Third time’s a charm for Downey Jr
IRON MAN 3 ( M) Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kinglsey, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau. Director: Shane Black ( Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
STAND clear for a third thunderous adventure for that clanking crime- fighter Iron Man and his eccentric human alter ego Tony Stark ( Robert Downey Jr).
As Iron Man 3 kicks off, Stark is a slightly shaky shadow of his usual hyper- confident self. The cataclysmic events depicted in the ferocious finale of The Avengers have left Tony with a serious post- traumatic stress disorder.
So when an all- new nemesis known as The Mandarin ( Ben Kingsley) – an omnipresent jihadist in the Osama bin Laden mould – begins attacking America from every angle, Tony Stark is not in the best shape to repel the threat.
The Mandarin swiftly sends heavily armoured helicopters to Stark’s funky cliff- top HQ and blows the premises ( and the hi- tech research lab beneath it) to smithereens.
Not only is Stark assumed dead by both the public and the powers- that- be, he also only has just the one Iron Man suit at his disposal: a new “prehensile” model still at the prototype stage.
How the suit works – and often doesn’t work – becomes an important feature of the action in Iron Man 3.
The armour can automatically assemble and dissemble in seconds flat. Each piece of the outfit is capable of flying great distances to attach itself to the wearer.
Let’s just say that for all its many flaws, it is still a highly impressive kit.
Without giving too much away, it is also worth mentioning The Mandarin is by no means a one- man band. He has formed a very convenient alliance with Aldrich Killian ( Guy Pearce), a smooth-talking, sinister- minded inventor who has developed a groundbreaking new military technology called Extremis. Applied in the right doses, Extremis can make the human body indestructible. Applied in the wrong doses and it turns the human body into a live explosive ( unfortunately, this does result in a few jolting sequences that unintentionally bring to mind the recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon).
On an overall basis, the action set- pieces of Iron Man 3 are where the film truly excels. While not staged on the scale of those seen in The Avengers, there is still a creativity and wit in play that will excite a majority of adrenalin-chasing viewers.
Performances are consistently strong, in spite of the tonally erratic screenplay. Downey Jr has definitely re- engaged with his character on a deeper level after the superficial high jinks of Iron Man 2.
Now showing Village Cinemas.
Downey Jr has definitely re- engaged with his character on a deeper level after the superficial high jinks of Iron Man 2