Going dark, as superhero movies are wont to do in the third round, without losing its charm, Iron Man 3
emerges as a top-tier superhero yarn that emphasizes something too often forgotten by its brethren: Comic-book movies are supposed to be fun. Here, our hero (the great Robert Downey Jr.) squares off against an Osama bin Laden-type villain known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a deranged scientist (Guy Pearce) and an army of super soldiers. In reuniting Downey with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
director Shane Black, Marvel has managed yet another home run in a series of blockbuster gambits. In Black—the man who invented the banter-driven buddy-cop genre with Lethal Weapon
—Marvel has finally found a writer who can convey Stark’s gift for fast talk and self-deprecating barbs. He’s populated his film with loquacious henchmen, slapstick sight gags and enough putdowns to fuel 1,000 celebrity roasts. In keeping Stark out of his armor for much of the film, Black has crafted a superhero film that harks back to the golden years of summer action. Iron Man 3
isn’t just a fine superhero film. It isn’t just a fine action flick, either. It’s a film that embraces a mold before completely breaking it with out-of-left-field twists and turns that keep the viewer engaged and chuckling with alarming frequency.