So the Iron Man saga comes to close with the latest film... and will probably be rebooted at some point down the road, because Hollywood ain't got any original ideas. But does this finale leave the viewer wanting more?
Quick setup: The movie flashes back to 1999, opening with the song Blue (Da Ba Dee), because nothing says 1999 like bad europop music. This flashback serves to show that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hasn't changed much in 13 years, still the lovable jackass that he is, but also he managed to piss off a few people.
Back to present day, we discover Tony is suffering from anxiety--and this is where you need to be familiar with The Avengers movie, otherwise you'll wonder what's going on. Meanwhile, there are bombings going on, committed by the Mandarin--updated to be more of a middle eastern terrorist. When Tony's friend and former bodyguard gets caught in the blast of one of these bombs and falls into a coma, Tony publicly challenges the Mandarin by sharing his home address. And so, let the action commence!
Despite the trailers depicting a darker story (which I think they were trying to pull a "Dark Knight" feel), the movie isn't all that dark. Sure, there are dark moments, but there are plenty of laughs too.
As for the actual story, it's more about Tony getting over his anxiety and letting go of his obsession. The Iron Man suit becomes more of a crutch, a place where he can hide rather than face his "inner demons". We've got bad guys as well: semi-immortal human furnaces that can regrow limbs and recover easily from damage--a lot like T-1000 from Terminator 2.These super-human soldiers are employed by the Mandarin, and naturally, they cause much chaos.
There's also a really big twist, which I think is the highlight of the movie. So the sooner you see this movie, the less likely it is for someone to spoil it for you.
The pacing is rather sporadic, and almost too jarring. One minute we're in California, next we're in Tennessee (where people are so out of touch with the media, that no one has a clue what Tony Stark looks like), then onto Air Force One.
The ending is BIG. You've got the army of super-human soldiers facing off with an army of Iron Man suits, with the President and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) lives hanging in the balance.
This is where I have a rather large complaint, because the movie decides to turn Pepper Potts into super Pepper Potts, because the bad guy thought it'd be a good idea to infuse her with their magical scientific formula. And not only is she super, but she can fight! WTF? As much as I enjoy super-badass women, it has to make sense. Pepper is written to be a damsel in distress, not a fighter--so where the hell did she learn to kick ass? It's so out of character, it's ridiculous; which doesn't help the ending since it's already overblown.
It's probably not the best of the three Iron Man films, but it's still decent and fun. As always, Robert Downey Jr. totally owns the role of Tony Stark. Ben Kingsley is just awesome in this and quite frankly, a little underused. And of course, there's a cookie for those who are willing to sit through the credits.