Is it me or does the entire premise of this film rip off 'Batman Forever'?. Think back to that 1995 Schumacher film when 'Edward Nygma' approaches 'Bruce Wayne' asking him to check out his new invention, but 'Wayne' denies him. 'Nygma' then goes off filled with hatred for 'Wayne', reinvents himself as 'The Riddler' and becomes his arch nemesis.
Now look at the start of this film. 'Killian' approaches 'Stark' about his new company, 'Stark' denies him, so off he goes filled with vengeance, recreates himself as a nemesis to 'Stark' and the Iron Man hero, using his company alongside a new experiment. Notice any similarities here?.
I'm no Iron Man fanboy, I don't know all about the Iron Man lore, but that still doesn't detract from the fact they really fudged up 'The Mandarin'. The whole setup for this guy is really well done, it really is. We see lots of news footage, stock footage, hand held camera footage of the character as it buzzes around various TV stations. Its all been created in the same vain as reality, obviously in recent years with Osama Bin Laden and various other terrorist propaganda, what you would (and still do) see every night on the news. Footage of him with his extremists, firing guns, preaching, making statements etc...
'The Mandarin' is envisioned just like this and it all looks very realistic, threatening and intimidating, Black and his team really do make this villain look good, like he's really gonna be a hard underground nut to crack for 'Stark'. But then out of nowhere the whole setup is thrown out the window because the character is fake, a front, a big setup created by 'Killian' to cover himself and his experiments. Neat twist? yes, very much so...good idea? no definitely not, not for a franchise like this. A franchise where a villain like 'The Mandarin' is very popular and people wanna see 'The Mandarin', not a puppet creation.
A film like this hinges on its villain, usually the villain makes the film. In this case they made a great looking villain with Kingsley (despite his rather odd drawl) but they threw it away. Plus you also gotta ask yourself who would actually agree to act or play a villain to cover someone else? surely common sense would dictate that you're only gonna cause a lot of trouble for yourself? even if you didn't actually do any of the things you claim, you're still gonna be in the shit for being involved with terrorism. Just doesn't make any real sense to me.
Must admit I liked Kingsley's little performance in the reveal sequence, a kind of typical drunk, drugged up British hippie, but it just made a mockery of the whole film. Makes you feel you're watching a spoof not a serious adaptation.
Nice little touches of humour throughout as we have come to expect from this franchise and Downey. The small team up with the little kid isn't as cheesy as it sounds and offers some nice dialog, although one sequence seems to be pretty similar to a certain John Candy/Macaulay Culkin film from many moons ago.
On the whole the film is really quite average in my opinion. I didn't think that much of the whole 'Extremis' idea and the way characters looked when they went all ballistic. The visuals and ideas kinda looked like something from a hammy sci-fi flick to me, it all felt a bit 'X-Men-ish', a franchise I never liked. I still don't really get how this regenerative power causes people to have such extreme heat power, its suppose to help them heal no? so why the heat?. Plus I really don't see how 'Stark' manages to kill most of them when they can regenerate so easily, when 'Savin' is killed, why couldn't he regenerate from it?. The Extremis soldiers seemed so much more powerful, they could easily take down Iron Man suits as shown by 'Pepper Potts'.
The finale is on impressive scale but messy really. Lots of Iron Man suits flying all over the place, difficult to make out what exactly is going on, Extremis henchmen/women leaping all over the shop. It all sounds cool and the idea is cool but like some other superhero comicbook flicks it becomes a fast blur of CGI, an incoherent, badly lit, chaotic brawl between metal suits and CGI people. Plus I gotta ask, why didn't 'Stark' just utilize all his Iron Man suits together originally? before 'Jarvis' went offline, and why does 'Stark' keep running around without his suit?! just stay in it you fool!.
I must say I'm disappointed with this trilogy bookend. The first film was superb, the second (in my opinion) was clearly not as good as the first but still a solid action film. This third entry has lost me completely with bad plot decisions and untidy action sequences (something which the made the first so good, it was very clear without excess CGI mess).
So the question is...was this all just narration, a therapy session for 'Stark' to get some previous history of his chest with 'Banner'? or is that it? no more Iron Man films and no Iron Man for 'Avengers 2'?.