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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
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Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Robert Downey Jr.
Guy Pearce
Ben Kingsley
Gwyneth Paltrow
Don Cheadle
James Badge Dale.
Directors
Shane Black.
Screenwriters
Shane Black
Drew Pearce.
Running Time
130 minutes

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Iron Man 3
He’s back, he’s bad, he’s ferrous, he’s mad


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Plot
Christmas, 2012. Following the Avengers’ planet-saving victory in New York, Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) has returned to his life of ease in Malibu. But a series of panic attacks and escalating threats from a maniac called the Mandarin (Kingsley) threaten to tip him over the edge.


Review
Iron Man 3
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Three signs you’re watching a Shane Black movie: it’s Christmas, there’s a meta voiceover, and some of the best lines are dispensed by designer-suited henchmen. Pleasingly, Iron Man 3 ticks every box. Just as Joss Whedon pepped up Avengers Assemble with his unique brand of jocosity, here, despite the sci-fi trimmings and goliath budget, it feels like Black’s been given carte blanche by Marvel to do his thing. The result is a swinging caper with wit, balls, heart and exploding baubles. It’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with a lot of extra bang. And, by some distance, the Man In The Can’s best solo outing so far.

Together with co-writer Drew Pearce, Black sets out to dismantle Iron Man’s armour piece by piece. Like Bond in Skyfall, Tony Stark loses his flash car and big house. He is also, for a sizeable stretch of the movie, deprived of his super-suits. This is a new, vulnerable side to the playboy-philanthropist: he’s on the run, in the corner, pausing between quips to suffer breathless anxiety attacks.

Part of the problem is PTSD, brought on by his near-fatal tangle with that Chitauri wormhole in New York. But his more pressing concern is a very bad man who goes by the monicker The Mandarin. A shadowy, ethnically indeterminate figure with the didactic menace of Colonel Kurtz and the attack-chopper access of Colonel Kilgore, this terrorist overlord is regularly forcing his way onto US airwaves to threaten dire “lessons”. No-one knows his identity, his location or where he’s buying his extraordinarily nifty video-editing software.

This may all sound like the fixings for another brooding threequel: The Stark Knight Rises. Happily, that’s not how it pans out. Keeping the dial firmly on ‘fun’, the film hustles from one set-piece to the next, leavening the gloom with a lot of big laughs.

As well as the customary Downey Jr wisecracks, there are sight gags, bits of slapstick, Downton Abbey references and a genius beat involving a suit of armour turning its head. The ominous introduction of a boy sidekick in the second act turns out to yield some of the sparkiest repartee. And Don Cheadle’s Rhodes, a character who barely made an impression in the other films, is skilfully tweaked, becoming the amusingly square Murtaugh to Tony’s Riggs. Wait until you hear his password.

The series’ villains have always been an issue. Thor gets Loki. Captain America gets the Red Skull. So far, Iron Man has faced a bald Jeff Bridges, Mickey Rourke and a cockatoo. While this outing is an improvement — credit to Black and Pearce for creating antagonists who aren’t just more angry blokes in metal suits — it’s still the film’s weak point. Drawing on the comic-book’s Extremis storyline (a 2005-’06 run by Warren Ellis), Iron Man 3 pits Stark against a squad of T-1000-like super-soldiers who can regenerate body parts and survive astounding damage. They’re visually interesting — glowing like human lava lamps as they try to smelt Tony’s face off — but their motivation is murky and unconvincing.

Far more successful is the aforementioned Mandarin, who in the Iron Man comics is a super-powered martial artist with magic rings. While a close-up shot reveals that his fingers are adorned by rings, there are surprises beneath the character’s sinister hood which we won’t spoil. Suffice to say that people will be talking about Ben Kingsley’s performance for ages to come — it’s a tricky, delicate role, handled beautifully.

Not every performance hits the mark — scanty screentime for Rebecca Hall, as Tony’s botanist ex, and Miguel Ferrer, as the Vice-President, suggests the existence of a longer cut. These are minor niggles, though, in a satisfying blockbuster that mixes up political conspiracy, sleuth-work, MacGyver-ish DIY weaponisation and outstanding eye-candy. The Iron Man suits — and there are now 42 of them — are used ingeniously (watch out for Stark giving himself a literal hand in a tight spot), not least in the action highlight, the spectacular ‘barrel of monkeys’ sequence. This sees Air Force One under assault and its passengers forced to disembark thousands of feet above the Florida coast, not helping what is proving to be a heinous cinematic summer for POTUS.

As for why the other Avengers aren’t getting off their invincible butts to help, it’s explained away, a little unconvincingly, with the line: “This isn’t superhero business. It’s American business.” Iron Man 3’s greatest achievement is that they’re not missed.


