Theatrical poster for "Iron Man 3".

Theatrical poster for “Iron Man 3”.

I enjoyed Iron Man 3. It is the last of the Iron Man trilogy, though they do promise us more from Iron Man in the future. Instead of John Favreau directing, we have Shane Black taking on that role and Favreau serving as an executive producer this time around. It was not perfect, but it was great fun.

There was some good character development with the main characters, with writers addressing the consequences of what happened to Tony Stark in The Avengers. I liked the developments in Pepper Potts’ character and in her relationship with Stark. The little boy, Harley, while obviously a plot device, was interesting and sympathetic. James Rhodes had some fun moments. It’s truly a shame that we probably won’t see the character Maya Hansen again. We even got to see a new angle or two for Jarvis.

The bad guys really could’ve used some of that TLC the good guys got. I loved the character twist with Ben Kingsley’s “Mandarin.” It was great fun to see Kingsley do comedy. He’s darn good at it. But, at the same time…it was a waste. Kingsley could have made an excellent, credible, terrifying villain, even with the lighter moments. In the comics, the Mandarin’s rings are magical and give him powers.

It would have worked for the Mandarin to be strung-out comic relief without his rings, yet to be terrifying with them. It would have added another mystery for Stark to untangle, and it would have been a nice tie-in with the seemingly-magical powers in the Thor movies. And they wasted it.

Instead, we have Aldritch Killian, who, beyond the “he insulted my honor and must therefore die after lots of other totally unrelated people have also died, because the script says so” premise, has no real reason to be a villain. The “manipulating both sides of the war on terror” premise was flimsy and poorly explained. The villain bait-and-switch did not work.

The story is fun and easy to follow, a solid summer blockbuster. There is some FANTASTIC fight choreography. I’m told the Extremis virus thing is nothing like the comics, but it works well enough for me. The requisite girlfriend-in-peril storyline isn’t spectacular, but it works. The scene with Iron Man’s uber-fan is hilarious. And the extra tidbit at the very end is sheer delight.

My main quibble is with two big throw-me-out-of-the-story plot holes at what should have been an engrossing climax. If Stark had forty-plus combat-ready suits, why didn’t he activate them when his estate was attacked in the first place? And, right after those suits have demonstrated their tremendous usefulness, he blows them all up, on a whim, to please his girlfriend. Um, sorry, what? The only apparent plot purpose of that act was to give the SFX guys an excuse to throw in more pretty explosions.

I really did enjoy Iron Man 3 and recommend it. It’s a lot of fun. It just would have benefited from a ruthless editor, in the scripting stage.

Release Date: May 3, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 80%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social drinking, New Year’s Eve party)
Language: 2 (some expletives, including deity)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 2 (various females in underwear and lingerie)
Violence: 4 (a lot of sci-fi combat and fighting, terrorist attacks)