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Iron Man 3
by Michael Bradley
As a huge comic book fan and reader of the original Iron Man comics, I would probably go see any movie made about Marvel or DC Comics heroes. Unfortunately, that is what Hollywood banks on too often. Film producers do not understand the fascination with comics and rely on the old tried and true formula of big stars, big trailers and lots of computer generated special effects. It is what makes Iron Man 3 interesting, but also what makes it fall short of the mark.
I try to avoid spoilers in movie reviews, but in this case, I have to discuss the scenes themselves. If you have not seen it before, I give it high marks for eye candy and low marks for plot and acting. You should stop here if you want no spoilers.
Iron Man 3 starts off with The Mandarin, the mystical head of the Ten Rings shadowy organization. The Mandarin played horribly by Ben Kingsley, a man who other than Gandhi has played every stupid role in a film. The Mandarin turns out to be an idiot actor with no villain qualities at all. It is a real insult to the comic fans. Robert Downey as the title character seems to call it in on this movie, having already announced he might not do future ones. His acting is wooden.
You start off with Tony Stark narrating how he made innocent people into demons. This narrative is heavy handed throughout the film, including The Mandarin being a fake terrorist to prop up military industrial spending. They come out and tell you over and over, that we make our own demons. The point of the movie is clear, that all terrorists are created by our military to sell weapon systems. It is just as crassly portrayed in the movie, a political charge that is without any depth.
At the beginning, we find Tony Stark beset with anxiety attacks, worried about Pepper Pots, but never spending any time with the person who is indispensable to him. Then he makes a stupid taunt in the press and nearly gets both killed. He spends most of the film trying to get one partially functional suit to work, only to have forty fully functional suits magically appear at the end of the film for the finale.
The best part of the movie, and there are not a lot other than the computer action scenes, come when Tony Stark is relating to a young boy named Harley Keener, played by Ty Simkins. Ty steals the scenes and you wish the movie dwelt more on real characters like that than on the incessant assault on the senses of loud destruction scenes. The other good part of the movie is the humor inserted. A henchman actually leaves a scene, putting down his weapon and saying, “I hate this job, the people are weird here, I’m just going to leave if that is ok.”
The end has the Vice President being part of the conspiracy of course, so he can take over and you guessed it – get in more wars to sell more weapons for the defense industry. When Stan Lee created his characters they were about social commentary. The X-Men represented the viewpoints during the Civil Rights movement. Spiderman was the boy coming of age and learning how to be a man. Iron Man was created during the Vietnam War as a challenge to make a warmongering weapons manufacturer popular at the height of protests and hostilities. Stan Lee always played against type. That is one reason turning Iron Man into a pacifist who still builds violent personal robot exoskeletons by the score attacks the very foundation of the canon.
The worst attack on the canon of Iron Man is at the end. Tony Stark decides to get his heart “fixed” by removing the metal shards in it. What? The one thing that made Iron Man was that his heart was inoperable, that he had to create the power device that made him part human, part machine. The scene lasts less than a minute, and then he is all healed and throws his chest power plant into the ocean.
They even made over Pepper Potts from the spunky, smart, moralist to a superhero with compromised moral viewpoints at the end. Last, after waiting through the longest credits in history, was the let down of the end clip. In previous films in the Avenger line, the end clip reveals some cool clue about an upcoming movie. In Iron Man 3, the end clip is just Tony Stark finishing his narrative to a sleeping Incredible Hulk in human form, who tells him he is not a psychologist. Of course Tony Stark in the comics would never open up about anxiety disorders, his love of Pepper Potts, or giving up his powers to a fellow Avenger, but hey, every other thing about Iron Man seems to be lost in this movie as well.
If you are an Iron Man fan, you will see this movie no matter what I say, and probably already have. Once your adrenaline settles back down from the cgi and sound track, see if you don’t agree with these comments. Movie producers, please pay attention to character development and not just special effects.
A regular feature on my blog are crossovers, also called mashups, where you mix two or more things together. You can search for “crossovers” on the search block on the Home page if you wish to find other similar posts. Enjoy!
A crossover or mash-up is to take two or more well known genres or shows, concepts, etc. and put them together. Sometimes comics, shows or movies have crossovers as well. Some we can only imagine and enjoy or grown at. Here are some of those:
Don’t worry, I have no spoilers here. I hate when people give away the plot, etc. I just want to say I was VERY happy with the film. Going in, I had my doubts that such an ensemble cast would be manageable. After all, several have had their own movies. Thor, Captain America, two Iron Man movies, several poorly done Hulk movies and the old Hulk TV series, not to mention Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlet Johansen and the lesser know Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner. How many movies have Gwyneth Paltrow as maybe actor number 12 in a movie?
Handling so many celebrity actors and characters I thought would be nigh impossible. However, the director, screenwriter and editors are to be highly commended. Each is well done without any receiving glossing over or one or two stealing the show. The action is pretty much non-stop but each hero gets to reveal their character and stay true to the canon for the fan base. At one point, I was concerned the movie would be part 1 and part 2, like Kill Bill, because the first part takes so long, you wonder just how much more can happen. However, the film apparently lasts for 143 minutes, where your normal film is around 93 minutes. I could have sat there for another 3 hours it was that entertaining.
The Avengers is well worth the money to go see. There are tons of special effects, witticisms that get the crowd to laugh, as well as lots of tension and fun. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and thank the producters for giving us a great 143 minute film instead of an overedited 93 minute film that would have sucked.
ALSO – As with most Marvel films – stay past the credits so you can see the last few minutes of the film as a teaser for what happens next. Half the people at our showing left and missed out on it. Just stay in your seat the extra 5 minutes – trust me.