Robert Downey Jnr returns in another Iron Man film (the Third), or fourth if you count last years’ The Avengers.
Downey has the Tony Stark – brilliant, fun, misunderstood inventor – shtick down pat and twitches and quips his way through Iron Man 3 (IM3) without raising a sweat. If you get confused whether Downey is Sherlock Holmes or Tony Stark don’t beat yourself up as I think he is the same person in each film.
What makes this film different to the other two, is the inclusion of one Shane Black as co-writer and director. Back in the eighties Black was “so hot right now”, penning hits such as the Lethal Weapon series (the good ones 1 & 2) and even appearing as an actor in Predator. It all started to go pear-shaped, though, with The Last Boy Scout with Bruce Willis and the Last Action Hero with Arnie. Now, after years of being a Hollywood outcast, Black has returned with IM3.
The evil figure in IM3 is known as Mandarin, a bearded, ponytailed extremist and terrorist (played with relish by Ben Kingsley – what a comedown since Ghandi) who hacks into TV Broadcasts threatening to bomb and hurt the innocent, whilst taunting the American government that he is unstoppable and that you won’t see him coming. Yes, that old chestnut! After an increasing number of bombings and threats, Tony Stark threatens the Mandarin and the hunter becomes the hunted as Stark and his very faithful assistant and love, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) take on this new menace.
This is an extremely formulaic story that boarders on downright predicable and is really an excuse to showcase the Iron Man suit at every opportunity and shoot indestructible bad guys. It’s funny to see Aussie ex-Neighbours star Guy Pearce (as third billed Aldrich Killian) in such a big budget flick but he carries himself well and leaves an impression.
In amongst the shootings, mayhem and special effects, there are a few comedic lines delivered in such rapid-fire succession that most are lost in translation. Downey may be annoying but he is also quite watchable – although subsequent films in the Iron Man series will probably never live up to the quality of the first IM film.
Audiences won’t help but notice the similarities between IM 3 and the second Lethal Weapon film, such as the destruction of a hilltop house and the ultimate showdown on the wharves. There is even an annoying comedic sidekick to get under Tony Stark’s skin, here it’s a young boy who looks strangely like Meg Ryan.
To look at this popcorn, cartoon fare (brought to us from Marvel) seriously is not fitting as this film is unashamedly aimed at the teenage market and adults who want to be teenagers again.
CJ’s rating: Two stars
Nick’s rating: Two and a half stars.
Director(s): Shane Black
Release date: 24th April 2013
Running time: 129 mins
- Film review: more views on IRON MAN 3, from Built For Speed
- Film review: THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, from ‘Built For Speed’
- Film review: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’
- Film review: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, from ‘Built For Speed’
- Film review, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, from Built For Speed