Did Iron Man 3 live up to expectations?
Yes and no.
Last summer at San Diego Comic Con there was such a big deal made about the suits. They had them all lined up in their glass boxes being ogled by all, even people who weren’t at the con. It was such a big deal to have all those suits there. And to have RDJ there promoting the third film in front of the suits was surreal. So it was a little disappointing that the suits weren’t in the majority of the film. The majority of the film was really a lot of Tony being a little cuckoo about the wormhole in NYC. It was a great way to tie in The Avengers plot into this Iron Man film, but the Tony Stark from the comics (yes I’m about to get comic book geeky) is a raging alcoholic. Having a few anxiety attacks anytime someone (mostly children) mentions New York or the wormhole seems to take away the serious aspect of Tony’s life. It also seems apropos to cast Robert Downey Jr. as the hero with a substance problem. I mean, isn’t that who Robert and Tony are? I would have given kudos to the writers had they entered that into the plot. Now that I’m done bashing, I actually did like the movie. The first scene in Switzerland is brilliant. Tony is rude, his girlfriend is smart, Guy Pearce is crazy and Jon Favreau is comedic. The song “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” fits the tone for the Iron Man franchise. Tony’s treatment of Aldrich Killian sets up the antagonist easily for the rest of the movie. The rest of the movie is mostly about how Stark is coping with what happened in New York and The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and how to keep Pepper happy. There is very little action, until the final scenes. The suits are only important because they are what stand between Pepper and Tony being as close as they had been. His “tinkering” is causing distance between the lovers. He uses them as his “hobby” but as Pepper says, they really are his “distraction.” The best part of the movie was the banter between Tony, now “The Mechanic” and the little boy Harley in Rose Hill. Their scenes were some of the funniest, but also is the time when Tony can come to peace with a lot of what he has been feeling. And when all is reconciled, who wouldn’t want the garage that Harley gets at the end? The best line is in the fight between Stark and Ellen Brandt. Ellen says, “Is that all you’ve got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?” To which Tony replies, “Sweetheart, ‘a cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner’ could be the name of my autobiography.” And really it could be the name of this film. They cheesy one-liners were really what made the film so good to me. Robert Downey Jr. has great comedic timing as Stark. And because Iron Man was stripped away from him for the majority of the film, he had to rely on his cheap tricks a lot. It is a good thing to see the hero be vulnerable. Ben Kingsley was spot on as The Mandarin. He was scary. He was full of theatrics. SPOILER! He actually was an actor, which I think was great. The Mandarin is really Trevor, just a junkie who wants to act. And then Guy Pearce. He is so good at being bad. The British Brad Pitt. Not as good looking and not as lovable. His Extremis project is really one of the few things that can stop Iron Man. It is smart and evil. Pepper calls it, saying it is “highly weaponizable.” It is hard to feel bad for Aldrich, even after he is snubbed in that elevator in Switzerland. He just has an evil aura about him and you always no he is up to no good. Those are some good acting chops on Pearce’s behalf. My last thought about the movie is how it ends. Pepper Potts saves the day. I am all for woman power and female strength. My favorite things in the world promote it. But those women are strong in every aspect and have always had a strength in their characters. Paltrow and the writers have always portrayed Potts as Stark’s business savvy, wide-eyed girlfriend. She has never been as smart, as funny, or as experienced. And yet she saves the day. It didn’t go with who she has always been. I think it is wonderful she didn’t need to be the damsel anymore. But after being utterly terrified to jump into her Superhero boyfriends arms and instead falling hundreds of feet into a pit of fire, it seems out of place to make her save Tony in the end. And then to turn wide-eyed and say, “That was really violent.” That’s the life you’ve been living, sweetheart. I just didn’t think it meshed. At the end, Iron Man is gone and we just have Tony Stark. What does that mean for the next installment of The Avengers? I would assume he will have to find a happy balance between being Iron Man and Pepper. He will have to deal with the wormhole. Or he may not be in it at all. But I find that hard to believe, but after all, he is Iron Man.
written by Adrian Puryear