Iron Man 3

Year: 2013
Studio: Marvel
Director: Shane Black
Producer: Kevin Feige
Writer: Shane Black/Drew Pearce
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer

I was really surprised when the reviews of Iron Man 2 were mostly negative. After introducing the character of Tony Stark through Robert Downey Jr's fast-talking shtick, it was already established (ie welcome rather than old) and the rest of it was comic book special effects-laden action. What did people expect?

For the inverse reason, I can't understand all the critical fawning over this Stark outing. This time, I felt like the snappy, smart-alecky quips were feeling their age, and the (special effects-laden) action was so crammed full of CGI metal many scenes – particularly the over-frenetic climax – looked like one of the Transformers films.

I've also seen people glowing red before (although it was never quite explained here why they do it), Guy Pearce looking anything but believable as yet another a sneering villain and a dozen other tropes. I found his performance so weak that when the big reveal cut The Mandarin (Kingsley) off at the knees there wasn't enough antagonist to give Stark and his friends anything to fight against.

After returning from the carnage he took part in during the alien attack on New York in The Avengers (and isn't it funny how life goes on just as before despite proof of other life in the universe?), Tony is suffering PTSD as he tinkers with the new generation of remote control Iron Man suits.

But a new threat is brooding on the horizon in the shape of The Mandarin, a bloodthirsty killer styled on an Arab terrorist complete with propaganda videos and recorded warnings sent across the hijacked airwaves.

The Mandarin doesn't seem to have anything to do with industrialist and former nerdy inventor Killian (Pearce), but the DNA-altering technology he's flogging is responsible for the attacks The Mandarin is claiming responsibility for.

After Tony's Malibu mansion is blown up in a helicopter attack he goes underground. He finds himself lost and alone without the suit in the backwoods of rural America where he has to rely on his wits and detective skills as much as his engineering to get back to fighting fitness.

Like the first and second films (and every other superhero movie besides) it was all action-y set pieces and Downey Jr doing what he does best/can do in his sleep. On top of that it was just another superhero comic book movie, and for the love of God, haven't we had enough of them?

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