Perhaps even more so than its two predecessors, Iron Man 3 truly feels like a comic book translated into live action.
A sequel to The Avengers, Tony Stark (the ever reliable Robert Downey Jnr, as if anyone else could play this role now?) is a nervous wreck running on adrenalin and plagued by panic attacks, but at the same time America is being targeted by a new terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
When Tony Stark publicly challenges the terrorist and he finds his home and his beloved Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are now in the villain's crosshairs.
On the business front, Stark Industries has been approached by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), the head of a think tank known as Advanced Idea Mechanics, but rebuffed because of its ties to the weapons industry.
However, Stark soon learns that A.I.M. may be supplying The Mandarin with his mysterious, untraceable bombs.
The plot of Iron Man 3 is fragmented and slightly scattershot, but the action set-pieces and the Marvel fan-service more than make-up for any short-comings.
This is non-stop, rock 'em, sock 'em adventure with the right balance of thrills and comedy to cater to the tastes of followers of the Marvel movies.
While I wasn't a fan of the Extremis storyline in the comics, I found its execution here superb and wholly convincing.
On the other hand, I could have done without the prominence of Tony's young 'sidekick', 10-year-old Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), who appears towards the middle of the film and pretty much outstays his welcome after about 30 seconds.
|A.I.M. scientist |
(comic book style)
All the regulars are spot on, as usual, so we don't even have to think about their characters, they just are these people now.
And hang on through the credits for the obligatory "post-credit" scene, which not only explains Tony's voice-over throughout the picture, but also cameos one of his Avenger's comrades.
I'm wondering where the film's conclusion leaves Iron Man in the cinematic universe as I noticed the final message of the credits read "Tony Stark will return"... not Iron Man. Although perhaps I'm reading too much into that.
The blu-ray disc also includes a new Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter, which picks up the story of Halley Atwell's character after the events of Captain America.
There's not really much of a story - as most of the short film's 15-minute duration is Peggy Carter kicking ass - but it's fun and ties in to the origin story of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which makes me wonder if Peggy will get a mention - or even an appearance - in the upcoming TV show).