IRON MAN 3 (Shane Black, 2013)
IRON MAN 3 upgrades the successful film franchise both story wise and effects-wise (because this third installment is literally a visual buffet) while taking note of the elements that made the first film a beloved superhero classic.
Most notably, IRON MAN 3 dishes relentless humor from unexpected places, via dialogue, via sight gags, and even by way of Robert Downey, Jr. just making faces. It is the funniest of the three IRON MAN films.
Shane Black does to IRON MAN 3 what Barry Sonnenfeld did for MIB3, or Nolan for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, or Sam Mendes for SKYFALL. In IRON MAN 3, Tony Stark is forced to face the demons of his past, reevaluate his priorities in life, and realize that what he has may in fact be obliterated in a heartbeat (and I'm not just talking about his loft). The story treatment is richly-layered with human emotion and textbook definition of the superhero dichotomy and unfolds in a relaxed fashion that allows us to peek into the things that make Tony Stark human. Also, we are given an adversary worthy of IRON MAN.
The supporting cast renders their A-Game to the table, from a sultry Rebecca Hall playing a former flame, to Guy Pearce's mad scientist, until Ben Kingsley menacing and SURPRISING turn as The Mandarin. Strap in for a mind-blowing plot twist halfway through the movie. Nobody can do it the way Ben Kingsley does.
Another fun addition (which may or may not be a spoiler depending on who you ask, but by now you probably saw the movie already) is that the IRON MAN armor can now be transferable, meaning Pepper Potts gets to use it on one occasion. The cherry on top is the final scene set in the harbor, with Tony Stark jumping from one armor to another.
IRON MAN 3 brings out the best childhood memories in every kid and adult alike, and reminds us why we need heroes to look up to. Tony Stark isn't perfect- from what we've learned from 3 IRON MAN films he's a womanizing, narcissistic, unrelenting millionaire who always loves the spotlight. But when he's IRON MAN, we believe that somebody will be there to save us in our hour of need.
A little bump on the road though is how Tony can manage to fix his greatest weakness all of a sudden. I'm sure you'll notice this as well.