By Matt Singer | Criticwire April 24, 2013 at 10:37AM
"Iron Man 2" was a big hit at the box office and it helped set-up "The Avengers," but many critics found it repuls(or)ive (thank you; here all week; try the veal; etc). At Rotten Tomatoes "IM2" earned a lukewarm 73%; way down from the first film's 93%. But in the very early going "Iron Man 3," is on the critical rebound: with the vast majority of the first reviews (most from England, where the movie premiered earlier this week) saying that Robert Downey Jr. and new writer/director Shane Black have righted the ship to produce a stylish and satisfying comic book movie. They've praised the script and the action and an apparent plot twist -- so those worried about spoilers may want to think twice before they click through below.
Here's a sampling of the early "Iron Man 3" reviews. If you want to check out the naysayers -- and there are a few, though most are more mixed than flat-out negative -- you can find those at the bottom.
"I bow down to Mr Black as the Aaron Sorkin of action comedy."
"Robert Downey Jr. is at his best here, and seems to relish the greater complexity of his character."
"A terrific film that has at least one colossal plot twist."
"Benefits immeasurably from the irreverent quicksilver humor of co-writer and director Shane Black, whose obvious rapport with Robert Downey Jr. in his only other directorial outing, 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' is further manifest here."
"Essentially, Black is taking the superhero back to zero, but he doesn't pause for too much navel-gazing, instead using those malfunctions to deliver great crash bang fun."
"A superhero flick with smarts, depth and a marvellously mischievous sense of fun."
"For all the film's flaws, Black brings enough to the table that it's far from a chore, and if this level of ingenuity and surprise can be maintained, there'll be no need for Tony to hang up his Iron Man helmet any time soon."
"Black has an instinctive feel for balancing action set-pieces against the passages of soap-opera that are required to make them matter."
"Where 'Iron Man 2' felt like a fumble on a perfect pass, 'Iron Man 3' feels like a success against the odds."
"It's funny, it's gripping and its action scenes are phenomenal."
"Robert Downey Jr. has hinted he may hang up his suit after 'Avengers 2.' That would make this the final film in a trilogy of 'Iron Man' movies. But what a way to bow out."
"Calling 'Iron Man 3' a mixed bag doesn’t really do justice to the heady peaks and interminable troughs in this scrappy but overwhelmingly likeable superhero sequel."
"An inconsistent but entertaining sequel."
"If Stark really is having an identity crisis, the script would have benefited enormously from one or two reflective pauses."
"In some ways, 'Iron Man 3' is admirably stripped-down, but in others it’s overly outlandish, while the constant puncturing of half-serious moments is overdone."
"Showing little respect for its source material and fans, this disappointing third installment trumps laughs and action over substance and characters."