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Iron Man 3 (3D) (DQ)


Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, William Sadler, James Badge Dale, Stephanie Szostak, Paul Bettany (voice)

Director: Shane Black

The first two Iron Man films set new standards of intelligence blended with action, but, even though its 3D is rarely used to full advantage, this third saga really has the lot: a string of good actors at the top of their game, more laconic throwaway lines for star Downey, delivered with snap and crackle, a towering villain in Pearce, carefully thought-out dialogue and a plot that continually takes us aback with unexpected twists and turns, some comic, some tragic, to make us laugh out loud or gasp with horror.

It even adds in a kid who helps the hero when he's down - an absolute masterstroke. And the action blazes like the fiercest of furnaces - but never neglects the vein of humour that runs right through the film.

Probably neither Downey nor Paltrow (again as Pepper Potts) saw themselves as action heroes in the early days of their careers, but they acquit themselves like the pros they are, not forgetting to create real characters in the process.

The story starts in 1999, when young entrepreneur Tony Stark (Downey), on a science convention in Switzerland, beds botanist Maya (Hall), ignoring in the process his promise to meet nerdy inventor Aldrich Killian (Pearce). Fourteen years later, and Killian is linked to The Mandarin (Kingsley), a fearsome bearded terrorist making a good fist of bringing the world to its knees.

Stark steps up to the plate, but in no time, his palatial HQ has been obliterated by the bad guys, and he finds himself on a journey to nowhere, dragging a shattered Iron Man suit behind him. That's where the kid (Ty Simpkins) comes in.

Downey's decriptions of a ham actor as 'Sir Laurence Oblivion: they say his Lear was the toast of Croydon' are perhaps the highpoints of the humour, although the brilliant Kingsley almost steals the film from the star in the closing stages. Congratulations to UK's Drew Pearce, who co-wrote the thing with director Black, who spent two years making it. Good job guys.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 23 Apr 2013