This is a big summer for movies for us. Lots of big blockbusters are coming out, especially superhero movies.
Iron Man 3 kicked off the summer blockbuster season, and we saw the movie over the weekend.
You guys all know by now that I am a big comic book fan. Ali loves blow ‘em-up movies. This should have been a no-brainer. Ali really enjoyed it. I’ve been going back and forth on this.
I’ll explain, but be warned that from here on there will be spoilers. If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet, do not read any further.
What I liked
We got awesome previews. Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Monsters U, Lone Ranger (Ali is giddy about that one), The Wolverine, and Thor: The Dark World. We also got some stupid ones (Fast and Furious 6, some Will Smith movie and others).
Okay, that’s not really about Iron Man, on to the real stuff.
Humanizing Iron Man
The first two movies, and most comic book movies, were very heavy on the superhero. That’s pretty much non-negotiable. The Dark Knight Trilogy had a lot of Bruce Wayne scenes, butside of those movies, it’s mostly about the costume. Movie studios spend a lot of money making these movies, and Iron Man and Spider-Man make more money punching and blowing shit up than Matt Murdoch does lawyering or Clark Kent typing at a keyboard. I totally understand that. No problem here.
Tony Stark saw a lot of screen time in Iron Man 3 which was great. Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark. He has probably been the best casting choice made in any superhero movie ever. I’m sorry if you don’t believe that, because you’re wrong. I hope you’re okay with that. Tony Stark had to figure out how to beat the bad guys because of his Iron Man suit issues. And even with his Iron Man suits he still had to do a lot of the dirty work outside of the suit.
Furthering Iron Man’s humanization, Tony had anxiety issues after the events in New York (see: The Avengers). That was an interesting angle. Tony Stark is a man who is larger than life, and this made him a lot more relatable, and a lot more human. Of course someone would walk away from a war with an invading alien force with post-tramatic stress disorder.
I read a lot of comments online where people really didn’t like the kid in Tennessee. I liked him. The kid grounded Tony Stark, and helped him find the real cause of what was going on which helped Tony put pieces of the puzzle together. The kid also gave Tony an opportunity to be Tony. He was Tony’s sounding board, muse, and sandwich maker.
I really enjoy Pepper Potts in the comics, and I like that role was greatly expanded in this movie. Plus she saved Tony’s bacon more than once. That’s cool.
The closing credits
The closing credits were awesome. No, not the post-credits scene, but it was cool to see the Science Bros hanging out. The actual closing credit sequence was awesome. If you read my previous blog post, you know I love good editing, and title sequences in particular. A company called Prologue did an amazing job on the closing credits, incorporating scenes and iconography from all three Iron Man movies (and possibly Avengers) to close out the Iron Man trilogy. There’s no official word that this is the last stand alone Iron Man movie, but if it was, this was a nice send off. You can watch the closing credits for Iron Man 3 here.
What I hated
There were a lot things that spoiled this reveal. It was in TV spots, it was hinted at on the terribly Photoshopped cover of the Entertainment Weekly that came out prior to the movie’s release. I heard about this weeks ago, and I was excited.
In the comics, Pepper Potts was given an Iron suit by Tony in 2009 during the World’s Most Wanted arc. But they didn’t give Pepper her own suit. She wore the Mark 42 suit towards the beginning, and part of another suit at the end. Not her Rescue suit. Pretty disappointing. They should have went all in here.
Mark 42 suit
I don’t have much to say here other than the coloring was ugly. Way too much gold.
Why? So dumb. In the comics, Iron Patriot was the name that Norman Osbourne went by when he replaced Tony Stark as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which later became H.A.M.M.E.R.). I don’t know why they rebranded War Machine as Iron Patriot in this movie other than to sell toys.
Tony destroying the suits
Tony destroyed the Iron Man suits at the end of the movie. All of them. Why? To show Pepper he was committed to her or something. Yawn. Tony is Iron Man. We all know that he’ll be wearing a suit again soon. Although this does set up the Extemis suit that most people thought we would get in this movie for Avengers 2, but that’s a lot of cool stuff that would be glossed over in what will already be an action packed movie.
This is my biggest problem with Iron Man 3. Mandarin was the part of this movie that I was looking forward to the most.
The Mandarin was a misdirect. All the commercials and trailers were a trick. The Mandarin we expected was a nobody in this movie. A puppet. This is very insulting to who Mandarin is. He is Iron Man’s archenemy. His greatest foe. They ruined the Mandarin in this movie. They changed who/what A.I.M. was and I’m partially okay with that. I know they wanted to ground Mandarin and make him more realistic (why, in a universe where an alien invasion just occurred is beyond me) and not focus on his supernatural/alien powered rings. Okay, sure. I guess they didn’t want to go the terrorist route since they did that (and directly mentioned the Ten Rings terrorist group).
Revealing Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) as Mandarin was really weak and very disappointing. I don’t know why they would cast such a huge name like Sir Ben Kingsley for such a role. I, and I think many other Iron Man fans, wanted to see Kingsley’s version of Mandarin. He surely would have done an amazing job.
Instead of ruining Mandarin, they should have simply not used him. In the comics, Obadiah Stane (Iron Monger in the first movie, portrayed by Jeff Bridges) had a son named Ezekiel (or Zeke). He’s a relatively new character (2008) but the could have used him as the main villain of the movie, using A.I.M. to steal Extremis and seek revenge against Tony for killing his father. Not much would have to change, and it probably could have cut some of the running time of the movie down (which seemed really long).
Speaking of Extremis, they changed a few things form Warren Ellis’ great story, which I recommend you read. You can get it here on Amazon or here on Comixology.
There was quite a bit more that I didn’t like, and even more that I liked, but these were the main points. This is probably Marvel Studios’ weakest outing since realigning and pushing out movies under the Avengers tentpole. If you like big action movies, you’ll like this. If you’re a comic book fan you’ll probably walk away with many if not all of the grievances that I have.
The biggest thing I liked about this movie was that annoying AC/DC song wasn’t anywhere near the movie.
This post was updated on July 11, 2013 with corrected links.