Robert Downey Jr. turns in the character of Tony Stark that we have come to love: snappy patter, brutally honest, and always with a twinkle in his eye. Gwyneth Paltrow as pepper Potts has a much stronger and better defined role as new CEO of Stark Industries and as Tony's actual girlfriend. We now get more of Iron Man's classic back up pal War Machine now renamed Iron Patriot. What will make 3 and at the same time may disappoint a few is that this movie is not about the suit. It is not about Tony in the suit. It is not action sequence after action sequence. It is about Tony Stark.
Stark faces the Mandarin, a favorite villain in Iron Man lore, a terrorist who is attacking and killing in the US. His destruction of Stark's in home lab leaves Tony to investigate on his own while trying to protect the people he cares about. In other words, we get to see more of Tony Stark's character than probably any other of the movies in the franchise. Shane Black is a first time director for the Marvel world, but having worked with Downey in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, he clearly understands Downey's skills as an actor.
Don't get me wrong. There is plenty of slick action sequences and the clever dialog we've come to expect from Iron Man. Stan Lee does make his cameo appearance. I'll let you figure out where. And there is a fun Easter Egg after the credits. Sorry if you left before the credits rolled. Still, though what makes this one different is not the villain, Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley who is unquestionably one fine actor, it is the storyline and character. Great plot is driven by great character and any comic book fan will tell you a great comic is not just one issue but the growth and cannon of the work. Iron Man 3 gives us this.
Does it always work? No. Are there a few extraneous plot points? Yes. As a comic book, action hero movie which is really Act 4 for the Iron Man Character (including the Avengers) It's good solid fun with solid effects. I'll by the DVD.