Every so often, my duties to the general public force me to suffer through a movie I would ordinarily not-- and Iron Man 3 is an action movie, a borderline science fiction movie, and a special-effects movie, any one of which would ordinarily save me my movie dollar. So don't expect my comments here to do justice to Iron Man 3.
But while the man of the couple I spoke to after the show said he had no trouble following the plot, the woman laughed heartily at the very thought of trying to do so. And I quickly detected the fact that what threads of plot there were served only to link the scenes of action that made up at least 80% of the movie, with a great deal of repetition of age-old devices, like things leaping or flying in from just barely outside the frame in the very nick of time to save the heroine or the hero or the situation from deadly peril. Which seemed to me largely a a wasted effort, since amputation and even death were purely temporary incidents that I quickly ceased to care about.
Of the considerably large cast, there are three who actually turn in performances-- Robert Downey, Jr.; Ben Kingsley and Rebecca Hall. The rest, including Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow, recognize their material and make no efforts to improve on it.
But if you want almost unceasing action and enormously expensive-looking production values, Iron Man 3 will not disappoint. The fights are darkly lit and rapidly edited and all but impossible to follow, and the transformer-type aircraft swoop and crash, sometimes recklessly. And there's a lot of swish, boom and bang, with some fairly snappy dialogue to join the segments.
That's all a lot of audiences require, and Iron Man 3 provides it.