Iron Man 3 - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
HAVING previously united to winning effect on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black team up again to give the Iron Man franchise a new lease of life.
By no means perfect, Iron Man 3 nevertheless has fun toying with genre convention while delivering on the expected spectacle.
It’s cleverly written, too, and armed with a couple of neat surprises that more than compensate for some of its shortcomings.
Picking up after the events of Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie, this finds Tony Stark (Downey Jr) still traumatised and struggling to come to terms with the near-death experience that closed that movie.
He’s also the target of a terrorist, The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley), who also has the whole of the US in his sights, and has hit another bump in his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Black’s screenplay, co-written with Drew Pearce, is often so brimming with ideas that it doesn’t always manage to pay lip service to all of them. But it’s never less than engaging in spite of this.
Aside from Stark’s personal angst, there’s genetic enhancements, terrorism as a media tool and daddy issues to contend with, not to mention plenty of genre subversion which sees Black often poking fun at superhero convention.
Hence, when it’s cool Iron Man 3 is really, really cool whether in the delivery of several slick action set pieces or in the banter between various characters.
Downey Jr also grows in the role too, grasping the opportunity to explore a darker, more vulnerable side than had previously been allowed.
It’s just a shame that not everything is perfect. Some characters feel under-used (such as Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes and Rebecca Hall’s Maya Hansen), while a precocious kid (Ty Simpkins) is still precocious even though he still gets on the receiving end of several delicious Stark put-downs.
The climax, too, suffers by comparison to Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise in that it doesn’t quite have the guts to pull off a real shock.
But taken on its own terms, Iron Man 3 hits a lot more than it misses and is still a fun ride. In addition to the plus points already noted, there’s great support from Kingsley and Guy Pearce, and an overall sense of energy that’s difficult not to be swept along by.
Running time: 130mins
UK Release Date: April 25, 2013
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