directed by Shane Black
Marvel and yes, Disney, has maintained a great run on movies for the last 3 years. The stories are written well. The visuals are awesome. Don't get me wrong. Movie adaptations of comic books are the thing to do now. You can't go wrong. Being "geek" is chic (for now). Eventually, there was going to be a hiccup. One of these movies were going to be lackluster. One of these movies would not cut the mustard.
The first issue I have with the movie is with the "main" villain. I love Ben Kingsley. I think if they wrote the Mandarin better, he would have probably out shined Heath Ledger as The Joker. Unfortunately, the screen writers scrapped The Mandarin story. Rumors alleged that it would have hurt relations between the US and China. While Marvel did some questionable stuff during the 60s when it came to villains such as the Mandarin, I think that Marvel has fixed all of the ethnocentric stuff they did with Mandarin over the years. He wasn't like Ming the Merciless was portrayed back in the day.
So they made Kingsley lean on his British side and he played a drugged out actor who was used as a pawn by the founder of A.I.M., Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce).
The second issue is that there was too much Tony Starks and not enough Iron Man. Shane Black was the director of Iron Man 3. Black is known for directing and writing shoot 'em up blockbusters but nothing close to adaptations of comic books. This was probably a bad idea. I felt like I was watching a watered down version of Die Hard. The only good part is that we got to see Don Cheadle get more action.
Another problem is that Tony Starks, Don Cheadle, and pretty much the entire Department of Defense could not figure out who the Mandarin was and what he wanted. He was part Osama Bin Laden and part Timothy Leary. One would think that Starks or anyone else in the movie would just say "Hey, let's see what Fury and SHIELD can do." No one even mentions it. Even my children pointed out that although the Avengers were referenced, they were never named. Why did this happen? Why didn't anyone from SHIELD give Starks or anyone a shred of info on the Mandarin. While A.I.M. and Killian were the culprits, no one figured it out until the end. This is never explained.
Finally, Starks has this hang up. It's obvious that he was still high after saving the world. He became part of the globe stomping Avengers. Now with down time, Starks is restless (as usual). And he can't figure out what it is. It takes a child stranger from a hick town to convince Starks of who he is. This sub plot was unnecessary. It wasn't even funny.
There are some great parts to the movie. The nod to Iron Patriot was hilarious. And yes, Killian was one step ahead of anyone. The Extremis story line was incorporated well into the story. Starks actually uses this for his armor in the comic book and I appreciate Marvel/Disney for putting this into the movie. I enjoyed how they suggested that Starks was the founder of the Extremis equation. I also dug how they kept Happy Hogan in the story. This added so much humor to the movie.
All in all, you can wait for Iron Man 3 to show up on Redbox. It's not worth the money. The action was not even substandard. While it was close to breaking records at the box office, I don't see why it deserved this. I find that the screen writers (both Black and Drew Pearce) really missed the mark. If anything, Iron Man 3 demonstrates that superb screen writing will make or break how a movie translates the story from a comic book.