FOX 34 at the movies: 'Iron Man 3'

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 5/06/2013 10:16 am

In the movies, it's never been the suit that makes Iron Man soar - it's the magnetically wise-cracking charm of Robert Downey, Jr. And this third "Iron Man" movie has a writer and director who knows how to use Downey well and play to his strengths.

Shane Black wrote and directed the outstanding and little-seen action comedy "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which featured Downey in one of his first come-back roles in 2005. Giving Black the reigns for "Iron Man 3" was a great move. He takes some big risks with the characters, and he's smart enough to keep the focus on Downey's Tony Stark, unlike "Iron Man 2," which was bloated with side stories.

Haunted by the events of "The Avengers,"  Stark is forced back into action by a terrorist called The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. His taunting of the terrorist has quick consequences, when his posh home is attacked in a spectacular action sequence.

Stark soon finds himself all alone without the power of his suit. This is when the movie is at its best with Stark having to rely on his brain rather than the metal brawn.

Black's dialogue is quick and punchy and he's also a capable action director, evidenced in a thrilling skydiving scene that dazzles in 3D. Even though the plot has chinks in the armor, Black also supplies more than a few surprising twists which work really well, and give this "Iron Man" some irony, even though comics fans are howling about it.

Guy Pearce is solid as a scientist with secrets, and thankfully Gwenyth Paltrow gets more to do this time as Pepper Pots.

But in the end, it comes down to Downey. He truly is "Iron Man."

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2

Out of five stars

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