On 25th April, Disney released the first post-Avengers movie, ‘IRON MAN THREE‘, and wouldn’t you know it, it went and made nearly as much money again!
Wracked by bad dreams after the events of ‘The Avengers’, Tony Stark (Downey Jnr) is struggling to stop making new suits of armour for any eventuality (an alien invasion will do that) and therefore his relationship with Pepper Potts is suffering. Enter biotech charmer Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to sway Potts’ head, and the terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) to turn Stark’s head the other way with murderous bombings. When the Mandarin attacks Stark head-on, it’s time for the billionaire genius to tap into that vast intellect if he’s going to stop everything he loves falling apart.
Writers Shane Black and Drew Pearce constructed a tale of genetically-enhanced warfare which really is a worthy cinematic challenge for Iron Man and his ‘Robin’, Rhodesy (Don Cheadle), now nicknamed Iron Patriot rather than the ‘aggressive’ sounding War Machine. The bad guys have super-strength brought about by genetic tampering, so they put up a good fight against Stark’s tin cans.
The biggest plus that Black and Pearce really bring to the table though is a cracking script. Like Joss Whedon’s laugh-a-minute ‘Avengers’ script, Tony Stark delivers more zingers and wisecracks than most comedy movies, although there’s still a bright blue heart beating at the centre of his performance. A sequence in the middle of the film where Stark gets stranded in a small town is hugely entertaining thanks to the repartee between Downey Jnr and a young fatherless kid (‘Insidious’ Ty Simpkins). These scenes don’t advance the plot much, but they’re fun.
The supporting cast are all top-notch, with Guy Pearce’s mysterious charmer a very real threat to Stark and Potts, and Ben Kingsley gets to ham it up in a deliberately OTT performance.
I do think the movie needed to be twenty minutes shorter, as it seemed to drag a bit, and the big set-pieces underwhelm. Modern effects may be getting better but the regularity with which an un-suited Tony Stark leaps huge distances and comes away with barely a scratch bothers me somewhat. You wouldn’t expect James Bond to jump around like Tony Stark does.
IF ‘Iron Man Three’ ends up being Robert Downey Jnr’s swansong in the series (his contract is up for renewal, and the ‘finest moments’ end credits suggest it may be), then he goes out on a rousing high, the world safe once more.