By Jess Fenton
26th April 2013

'Iron Man', the most successful of the Marvel film franchises, is back for round 3 - and this time sees a change in director, direction and the beginning of Phase 2 in Marvel’s grand master plan (the end of Phase 1 being ‘The Avengers’).

‘Iron Man 3’ picks up six months after the events of ‘The Avengers’ - referred to simply as “New York” in the film. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is still Iron Man, and still in love with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), but he seems to be suffering from insomnia on account of his newly-found anxiety and PTSD - yeah, hand-delivering a nuclear bomb through a worm hole into space before plummeting back to earth will do that to a man. When a megalomanic terrorist calling himself the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) strikes way too close to home for Tony, he forced to combat his issues while tracking down the madman... and rebuilding his house.

After directing the previous two instalments, Jon Favreau has handed the role over to Executive Producer Shane Black ('Lethal Weapon', 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'). Favreau, who also plays Happy Hogan in the series, gets a beefier role in number three with his behind-the-scenes duties lightened.


Black has created a more human Tony Stark. Choosing to acknowledge ‘The Avengers’ means he could organically allow his characters to grow and change - in this case, strip off the ego and arrogance of Stark and bare a more humble, compassionate and flawed human being with personal stakes on the line.

The introduction of the 'Thor' world was one of the best and worst thing to happen to the subsequent films within the Marvelverse: best because of ‘The Avengers’ and characters such as Loki, worst because of ‘Iron Man 3’. Thor brought the idea of the supernatural forth. Before, Tony Stark was very much like Batman - a super rich vigilante with toys, competing against likeminded villains. Now we’re seeing bad guys that can regenerate body parts in seconds, whose bodies run at 3000 degrees, can melt metal with their bare hands and turn themselves into human bombs. Here’s the thing - it’s an idea, it works... just maybe not here. That nit-picking aside, this 'Iron Man' film runs the complete emotional gamut, performed with the charismatic excellence of Mr Downey Jr. His signature dry wit and punchy one-liners are still there, proud and plentiful, and there are some fantastic twists coming your way.

Fans may be taken aback by the very noticeable turn in tone, direction and overall feel, but it’s nothing they can’t warm up to - and perhaps even prefer in time.

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