In The Avengers, Captain America insulted Tony Stark by calling him a "big man in a suit of armor." Then he asked, "Take that away---what are you?" Tony replies that he's a billionaire playboy philanthropist. I could argue that this one exchange is a sort of outline for Iron Man 3. And it turns out that Tony is so much more than that.
Thanks to my wonderful wife (who spotted a free preview on Facebook), I got to see the latest Marvel movie on Tuesday. And now that I've had a few days to mull things over, I have to say . . . I'm still not sure what I think.
The story starts with a flashback to Geneva, where Tony Stark is the old Tony Stark, the weapons dealing ladies' man. There he encounters a sexy biologist, a severely crippled researcher, and an exploding ficus. All of these will come back to haunt him. Then, several months after the attack on New York by Loki's forces. Tony Stark has tried to deal with his harsh memories by building new sets of armor. The latest is a prototype that can be summoned to him at a thought. Tony's trying desperately to hide the fact that his little trip through the wormhole has rattled him badly.
But he's about to be drawn into a massive plot involving the uber-terrorist the Mandarin. The Mandarin is trying to teach the President of the United States a lesson of some sort. When Happy, Tony Stark's bodyguard, is injured in one of those "lessons," Tony takes it personally and issues an open challenge to the Mandarin.
The Mandarin responds (and if you've seen the trailer, you know what he did). As a result, Tony is ripped from his world and is forced to improvise. Can he foil the Mandarin's plot? And how does Aldrich Killian fit into all of this?
Well, it was a fun ride. I was surprised at the amount of humor that was woven into the story. Parts of it were genuinely hilarious. And the plot was . . . interesting. At one point, I wondered how it all would tie together. Toward the end, it all became clear. Sort of. I think they skipped over some of the connecting tissue, so to speak.
But it was definitely a fun movie to watch. Ben Kingsley, especially, is awesome. And Robert Downey, Jr., is fantastic as Tony Stark. I keep wondering how much of these movies are made up on the spot. Downey's performance is spot on and excellent.
What's holding me up is more of a meta concern. Where are they going to go from here? In many ways, this movie seems like a dead end. But given how awesome Marvel's movies have been, I can't wait to see what Tony Stark does next.