Entertaining, but disappointing.
The good: Ben Kingsley’s performance as The Mandarin, Robert Downey Jr. was brilliant as always, Guy Pearce and James Badge Dale were very good in the villain roles. The effects were good and the climactic battle scene was outstanding.
The bad: the tone of the movie is different than the rest – it has this 1980’s action comedy Lethal Weapon feel to it instead of a straight up superhero movie like the first two. In other words, instead of injecting periodic humor into it to lighten the mood and show that it isn’t taking itself too seriously like the first two, they spend the whole movie yukking it up and winking at the camera with tongue firmly in cheek which makes it almost campy. They turned Tony Stark into a gun toting killer, which goes against the spirit of the character as depicted in the first two movies. The filmmakers in general don’t seem to know much about the character or comic book. They use elements from the comic books, but they are so watered/dumbed down that they are barely recognizable and present in name only. Their take on The Mandarin was surprising, inventive and infuriating all at the same time. The filmmakers also seem to have a cursory knowledge of the first two films. The Arc Reactor, as the power source for Tony’s armor, is a central theme in the first two and is completely forgotten in this movie. In its place the filmmakers opt for a nonsensical electrical power source. Why?
The bottom line is this: if you remove Tony Stark and the armor from the film, it is basically a Lethal Weapon remake. Okay, fine, you caught me. I really didn’t like this movie, but I’m going to give it a 7 out of 10 anyway. It’s worth watching once and then bitterly complaining to your friends about it and the stupefying choices made by the filmmakers.
7 out of 10