“Iron Man 3” uses that iconography in the extreme, with a terrorist figurehead, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), made up to look like Osama bin Laden; a televised execution; Middle East locations; American soldiers; and a complexly choreographed scene of falling bodies. It all looks and sounds familiar, though this is strictly Marvel’s world, with its own rules and reality.
The story takes place after the events of “Marvel’s The Avengers” and a battle for New York, with Stark talking in a voice-over: “We create our own demons.” There’s a bunch of plot, the usual special effects and new faces, including Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, a geneticist, and Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, a rich guy with one of those mysterioso organizations that are invariably up to no good.
That’s more or less it, give or take a few explosions. Those are loud and generally less impressive than Mr. Pearce and especially Mr. Kingsley, who turn in the sort of engaged performances that Mr. Downey no longer gives in the franchise. The “Iron Man” films turned Mr. Downey into a huge star, but the role has gradually, maybe inexorably, swallowed him. He no longer necessarily does — and probably isn’t asked to do — the hard work of a real performance.
The movie, which opens in the U.S. at midnight tonight, follows last summer’s blockbuster Avengers film, a super-hero teamup that linked together many Marvel super-heroes with successful films of their own, including the Hulk, Thor, Captain America and yes, Iron Man. Downey, who plays Tony Stark, described the film as taking place in a “post-Avengersworld” where Tony is still dealing with the fallout from the Chitauri invasion of Manhattan.
Iron Man 3 Official Trailer #2