Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley
Plot: Sometime after the events of The Avengers, a haunted Tony Stark has obsessively built several Iron Man suits in his mansion. This causes friction with his girlfriend, new Stark Industries chief Pepper Potts. In a flashback to New Year's Eve 1999, Stark, with his scientist paramour Maya Hansen, arrogantly avoids crippled scientist Aldrich Killian, who wants Tony's backing in his endeavor Advanced Idea Mechanics.
In present-day America, a string of bombings by terrorist the Mandarin has left intelligence agencies bewildered at the lack of forensic evidence. When Stark Industries security chief Happy Hogan is caught in one such attack, Stark revives himself from his stupor and issues a televised threat to the Mandarin, who responds by destroying Stark's home with helicopter gunships. Potts and Maya, who had come to warn Stark, survive the attack. So does Stark, who finds himself in rural Tennessee after his artificial intelligence JARVIS follows a flight plan from Stark's investigation into the Mandarin. Stark's experimental armor lacks sufficient power to return to California, and the world believes him dead. And from there story continues...
Chris Tookey, Daily Mail
Comic-strip superhero movies are not exactly noted for intelligence, wit or humour. Iron Man 3 is the welcome exception.
The big asset of the series has always been Robert Downey Jr as the billionaire playboy, talkaholic and unrepentant sex addict Tony Stark. He is a nerd’s bedsit fantasy, a brilliant scientist and inventor who’s impossibly wealthy and irresistible to women.
Guy Pearce is suitably malevolent as a nerd-turned-megalomaniac. Ben Kingsley offers a never-to-be-forgotten caricature of a foreign terrorist.
Iron Man 3 is a lot more fun and imaginative than its two predecessors, and at least comparable with The Avengers Assemble, which I liked and was a huge hit.
I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, and many people — even those under 40 — will find it noisy and meaningless.
But if you have a sense of humour and like this kind of thing anyway, you’re in for a treat.
Verdict: Best of the trio
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
To use a recondite term in professional film criticism: whoo-hoo! Iron Man 3 is descending on cinemas with an almighty crash, assuming the dramatic-yet-camp landing pose that Tony Stark in his exo-body-chassis favours on arrival: right knee down, right fist in the smashed asphalt, left elbow back, head up.
Robert Downey Jr is back, smashing walls and cracking wise as the billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, now out of the closet as Iron Man, living the dream in his future-tech clifftop pad and co-habiting with the beautiful Pepper Potts – Gwyneth Paltrow's excellent, relaxed performance making me wish she spent more time on film sets and less with her nutritional website.
Iron Man 3 is smart, funny and spectacular – I particularly liked Stark's brutally unsentimental reaction to the news that a kid who is helping him is missing his errant dad.
Verdict: It is quality Friday night entertainment: the innocent pleasure of the week.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
After nearly crashing and burning on his last solo flight in 2010, Iron Man returns refreshed and ready for action in this spirited third installment of the thus-far $1.2 billion-grossing Marvel franchise. In a way a double-sequel, both to Iron Man 2 and to last year's mega-hit The Avengers, Iron Man 3 benefits immeasurably from the irreverent quicksilver humor of co-writer and director Shane Black, whose obvious rapport with Robert Downey Jr. in his only other directorial outing, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, is further manifest here.
Looking, if anything, younger than he did in his last couple of spins for Marvel, Downey is at his superhero genius best here, rattling off dialogue both clever and boilerplate with non-repetitive aplomb. Clearly, part of the thinking behind this installment was to have Tony spend much of his time out of his Iron Man suit and force him to generate creative, rather than just physical, ways to solve problems, and this gives the actor more opportunities than he had in the second go-round. Hall's offbeat presence in what is her first big-budget franchise outing is greatly welcome, Pearce brings an arresting presence to his role as an egghead villain, and a fabulously accoutered and adorned Kingsley has a field day as the elusive Mandarin.
Cinematographer John Toll and production designer Bill Brzeski add class to the generic proceedings, Brian Tyler's ultra-energetic score doesn't grate the way soundtracks for such films often do and the special and visual effects are tops when they count.
Verdict: Worth your while
Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express
It’s Iron Man’s flesh-and-blood ordinariness that lies at the heart of his appeal (Stark being a mere mortal gifted super abilities via his metal suit) and writer/director Shane Black has gone back to basics to recapture that.
With co-writer Drew Pearce he’s fashioned a witty, real-world adventure that is more human drama than sci-fi spectacle, or at least a satisfying blend of both, with plenty of humour, a pleasing warmth and some clever twists.
Verdict: Needless to say Iron Man saves the day although - typical of a picture that continually subverts expectations – not in the way you might expect.
Tom Huddleston, Time Out
We find Tony Stark (Downey Jr) languishing in the doldrums, scarred by his experiences with the alien-battling Avengers and throwing himself into work at the expense of relationships and sleep. What’s worse, there’s a terrorist on the loose: mystery man the Mandarin (Kingsley), bent on global annihilation. After an ill-advised public throwdown followed by a helicopter attack on his plush seafront palace, Tony heads for Tennessee on the trail of a seemingly suicidal ex-soldier, and quickly learns that nothing here is at it seems…
Despite his unimpeachable screenwriting CV, this is only Black’s second film as a director (his first, 2005’s gloriously foul-mouthed crime thriller ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, also starred Downey Jr) and it shows.
It’s undeniably entertaining – and worth seeing for Kingsley alone – with the misfires never fully overshadowing the moments of glory. But in the wake of the triumph of ‘The Avengers’, ‘Iron Man 3’ still feels like something of a disappointment.
Verdict: Entertaining but somewhere disappointing