If you haven’t seen this in the theater yet, I’m going to warn you now of potential SPOILERS coming in the next several paragraphs. And I want to state up front right now that I thought Iron Man 3 was a solid A movie. It’s really, really good. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take issue with some of it. And since many of us are storytellers or at least appreciate good storytelling, it’s good to learn from the stories we hear.
But back to Iron Man 3. The description from IMDB.com:
When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
Okay, so there we have it. Iron Man faces terrorist. And go!
WHAT I LOVED
The best part of this movie for me was the interaction between Tony and this kid Harley. Tony escapes certain destruction via the Mandarin and ends up in the middle of Tennessee where he meets a boy named Harley who helps him recover and keep his malfunctioning Iron Man suit safe.
Harley also plays the role of audience, asking Tony all the questions about New York we’d like to ask him. I think this worked really well for the story because Tony needed a different kind of reminder of what he’s doing this all for. There were the personal reminders of protecting his friends and his love, but there’s something so perfect about the innocence of this kid that helps Tony see what he needs to do to find healing. Kids are honest in ways adults just can’t be anymore.
Plus it worked great as a contrast for Tony’s ego to see this little kid has got it together better than he does. If you go for anything, even if you haven’t liked Iron Man, I think you’ll enjoy the back and forth between Tony and Harley.
WHAT I LIKED
The Mandarin worked as a great villain for most of the movie. Something I’ve enjoyed about Iron Man is he often has to deal with issues we’re facing ourselves in his movies (let’s discount Avengers for the time being). I’m not belittling the other superhero movies that fight space aliens and demi-gods and all other sorts of fantastical things. It’s just that sometimes it’s nice to see a movie that’s a little closer to home, where Tony battles other human beings who gain power from technology like he gains power.
It also speaks to questions about using technology for war and protection and where that line is. The Mandarin worked that way for awhile until we realized he wasn’t, which I didn’t necessarily have a problem with. I just didn’t feel like the reveal of the real villain was all that interesting, and kept wishing the Mandarin was the real threat after all.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
I’m all for action, but…
sometimes I felt like…
there was too much action for the sake of…
action. Oh for heaven’s—
sake! Shouldn’t that house have fallen into the ocean by now? It’s like we’re using special effects to tell story. Thank goodness we had the banter between Tony and Harley in the middle to make up for it.
The thing with action is if you use too much of it, it becomes boring. That’s why in movies you’ll often have characters stop to make quips (which they did a bit) because in real life, action doesn’t usually last very long.
Also, I didn’t completely believe those helicopters could just go blow up Tony’s house without some kind of authority showing up. Are we really not monitoring airspace since a certain catastrophic terrorist event?
CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE… I GUESS.
Something else that bothered me was the movie took place during Christmas time. I’m not really sure why it had to take place during Christmas except for the one scene in Tennessee with snow. So were we doing the whole Christmas scene just for the one scene in Tennessee?
Call me crazy, but my marketing brain says if you’re releasing a movie that happens around Christmas time maybe you should release the movie around Christmas time? At least the fall. It just felt so out of place to me that we were watching a movie that took place in December in the beginning of May.
Are you telling me that despite AC/DC showing up in Iron Man 1, 2, and Avengers, we’re not going to have even one AC/DC song show up in Iron Man 3? Maybe Tony only listens to AC/DC when things are going well. Except he was dying in Iron Man 2 and it had the most AC/DC in it. I know it’s a nitpicky thing, but it’s like going from watching a rock concert to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
It’s almost like the third movie had a completely different director. Oh wait, it did. We traded Jon Favreau for Shane Black, who brought us such movies as Christmas Paws 2. Okay, no, not really, but still I could easily tell this movie was in the hands of a new director. Thank goodness RDJ’s acting skills supersede semi-n00b directors.
Supposedly what happened in NYC really upset Tony so much that he couldn’t sleep anymore. But at no time during the movie do I feel like he actually looks exhausted or that his lack of sleep is affecting anything he does. The memories of NYC seem to bother him, but the whole “can’t sleep” subplot feel flat on its face. Don’t tell us how something is affecting the MC without actually bothering to show us evidence to back this up.
The one time they sort of did show evidence is when Tony was sleeping and has a nightmare, except it sort of works counter to the whole “can’t sleep” subplot. I think if they would have cut the whole “can’t sleep” subplot we still would have believed he was negatively affected by NYC through his neurotic behavior.
THE GOOD NEWS
This is still a great movie, despite the pieces that irk me. Tony Stark is still a fabulous character, I still love Iron Man, and although Iron Man 2 will forever remain my favs, I love the whole trilogy (or quadology if you count Avengers, which you really should). And at the end of the film it says “Tony Stark Will Return” which hopefully means RDJ isn’t done with Iron Man yet. (If he is I hope they put Iron Man away for awhile and don’t muck things up like they did with Amazing Spider-Man).
And if you go see this film, stay until the end. All the monologuing in the beginning will make hilarious sense. There should really be more scenes like the one at the end of the credits. You know what I mean if you’ve seen it. See, Jae didn’t spoil everything!
Did you like Iron Man 3? Which of the Iron Man movies is your favorite? Any beefs you have with the movie I didn’t address? Would you give it an A+ rating?