The reviews are in for Iron Man 3, which finally hit U.S. theaters today after racking up boffo box office abroad.
And that sound you hear are folks buzzing about Robert Downey Jr.'s third big-screen solo outing as the Marvel superhero—not counting, of course, his time in the suit with last summer's The Avengers.
For this latest adventure, which scored a 77 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, RDJ's playboy billionaire Tony Stark is taking names and kicking butt as he faces his toughest foe yet in the form of Ben Kingsley's Osama bin Laden-inspired terrorist The Mandarin.
So what are the critics saying? Read on!
• "Besides rehabbing a hero who overcomes anxiety to save the world and defeat the terror-industrial complex by the simple matter of cloning his body armor, the movie proves that there's still intelligent life on Planet Marvel," writes Time's Richard Corliss.
• "This third installment…has such a surfeit of visual dazzle and eye-popping stunts that it teeters on overload. But Downey reigns it all in with his perfectly-timed dry wit," raves USA Today's Claudia Puig.
• "Iron Man 3 is an ominously exciting, shoot-the-works comic-book spectacular. It keeps throwing things at you, but not with the random, busy franchise indifference that marked the hollow and grandiose Iron Man 2," offers Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly, who gave the film an A minus.
• "The most interesting thing about this new Iron Man is that, far from being slicker than the first two versions, it is unexpectedly—and successfully—darker and more serious than its predecessors," glows Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times.
• On the other hand, New York Times' Manohla Dargis countered: "The Iron Man films turned Mr. Downey into a huge star, but the role has gradually, maybe inexorably, swallowed him. He no longer necessarily does—and probably isn't asked to do—the hard work of a real performance."
• Agreeing with her was Rolling Stone's Peter Travis, who opined: "This may sound like heresy, but I'm getting Robert Downey'ed-out…the loose-cannon vibe that hooked us in the 2008 original has atrophied into shtick. And after a 2010 sequel and last year's The Avengers, isn't it time for this dynamo to move on to—dare I say it—acting?"
Well, there's always the The Avengers sequel!