Third time is a charm with “Iron Man 3”

IRON MAN 3

The third time isn’t always a charm. When you think about it, the third film of an established comic-book franchise is always weak whether it is Peter Parker dancing in “Spider-Man 3” or a cluster of characters taking up space in “X-Men: The Last Stand.” However, the “Iron Man” franchise bounces back from the mediocrity of “Iron Man 2” with the entertaining third (and possibly last) installment thanks to Shane Black reuniting with his “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” star Robert Downey, Jr.

Tony Stark (Downey) is suffering from PTSD as he fears that he will not be up to task to save the people he care most about for the threats he was introduced to in “Marvel’s The Avengers” like girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Meanwhile, the US government and Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) have been trying to track down a terrorist known only as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who has been setting off bombs around the world. Mandarin’s campaign of terror hits Stark close to home, but what Stark doesn’t realize is that his past will be coming to bite him in the butt.

The main attraction for the “Iron Man” films has always been Robert Downey Jr. He was even the best thing about “Iron Man 2” besides the AC/DC soundtrack. No one had embody a comic book character so nicely Besides Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” no one has embodied a comic-book character so perfectly like Downey as he proves it even further in “Iron Man 3.” However, Downey plays down the cocky persona of Stark and makes his character more vulnerable as he starts having anxiety attacks of the thought that aliens and demigods actually exist.

Shane Black is a welcome new addition to the Marvel cinematic universe as he injects a lot of things in this movie that makes more like a Shane Black movie than an “Iron Man” movie.  Christmas setting? Check. Voice-over narration? Check. There are even a couple of humorous moments where Downey’s and Cheadle’s interaction with one another us is reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s and Danny Glover’s interaction in “Lethal Weapon.” Of all the Marvel films, Black’s script for “Iron Man 3” as all of the characters in this movie has some dialogue moments including some of the third-tier henchmen. Black also proves that he shows he has a keen eye when it comes to making action sequences, which is proven in the helicopter assault on Stark’s home and a thrilling action set piece where Iron Man must rescue 12 people from falling to their deaths.

“Iron Man 3” is not perfect, though. One element of the film which might piss off some hardcore comic-book fans is the way the Mandarin is handled in the movie. It is an unexpected and interesting filmmaking choice, but I would understand why “Iron Man” fanboys would be irate when they go watch the movie. The climatic showdown, which is set in a shipyard, becomes a little convoluted as faceless bad guys come out of the woodwork as they take on a series of unmanned Iron Man suits.

Phase 2 of the Marvel cinematic universe begins with a bang as “Iron Man 3” features a unique take on Stark thanks to Downey’s strong performance and a strong script from Black featuring some great dialogue. Don’t forget to stay after the end credits in order to see a bonus scene featuring Stark and another familiar Marvel character.

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