Combining dazzling superhero and espionage action sequences with genuine human catharsis, Iron Man 3 is a delightfully entertaining and worthy addition to the Marvel universe.
Tony Stark is understandably frazzled and fatigued after defending Earth from alien invaders in “The Avengers”, and all he really wants to do in “Iron Man 3” is chill out. He’s anxiety-ridden from his exhausting battle in New York, and now spends his time creating variations of the iconic Iron Man suit while the lovely Pepper (Paltrow) tends to things at Stark Industries. A mysterious and suave scientist named Aldrich Killian (Pearce) visits Pepper regarding a business proposal, and his timing suspiciously coincides as the international terrorist The Mandarin (Kingsley) causes havoc and mayhem across the globe. The public begs for the Iron Man to take action, and Tony promises he will thwart the Mandarin’s reign of terror.
But the story quickly turns from typical superhero fare into an ingenious spy Bourne-esque thriller as Tony utilizes makeshift items and old-school detective analysis to figure out how to stop this diabolical villian. There’s plenty of twists and turns and revealing too much may spoil the plot, but the film keeps unveiling new secrets without insulting the audience’s intelligence. And just as we’ve seen in the past film iterations of Tony Stark, his iconic one liners are satisfyingly abundant, with some new welcome raw emotion and personal conflict bubbling as well.
The film’s only flaw is the presence a less-than-menacing villian. This isn’t so much Writer/Director Shane Black’s fault as much as it being near impossible to create a worthy foe to Stark after he’s defeated varsity inter-dimensional gods and aliens. Luckilly the plot gains its momentum from Stark’s clue hunting expedition, rather than a series of standard grandiose battles between comic book hero and villain.
“Iron Man 3” is a worthy follow up to “The Avengers” and delivers on all it expectations with a few new welcome surprises to boot. Hopefully this won’t be the final chord in the ballad of Tony Stark but just another brilliant addition in Marvel’s most beloved franchise.