Director: Shane Black
Year Released: 2013
The sea of mediocre comic book-inspired action movies continues, with this installment of the Iron Man saga having ubiquitous Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) facing off against a terrorist called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), having his home blown up, his girl-pal Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) kidnapped and ending up stranded, injured and under the sudden grip of an anxiety disorder (try Xanax, man, it works). The inherent problem with these types of movies is, once you get past what a young boy might think of as being "cool" (multiple Iron Men! people that glow like they're filled with lava! explosions!) there isn't much left to hold onto: sure, the script can move from elaborate set-piece to set-piece and have Stark beaten up over and over and over again, but there is never any doubt he will not only survive the injuries but, with the help of magical intervention, come out ahead and save the world (even Jon Favreau's character survives a bombing). If Downey's sarcastic word-play was a nice diversion in the other Stark-related movies he's been in, by now the act is a little tired (though he still has a few nice one-liners); even the super-villain (Kingsley) turns out to be puppet for yet another baddie with a grudge (Guy Pearce, a long way past Memento and L.A. Confidential).