Iron Man 3 has good things in it, enough to please the series' fans -- and yet too many drawbacks to win many converts.
The film's true strength is a snappy, whip-smart wit
The trouble is that, as the plot quickens, any cleverness withdraws, to make way for the firecrackers of the climax. That is not Black's forte, and his movie duly slumps into a mess.
Shane Black excels at writing witty, self-referential, pop-infused banter, and there is no actor working today who is better suited to delivering it than Robert Downey Jr.
Iron Man 3 feels like an exploitative mulching of present-day anxieties. The script is ambitious but not wise enough to be rightfully cathartic. It's more Cuisinart than art.
The action, directed by Shane Black, ranges from passable to interminable.
Black is good at giving his heroes a morbid, self-hating edge and even better at coming up with hateable villains.
After a while, the steady diet of tongue-in-cheek starts to taste monotonous as day-old gum.
Just like he does with those crummy Sherlock Holmes movies, Downey elevates this rather flimsy material with his sheer presence.