The summer is almost here and with it comes the things we look forward to all year: bonfires, beaches and blockbusters. “Iron Man 3″ has kicked off the season with an epic return to the screen in the third installment of this Marvel franchise. The film introduced a new director to the series, Shane Black, when Jon Favreau elected not to return after directing the first two. Black’s take is different from the earlier ones but still maintains the quintessential superhero film tropes. Meanwhile, Jon Favreau gets to have a lot more fun with the character Happy Hogan even if he is not in it as much as fans might have wished.
Iron Man 3 shows audiences a much different Tony Stark than previously seen. He and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are living together and seem to be happy with their relationship. But there is a void inside Stark that he is unable to fill and the events of “The Avengers” are never far from his mind. To fill the hole in his life, he has taken to his inventions with a new passion, which in turn have grown more intricate and substantial. Meanwhile, Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) embarks as the newly named Iron Patriot working with the government to stop an enigmatic foe known only as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
Most of the twists and turns are relatively predictable and certainly expected, but there are a few distinct and pleasant surprises along the way. If you didn’t like films one and two, you probably won’t suddenly love this, though it is definitely more focused on his relationships with Pepper, Rhodes and random kids he meets in a garage. The highlight of the experience are the performances. By all accounts, Robert Downey Jr. thrills once again in his fifth appearance as the iconic comic book character. Ben Kingsley might be the best part of the whole movie and the other cast members are fun to watch.
The Verdict: While not as good as the first two, the last (theoretically) Iron Man has all the thrills, stunts and Robert Downey Jr. you would expect and hope for in an Iron Man film.
Opened: May 3, 2013
Director: Shane Black
Principal Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley