By: Jagpal Khahera

The third installment of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as we see our hero returning for a final bout in his legendary suit. Along with Downey the rest of the main cast, including Don Cheadle as War Machine and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, all made it back to the screen each playing pivotal roles in the film. The newcomers in Iron Man 3 include Ben Kingsley playing famed Iron Man nemesis, the Mandarin, as well as Guy Pearce playing fellow genius, Aldrich Killian.

The film takes on a new approach plot wise as it starts off with Tony Stark narrating where he is in life after the events of the Avengers. Stark’s narration occurs throughout the film during particularly climactic moments. We find Stark currently dealing with anxiety attacks resembling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a scientist the events of the Avengers have shaken him up quite a bit. He ponders over how much of his work has meaning now that he knows about the existence of gods like Thor as well as other dimensions and worlds such as Asgard itself.

The film progresses with the appearance of the terrorist known to the public as the Mandarin. After one of his attacks nearly kills Stark Industry’s head of security, played by Jon Favreau, Stark issues a warning to the Mandarin saying he would be coming for him. Soon after this, Stark’s Malibu home is completely destroyed by an air strike headed by the Mandarin. Stark subsequently ends up by himself with an out of power suit in the plains of Tennessee looking for clues that might lead him closer to finding and finally confronting the Mandarin. The rest of the film involves Stark having to work and fight without the suit (for the most part) for once which was actually a pleasant surprise as it gave Stark some credit as a hero beyond the suit. Fans will remember the intense scene during the Avengers where Captain America confronts Stark by saying he was just a “man in a suit,” and nothing more. Iron Man 3 confronts that statement head on as we see Stark fending for himself with only his own genius to rely on.

The film for the most part was fantastic but one qualm fans may have with it is the lack of any other members of the Avengers team even making so much as a cameo appearance. Bruce Banner aka the Hulk is someone fans might have expected to see after witnessing their budding friendship during the Avengers but no sadly Stark is all on his own during this adventure. Another prominent factor was the lack of an appearance by Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. An appearance by Fury would have certainly shed some light on Avengers 2 or even an Iron Man 4 sometime in the future. But it seems that Marvel is keeping their future projects a secret for now. Fans can only speculate as to what Avengers 2 will bring after the first film revealed after the credits that it was infamous Marvel villain Thanos who was behind Loki’s scheme all along.

Speaking of Thanos, the Mad Titan also didn’t make an appearance in the after the credits scene that has become a staple of all Marvel films. An appearance by Thanos might have given fans a hint about Marvel’s future plans but all in all the scene was nicely done. Without giving up any spoilers as to what it’s about, fans will see why Tony Stark’s narration was occurrent throughout the film.

Iron Man 3 is now in theaters.