WHAT IS IT?
Iron Man 3 is (not surprisingly) the third film in the extremely popular Iron Man series and marks the fifth time that the character has been played by Robert Downey JR. The film follows on from the events of Avengers Assemble (2012) and sees a rather shaken and panic stricken Tony Stark attempt to make sense of his place within the larger Marvel Universe.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau return as Tony's close circle of friends, Pepper Potts, James Rhodes and Happy Hogan, respectively, whilst new comers include Guy Pearce and Sir Ben Kingsley as chief bad guys, Aldrich Killian and the Mandarin.
Iron Man 3 is the first post-Avengers movie to be released and marks Marvel Studios' 'Phase II', which includes the films Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Avengers 2 (2015).
The film was directed by Shane Black - taking over from previous director Jon Favreau - and was the final movie to star Robert Downey JR under his original 4-film deal with Marvel Studios.
WHAT WAS GOOD?
As a direct follow-up to Avengers Assemble, rather than Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 was able to take Tony's story back to basics, presenting a more vulnerable superhero.
The introduction of Tony's panic attacks - a result of almost dying during the events of Avengers Assemble - coupled with the idea that he doesn't quite know where he fits into a world with aliens, created an interesting jumping on point for the film. Throwing in a super powered villain in the form of Aldrich Killian, only added to the action.
And then there was Sir Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. Taking a step away from the traditional comic-book take on the super villain (mystical ring wielder), Kingsley presented a terrorist with a twist. Explaining the true motivations of Kingsley's Mandarin would ruin the surprise, but it was a performance that was truly scene stealing.
Other highlights included a more active role for Pepper; a few new suits for Tony (leading to some cool suit swapping); a mid-air rescue attempt involving Air Force One; and a post-credit cameo from a certain Avenger.
WHAT WAS BAD?
As the first solo film following Avengers Assemble it was hard to shake the feeling that none of Tony's new team mates should have shown up to help him out. A throw away line early on in the story about the Mandarin's threat being "American business" was used to explain the fact that this was Iron Man's fight, but surely Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D would have been equally as capable of taking him down?
The Iron Patriot was another weak link in Iron Man 3. Yep he looked cool, and served a purpose in the story, but the Iron Patriot/Rhodes was never given much space to develop, so once again he seemed more of an add on than an integral part of the story.
The final showdown also seemed a little muddled at time, with too many Iron Man suits (42 in total) zipping around the screen.
Explaining the true