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Iron Man 3
Genre Action
 
Review:

Iron Man surpassed expectations, while Iron Man 2 hovered below them. Just when we thought the Iron Man saga needed a bit of oil, The Avengers knocked any signs of rust off the rocket-powered Tin Man with Robert Downey Jr. stealing the show once again (with the Hulk's permission). So the excitement around the May Day release of Iron Man 3 has been building and with Robert Downey Jr. starring, what could possibly go wrong?

Iron Man 3 fuses a number of Iron Man comic book storylines together to create a plot in which Tony Stark is forced to rely on Tony Stark and less on Iron Man. After a moment of sheer arrogance almost destroys the gifted billionaire's empire, Stark's forced to rely on his wits and intellect to gather momentum against the machinations of a terrorist order led by a tyrant known as the Mandarin.

In Iron Man 3, Stark has shyed away from the public to focus on his work and Pepper, leaving less time for rock stardom and AC/DC. The biggest change must surely be that Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director, Jon Favreau, has made way for a comeback from renowned Lethal Weapon and Last Boy Scout screenwriter, Shane Black. It's a surprising but welcome move. Black brings his chemistry from directing the unpredictable Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang with a wealth of buddy action movie experience. There appears to be no bad blood, as Jon Favreau made himself available to advise Black on the Iron Man universe, whilst reprising an integral role as Happy Hogan.

Robert Downey Jr. is back to his usual tricks as Tony Stark, toying around with his new Iron Man suits, while wielding his massive ego. Gwyneth Paltrow finally gets an actual role as Pepper Potts and Don "War Machine" Cheadle is back as James Rhodes. The new supporting cast includes: Rebecca Hall, who could be Gwyneth Paltrow's sister, Guy Pearce - an underrated actor who deserves more cult credit and Sir Ben Kingsley in a sinister role as The Mandarin.

From bringing the Iron Man suits to life to simulating the annihilation of Stark's mansion, the visual effects are literally a character in Iron Man 3. Shane Black uses CGI extensively, yet there's a good balance of real vs. unreal to keep the environment within reach. Add the third dimension and you've got a truly immersive experience that pushes the boundaries of what's possible with an array of complex characters played by actors who are able to anchor the reality of the Iron Man universe.

This sequel is an extension of Tony Stark's personality... it's charming, entertaining, funny, surprising and somewhat unpredictable. Fortunately or unfortunately, it's not as smart as him. The emphasis is on entertainment, the good ole popcorn blockbuster kind. Thanks to lightning pacing and regular laughs, you only really get a chance to assess the size of some of the plot holes after the explosive 130 minute odyssey is done.

Iron Man 3 falls somewhere between Iron Man and Iron Man 2, you could even say it was a blend of the two. The superhero's trajectory mimics Iron Man from having to use some MacGyver ingenuity to rise from the ashes, while the villains, setbacks and showdown have some parallels with Iron Man 2.

The cheeky wink-wink comedy makes fun of the genius billionaire's flaws, while giving him the opportunity to let some great one-liners fly. Having Iron Man 3 land post-Avengers does have its problems, but the writers have done their best to acknowledge Stark's involvement without having to call in a favour from the team... come on, it's Christmas time.

So there are some gaping plot holes if you take a step back, but Iron Man 3 is too fun to get sidetracked by story discrepancies. The surprise twists are half the fun, as Shane Black taunts the audience, without a trail of breadcrumbs. While first-rate visual effects power the action and solid performances keep us locked into the saga as Stark recharges and avenges. It's one of those blockbusters that teeters between a 7 and 8... without the 3D experience it's a 7.

The bottom line: Entertaining



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