Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)

Revengers assemble: Robert Downey Jr stars in Iron Man 3 - and this time Stark is out for revenge against the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley.

Marvel is in high demand. After the huge success of last year’s Avengers Assemble, not to mention the other entries in the ever growing franchise, one of the comic’s biggest heroes returns for another outing in Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3.

With a precedent already set in Iron Mans 1 and 2, as well as the aforementioned Avengers Assemble, audiences will know what to expect from the self proclaimed genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. What Black does is play with these preconceived notions; it feels as if the writing team behind Iron Man’s third solitary offering got together and brainstormed just how the events of Avengers Assemble would affect Stark.

It’s an interesting concept to base the film on. Whilst Robert Downey Jr.‘s Stark battles uncharacteristic panic attacks we also get a glimpse into his past. As we travel back in time, with the aid of Eiffel 65’s Blue, we’re introduced to Guy Pearce‘s Aldrich Killian and some fiery biological developments that provide the crux of the rest of the film. Stark narrates intermittently throughout (tying neatly with the added scene after the credits roll) and we’re treated to a more personal story than has come before.

Thanks to his experiences in New York in Avengers Assemble Stark has trouble sleeping. As a consequence he’s built what seems to be an army of Iron Man suits and a distance grows between himself and long term love Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Things hit fever pitch when the imposing Mandarin, played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley and infused with terrorist connotations, begins to wreak havoc. In an act of impassioned PR, Stark reveals the location of his home in attempt to seek revenge and as a result sees his home destroyed. Can he protect what matters most to him? You’ll have to watch to find out.

For a film about Iron Man, the suit features remarkably little (something that is made up for in the film’s finalé). This said, the film is undoubtedly an Iron Man movie; Stark’s steady stream of quips and insults are present and correct, all to the delight of the audience. The people behind Iron Man 3 generally manage to strike a balance between some genuinely funny moments and the more introspective glimpses of the vulnerabilities felt by Stark stripped of his suit. Kinglsey steals the show in one defining scene; some will love it, others will hate it – whatever side of the fence you sit on, it’s definitely not what you will be expecting.

As is to be expected with a film of this magnitude the action pieces are almost second to none; they’re executed well and are, at times, awe-inspiring. There are, however, flaws. Sometimes the pacing’s a little off and a few continuity errors abound.

Relationships are tested throughout whilst the film provides a sense of finality… what does Marvel have in store for Iron Man? Only time will tell. It may not be a perfect addition to the franchise but Iron Man 3 does what it says on the tin.

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