After the whole New York battle with The Avengers, Tony Stark is in a bit of a funk (not as in a soul boy way, although he does get his groove on in a Wing Chun stylee). But we all felt a bit down, with the thought that Joss wouldn't be making all the other Marvel movies from now on.
However, Tony's depression was more related to the experience of battling aliens from another dimension, and freefalling through a closing portal, leaving him with something akin to superhero PTSD. To compensate, he starts building lots of new Iron Man suits, while Pepper takes care of general running of Stark Industries.
So while Tony is indulging in his personal crisis, a new terrorist is threatening the world and the US in particular (which actually raises some interesting topical questions about terrorism and media manipulation), but when The Mandarin (played by Ben Kingsley in all his thespian glory) strikes much closer to home Tony is forced to both go into hiding and seek help from an old flame (more of a one-night stand really), who happens to be a genetics genius, played by Rebecca Hall.
Shane Black has done a fantastic job with this latest (final?) instalment. Not only is he a great writer of witty banter as displayed in his action buddy movies such as Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero and The Last Boy Scout, but also shown his directorial chops with the much underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, where he worked with Robert Downey Jr. While Iron Man 3 is worlds away from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it is his ability to bring the characters' humanity to life that makes it work.
A lot of people were (unjustifiably) critical of Iron Man 2, but this third outing is easily a match for the first one, in terms of both action and laughs, and may even surpass it. There is a 3D version, which doesn't do a great deal to enhance the story or onscreen action. There is also a Chinese version, with a slightly different storyline, because, according to recent reports, the Chinese audiences demand more depth to the story in preference to explosive action. But we get the explosions, of which there are plenty, and that is more than entertaining enough. After all, it is a comic book movie about a man with a flying metal suit and a glowy thing in his chest.
Do go see it. You won't be disappointed. And stay the extra 10 minutes for the credits. There is an extra scene that is worth the wait.
IRON MAN 3 is in cinemas now.