Shane Black is one of the screenwriting pioneers of the action genre.
Shane Black is one of the screenwriting pioneers of the action genre. Known for his ability to write snappy, witty action packed flicks such as Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Boy Scout, this is a man we could put our hope in, and attempt to forget about those responsible for the heinous crime of Iron Man 2.
Iron Man 3 is every inch a Shane Black film, from its hilarious framing narrative, to the buddy cop feel at times reminiscent of his earlier work in Lethal Weapon. In sum, Iron Man 3 has been delivered as a whip smart, affecting piece of blockbuster entertainment.
The screenplay sparkles with continually inventive drips of genius that flow effortlessly from Downey Jr.’s mouth who by this point, is very much the character of Tony Stark, at least in the great pop consciousness. Swag and confident verve lead into panicked anxiety, revealing a side to Stark never really seen before. On the face this can be reduced to an entertaining, fun film about awesome shiny robots flying and shooting blasts of light from their chests, but yet on a deeper level it’s about the sides of ourselves we show in public, and the sides we keep exclusive to ourselves, and the potential those different sides to ourselves have to change and inform the lives of others.
It’s refreshing to see Stark out of his suit for a significant amount of time, and when the Mandarin is at his peak of terror, Tony Stark is forced to rediscover his humility, examine himself closer, and as a result, it forces him to be the best Tony Stark he can be.
Gwyneth Paltrow gets a fair amount more to do this time around, and it’s a credit to her and Shane Black that she’s the most likeable she’s ever been, and I for one would enjoy her doing a bit more of the great acting she’s clearly capable of, as opposed to creating millionaire cookbooks that nobody can afford.
Here she takes on such a vital role. Pepper Potts has never wanted to be a part of the violence or risk or flying killing machinery, and that’s what makes her so crucial for Tony, and here Paltrow brings warmth and personality, instead of disappearing into the background as mere eye candy, or as a vehicle for Stark’s withering egotism.
Ben Kingsley is superb, bringing a real relish to his role as the Mandarin, a media savvy terrorist, and it appears Kingsley can play any ethnicity in the world. An amalgamation of different cultures, he takes iconography and twists it to his own end. With the samurai style hair, the beard reminiscent of Bin Laden, and the royal robe, he takes what he wants and subverts it to whatever purpose is necessary.
Both he and Guy Pearce, as a rival scientist to Stark, bring a real sense of impending threat, when their plan is fully revealed it brings the house down, further deepening our concern for Tony, as he continually attempts to fight them, and for the ones he loves while dealing with the natural anxiety that comes as a companion to brisk encounters with gods, aliens and wormholes experienced in Avengers Assemble.
It’s a success on many counts, Shane Black’s inclusion into the Marvel fold was an excellent decision, and it’s sure to pay off dividends in regards to box office takings. If Iron Man 1 was a great start in establishing this world surrounding Tony Stark, and Iron Man 2 was a dip in quality, Iron Man 3 is a wonderful end to the trilogy, pulling the franchise from the sneering indifference it threatened to drown in following the much aligned second entry.
Here’s hoping success for the rest of Marvel’s Phase 2, and a toast to the fact that witty, superlative comic book movies are the new Black.