After the heavy-on-exposition first Iron Man and the forgettable sequel, here comes the most enjoyable instalment of the franchise, a movie that isn’t afraid to be fun, action-packed and even a little bit silly.
Perhaps taking note of the critical success of 2012’s family hit Avengers Assemble (and its box office take of $1.5 billion that proved it wasn’t just for comic book geeks), this is the most kid-friendly of the Iron Man movies, with Robert Downey Jr front and centre as the billionaire Tony Stark, who likes to dress up in a high-tech metal suit and save the planet when he isn’t romancing Pepper Potts (Paltrow).
Unfortunately,Tony is having panic attacks (understandable when you remember what happened at the end of the Avengers movie – while you don’t have to have seen the first two Iron Mans to enjoy this, it does help to have seen Avengers Assemble) and it doesn’t help that there’s a mysterious terrorist called The Mandarin (Kingsley) running around blowing up stuff. Will Tony be able to save the day, and his girl who’s in danger?
Packed with sight gags, witty one liners and even Downton Abbey references, this zips along at a fair old pace, and benefits from Tony losing not only his home but access to his Iron Man armour early on in the film. He has to go all MacGyver to get himself out of trouble, and even gets a preteen sidekick (who, luckily, is smart and not annoying) to help him, so it is all the more exciting when he and his metal suits (of which there are now quite a few) are reunited for the explosive finale.
The bad guys – the Mandarin and a set of super-soldiers (think Terminator’s T-1000 meets Universal Soldier) who just won’t die – are much more interesting that the first two movies’ antagonists, and while some of the actors get short shrift (including Pearce and Don Cheadle as Stark’s army pal) this is a treat for fans of Downey Jr (who gets most of the best lines) and Paltrow, who is at her most appealing as Stark’s ballsy girlfriend (complete with very impressive abs).
It’s the best of the three Iron Man movies by far, thanks to the cast, snappy script (from Drew Pearce and Lethal Weapon writer Shane Black) and some, fun, fast-paced direction that will leave you hoping they all return for Iron Man 4.
Note: watch until the end of the final credits to see a familiar face with Tony Stark.
Is Iron Man 3 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate so is aimed at older children. There is some violence, peril and bad language, but the film should be suitable for children who saw and were not bothered by Avengers Assemble.