Iron Man 3 (2013)

Our review of the concluding chapter in what I’m sure will soon be known as “the Iron Man trilogy.” It’s been embraced by the mainstream movie audience, divided Iron Man’s comic book fans, and kicked off Marvel Studio’s next Five Year Mission to tease us with an Avengers movie. Written and directed by Shane “Lethal Weapon” Black, it could’ve been a perfect combination of two things I loved as a child: Iron Man and action movies set at Christmas time. Could‘ve been.


4 thoughts on “Iron Man 3 (2013)”

  1. I liked Iron Man 2 as a perfectly serviceable movie. Unambitious? Perhaps. However, I forgive a lot for Walt Disney as Tony Stark’s dad. Likewise, Black Widow was fun and “Tony is dying” is good stakes without a need to imperil the world. So I agree.

    Iron Man 3, though seemed like it had less in the way of ideas. The Mandarin being a fake and a critique of the War on Terror (i.e. that terrorists are never actually as awesome or important as the media made them out to be) was cool but, otherwise, it seemed like a recycling of other movie scripts. I also agree with you about Pepper’s tragic reduction to DiD.

    So, all round, I agree with everything you said.

    Great review.

    1. Particularly, it’s a recycling of Shane Black’s villainous plot from The Long Kiss Goodnight with the job-insecure spooks replaced by Aldrich Killian (und his Magic Murder Bag). If this movie has any legs, it’ll be among the 1980s action movie necrophiliacs who keep propping up Sylvester Stallone, JCVD and the living corpse once known as Steven Seagal. Oh – and the “Robert Downy Jr. is dreamy” camp, whom we comic book fans should all thank for making these movies as successful as they’ve been.

      I bemoan the last movie wasting its “Tony is dying” plot in part because that was his comic’s go-to dramatic engine for so long, and keeps getting used as such every time someone reboots Tony’s continuity (or creates a new, wacky, parallel dimension – Marvel’s a little more gracious and sparing in its use of the Cosmic Reset Button than their Distinguished Competition). It’s why he calls the armor a “prosthesis” in Part 2‘s Senate hearings, even though the arc reactor’s the only bit that really fits the term on Earth-199,999. I’ve known several Tony Starks who needed 24/7 contact with the entire suit just to stay alive, Even the healthiest of them needed the armor’s chest-plate and its (always vaguely defined) life-support equipment, making the metaphor at the heart of his character a literal plot point in the best comic book traditions.

      But this is a Shane Black movie, and he had a phalanx of producers at his back, at least three of whom I don’t recognize from any Marvel movie, not even Avengers. I think a lot of the visible seams in the script flow from their territorial pissing.

  2. If you’re not bored with my commentary, here’s some more:

    I don’t see any particular need to save the “Tony is dying of his armor” for round 3 because he was dying in Round 1, explicitly. The second movie, I felt, was a natural extension of Tony coming to terms with his dying (or perpetual state of dying–which is no different from anyone else on Earth when you think about it).

    My main issue is that the fact Tony feels the need to blow up his armor, finally fix his heart, and retire (?) is completely tacked on. I was amazingly underwhelmed by the Dark Knight Rises, calling it two films tacked together, but it made it pretty clear Bruce Wayne needed to retire. He’d been beat to shit, his value as a martyr was greater than a deterrent, and his public persona was crushed. Here, the events of the movie make no indication Tony should retire. Pepper Potts is in MORE danger without him as Iron Man, the world certainly still needs Iron Man, and his multiple hundred+ suits actually prove to be REALLY useful.

    Common sense dictates that all of his time wasted in the basement proved to be a really good thing, saving the life of the woman he loved. Which is, of course, the opposite message the movie claims to be doing.

    I won’t comment on the genericness of “save the President” as a plot premise. I will say, however, that I did like what they did with the “twist.” The whole idea that the Mandarin is something which needs to be called out for its Yellow Peril-ness works out well with the 2nd movie calling out the Communist hysteria which made up the majority of Iron Man’s rogues. It’s the capitalist who ruined Vanko’s dad’s life for SOCIALIST reasons.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with Thor and Captain America. The next movie of the latter has Batroc the Leaper cast. BATROC…the Leaper.

    This is a world I never thought I’d see.

    1. “The second movie, I felt, was a natural extension of Tony coming to terms with his dying (or perpetual state of dying–which is no different from anyone else on Earth when you think about it).”

      Indeed. Far too heavy stuff for Iron Man 2 to deal with. Better to shove it off a cliff so they can contrive a climactic battle. The hot redhead in spandex is there to distract you from how badly the movie falls apart at the end. I wasn’t being facetious – I wouldn’t mind one bit if some Zero Hour-ish event wiped Iron Man 2 out of existence. The same goes for most of Phase One, including Incredible Hulk and the last half of Captain America (the first forty-five minutes rock, but after the “You are failink!” montage, it’s all down hill for me)

      This, though:

      “the fact Tony feels the need to blow up his armor, finally fix his heart, and retire (?) is completely tacked on.”

      I totally agree with, because it’s true and they did that for purely pragmatic, meta-textual reasons that piss on the film’s themes. Iron Man’s movies obviously weren’t meant as a trilogy (not even a trilogy that had to re-write its entire third act on the fly, like Nolan’s), and when I call it that I’m being totally, 100 % facetious. It feels tacked on because it is tacked on and they tacked it on because Downey’s contract expired with this film. As of this writing, he’s using his considerable clout to get himself a raise and (allegedly) go to the mat for his less-salivated-over-by-bored-housewives co-stars, attempting to secure them their own slices of the billion-n-a-half dollar pie. Remains to be seen whether Marvel will listen to reason or give Downey the ol’ Ed Norton heave-ho. After all, there was that period in the Dark Age where Tony got himself turned into a teenager (or a perma-thirties genius trapped in a teenager’s body, but whatevs, right?)…and the WB’s bursting with desperate young actors who’d love to play any superhero (a franchise paycheck is a franchise paycheck, especially if you can get yourself some residuals). They’d cream their jeans at the chance to play a hero the illiterates actually like.

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