Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (Minor Spoilers!!!)

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Iron Man 3 was easily my most anticipated film of the year, bar none. After the surprising success of the Avengers on both a critical and commercial level, I thought Marvel could do no wrong. The marketing behind Iron Man 3 plus the many trailers and interviews all gave me, and probably me other people, the idea that it would be a much more serious film and it would have a major character arc for Tony Stark.

Director Shane Black and company all talked about how Tony would be left with nothing, how he would have to go underground in order to defeat his greatest adversary yet, the Mandarin, a terrorist hell bent on crippling America and ruining Tony Starks life. It’s a shame then that all of the pre-release information was just a complete and utter load of bullshit!

Iron Man 3 is without a doubt my least favorite Marvel film. Is it the worst one they’ve produced? I don’t think so as it’s not nearly as bad as Captain America: First Avengers, a film which was so tedious and boring I left the theater an hour into it. While the IM3 has some redeeming qualities, the second you put any thought into the actual film the flaws become noticeable.

It’s been about 3 to 6 months since the Chitauri attack on New York. Since then Tony Stark has become a very shaken man. His near death experience along with the realization that there are aliens, Norse gods and who knows what else out there in the universe have all deeply disturbed him. He’s spent the last few months creating dozens of IM armors so that he can be prepared for the next great crisis.

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During this time, a terrorist known only as the Mandarin has launched a series of bombing attacks all across America and has become the most wanted man on the planet. Why is he doing this….? I don’t know because the film never bothers to explain his motivation on any level what so ever but regardless, Tony must now go save the world as Iron Man in typical super hero film fashion.

Let’s get the good out of the way first. All of the performances were fantastic. Robert Downey Jr. once again shines in the role of Tony Stark and given the different take on the character shows that he can pull off every aspect of Tony Stark and not just the cocky, smart ass playboy. Ben Kingsley was an intimidating antagonist and perfect for the role of Mandarin… Until they decide to… Do it something with him (more on that later) and Guy Pearce was pretty creepy as Aldrich Killian.

Don Cheadle caught me off guard as his performance as Rhodey was a noticeable improvement over IM2 and I think his moments with RDJ are just plain hilarious. The action scenes are once again spectacular, there’s none of that annoying close up shot or shacky cam crap you see in a lot of films these days. Everything can be seen clearly, the choreography was fast and dynamic and seeing 40 something Iron Man armors all destroy the bad guys just made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

The film was also funny as hell. Almost every scene has a gag, a character say something sarcastic or snarky and there’s some pretty good slap stick thrown in the mix too. At first the comedic scenes are perfectly balanced with the dramatic, more serious moments, at least in the first act. In the second and third act it’s pretty much a super hero comedy with some action scenes thrown in there.

3 1024x435 Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (Minor Spoilers!!!)Not that the comedy gets bad, the film remains consistently hilarious throughout and even in the post credits scene, but it feels like a distraction. Upon leaving the theater last night all I could think about what a good time the film was, how amazing it was and how Marvel nailed it once again.

Then I realized the comedy is in there so much just to distract you from the many glaring issues. It’s like they knew the script had these problems but they threw in as much funny stuff in there just so we wouldn’t notice and it almost worked. IM3 is the type of film that sort of falls apart once you put any thought into it, and the marketing did a terrible job of describing what the film really was.

Before release we had these somber trailers showing Tony seemingly losing everything and being brought to the lowest point in his life. That never happens in the film, sure his house and armors get blown up but he’s a bazilionaire, he can make a million armors and cliff side houses. He doesn’t even go underground! All he does is end up in some god forsaken piss hole of a city in rural area, but there’s plenty of technology, food, water there to keep him alive.

He doesn’t lose his girlfriend, his friends, his company or anything. He just ends up a few hundred miles away from them and everything he needs to get back on top is all there on a silver platter for him. You never get the feeling that he’s at his lowest point and the shoe horned in comedy does little to help this problem; it actually makes it even worse.

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Another much hyped up aspect was the inclusion of the EXTREMIS serum and that the story would be some what adapted in the film. 1) That’s a load of crap because the EXTREMIS serum is the only thing taken from the story, none of the interesting inner turmoil of Tony or the social commentary on war and weapon manufacturing is there and 2) EXTREMIS didn’t need to be in the film at all.

