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Iron Man 3

Three must be Hollywood’s lucky number as it loves trilogies.  Recent years have been littered with them with actors having ‘sequel clauses’ written into their contracts.  Not that Robert Downey Jnr needed much persuading to appear in ‘Iron Man 3’ as his enthusiasm for the series has been noticeable.  Based on the Marvel comic book created by Stan Lee, the character has revitalised his career with a franchise showing no sign of slowing down.

 

After all he holds dear is nearly destroyed, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr.) aims to even the score.  Standing defiant against the mysterious terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and the machinations of embittered rival Killian (Guy Pearce), Stark calls on help.  Aided by James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and girlfriend Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow), he ensures Iron Man’s final battle is one worthy of the armoured avenger he created.

 

Although full of spectacular pyrotechnics and dazzling effects, ‘Iron Man 3’ offers a more personal story.  With half the screen-time given over to Stark as he grapples with his arrogance and heroic creation, this allows the viewer to examine what drives his actions.  Even these scenes are full of fun and energy with a plot moving at lightning speed.  That’s the pleasing aspect of this series – each instalment has had its own identity while further exploring its characters.

 

Directed by Shane Black, the action looks incredible with the script having a good mix of humour and drama.  Although certain characters could have been better developed, the twists involving them are genuinely surprising.  It’s not often a second sequel works and it is pleasing ‘Iron Man 3’ does with its villains displaying true menace.  The regular cast are completely at ease in their roles as they inject enough playfulness to let audiences in on the joke.  They still take the story seriously with the flavour of the comics successfully transferred to the screen.

 

‘Iron Man 3’ is a fun, quickly moving block-buster.  If the series ends with this film it goes out on a high note which would be a good way in leaving fans hungry for more.

 

Rating out of 10:  8

 

Olympus Has Fallen

Fans of 1980’s action movies will have déjà vu watching ‘Olympus Has Fallen’.  Featuring a hero dealing with past tragedy while battling an armada of foreign enemies, you’d expect Arnold Schwarzenegger to walk in at any moment.  He doesn’t but his spirit certainly hovers around this violent ode to spectacular excess.  Featuring more explosions than in a fire-works factory, its foray into pure silliness as just as eye-rolling as ones witnessed decades ago.

 

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the lead secret service agent assigned to protect the American President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart).  When a daring assault on the White House by a group of North Korean terrorists led by Kang (Rick Yune), Mike leaps to action.  With the help of House Speaker Allan (Morgan Freeman), he aims to free the captive President and strike at those foes wanting to destroy liberty.

 

‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is pure Hollywood trash.  Loaded with violence and very politically incorrect depictions of its villains, its aim for entertainment is dubious.  What it lacks in subtlety it slightly makes up for in the action which is its main asset.  Director Antoine Fuqua grounds the nonsense with a gritty atmosphere.  This enables the viewer to feel they are right in amongst the heat of battle.  There are plenty of them with more shoot-outs than seen in any John Wayne western.

 

The story is hardly original although making Butler’s hero stand out is his knowledge of the enemy and the layout of the Oval Office.  How he navigates his way to the predictable finale maintains interest despite the one-dimensional performances.  It provides some tense moments amongst the mayhem although its adherence to genre formula makes it less than memorable.

 

Full of noise and ferocious gun-play ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ should satisfy undemanding target audiences.  Its mechanical feel and slavish copying from the action-movie handbook reveals its unoriginality becomes its ultimate unbeatable villain.

 

Rating out of 10:  5