Iron Man 3 is a safe film, a simple piece of popcorn entertainment that delivers exactly what you’d expect. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since Robert Downey Jr. is still charming and the characters engaging, for the most part. The movie falls into the trap that Iron Man 2 set, though, in the sense that there are too many characters here to make them all interact effectively; Ben Kingsley has a nice twist on his character but feels underutilized, and James Badge Dale is a great character actor who needs to find that defining role. What the movie fixes, though, is returning to simple form for this character: by breaking Tony down after the battle in New York, it allows for him to become a more complex character, driven by his love for Pepper. This is a smaller film than the previous efforts, only including a few terrific set pieces to accent the occasionally convoluted dialogue. And while it doesn’t meet the ceiling that was set with The Avengers, it works effectively in its own landscape, providing as strong of a conclusion as we’d expect for the trilogy.
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