Verdict
Black proves the perfect blacksmith, forging smart new tech and scenarios for the swaggering super-genius. If this does turn out to be Downey Jr.’s final solo outing, it’s a very strong exit.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Iron Man 3
Empire Star Rating

Iron man.....more like generic superhero number 5

This is a review of the 'amazing' film iron man 3.....please note the air quotes around 'amazing', its called sarcasm. This film took itself FAR to seriously, it was essentially a piece of cannon for Avengers 2....which will probably be a better film with a better script and a better...pretty much everything. Comedic quips that where used at the wrong times...and that twist tho.....it made me physically CRINGE, if this is how Marvel films set up their damn movies now?! as a joke? this disgusted ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by silence1 at 12:39, 10 July 2014 | Report This Post


RE: "Who's the hot mess now?"

L: jonson Only got round to seeing this last night. I'm not a comic book fan generally, I saw the first 2 IM films and was underwhelmed, but this was such fun. Hilarious, entertaining, ridiculous, either I was in just the right mood or the film really is great, I don't know. The Mandarin reveal (after the initial shock) was utterly hilarious, Kingsley was superb in it, really fun and an unexpected twist (for me) Some of the action was spot on, the humour just about right (if ... More

Posted by clownfoot at 13:15, 19 November 2013 | Report This Post


RE: "Who's the hot mess now?"

Only got round to seeing this last night. I'm not a comic book fan generally, I saw the first 2 IM films and was underwhelmed, but this was such fun. Hilarious, entertaining, ridiculous, either I was in just the right mood or the film really is great, I don't know. The Mandarin reveal (after the initial shock) was utterly hilarious, Kingsley was superb in it, really fun and an unexpected twist (for me) Some of the action was spot on, the humour just about right (if the intention is to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 07:56, 19 November 2013 | Report This Post


"Who's the hot mess now?"

Could have been great, but sadly Iron Man 3 turned out to be a BIG disappointment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 18:33, 04 November 2013 | Report This Post


"One thing you can't take away... I am Iron Man."

Although better than Tony Stark's previous solo outing, Iron Man 3 does have its flaws, and they are many. The narrative is uneven, the premise unconvincing and the villain, well, kind of lame. But what the hell, this is popcorn and, stale or not, everyone likes their popcorn. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 11:42, 03 November 2013 | Report This Post


Four stars you must be joking - boring, overlong and far too reliant on CGI for its confusing finale. Not a patch on the Man of Steel, this was yet another mediocre Marvel money spinner much like the equally disappointing Wolverine. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Uncle_Ethan at 20:51, 14 September 2013 | Report This Post


Four stars you must be joking - boring, overlong and far too reliant on CGI for its confusing finale. Not a patch on the Man of Steel, this was yet another mediocre Marvel money spinner much like the equally disappointing Wolverine. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Uncle_Ethan at 20:51, 14 September 2013 | Report This Post


Iron-Tacular

This Big Blockbuster Film Has A Huge Spectacle And Stunning Action Sequences ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 5*BourneFan2000 at 18:09, 14 September 2013 | Report This Post


iron man 3 not great!! (spoiler alert)

the twist ruined the intire movie but great performances!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ciaran McDaid at 13:42, 27 July 2013 | Report This Post


Iron Man 3 (2013)

Before I start with all the negative, I must say that this film does have some good equalities to it. I mean the first forty minutes of this film, is highly enjoyable. They had great character build up, in particular for the new characters, the Mandarin and Aldrich Killian. There is also great character depth and screen time for Pepper Potts in this film as well. This film also looks brilliant. I mean the sound in the action set pieces was wonderful and a joy to watch, no doubt. But that, as we... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BJORNtheBLU at 19:12, 15 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Bizarrely bad

Watched it again at the weekend, good story, great fun, great CGi! much better than IM2 and easily the best Superhero movie so far this year hands down!. Although Kick-ass 2 is on the way!! but I guess that doesn't count ... More

Posted by Dannybohy at 14:49, 01 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Bizarrely bad

L: Melon But what is really puzzling is that Empire rates this bland burger of mediocrity the same as the infinitely better Man of Steel. Corruption ahoy? f that's puzzled you I suggest you do more puzzles. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 14:42, 01 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Bizarrely bad

L: Melon But what is really puzzling is that Empire rates this bland burger of mediocrity the same as the infinitely better Man of Steel. Corruption ahoy? rate it higher than MoS yet haven't received a huge cheque. Could it be...that it's simply someone's opinion? ... More

