Iron Man 3

Flimsy plot, superstrong suit

Tony Stark squares off against his greatest foe to date—panic attacks—in the inevitable Iron Man 3. After saving the planet from cyborg zombie aliens in The Avengers, Stark (the getting-a-little-old-for-this Robert Downey Jr.) retreats to his workshop to tinker with his fantastical toys. When a paralyzing attack by hipster terrorist kingpin The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) destroys all that he's built, Stark goes off grid in a small Midwest town to reassemble his sense of self (and his futuristic robot suit). Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) wisely focuses on his actors more than the flimsy plot, which lifts heavily from The Dark Knight Rises. Despite having all the requisite kinetic action scenes, Iron Man 3 really shines in those quiet scenes away from the big city. Tony Stark and his precocious kid sidekick raiding hardware stores at Christmas may not help Marvel launch The Avengers 2, but it proves rather charming, nonetheless.

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