Iron Man 3
Shane Black directed "Iron Man 3," taking over the juggernaut so that Jon Favreau, a driving force behind the high-tech Tin Man franchise, could take a break from the helm and just be perpetual lackey Happy, who's in a coma for most of the 130-minute runtime. (Favreau still found time to executive produce, though.)
Black also co-wrote the Marvel-ous explosion-fest screenplay, a mishmash of global socio-political commentary on terrorism alongside personal demons, just in time for Christmas. Tony Stark, now shacking up with Pepper Potts in his Malibu dream house, has begun to suffer anxiety attacks. Apparently this alternative man of steel has a heart of glass and feet of clay, but still has the disposable income and mechanical drive to build an army of prehensile suits, pieces of which can be called at whim to fly at him, Hitchcockian bird-style.
Smarmy Stark has some new villains with whom to contend, including a former one-night-stand/botanist (Rebecca Hall), geek-turned-model megalomaniac (Guy Pearce), and the worst criminal of all, a bad actor, a "Sir Laurence Oblivier" (the still sexy beast Ben Kingsley), who "talks like a Baptist preacher." All these baddies zip around amongst a solid ensemble of operatives injected (infected?) with Extremis, a smoldering, 3000 degrees Celsius superpower.
The puns are mostly solid - references to "Westworld" automatons and a Hispanic Scott Baio, plus the healing power of "Downton Abbey" - but some scenes don't jibe, like Tony's kid sidekick who gets, and reads, a PRINTED newspaper. As if.
After yet another senseless mass shooting this week at Washington's Navy Yard, Happy's obsession with Stark Industries' security clearances, probably funny when written, now rings hollow when the real world again proves deadlier than comic book carnage.
"Iron Man 3"