Iron Man 3 spoiler-free review

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Tone, spot on. Tony, spot on. Writing, spot on.

This is the 5th stand-alone film in the current MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) after Iron Man 1&2, Thor and Hulk, and it just blows them all away. I would even put it on par with The Avengers. It’s that good.

Robert Downey Jr was once again fantastic as the irrepressible Tony Stark, combining his serious moments with comic relief in that way that only he can do. Gwyneth Paltrow is still brilliant as Pepper Potts, bringing, or at least doing her very best to, Tony down to Earth whenever she can. And she puts on a suit!

Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian puts in a performance almost on par with Loki in The Avengers. Starting out as a guy who just wants Tony’s help, he realises he can do better and sets up his own company, and eventually teams up with The Mandarin, leader of the terrorist group The 10 Rings. Which brings me to my next point: Sir Ben Kingsley.

Mr Kingsley steals the show as The Mandarin. He’s not the same traditional character you know and love from the comics (which may upset a few fanboys), but he sums up the movie brilliantly. And when you think about the history of MCU, the character fits in very well.

When the film opens with that classic Marvel flipbook opening, you just know what’s coming for the next 130 minutes or so. Director Shane Black absolutely nails it, and the absence from the chair of Jon Favreau, who directed 1 and 2, gives him license to roam a bit more as his character Happy Hogan. He does this wonderfully, and that is portrayed so well in the film. He basically plays a version of himself, feeling freer and doing more of what he wants.

I have 2 gripes with the film, neither of which are major at all. The first is that it’s possibly *too* funny. I know, I know. But there is one occasion where Tony and his new friend, 10 year old (or thereabouts) Harley (who is excellently played by Ty Simpkins), are talking and Tony makes a joke that funny that there is an unnatural pause one would expect in a comedy film. You’ll be laughing so hard you won’t care, but it’s there. The whole comedy aspect can sometimes make it feel like Stark is never in any danger, but that’s just Downey Jr being Downey Jr and doesn’t really affect the film an awful lot.
My other one is The Avengers, or lack of. There is no real explanation as to why Tony doesn’t just call them and say “help”. They sort of gloss over it a bit, but it’s not a good explanation. There is part where he claims it’s just “him vs The Mandarin” but, once again, not a great get-out by Black.

There is, of course, the traditional Marvel post-credits scene which you simply must hang around for. It has no bearing (probably) on future films, but it’s just superb.

Quick word on the 3D. Does what you would expect it to, really. If you’ve seen any other MCU film in 3D, it’s very similar. Only particularly noticeable during the fight scenes when shrapnel is flying everywhere, but doesn’t hinder the movie in any way.

Don’t take the film too seriously.

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