The formula for a successful series of movies is pretty simple: the first movie is unique and captures the audience while introducing the characters; the second movie tries to recapture the magic of the first movie but amp up the stakes and let you explore the world the character inhabits; and a successful third movie should take what you know about your characters and take it in a new direction. The third movie usually involves bringing in new character, often generationally different from our main character. Think of Sean Connery in the Indy series or Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon. If you have built up you character in the first two movie then you have to find some way to break that invulnerability. This usually means taking away the thing that made the character special in the first place or setting them up against an evil version of themselves. Think Spider-Man 3 or Superman III. Often this is where some character flaw is revealed and becomes a hook for the movie.With all that, Iron Man follows the formula to the letter. But that is not a bad thing. This is a really good movie. I’ve been avoiding trailers for the last month (unsuccessfully) and was happy to learn that the trailers do not spoil the plot. The plot is not perfect. There are some glaring holes. For example, how does a guy who does not know his own social security number walk into Home Depot and buy anything. Are are we to think that he walks around his house with a wad of hundreds in his pockets?
I did not bother with the 3-D for this movie because of the timing of the showings. My understanding is that this movie was not shot in 3-D but just processed. Visually the movie had a lot going on and my have suffered with 3-D which tends to darken up the already dark scenes. There were multiple suits that I would have liked to have seen featured more clearly.
I think this movie is a good capstone to the trilogy which isn’t really a trilogy if you consider The Avengers. The movie ends after the credits with a little tease with another Avenger and a promise: “Tony Stark will return”.