The Marvel wing of the Mouse House enters “Phase 2” of its multi-billion dollar franchise with the same man who started it all and if the past decade of blockbuster cinema has taught us anything then by now it’s clear: When the big baddies have been defeated, our heroes look inward.
Iron Man 3 doesn’t break the trend but it still holds on to its playful flavour. Rattled from his near-death experience at the end of The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is in full contemplation mode, struggling to define his ever changing relationship with his suit. A bio technician (Guy Pierce) jilted by Stark years ago returns with some alarming discoveries and a Bin Laden looking criminal (delightfully played by Ben Kingsley) named Mandarin is terrorising the airwaves. An attack leaves Stark in a small rural town with his suit in tatters. A Spielberg looking sequence – complete with young back-talking technician friend – plays out as our hero attempts to rise from the ashes.
Director Shane Black reunites with Downey Jr. for the first time since his comeback sparking turn in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, with Black once again choosing the backdrop of Los Angeles in the festive season. It’s an absurd setting by all means, not least for an early summer blockbuster, but for a film series which has prided itself on RDJ’s tongue in cheek arrogance it seems to just about fit. Downey Jr. has hinted this will be his last appearance in the red and gold suit. Some very large cheques will beg to differ.
Iron Man 3 | Directed by Shane Black (USA 2013) with Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle. Starts May 1