Occasionally a film comes along which is sheer, unabashed fun, pure and simple. Iron Man 3 (2013), the latest and, if rumours are to be believed, last instalment in the Marvel superhero franchise, is one such film. Directed by Shane Black and reuniting Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, and introducing new stars Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley, this film makes no pretence at being anything other than a 130 minute, high octane, celluloid adrenaline rush.
Tony Stark (Downey) is at a crossroads. Seemingly known better as his alter-ego ‘Iron Man’ he has come to the point where he has to decide which means more to him – his superhero status or the love of his girlfriend / sidekick Pepper Potts (Paltrow). However when a shadow from his past crosses his path, as well as a threat from an enemy on a global scale, it’s up to Tony to make decisions which could effect all he holds dear.
The problem with many superhero films, such as the seemingly endless stream of Batman reinterpretations, many of the characters increasingly seem to be becoming lost in long bouts of introspectiveness and self-analysis. Iron Man on the other hand appears to be having as much fun in his adventures as the audience do watching him.
That’s not to say there isn’t depth to Iron Man 3. This time round the story is as interested in Tony and Pepper’s relationship as it is in the megalomaniac Tony finds himself up against. This outing also sees Pepper – who has usually been given not much more than the role of a simpering assistant in the previous films – fight her own corner. Suffice to say, without giving too much away, Ms Potts comes out all guns blazing proving her metal as a partner equal to Tony in more ways than one. Though the rest of the cast, including the beautifully oily Pearce and ever consummate Kingsley, compliment the central protagonists wonderfully, this really is Downey and Paltrow’s film. The chemistry between them fizzes making the screen come alive with the sharp and witty repartee of Drew Pearce and Shane Black’s script.
All this aside however Iron Man 3 is when it boils down to it, as most of these kind of films are, dependent on its special effects and spectacle, both of which are present here in spades. From the array of armoured suits Tony has at his disposal (this time they come in an array of colours and designs), to his Malibu mansion which hangs precipitously to a cliffside above the Pacific ocean and whose destruction forms one the of the film’s most sustained and intense sequences, everything here is on a grand scale which draws the viewer into the action and holds your attention until the final credits roll.
Considering the amount of new sci-fi / adventure films slated for release over the coming months Iron Man 3 will have its work cut out at the box-office. However, going by the evidence on the screen, this particular superhero is going out with a bang should he decide not to return – though I wouldn’t count on that!