Posted by FoximusPrime at 14:28, 01 July 2013 | Report This Post


Bizarrely bad

But what is really puzzling is that Empire rates this bland burger of mediocrity the same as the infinitely better Man of Steel. Corruption ahoy? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Melon at 19:28, 30 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Iron Man 3

I enjoy Robert Downey Jr. but I felt this film was fun, goofy, and silly. The action was in all reality, weak. I felt it was a Tony Stark film and in my opinion the only good part of the film was Ben Kingsley's character. I loved what they did with him, I found it incredible and brilliant. But The ending I truly did not enjoy. I was expecting Extremis but got a watered down version of a two year olds interpretation of Extremis. I loved the six pack but Pepper, come on. I mean she is my favorite... More

Posted by bydabeachman at 20:01, 18 June 2013 | Report This Post


Scrap Heap Challenge

Multiple Iron Man suits + awful villain + a repeated way of escaping every situation + Disney = Disastrous product, (how's that for math "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist")! As I witnessed a painful attempt to increase sales in Iron Man plastic action figures, I found it incredibly difficult to marvel at the destruction I saw before me. AC/DC are dropped from the soundtrack killing the film's buzz, only to give way for Stark's iron maiden, Pepper Potts. A shame she mad... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jungle23 at 22:52, 16 June 2013 | Report This Post


Iron Man 3

http://filmfanboy.com/iron-man-3/ Its blockbuster season and Marvel studios are straight out of the gate. Iron Man 3 will make a fortune. Tony Stark is back trying to avoid the pitfalls of the third film in the franchise. Shane Black has been recruited to freshen up the franchise. Black one of the highest paid and best action screenwriters in the 80s (Lethal Weapon) and 90s (Last Boy Scout) largely delivers. His comic edge makes this an enjoyable outing that infrequently reaches the heights o... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 15:05, 08 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: I am Iron Lung

L: AxlReznor get people complaining about the characters not being in costume enough for the movie. At the end of the day, the movies (all of them), despite their title are actually about their plain-clothes alter-ego's, because those real people i] the suit tend to be what most people are interested in (especially the "comic book nerds"). ay be called Iron Man, but they are Tony Stark movies through and through. I thought depriving Tony of the suit and forcing him to go into act... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Artoo at 13:56, 31 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: I am Iron Lung

Finally caught this last night... Jesus where to start... I found it extremely disappointing to be honest. Firstly the pacing. Nothing happens for the best part of 30 minutes, I love when a movie takes its time introducing new characters and foreshadows the rest of the film but there needs to be at least some dramatic tension and narrative drive during it. The early scenes in 1999 when we first meet Tony were so lazy it became grating. Plus Stark is so brown it looked like RDJ had gon... More

Posted by Keyser Sozzled at 11:51, 31 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: I am Iron Lung

I enjoyed this. It was fun, but not much more, just like most of the Marvel movies that get released. RDJ was fantastic, and for me gave his best performance as Tony Stark. Ben Kingsley was also a treat to watch, both in serious mode and campy mode. I actually found the twist to be highly entertaining and gave me my biggest laughs of the film. ... More

Posted by Coyleone at 14:34, 30 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Loved it!

It's shit. Juvenile shit. ... More

Posted by bennyboy71 at 19:27, 26 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Loved it!

Loved it too much better than the 2nd one,wasnt troubled about The Mandarin either. My husband wanted more J.A.R.V.I.S and mention of The Avengers. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Scatcatcathy at 18:40, 26 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Iron Man or Bugs Bunny?

Really enjoyed this. Film of the year so far. Didn't care about the twist which I know annoyed quite a few people. Great fun and a nice send off if it is Downey's final solo film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The REAL Bozz at 23:46, 18 May 2013 | Report This Post


Iron Man or Bugs Bunny?

I loved Iron Man (only 3 stars from Empire, well done geniuses) which was lean, euphoric, and brilliant. This is one star better than part 2, but only coz part 2 was worth nil stars. The movie's biggest crime? Being boring as fuck once you realised who the baddy daddy was gonna be. No brains (Stark's place isn't defensively tooled up to the teeth, including radar? Seriously?), no balls (they removed the tricky Mandarin issue with a complete cop-out), no nothing. The only character arc Tony Sta... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Normal Control at 12:36, 18 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Iron Man 3

with a few of the posts on here, but the film was one of the top films so far this year (I may need to update this later in the year). It didn't hit the gritty realism of the first Iron Man but after The Avengers Assemble it was never going to. It did however go beyond the 2nd instalment which was okay but way OTT for my liking (I know super hero). Unlike some I thought the fact Tony Stark is just him for a large part of the film brilliant it highlighted that he is the hero not just the sui... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by geniusbabble at 14:10, 16 May 2013 | Report This Post


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