The somewhat sensational headline is indeed true, with the caveat that it’s mostly by default. There really hasn’t been a terrific ‘part 3’ in the realms of comic book superhero movies. While I can somewhat defend the kitchen-sink excess and superb action scenes of Spider-Man 3, the occasionally thoughtful character work in Batman Forever, and the entertaining but pointlessly rushed and micromanaged of X-Men: The Last Stand, none of these films reach anything approaching greatness. You and I may disagree on The Dark Knight Rises, but I found it to be The Godfather part III of the series, an unnecessary and unsuccessful extra chapter to an already perfect two-part rise-and-fall story-line that its director didn’t really want to make in the first place. And Superman III is the worst Superman film in the original series, as at least Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was trying to tell a worthwhile story. I don’t think anyone has fond feelings for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. So it is perhaps by default that Iron Man 3 is the best comic book superhero “threequel” yet made, but it is still a surprisingly satisfying adventure that flirts with greatness.
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