Iron Man 3 (PG-13)

Directed by Shane Black
On general release from 25th April 2013

Reviewed by Kev McCready

“Iron Man” was a perfect mix of wit and action. “Iron Man 2” boosted that formula to ridiculous levels. “Iron Man Three” is better than the latter, but nowhere as good as the former. This time round, Tony Stark’s nemesis is The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a media-savvy terrorist, with an army of super-evolved humans, who explode like walking Hiroshima’s. And then regenerate. Still, The Mandarin is a Liverpool FC fan, so not all bad.

Writer/director Shane Black wrote “Lethal Weapon”. So, what we get is a lot of crouching around with guns and snappy one liners. The end titles resemble a particularly bad 70’s cop show, possibly “Beretta”. The script aims for an emotional depth, but doesn’t develop it. Tony Stark is suffering from PTSD after the events of “Avengers Assemble”. He gets over this with the help of an orphan. This must be the first time in history that Shane has stolen from “Shane”.

Tonally, the film is all over the shop. For a start, it’s set at Christmas, which makes no sense in the chill of an English Spring. My guess is that The House of Mouse knows of this film’s mediocrity, and ported it up to 3D to boost the profits. And the pop cultural references, from “Downton Abbey” to er, Croydon grate the synapses after a while.

In the middle of this, we have Robert Downey Jr, phoning in a disinterested performance from a Swiss tax haven. The sexual chemistry between him, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rebecca Hall is non-existent. Ben Kingsley sees the top, and goes over it. Guy Pearce does his usual rent-a-baddy shtick.

What are good are three action sequences, one like a moral conundrum from a Christopher Nolan film. However, it’s obvious that this is Downey Jr’s last ride in the cybersuit. If the rumours are true, Jon Hamm is taking over. Iron Don, anyone? A pile of scrap with a silent S, “Iron Man Three” just doesn’t fly right.

Ace Rating: *

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