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Last year I loved The Avengers (Assemble) and I’ve seen it about half a dozen times since it came out and it’s brilliant. Unlike The Dark Knight Trilogy, which for me is a different type of superhero film, more rooted in realism, rather than fantasy, The Avengers set the bar high for future comic book adaptations.

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I was very lucky, thanks to Sky Rewards, to get a couple of tickets to a screening which was simultaneous to the London Premier yesterday. The screening itself was interesting, Mobile phones were checked twice to ensure they were off, and there were people in the screening with night-vision goggles on (like in Silence of the Lambs). Personally, I think that all cinema screening should be like that. Even this kids were well behaved.

Iron Man 3 is set after the events of The Avengers, and from a characters perspective this is interesting; How does a character, like Tony Stark, who’s adversaries have always been strong thanks to technology and whose stage is rooted (much like Batman) in realism, rather than the fantastical, get over events as mental as in The Avengers, (I’m talking, aliens, worm holes, and Thor “Doth mother know, you weareth her drapes?”) surely it would mess with your head. Well, yes of course it would – and Iron Man 3, manages to strip the character of Stark brilliantly and delicately down to his most vulnerable whilst still able to keep the humour from which Downey Jr is so brilliant at delivering.

You can’t have a good superhero without a decent villain and we have both the yin and the yang of villains with great performances from both Guy Pearce and Sir Ben Kingsley, and their army of.. well.. I’m not going to spoil that. 

The film carries on the theme of a terrorism over from the first two films, and Kingsley’s “Mandarin” is great, though unexpected, he proves why he is “Oscar winner, Sir Ben”. The premise here is that there are bombings which have been orchestrated by The Mandarin, however there is little evidence of an actual bomb. Send in Iron Man.

It’s really difficult to make this review spoiler free whilst giving the villains a decent description, as (and unlike the previous Iron Man films), this third outing is full of twists and turns. Some may be more obvious that others, but in a film like this when you suspend disbelief the moment you purchase your ticket, you have to go with it.. and let yourself go, because it’s a better ride for it. What Iron Man 3 has taken from the Avengers, is to bring a little more of the fantastical into the narrative, and the film is better for it.

The action is just awesome. It’s spectacular really, there’s a moment involving a plane where I thought it was taken a bit far, but on the whole. the action is what you would expect.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There is always trouble when you get to chapter 3 in a franchise where you are pushing the relationships of characters who clearly work better separately. This is what I hated about The X Files: I want to believe – Why of earth were Mulder and Scully shacking up?! The characters where stronger when the sexual tension wasn’t broken by actually shagging. And this for me is a big problem for Iron Man 3. Pepper Potts, who I’ve always liked Gwyneth Paltrow’s portrayal of, is now shacking up with our Iron Man and becomes less of a strong female character and more of a whiny girlfriend. I think they do try to undo some of this as the film draws to a close, however it’s a case of too little, too late.

As a film which strips back Stark, the colour pallet of the film is much darker matching the tone of the film, so when you put on your 3D glasses and loose another 30% of the light, it’s really really dark. There are some action sequences which do really benefit from the extra dimension, but I’m really bored of 3D now, the glasses bothered me and I’m finding that I have to taken them off every half an hour or so for a few seconds – the person that I went with also said that after a while he’d forgotten the film was actually in 3D!!

As a sequel, it feels more like a spin off of The Avengers, than a direct sequel to Iron Man 2, and that’s no bad thing. I think that Shane Black’s direction is great and it’s clear that the ante has been officially upped thanks for the success of The Avengers, and that’s exactly what the franchise needed. Will their be Iron Man 4? Well, I’m not sure If I want one. I actually think that the character of Tony Stark is so large in personality that having him as part of an ensemble piece works better – Just how Jack Black is (in my opinion) far better actor in a supporting role, like in High Fidelity, Stark need someone who he can banter with on an equal level and that’s what I think was missing from Iron Man and Iron Man 2, I just didn’t realise it until I saw The Avengers and now that this is done, I can’t wait for The Avengers 2.

A solid 4 star film.

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