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Iron Man 3 (2013) Theatrical Review

By May 01, 2013 11:17 AM EST
Mega-wealthy playboy philanthropist Tony Stark makes a welcome return to the big screen, for the third and possibly final Iron Man movie to star Robert Downey Jr. This movie kicks off the second phase of films set within the Marvel universe and is set shortly after the exploits of the Avengers in New York, which saw Iron Man et al beat off the alien attack from Loki and the Chitauri. 

Opening with a few scenes from the past, which fill in some missing details of Stark's background, we find presently Stark's trusted companion Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) still in charge of the day-to-day running of Stark Industries. Tony Stark, though, cannot get to grips with what happened in New York; he is haunted by sleepless nights that have turned him into an emotional and physical wreck. The plot, although not complicated, gets going when Stark's clifftop mansion is destroyed, in the course of which his body suit malfunctions, then crash lands in weather conditions he is hardly accustomed to. There, with the help of J.A.R.V.I.S. (Paul Bettany), and his newfound friend Harley (Ty Simpkins), a young boy who has not a clue who Tony Stark is but is in awe of Iron Man, he sets to work rebuilding the broken suit and working out who's behind the recent acts of terrorism that have been plaguing the world.

A nightmare from the past may be one thing, but as Stark finds out, there's nothing that can prepare you for the future: two of Iron Man's most notorious adversaries from comics. First we have The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley, in a delightful turn).  Kingsley's performance is really second to none in this movie; the one liners will have you creased up for days afterwards. I'd love to go into more detail of his role but it's just impossible without giving the game away, though I am sure when many diehard comic book fans get to see his role, they may feel a little let down.

The second is Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), a geneticist who develops a rather nasty virus "Extremis" that turns the body into a sort of body shaped magma; again the purists may complain, but both characters work well within the confines of this movie. Pearce seems to be building quite a résumé in the last few years and this will only enhance his reputation further. Don Cheadle also returns as James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, and this time gets his own suit, becoming Iron Patriot -- I guess you could say it's a lot like Iron Man, but with discipline.
Pulling all the strings, director Shane Black, who must have had arguably the most difficult job.  After all the praise Joss Whedon got for the Avengers, it was going to be hard for anyone to walk in those footsteps and repeat the success. Iron Man 3 is not an Avenger movie but that won't stop some people judging it so. Black should be applauded; not only did he do a decent job, but he took the Iron Man franchise, gave it a shake, and breathed new life into it. This is not just a great Iron Man film; it is the best Iron Man film to date.

Iron Man 3 has a great story from Black and Drew Pearce, some mindblowing effects as well as some good old laugh-out-loud humour that some movies these days could do with a bit more of. But if, like me, you walk away saying bring on #4, remember this may be the last time we see Robert Downey Jr in an Iron Man movie. The trouble is that will be a major problem for me, because I cannot see anyone else playing the role. 

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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 140 minutes
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures

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