Iron Man 3

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS *************************************************************************************************************************YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!




I went to Iron Man 3 with great anticipation and equally high hopes.  All the pre-release buzz had presented this movie as better then even the first movie.  Which was high praise indeed.  The first Iron Man movie ranks for me as one of the top five superhero movies that have been made thus far.

We expected a crowd so my friends and I decided to go to a 10:15 feature.  It wasn’t necessary.  The theater was pretty much deserted, proving yet again that Santa Fe just isn’t much of a movie town.  We settled in, and I was ready to love this movie.

Except I couldn’t.  There were some cool bits and some huge missed opportunities.  Tony Stark’s PTSD could have been a powerful and meaningful thread for this film.  Instead they used it as a gag and to get laughs which I found insulting to the thousands of men and women who are currently dealing with the debilitating and dangerous effects of PTSD.

As the movie spooled out I kept trying to figure out what it was about?  What was the theme, the issues that would illuminate the human condition?  I kept coming up with nothing — just confusion.

It started with the bad guy.  I mean the real bad guy.  They gave me at least three different explanations of why he was doing what he was doing.  Reason one — Tony Stark had dissed him years before.  Reason two — he wanted the government to fund his research so he was creating false flag/terrorist events.  He was creating false flag/terrorist events so the government would pay to use his super soldiers to fight off this terrible threat.  I never did figure it out which left me confused and cranky.

Tony does something stupid — gives the “bring ‘em on” speech, and bad guy destroys his house and kidnaps Pepper.  Okay, big flashy scene, but I kept wondering why the FAA never reacted to these military helicopters heading toward Malibu presumably without any kind of flight plan.  If the movie had been working for me otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gotten tripped up on this little real world issue, but it wasn’t and I did.

Tony is now back to a guy without resources just a faulty suit that he has to repair.  We go into some of the best moments in the movie as Tony interacts with the little kid, but then they completely undercut the scene by having Tony summon a bunch of remote guided suits for the big final fight.  If he could do that why did he spend all this time trying to repair Mach 42?

And that also completely undercut the whole PTSD thing.  If Stark was afraid to be the “man in the can”, well, he didn’t have to any longer.  He could be a remote drone pilot and run the suits from a safe location in Tierra del Fuego.

Next there’s turning Pepper into a superhero.  I guess, though even that is unclear because at the end Tony says he’s “fixed” Pepper thus proving he is not just an engineering genius, but also a brilliant biologist.  I guess he’s a scientist with a capital S.  Anyway, I’ve always liked Pepper.  She is an independent woman who can run a giant multi-national power, and she has a super power.  She can stand up to Tony Stark and tell him when he’s being a douche.  And make him listen.  Now they made her Nuke Girl or Fire Girl, and I really didn’t need that unless Robert Downey Jr. is not planning on making any more Iron Man movies and it’s going to become about Pepper Pots fights crime.

Finally we come to the end of the piece where Tony orders his faithful computer to destroy all the suits, and he fixes his heart and removes the device that not only kept his heart beating, but apparently powered the suits, and then he throws it in the ocean.  Which means he can no longer power the suits even if had some.  Which means he’s no longer Iron Man.

And then as if they writers/director realized what they had done they throw in this line at the very end where Stark declares “And I am Iron Man.”

No, you’re not.  You’re a really rich guy who threw away the device that powered your awesome fighting suits.

I’m disappointed.  So much money and so much talent and not a coherent story to be seen.

8 Responses to Iron Man 3

  • Raymond Low says:

    Hi Melinda,

    I agree with most of your critique. Iron Man 3 was more flash than substance and was not as engrossing as the first film. I thought Sir Ben Kingsley did a great job for comic effect and the scenes with the kid were pretty good. But the film, overall, wasn’t what I was hoping for.

    As for Tony spending much of time repairing the Mark 42 — my impression is it was Jarvis who controlled the suits (except for the one Tony inhabits or manipulates using his headset) but — for some reason — Jarvis had to go to “sleep” (into self-repair mode?) Once Jarvis was up and running again, Tony had him summon and control all the various suits of armor during the big finale.

    Yes, the final scenes were a disappointment. The removal of the shrapnel and power source eliminates Tony’s — or Iron Man’s — “raison d-etre”. There isn’t any need to be Iron Man any more.

    Still, if the box office receipts are any indication, this film will make a lot of money which means there could be an Iron Man 4. Or, at the very least, a reboot like they did with the Spider-man franchise.

    — Ray

    • Shelley Adrienne Mimi Belsky says:

      Except the Mandarin is NOT supposed to be comic relief.

      • Melinda Snodgrass says:

        Here’s the problem. From what I’ve gathered the character as written was viewed stereotypical and racist. They were trying to take the curse off by making it a Brit actor pretending to be this villain. It just seemed incredible to me, and then there was the confusion over what the heck the real bad guy actually wanted. And as somebody pointed out — Maybe it was Kevin over on Facebook — the plot is really just recycled from The Incredibles and The Incredibles did it better.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    Okay, that makes sense about Jarvis, but it sure wasn’t clear in the movie. I just want an emotionally engrossing story, and Downey is such a great actor. And if they do reboot I hope it’s better then the Spiderman reboot. I really disliked that movie and found the new Peter horribly creepy.

  • JaniceG says:

    Still more questions: Why didn’t their clothing burn up when the superheated people turned to flames? Why didn’t the villain kill Don Cheadle when he captured him? How would Pepper have known how to use the power when she’d been hanging in chains the whole time? If Tony knew he could fix his heart, why hadn’t he done it up until now?

    All that said, I had a decent time at this, and I really liked the subplot of Tony having PTSD.

  • Syd Henderson says:

    I think the key to the real villain’s motivations come from his name, “The Mandarin.” The Mandarin isn’t the obvious leader, he’s the person behind the throne who has the real power without being obvious. SPOILER: His motivation is to create a crisis so that he can put a figurehead in office who is so obligated to him as to be a puppet. (The obligation comes because the Mandarin can heal the figurehead’s daughter.) Tony showed him how powerful you can be while remaining anonymous and free to act.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m not totally following this. The front man “The Mandarin” was a bad actor playing a part for the scientist who seemed to want to sell a super army to the government, or get funding government, or something? And if the scientist had a daughter I totally missed it in the movie.

  • Mark Kochinski says:

    I enjoyed the film, and assumed that the repair on the Mark 42 was more about accessing Jarvis than the suit itself.

    That said, you bring up a point that killed the whole franchise for me, suddenly.

    What was powering the Mark 2 when Rhodey stole it? How could he possibly use it? He doesn’t have an arc reactor in his chest.

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