Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley
Written by: Shane Black, Drew Pearce, (based on the comic book by) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby
Running Time: 130 mins
Release date: 24th April 2013
Marvel’s Iron Man 3 has a lot to live up to. After a superb start and a rather flat sequel, then being given a massive boost by the brilliance of Joss Wheldon in The Avengers, would three do the business? Or put the creation to rest once and for all? Happily I can tell you that all is well in Iron Man’s camp, as three is an absolute, pitch perfect blast from start to finish.
Tony Stark is troubled. Having sleepness nights and panic attacks over the events in New York and the worm hole (see The Avengers) while still desperately toying with a new and improved Iron Man suit, he is oblivious of the dangers in the outside world: a mad terrorist calling himself, The Mandarin, is holding the United States almost to hostage with his acts violence. When such an act comes pretty close to home, Stark challenges the Mandarin to come to his door, which he does, helicopter gunships and all, destroying his cliff-side abode. Believing that Iron Man is dead, Stark finds himself investigating the acts of terror and finding that a one night stand might have the answer and an experiment known only as Extremis. Stark must deal with the situation, with or without his famous metal suit.
The one thing you notice about Iron Man 3 is the laughter factor has been leveled way up. It could have been very easy for the series to go all dark and broody, in a Dark knight fashion like the trailers have given the impression. How wrong could they be. This is hilariously funny. Even though most of the film Stark is left to defend himself without his red and gold outfit, seeking the truth behind the crimes, it’s the perfect formula for comedy, with some delicious comic moments. Co-writer and director Shane Black, who was the man behind the original Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout, knows how to mix comedy with action and only having directed only once before (with the massively underrated Robert Downey Jr starrer Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) he might have seemed the strangest choice to helm such an big and eagerly anticipated film. It was the right decision.
All of Black’s usual traits are here: Christmas time setting, voice over narration, even a small buddy buddy movie thrown in as Stark befriends a young boy who gives as good as he gets. Then there’s the set pieces and they are spectacular. The destruction of Stark’s home is a treat for both ear and eye as we are thrown literally in the heart of the action. The fight to survive a rather hot-headed woman is also well executed as is the massive finale. it would be quite easy for me to sit here and give you spoiler after spoiler but I won’t because half the fun of the film is the amount of unexpected turns it makes, one huge one could be the biggest talking point of this year’s cinema.
Once again, Downey Jr is in complete control. Stark is a character we really shouldn’t like: arrogant, opinionated, egotistical, even misogynistic at times and yet RDJ makes him extremely likeable. Having played the billionaire genius four times, he slips into the role like a comfortable suit and it would be very hard to imagine anyone else being that charming and funny. He commands every scene he is in and he’s the kind of actor who you could never get bored watching. Gwyneth Paltrow, who has always been a second fiddle in these films (although the banter between her and Downey Jr are always a joy) is given a bigger slice this time and it’s her character of Pepper Potts that has some of the biggest plot surprises.
The other big scene stealer here is Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin. A villain that is so manipulative, so evil, that you will be astonished to see what happens. It’s a masterstroke of casting and one of the best creations ever. That’s all I’m going to say.
Iron Man 3 is an total romp. A loud, big, explosive, funny blockbuster that ticks all the right boxes and it the perfect start to the Summer season at the cinema. Although not as good as The Avengers, it’s a massive step forward from number 2 and I might even say, the best of the series yet. I haven’t laughed so hard at an action movie in ages. The 3D, once again, seems pointless and doesn’t enhance the enjoyment of the film so don’t be too bothered to push yourself to see it in that format. In fact, go for 2D, as it’s always better. Also, don’t leave until the credits have finished as we get another juice little scene right at the end.
Having watched it at a midnight screening in a very hot and sticky Imax cinema, I am now excited for the future Marvel production (Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Gaurdians Of The Galaxy and, of course, Avengers 2). Until then, rush to see this cracker. Even if you are not a fan of superhero movies, give it a try. It’s not dark or moody but a joyous piece of entertainment.