expand on that story and Tony's comeback was disjointed and impersonal. I had to think for a moment who Gary was. Was he really anything other than a few laughs?

    I thought Yinsen, the dude Tony teams up with in the cave in 1 really helped Tony come to grips with what he had to do to escape and value his life especially after sacrificing himself. I think he might be my favorite supporting cast member and really did more for Tony’s character than most everyone.

    And although I enjoyed Tony and his thousand whatever Iron Man drones having a formidable foe with the Extremis people, I still thought Jeff Bridges as Obadiah was the most personal villain for Tony and had the best build up between the two. Obadiah has a much longer history with Tony than any of the other villains. Tony and him are friends and co-workers for most of the film and gives good subtext to Obadiah's jealousy and bitterness toward the wonderkid and backstory to Tony’s relationship with his father. Although I thought Guy Pearce did a fantastic job, his motivation is still a little "out there." A madman who is disturbed because Tony stood him up in 1999? I enjoyed Pearce's history with Pepper but there was little history between Pearce and Tony. In fact, they never really even see each other until the end. But in IM1 we can sense Obadiah's bitterness build throughout the entire movie and his payoff was more satisfying. Yeah Iron Monger's final action scene was a tad lackluster but I still loved Jeff Bridges. And you're absolutely spot on about Justin Hammer and Whiplash. Those two just felt like bumbling idiots the entire time.

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