Now I haven’t read the story in a year, so my memory is a bit fuzzy but I do remember that in the comics EXTREMIS was a serum that gave you super strength, dexterity and a bunch of other powers that let ordinary people combat people like IronMan. In the comic Tony gets the beating of his life and needs to get a modified version of the serum in order to save his life and defeat the bad guy.

That’s not the case here. Tony is perfectly capable of taking on the EXTREMIS bad guys, in fact he’s actually better at killing them without his armor than he is with it! Plus the film immediately shows us that Tony put all these sensors into his body so that lets him call pieces of his armor on at will.

EXTREMIS is only in the film so that we don’t have yet another Iron Man villain who wants to use his tech for evil, which easily could have been the case; it makes the single most gut wrenching moment in the film completely pointless and its only there so Tony and Rhodey have some super villains to punch. Also, if the serum gives you the ability to regenerate, how the fuck does that let you turn your body parts into magma and breathe fire?! I’m pretty sure healing factor does not make you magma man. The serum was always vague to begin with what it was capable of in the comics, however the film gives it a definitive description then just completely ignores it.

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Tony has no character arc at all! From what I heard from Shane Black and Kevin Fiege and everyone else, I thought that Tony would actually be faced with some nasty experiences like in IM1 and he would seriously re-evaluate his life and his own personality. In actuality Tony just does the same old reckless crap he always does and not only does he not get punished for it, he actually gets rewarded for it. So kids, the next time you give a terrorist your address which nearly gets you and your girlfriend killed just keep on being an asshole and you’ll win!

Then we have Mandarin… Now Ben Kingsley and the character were both fantastic up to a certain point, the perfectly got the point across that this guy means business and he will accomplish his goals (whatever they maybe as the film never bothers to explain it!). Then they do something that’s like the scene from X-3 where Jean kills Cyclops.

I honestly sat there with my mouth wide open and I just couldn’t believe it. Up until the end I was expecting this to be some sort of trick or something, but no! It actually happened and it was all true. The film then resorted to use comedy to erase the feeling of sheer WTFness and it never fully recovered for me after that. And this isn’t coming from a die hard IM comics fan, the change to Mandarin is going to cause a shit storm and it’s gonna be a pretty big one.

What could have been another fantastic villain for Iron Man and perhaps the entire MCU was turned into…. that… thing…. Aldrich Killian, the secondary antagonist has the motivations of Obadiah Stane, Whiplash and Justin Hammer all rolled into one. This makes him the most generic IM villain yet. At least Guy Pearce’s performance was still able to have a great performance despite the mediocre role he was given.

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The 10 Rings organization which apparently pulled the strings since before IM1 is actually creates even more problems. In the film it’s firmly established that the bad guys need Tony for EXTREMIS as the serum still isn’t perfect and they believe he can fix it. Okay, so why the hell did you keep him in a cave for months instead of just making him do the serum?! What this powerful secret organization couldn’t kidnap Pepper or Rhodey and just force him to make it?

The final 10 minutes of the film just make no sense at all. Characters do things that make no sense and just come out of nowhere and I constantly keep wondering how did he/she survive this? Why did that stupid thing kill him/her? How did he/she know how to do that?  Why is he/she doing this? Why would you do that to your armors you stupid dumbass.

A final slap in the face is Tony’s apparent PTSP following the events of Avengers. In the first act it’s a big deal and the leading cause of many of his problems, but the film decides it doesn’t want its character to actually learn from his mistakes and grow as a person and just drops that whole sub plot entirely. Good thing it has another 5 or 6 all running at the same time (sarcasm).

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Iron Man 3 is by no means a bad film, but it’s not a particularly good one either. If you turn your brain off and never actually think about the film, ever, you’ll have a good time with it and you’ll get plenty of action and laughs. If you’re one of those, like me, who simply can’t do that, then you will either despise this film and see even more flaws in it than me or just think it was okay but definitely disappointing.


pixel Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (Minor Spoilers!!!)

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