In short – not as good as the first one, but definitely better than the second.
I liked the feel of this one better, and it certainly felt like there was a real threat from the villain (Guy Pearce), even if I was never quite sure of his master plan. Maybe I just missed it, or maybe he’s like the Joker and just wants to watch the world burn. Either way, he was an angry, bad dude who racks up quite a body count in this one.
Robert Downey Jr. is still good, Don Cheadle is still underused, Gwyneth Paltrow is still there to be put in harm’s way, Jon Favreau keeps getting larger, and Ben Kingsley teeters between show-stealing and show-grinding-to-a-halt. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Sir Ben’s performance. One actor I know I did like was this kid Ty Simpkins. He was surprisingly un-annoying and had a lot of chemistry with RDJ. I really enjoyed that portion of the film.
If you’re looking for a few thrills, some funny moments, yet another villain with a vague overall scheme, and several references to The Avengers, this is your movie. If not, then may I suggest finding some other movie with much fewer Avengers references, like Casablanca, Jaws, or Return to the Blue Lagoon.