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Iron Man 3 Poster

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Reviewer: Luke Walkley

Directed by: Shane Black

Stars: Robert Downey Jr. Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow

Released: 25th April 2013 (UK)

3rd May 2013 (US)

After the heroics of the Avengers in New York, Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) has settled down to life with Pepper Potts (Paltrow) However when an explosion leaves his friend, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) in a coma, Stark seeks revenge on The Mandarin (Kingsley) the man claiming responsibility for a series of similar attacks.

Following The Avengers was always going to be a difficult task, currently the third highest grossing film of all time and arguably, Marvel’s best instalment set the benchmark and the task fell to Iron Man and it’s egotistical lead man, Tony Stark.

With Director Shane Black taking over from Jon Favreau at the helm for the third instalment, it was perhaps easiest to compare it to Downey Jr and Black’s previous collaboration, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Except this time, there’s a lot more bang and far more men in iron suits.

Iron Man’s style has always been action laced with one liners and this outing is no different. We enjoy a strong opening sequence, the scene is set within the first ten minutes, voiced by Stark and combining an interesting choice of music with his typical god persona. As we progress through the film it slowly becomes clear that this is Iron Man’s strongest outing and, with a mix of interesting plot twists, especially those that turn the comic book stories on their head and a strong group of characters such as Kingsley’s Mandarin and Pearce’s Killian, an old friend of Pepper’s and one of the many victims of Stark’s ego in the past. While the inclusion of the Extremis technology, created the possibility for a number of well shot, no holds barred action scenes.

Without giving away anything from the plot, there are some fantastic twists, unexpected and beautifully delivered by the cast. Kingsley in particular stands out as The Mandarin and Stark’s panic attacks create a far more vulnerable side, really only seen in the latter stages of The Avengers. The supporting cast of previous films step up, Pepper Potts has a far more important role to play and while her story-arc is somewhat predictable it’s still a strong performance from Paltrow. Pearce on the otherhand, is a somewhat clichéd and typical character of action films of years gone by, just with a few surprises up his sleeve.

However for all the positives, there are a few chinks in it’s otherwise shiny armour.The sentimental moments in the film are never allowed to linger too long, while some may see this as a positive, they are constantly broken up by a witty remark, limiting the emotional connection with the characters. The film feels slightly too long but this is explained by the plot twists. It’s certainly an unusual experience being led down the garden path by a man in an Iron Man suit, but it’s certainly an unexpected series of events that follows and effectively make up for what at first impression appeared to be a lagging storyline.

I apologise for the lack of information, it’s rare that a comic book film offers a twist that gives away so much of the plot. However, with a number of show-stopping scenes, clever CGI and memorable moments. Iron Man 3 is certainly the strongest in the series and an unexpected plot twist creates a far more rounded story than previous films. With rumours sating this could be Iron Man’s final outing in his own right, it could prove to be a fitting swansong.