Robert Downey Jr. is back for a fourth go-round as Iron Man, after two blockbuster Iron Man movies and last summer's even more spectacular Avengers film.
Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, has been tinkering obsessively with his Iron Man outfits, so much so that he's up to mark 42. That's right - he's got 42 different models of Iron Man. And it's starting to bug his wife - Gwyneth Paltrow, who calls them a "distraction."
But Stark is doing his best to cope with his fears of imminent doom - when a powerful villain shows up on the scene. The Mandarin, played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley, takes over the airwaves and threatens the world. That gets Stark's goat enough to get him to poke the giant.
"Here's a little holiday greeting I've been wanting to send to the Mandarin: My name is Tony Stark, and I'm not afraid of you. I know you're a coward, so I've decided that you just die, pal. I'm going to come get the body. There's no politics here friend, it's just good ol' fashioned revenge. And on the off chance you're a man - here's my home address: 10880 Malibu Point. I'll even leave the door unlocked."
The Mandarin takes up Stark's rash dare and almost immediately attacks his home from the air. And thus begins the first in a long string of all-out special effects battles.
By the end of the movie, I swear it feels like we've seen all 42 of those Iron Man suits in action.
And that's my biggest problem with "Iron Man 3." Robert Downey Jr. is still the best actor to have ever donned a superhero's get up. His Tony Stark is a quick-witted smart aleck who'd be fun to hang with even if he wasn't a superhero.
Unfortunately, "Iron Man 3" relies so heavily on CGI effects and non-stop aerial combat that it starts feeling like those lame-brain Transformers movies. It devolves into little more than a barrage of clatter and clutter.
Mrs. Stark is right when she calls all those Iron Man suits "distractions." Those distractions have the Iron Man franchise off course.