Iron Man 3 (2013)

Just when superhero movies faced the danger of feeling too formulaic and conventional, along comes Iron Man 3 to give the genre a much-needed kicks in the spandex.

Shot in 3D, the third blockbuster about Marvel Comics’ Tony Stark – inventor, industrial tycoon, bionic man and superhero – is a loud, overlong, oppressively violent tale of saving the world from yet another megalomaniac.

Shane Black, a bright, experienced screenwriter directing his second movie, is an anonymous leader of a vast technical army, and the film’s saving graces are Downey’s Stark, a charming neurotic; Rebecca Hall, an old flame who seems to have taken a wrong turn but is infinitely more engaging than Stark’s tiresome current girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow; and especially Ben Kingsley, a big surprise in every sense as the villainous “Mandarin”, his best performance since Sexy Beast.

After nearly losing his life while fighting alongside The Avengers to save the world from an alien invasion, Tony Stark finds himself prone to anxiety attacks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His longtime confidant (and lover) Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is now running Stark Industries, leaving him plenty of time to toil away in his lab.

But his past comes back to haunt him when an embittered scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) teams up with a menacing terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) to bring the United States to its knees. With Tony Stark already facing an existential crisis that shakes his confidence to the core, could this be the end of Iron Man?

To say anything more about the plot would spoil the many surprises, but after teaming up with the world’s greatest superheroes to save the planet, shouldn’t Tony Stark have, say, Captain America, Hawkeye or Nick Fury on his speed-dial, just in case he needs them (like he does here)?

It’s also worth mentioning that a terrorist attack on a famous Hollywood landmark hits a little close to home after the recent bombings in Boston.

Otherwise, Iron Man 3 tones down the spectacle, and the movie is all the better for it. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley and Don Cheadle (as the Iron Patriot) are all in top form here, and where 2010’s disappointing “Iron Man 2” featured pointless action scenes that did little to advance the plot, the exciting money shots featured here are bound to impress even the most jaded of moviegoers.

I’m going with three and a half out of five for director Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. It will keep you adhered to the screens till the end. Iron Man 3 is perhaps the only super hero film so abundant in witty humor, mostly intelligence and in terms of action the film is a spectacle. Sheer Class!