'Iron Man 3' slick and enjoyable (IANS Movie Review - Rating: ***)

Film: "Iron Man 3"; Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany (voice), Jon Favreau, Ty Simpkins; Director: Shane Black; Rating: ***

With characters culled from Marvel Comics, we know for sure that "Iron Man 3" would be packed with spectacular action and nice razor sharp, witty lines. When, the film begins with a voice-over which states - "A famous man once said, we create our own demons. Never mind who the famous man is." - we are all the more confident about the same.

The voice-over at the very onset sets the tenor of the film.

The first scene ushers in a New Year's party in Bern, Switzerland, heralding the new millennium where a businessman-cum-genius inventor-cum mechanic Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is partying hard. The audience waits with baited breath to understand how he creates his own demons.

"Iron Man 3" is the Superhero's journey of finding the demons he created and destroying them.

Flash forward to the present day, following the attacks on New York where a new terrorist, Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), is threatening to bring down the US government. Tony is mentally fatigued. He is worn out with confidence and anxiety issues. This causes a strain on his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

He is unable to sleep and so he spends all his time developing a super cloak - The metallic shield that can protect him.

Created through advance mechanics, it assembles itself around him and works on mental remote. Thus making him the formidable - Iron Man.

Meanwhile, a good looking bio-tech researcher and geneticist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who has a grouse against Tony, teams up with Mandarin. So it is super-villains versus Iron Man.

With his back against the wall, Tony has to survive by his own devices, relying on his creativity and instincts to protect himself and those close to him. He has also to juggle a tense relationship with his old buddy James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and beautiful ex-girlfriend Maya (Rebecca Hall).

Along the way, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him - does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

The actions set along with the stunts are breathtakingly spectacular. The mid-air rescue operation as well as the Iron Man's suits either flying or fighting is a visual treat.

The cinematography along with the computer generated images merge seamlessly into frames making the entire watching experience amazing. The costumes as well as the production designs are visually remarkable.

Jam-packed with humour and gags, there is no emotional connect with the characters. During the course of the narration, director Shane Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce have meandered from the graphic novel into subplots merging the sensibilities of the eighties and early nineties, thus making everything odd in the character's history.

This is very evident in the scene where a de-motivated and lonely Tony traces The Mandarin to a small town. Here he is aided by a cute, cocky but troubled kid called Harley (Ty Simpkins), who misses his father. This relationship throws up a lot of witty one-liners, but the whole subplot seems incongruous.

Another subplot is that of Tony and his colleague James, where both of them spend time buddy cop style!

Every character in "Iron Man 3" is important and the actors deliver credible performances. Downey uses his offbeat persona to good effect, adding blunt honesty to Tony's character to help make the film more approachable.

Ben adds a comic dimension to this Chinese looking Osama-bin-Laden-esque villain. While Gwyneth and Rebecca have nothing much to display, Guy nails his character to the T. But it is Ty Simpkins as Harley the smart kid who surpasses expectations with a mature performance as a friend and ally to Tony and lays the foundation for the next sequel.

With a captivating finale, "Iron Man 3" is a slick, inspired fantasy-adventure film that almost anyone can enjoy. Let's pray for the next edition to come soon.

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