Despite his wealth and success over the years, it’s hard to envy Shane Black right now. The amount of pressure on the writer/director over the last year must’ve been bordering on unbearable.

iron-man-3-posterFollowing on from Jon Favreau’s work from the first two Iron Man films was daunting enough, but then of course Joss Whedon came along and delivered the third most successful film of all time, Avengers (or Avengers Assemble if you’re within UK shores).

Granted it was an ensemble piece, but Iron Man and Robert Downey Jnr, were an integral part of it.

The natural instinct would be to go bigger, bolder, more epic – yet what Marvel, Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce have gone for is a much more intimate story that reminds us of who Tony Stark is without all the gadgets, money and most importantly, the suit.

For the first time since he was kidnapped, taken to a Afghan cave and held prisoner in the first film, Tony Stark spends much of Iron Man 3 relying on his wits and much like a member of the A-Team, he is once again building weapons, devices and gadgets out of basic household objects.

Drawing heavily on the Extremis comic book series, Iron Man 3 picks up several weeks after the events of Avengers.

Tony Stark is doing his best to hide the fact he is suffering from post traumatic stress, while his relationship with Pepper Potts is strained and the US authorities are dealing with a number of international terrorist attacks committed by a mysterious individual who refers to himself as The Mandarin.

Meanwhile Aldrich Killian, a figure from both Tony Stark’s and Pepper Pott’s history pops up at Stark Industries with a business proposal involving a scientific discovery that has the potential to push the capabilities of the human body, yet become a powerful and dangerous super weapon.

If anyone had any fears about a change of tone due to the appointments of a new writer and director, need not worry. The production team has been very faithful to what has come before and the result is almost seamless.

If anything, it could be argued that Shane Black and Drew Pearce’s script is possibly the finest within the Iron Man series so far – it’s witty, sharp, romantic and much more cohesive than anything witnessed in the previous instalment, the rather messy Iron Man 2.

Granted they’ve taken a few artistic liberties here and there with a few characters, a number of which are sure to upset a few fanboys – but overall these changes work in benefit to the story presented here.

The solid script is complemented by some terrific turns from the supporting cast, especially from the likes of Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce and Ty Simpkins, who plays Harley, a young boy who comes to Stark’s assistance during a time of need.

Ty Simpkins as Harley

Ty Simpkins as Harley

If there are any moments during the film that scream out “this is a Shane Black film!”, it’s during the moments Tony Stark and Rhodey are working together. In places, their bickering one liners would not look out of place in a Lethal Weapon film.

Iron Man 3 also gives a different spin on the villains, whereas the previous two films concentrated on characters that had bigger and badder toys than Tony Stark, Mandarin and Aldrich Killian’s weapon of choice is a bio-electrical virus that enhances human performance in bizarre and powerful ways.

No Iron Man film would be complete without introducing a new and nifty way for Tony to slip into the suit, and the third instalment is no exception. While the plot may see Tony without his suit for a good percentage of the film, it makes up for it in an abundance of coolness when the action does kick off.

Tony Stark and the Mark IV suit

Tony Stark and the Mark IV suit

There are moments when the film does drift off to the cheesy side of things, so suspension of disbelief is required and the viewer has to remind themselves that this is a comic book adaptation, but a near perfect one at that.

What Marvel has achieved with Iron Man 3 is worthy of an applause. It ultimately contains a complete character arc for Tony and co, both within the film and within the trilogy.

A big thumbs up from us.

[rating=4]

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.