I Watched… (#50)

1 May

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Iron Man 3 (2013)

Shane Black reins Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), in for another solo outing; the last Marvel film – 2012’s ensemble blockbuster, The Avengers – set the bar sky high, can Iron Man 3 follow suit?

Without his fellow Avengers, Tony Stark is left alone to deal with the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a global terrorist who has his sights set on Stark’s Malibu mansion before targeting America and freedom itself. Still recovering from the events in New York (which was almost destroyed by aliens in The Avengers), his struggles against the Mandarin as well as the return of an old acquaintance, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), will start a long journey of rebuilding and retribution.

Shane Black coming in completely refreshes the franchise, his free rein delivering more action, more jokes and with Downey Jr. on top form, this film sparkles like a freshly polished suit of armour. The well-crafted script keeps the film flying high and upbeat, never lingering in the gloom of a certainly rather dark superhero story. The supporting cast are fleshed out, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) feel like substantial characters finally, a bonus plus is the villainy on show seems more exciting than an angry Jeff Bridges or a dodgy-accented Mickey Rourke a la Iron Man 1 & 2. Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin gives a memorable performance, it won’t be spoiled here but it must be seen to be believed.

The film is not without its glitches though. In spicing up the villains, the boundary of between plausible and ridiculous is overstepped on a few occasions and certain parts feel unconvincing, even in a superhero realm where almost anything goes. The promising Rebecca Hall is given a flimsy and unfulfilling role as ‘botanist’ slash ex-girlfriend Maya Hansen, a screen-talent wasted with mere minutes in frame.

Whilst crammed with action, jokes and the heavy influence of Black, Iron Man 3 does fall slightly short of being a quintessential summer blockbuster – though in what could be Downey Jr.’s last flight in the iron suit, he sure signs off with a bang.

8/10

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