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If it weren’t for the success of the first “Iron Man,” the pedestal that Marvel Studios has set since would be nowhere as high as it is today. Five years and six films later, Marvel kicks off their Phase II series with “Iron Man 3,” the third and most likely final film in the “Iron Man” series. While its new direction is likely to divide certain fans of the characters, it nonetheless ends the trilogy on a fulfilling note.

After the hectic events in New York City from “The Avengers,” Tony Stark struggles with extreme insomnia and puts his focus into further developing his Iron Man technology. However, this hobby of his has also severely stifled his personal life with girlfriend Pepper Potts and best friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes. At his most vulnerable state, Stark must contend with two of the biggest foes he’s faced, that being a terrorist that goes by the alias The Mandarin, and shady scientist Aldrich Killian.

“Iron Man 3” thankfully fixes a few of its predecessor’s problems and ignites a solid start to Marvel’s Phase II franchise. However, while watching the film, I couldn’t help accepting that my immense hype got in the way of fully enjoying it.

Not surprisingly, Robert Downey Jr. is terrific as Tony Stark. He performs the character’s eccentric and volatile personality to the maximum on an entertainment scale, but the script also allows him to express a more human side of the character in the scenes where he’s on his own without his closest allies. Throughout the three films, Downey Jr. has assisted in creating one of the most memorable characters in comic book movie history.

In addition to his handling of the films’ smart sense of humor, director and co-writer Shane Black also constructs several adrenaline-pumping action sequences, all of which are filmed extremely well and have a great sense of providing visual eye candy for the viewer. This may be Black’s only blockbuster thus far in his career, but I definitely want to see more of what he could do in future films.

Apart from the aforementioned aspects though, everything else in this film is lacking in consistency. Like “Iron Man 2,” there are a lot of new characters thrown into the film that are either one-dimensional in personality or don’t serve as big an importance to the story as they should have. I don’t blame the actors in these roles because they all do a solid job, but they just aren’t given enough to work with.

Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Additionally, while the story of Tony Stark’s redemption flows at a fast pace, the points that connect the continuation of the plot felt either too simplistic or rushed. I still found myself rooting for Stark to succeed, but remained in a polarizing state in parts for how to take in the resolutions of various events.

Finally, there is a moment halfway through the film that will definitely divide certain people that see it. Of course I won’t give away what it was, but it is something that not everyone is going to take too kindly. I didn’t mind the big surprise, but I completely understand the opinion of those that viewed it in the opposite light.

While not as great as the first film but somewhat better than the second, “Iron Man 3” is a fun start to both the summer movie season and Marvel Studios’ Phase II of movies. There were moments where potential was wasted with certain characters and plot points, but Robert Downey Jr.’s performance and the fast-paced action are more than enough to suffice that the movie is a fun experience, in addition to closing the “Iron Man” trilogy on a commendable note.

Recommended. This is a must-see for “Iron” Man fans.

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