Review - Iron Man 3

Roll up! Roll up! The summer blockbuster season has begun!

Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark in a solid start to Marvel's Phase Two. After the success of Avengers Assemble, Marvel Studios have made the right move in kickstarting Phase Two with a third solo outing for Iron Man. 

Just as well after the rather disappointing Iron Man 2 back in 2010. Where Iron Man 2 tried to be too dark, Iron Man 3 brings back the lighter side and ends up being rather funny. Downey Jr. was a revelation in the first film and he is back on form here. 

This time round he has a decent script to work with. Drew Pearce is on scriptwriting duties along with Shane Black, who also had the job of directing. Black has showcased his talents in scriptwriting before with impressive efforts such as Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight

Black's only previous directorial effort was back in 2005 with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a film also starring Robert Downey Jr.. With Black penning the script and behind the camera to direct Downey Jr. in a performance that put him back on the map in Hollywood, there really was no surprise that the same formula worked again, this time on a much bigger budget.

After the events of Avengers Assemble we find Tony Stark struggling with anxiety attacks triggered by the battle with an alien race in New York. On top of this, Stark is obsessed with building more Iron Man suits, putting strain on his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). 

With all his personal issues in mind, Stark's attentions are also turned to a dangerous terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who has carried out a number of attacks on American soil. One of these attacks puts a close friend of Stark in a coma and this is when the film starts to pick up the pace.

A very public threat is issued by Stark who also announces his home address to The Mandarin, not the wisest of ideas. Especially when the bad guys come knocking not long after. In the first big action set-piece, Stark's luxury Malibu home is spectacularly laid to waste by helicopters, and it does not disappoint. 

It is not only the mass destruction on screen that will have audiences on the edge of their seat as this is the first point in the film we see Stark (and others) suit up in the Iron Man armour to fight the bad guys. We get a glimpse of Stark's latest armour in action as well, which turns out to be pretty nifty indeed.

The result of the attack leaves Stark stranded in rural Tennessee with just his latest armour in tow. He comes across a child called Harley (Ty Simpkins), who agrees to help him fix his armour and locate The Mandarin. It is at this point in the film we get to see Stark at his most vulnerable as he is still suffering from anxiety attacks and does not have the ability to call on his armour when in need.

The scenes that Downey Jr. shares with Simpkins provide many laughs and did remind me a little of the partnerships that Shane Black created in his scripts for Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout

I am not going to say too much more about the story as there are a few surprises along the way. The main surprise is one that I did not see coming at all and is to do with The Mandarin, a role that Ben Kingsley looks like he had a lot of fun playing. 

Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle return to the cast as Pepper Potts and Colonel James Rhodes, both given meatier roles this time out. Paltrow is especially given the chance to shine in the action side of things and also gets a few of the funnier lines of the film.

Along with the old characters come new characters to the franchise. Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall are the welcome additions in this case as Aldrich Killian and Dr Maya Hansen, both of whom have been let down by Stark in the past. 

They cross paths again with Stark and all events lead to a big finale set on an oil tanker. 

I felt that the script was the strongest aspect of the film, with some of the actions set-pieces coming across a little messy, which may be an indication to Black's lack of experience as a director. Not to say they were not impressive though, especially a mid-air rescue sequence after Air Force One has been blown out of the sky.

I went to see the film in IMAX 3D and would have to recommend it for the bigger picture and better sound quality, though I don't think the 3D adds too much to the picture. 

All in all I think Marvel have produced another solid entry into their cinematic universe and with Thor: The Dark World set to hit our screens in October, the ball is well and truly rolling for the lead up to The Avengers 2 in 2015.

Verdict: 4/5

Also, just take a listen to the below. How can a film with this in its soundtrack not be cool?


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