It's armor time!  There's lots of action -- and a good deal of investigation too -- as the Marvel superhero franchise continues with Iron Man 3.  This latest film adds a bit more angst to the mix.
Following the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a mess.  He hasn't been sleeping, is worried about protecting his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), keeps tinkering with his suits of Iron Man armor, and suffers panic attacks when he thinks about what happened in Manhattan.
There are also plenty of threats too.  A mysterious terrorist mastermind called the Mandarin (Kingsley) is orchestrating terror acts to teach America a lesson.  Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), once spurned by Tony Stark, is somehow connected with the Mandarin.  Killian also has a biological creation called Extremis, which lets people heal almost any injury in seconds, glow with amazing heat -- and occasionally explode.
James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) wants to help Tony but is busy -- as the Iron Patriot -- chasing down leads on the Mandarin.  Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), a one-night-stand of Tony's from years ago, is a biologist who may have information on Killian and Extremis.  And when a massive attack on Tony's home destroys everything, Tony goes essentially undercover and without resources (but with the help of a spunky kid) to figure out what's going on.

I suspect Iron Man 3 will wrap up Iron Man as a star, though I have little doubt he'll be in future Avengers movies.  As for this outing, it's something of a mixed bag.  Downey Jr. is great as always as Tony Stark, here given more vulnerability as well as genius as he seems to suffer from PTSD while still battling on.  The storyline also works quite well, as most characters rely on their intelligence rather than brute force.  That said, there are plenty of plotholes here (not the least of which is how Stark wanders through the whole middle of the movie virtually powerless, yet is able to call dozens of suits for the finale) and most of the other actors don't have much to do (though Guy Pearce makes for a fine villain).  In the end, Iron Man 3 is a good but not great, solid but not spectacular, wrap-up to Shellhead's movie trilogy.
Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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