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Director: Shane Black

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow

Synopsis: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

“Now what am I supposed to do now? What am I going to do in Avengers 2?” – Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble) after seeing an advanced screening of Iron Man 3.

The above quote is high praise indeed. When I first read that a few months ago I thought it was merely spin, an effort to further hype the release of Iron Man 3. After all an endorsement like that simply won’t be ignored. And yet, after seeing the latest installment for the man in the tin suit, I have to tell you Whedon wasn’t lying, not one bit. Iron Man 3 really is quite brilliant.

My main worry before watching Iron Man 3 with all the trailers, TV spots, set photos, press releases and so on and so forth being released, was that Marvel has let too much slip and that nothing would be a surprise once sitting in the cinema. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Starting with a voiceover and a flashback to 1999, the story for Iron Man 3 is set up almost instantly.We are introduced to two, three if you can spot the cameo, important characters who will have a very big impact on Tony Starks future.

With director Shane Black taking over from Jon Favreau (director of the previous two Iron Man films) there seems to be a freshness to this new adventure in Tony Starks life. Black and Downey Jr. previously worked together on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (worth checking out btw). Black has brought with him his trademark one liners and quick dialogue, but has also upped his game considerably adding some superb action sequences and a finale that will truly have you on the edge of your seat.

Among the returning faces are, of course, some new ones. Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin all play their roles extremely well. Pearce and Kingsley being particularly menacing. James Badge Dale as Eric Savin has a very Terminator-esque vibe going, proving himself early on to be the muscle behind his bosses master plan.

There are a few problems with the story, not many, but a few. One gag nearly plays itself out too many times, and during the, albeit, incredible finale there is a sense that calling for backup could have been used at another point when it was also needed. These problems are easily forgiven though and as the pace rarely lets up during the movie you will perhaps only notice them after leaving the cinema or on a second viewing.

On our way home from the cinema last night, I said to my girlfriend that it seemed like a while since we had seen a Marvel movie at the pictures. Of course this wasn’t the case at all, it had only been one year since we watched Avengers Assemble (3 times btw) at the cinema. But it still felt like we had been away from the Marvel universe for some time, I’m not sure why this was the case but it’s a feeling I still have now for some reason.

Or maybe it was more a case of not seeing an individual Stark adventure for some time, and now I was just happy to see the tin man back to his best. After all the first Iron Man was the launchpad for everything Marvel wanted to do, the second Iron Man film was enjoyable but felt more like one long set up for what else was to come and had too much going on to be coherent.

With Marvel now having started their plans for Phase 2, which will culminate in The Avengers 2 in 2015, Iron Man 3 really was the best place to start. It’s where the journey began five years ago and it’s quite rightly the place where it should all begin again.

“Now what am I supposed to do now? What am I going to do in Avengers 2?” – Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble)

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