Iron Man 3

iron man 3Released: 2013
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley

A brilliantly well done film – welcome to The Avengers Phase Two


The sun is out, the lawn is ready to be mowed and after a couple of films as a warm-up I think it’s safe to say that summer blockbuster season is open for business. Oblivion and Olympus Has Fallen both served as decent appetisers but it’s now time to get serious. We’re now in Avengers Phase Two and it’s kicked off in some style with the return of Tony Stark in Iron Man 3.

We’re now in a post-Avengers world and Tony Stark isn’t coping well. He is unable to sleep and is suffering flashbacks and panic attacks as a result of the events in New York and his almost fatal fall through the alien wormhole. He has become obsessed with creating new Iron Man suits and his relationship with Pepper Potts is starting to suffer as a result. A new terrorist threat to the US in the shape of Osama Bin Laden-a-like bad guy The Mandarin hits close to home and forces Tony back into superhero action.

I don’t really want to give too much of the storyline away, although a couple of the “twists” will come as no surprise whatsoever and are signposted within the first couple of minutes of the film.

Jon Favreau has handed over the director’s reins to Shane Black and the series really benefits from this. Black is probably best known for writing the first two Lethal Weapon films and has also co-written this film and has brought some of the same atmosphere to the Marvel universe. This film matches high octane action with some really snappy dialogue and a couple of fabulous laughs (intended and at exactly the right time).

Robert Downey Jr is fabulous as Stark, although four films in we would expect him to be good. Gwyneth Paltrow is also good as Pepper Potts who gets more to do than simply be the love interest and it’s also nice to see a bit more of Don Cheadle as Rhodes. Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin blows everyone away. He exudes menace in his videos to the nation where he promises to wreak havoc on the United States and he just gets better and better as the film goes on.

I really liked the concept of having Tony suffering negative side effects as a result of the fight at the end of Avengers Assemble. It added a bit of humanity to a genre which can often forget about character development or ignore previous experiences.  The Avengers aren’t totally forgotten, although their absence from this film is explained in one fairly unsatisfactory line. Terrorist threats are an American problem not a superhero one apparently.

Tony isn’t on his own though – he gains a kiddie sidekick. This could have gone horribly horribly wrong, thankfully due to some particularly barbed lines and a non-annoying performance by 11 year-old Ty Simpkins. Tony is also assisted in his fight by old pal James Rhodes in his War Machine/Iron Patriot suit. Stark and Rhodes might not be quite as classic a teaming as Riggs & Murtagh but there is some of the same spark there.

The action scenes – particularly the well trailed destruction of Tony’s Malibu mansion – are exceptionally well done. There’s plenty for adrenaline junkies to enjoy here and only a little sag in the middle of the film. The restrofitted 3D adds nothing to the film but nor does is it overly distracting.

The post-credits sequence – which you absolutely must stay to enjoy – is both funny and answers a nagging question I had throughout the film. It alone added half a mark to the film’s rating.

If, as rumoured, this is Robert Downey Jr’s final standalone Iron Man outing then it’s a fitting finale.

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