As always, this isn't to convince anyone to see the movie; it's for those who've seen it.
I had only seen two previews before going in, both on the Colbert Report. The one thing I didn't understand was why the Mandarin had an American accent. When the point was raised about funding for the movie coming partially from a Chinese production company and that they also shot an alternate version for the Chinese market (with the Mandarin renamed "Man Darren"), I assumed the muddying of the character had to do with Political Correctness on Disney's part. And maybe that's so, but the issue of Ben Kingsley's weird accent was addressed and satisfactorily put to rest within the context of the story.
The complaints I'd heard before going in had mostly to do with how much time Downey spends on screen out of the armor. Tony's fast patter has always been the real star of the Iron Man movies, so I didn't care about that criticism. I always prefer the acting over the action, anyway, but there were quite a few fight scenes with un-armored Tony versus dudes with superpowers, un-armored Tony being flung against metal objects, etc. A human body just couldn't feasibly take all the abuse handed out in these scenes.
Guy Pearce has never impressed me in anything other than Ravenous (1999), and here looked like a trailer trash meth addict rather than the suave Bond-esque bad guy he was trying to be, but he was okay. Thinking back over the plot, I don't understand what it is he was trying to accomplish, other than the standard "take over the world" boilerplate. There was some conspiracy-type stuff in there about controlling the market in the war on terror, and that particular fantasy element is a bit uncomfortable taken along with the recent opening of the George W. Bush presidential library... But I digress...
The subplot with the kid was good (if a bit schmaltzy). It could have easily turned into Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with the smart-mouthed kid, and it came damn close to the line a couple of times, but ultimately it wasn't terrible. Then I was sure that the "everybody's secretly a bad guy" thing they kept doing was going to spill over onto the kid's story, but thankfully it didn't. Oddly enough, the kid seems to have some connection to Zack Snyder and his group of people.
There wasn't much suspense in the happy ending, and it's probably for the best. When Pepper fell to her "death" it was over in a second, no slow motion. They had already shown that she had been injected with the super serum, so it was obvious she was okay (her hair being perfect and un-singed was maybe a bit much). In the end, it's unclear as to whether or not Pepper retains her superpowers. Tony says he "sorts it out," but what does that mean?
I was initially concerned when I heard Favreau wasn't directing. I don't know why I was concerned, though, since I had already noted on The Avengers that the person in the director's chair is largely inconsequential to the finished product. That proved to be true here as well. The "director" on any of these Marvel movies is just a middle-manager and the style here is pretty much the same as all the rest.
The CGI was good, as CGI goes. But for $200Million, it had better be.
Stan's cameo was funny, as usual; and the scene after the credits was actually a part of the narrative and not an ad for another movie, not as usual.
Overall, it was a satisfying movie experience.
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator." — Bob Kane