Iron Man 3 (3D) (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner25/04/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 130 mins

This is a hugely entertaining and superbly directed threequel that delivers thrilling action, witty dialogue and genuine emotion, thanks to a cleverly crafted script, state-of-the-art special effects, strong, likeable characters and note-perfect performances.

What's it all about?
Directed by Shane Black, Iron Man 3 sees billionaire superhero Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) plagued by nightmares about fighting aliens with the Avengers and throwing himself headfirst into his work, to the frustration of now live-in girlfriend/Stark Industries head Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). However, when an ill-advised public challenge to sinister terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) results in the destruction of his cliffside headquarters, Tony is forced to regroup and rebuild, aided by fellow iron-clad superhero The Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) and finding an unlikely ally along the way.

The Good
Tony Stark is practically a second skin for Downey Jr at this point, having already played him to perfection in three previous films, so it's no surprise that he's on equally terrific form here; the difference this time round is the level of vulnerability he brings to the character. Despite his cocky bravado, this is a superhero who not only bleeds but is prone to both nightmares and panic attacks, which gives the film a strong emotional core.

The supporting performances are equally strong: Paltrow gets to do much more than her comics equivalent ever did, while Kingsley delivers a truly inspired performance as The Mandarin that pays off brilliantly, even if diehard Marvel fans might not see it that way. On top of that, there are engaging turns from Rebecca Hall (as ex-girlfriend and science genius Maya Hansen), Guy Pearce (as rival scientist Aldrich Killian, with a deep-seated grudge against Stark), Ty Simpkins (as a pre-teen boy who helps Stark at a crucial moment) and returning players Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau (as James Rhodes/Iron Patriot and chauffeur Happy Hogan, respectively).

The Great
Shane Black proves an inspired choice for co-writer/director, maintaining a cracking pace throughout and orchestrating some thrilling action set-pieces: the attack on Stark's HQ is just one of several nail-biting highlights. Similarly, the superb script crackles with witty dialogue and there are plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the comics to keep die-hard Marvel fans happy, while Black and co-writer Drew Pearce pull off a number of clever surprises that catch us off guard, often punctuating entire sequences with unexpected, off-the-wall moments.

Worth seeing?
Iron Man 3 is a hugely enjoyable, superbly made action blockbuster that achieves the perfect blend of thrilling action-packed spectacle, laugh-out-loud humour, nail-biting suspense and genuine emotion. Highly recommended (Also, make sure you stick around for the post-credits sting).

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Content updated: 18/10/2017 00:26

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