Scarred from his previous experiences with his Avengers buddies, Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), a shadow of his former self, has thrown himself into his work at the risk of alienating his long-suffering main squeeze, Pepper Potts (Paltrow). However, little does Tony know that his life is about to get a lot worse, as a shadowy figure is about to unleash terror on the US, and Tony Stark is enemy number one. Swearing revenge after his faithful chauffeur is hospitalized, Stark finds himself going head to head with the world’s newest badass, The Madarin (Kingsley), his toughest opponent yet.
Bravely stepping up to the plate after The Avengers raked in record-breaking bucks at the box office, Iron man 3 is no doubt the most sensible way for Marvel to follow up their fireworks display ensemble piece. Downey Jr. is as likeable as ever as the cheeky billionaire playboy and there’s at least one gob-smacking set piece that gives Avengers a run for its money, where Stark sees the old homestead coming under attack. And with screenwriter extraordinaire, Shane Black, at the helm, Iron Man 3 is injected with a fresh wit and sparkly dialogue that gives the impressive cast (a remarkable cast, no less) plenty to savour and enjoy.
And yet, while Iron Man 3 doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, it struggles to really stand out. Maybe after four movies featuring Iron Man, he’s becoming a bit predictable, or maybe it’s The Dark Knight-inspired angst that just doesn’t quite sit well with Downey Jr.’s endearing sassiness. Or maybe, just maybe, the Marvel conveyer belt where we’re already looking to the movie after the next before the credits have even rolled on the one we’re watching has turned one too many times.
Indeed, it’s hard to remember when a time when an Avengers movie wasn’t in development, at cinemas or arriving to DVD, and while they’ll keep churning these films out until audiences stop paying to see them, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Marvel to make a comic book movie that stands on its own and is distinguishable from the rest.
Iron Man 3 can get away with it for a bit longer thanks to its charismatic leading man, though a sense of tedium might well start to permeate through the incoming Thor and Captain America sequels, spelling what might well be the beginning of the end of this comic book golden age. Of course, when the 14th Avengers sequel hits cinemas in 20 years’ time, I’ll be eating my words.
Overall Verdict: Iron Man is as likeable as ever, but even Stark can’t hide the fact that this comic book scene is getting old.
Reviewer: Lee Griffiths