The third instalment of the Iron Man franchise has hit the big screen this time with writer/director Shane Black at the helm.
Most of you will know Black’s work from the Lethal Weapon series of films or perhaps his previous team-up with Robert Downey Jr, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a very underrated movie.
I should say, before I start, that I’m reviewing the movie here. I know very little about the original Marvel series. I do know there is actually a Mandarin character who has some kind of special power which I think is to do with the rings he wears, maybe? Anyway, there’s a lot of talk about the Mandarin and his Marvel origins elsewhere.
The movie can be summed up very quickly by saying it’s not as good as the first one, but probably better than the second. That’s not to say it’s a bad film (or that the second one was particularly bad), not at all. Black has done amazingly well to keep a movie franchise like this well and truly alive. You may just think deja-vu at some points…
Iron Man 3 sees Downey Jr face off against The Mandarin, a mysterious overlord who keeps hacking into the TV networks to broadcast messages warning the US President about attacks.
These attacks come in the form of bombs that explode with a vicious heat but yet leave no clues as to the type of weapon used, no traces remain, just shadows were people used to be.
The smugness factor is turned up a notch for round 3 with Downey at smug-level 4 throughout, even Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau have higher smug levels than previously.
Laughs come, as usual, from the smart aleck, dry wit of Downey with Favreau adding the bumbling element for good measure. In truth this is a Downey film, probably more so than the previous two though it might just feel that way.
Gwyneth Paltrow is back as Pepper Pots but this time she’s a lot more feisty and actually gets to kick some ass herself and, if I may say, she does a mighty good job of it too.
Guy Pearce appears as an inventor, although you really have to look twice when he first arrives on screen. He’s wearing so much prosthetics that I actually thought it was Val Kilmer at first! Pearce is self-assured throughout the movie and shows he’s no slouch when it comes to playing the bad guy.
And so, finally, we come to The Mandarin. I can’t, and won’t, go into too much detail about the character as it would give far too much away. However I will say that Ben Kingsley, not someone I’m usually a fan of, is simply brilliant in the role. Let’s just say I may have lied earlier when I said laughs come from Downey Jr and Favreau.
Black, Downey and Fareau have done well to ring a third instalment of the Iron Man series, even referencing the Avengers movie too, just to give some context. We’ll next see Iron Man in Avengers 2 and as for the question of an Iron Man 4? I wouldn’t be against it, but there was three years between 2 and 3 so don’t bank on it being anytime soon.
One last thing, really don’t hang around for the bit after the credits, it’s honestly not worth the wait!