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The Films of Shane Black

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Click here for review.

Iron Man Three (July 5/13)

Directed by Shane Black, Iron Man Three follows Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark as he's forced to take on a fearsome opponent known only as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) - with Tony/Iron Man's efforts at battling this sinister villain hindered by his recovery from the events of The Avengers. There's little doubt that Iron Man Three, in its early stages, fares a whole lot better than one might've anticipated, with Tony's Avengers-influenced vulnerability ensuring that the character comes off as a far more down-to-earth (and, as a result, appealing) figure than in the previous films. Perpetuating the surprisingly watchable atmosphere is its dearth of action at the outset, as filmmaker Black places an emphasis on character development and plot that stands in sharp contrast to the relentlessness of most comic-book movies. It's only as Iron Man Three progresses into its distressingly uneventful midsection that the viewer's interest begins to wane, with Black's decision to stress Tony's exploits in a small town, alongside a scrappy little kid, no less, certainly wreaking havoc on the movie's increasingly tenuous momentum. (The uneven feel is compounded by the inclusion of superfluous elements seemingly designed to pad out the running time.) The film's mild success, then, is due primarily to the sporadic presence of unexpectedly enthralling sequences (eg Iron Man saves several folks plummeting from an airplane), while the uniformly strong performances - Kingsley's scene-stealing turn as the intriguing, idiosyncratic baddie is an unquestionable highlight - go a long way towards smoothing over the various bumps and lulls in the almost excessively erratic narrative. Iron Man Three is, in the end, just another middling entry in an extremely underwhelming series, with the switch from Jon Favreau to Shane Black ultimately not providing the franchise with the fresh perspective it so desperately needs.

out of

© David Nusair