My Review of Iron Man 3 #IronMan3





One of the best comments I’ve read regarding this movie is:

“Plot might piss off iron man comic fanboys but movie fans will love it.”

That pretty much sums up my feelings about this movie. As a summer blockbuster action flick, it was an entertaining couple of hours. As an Iron Man movie, it was terrible. It was an utter disappointment.

Where to begin… let’s start with the titular character. Tony Stark IS Iron Man, except, well, now he’s a neurotic guy who apparently suffers from PTSD. Every mention of “New York”, as in the events that took place in “The Avengers” seems to reduce him to panic attacks. I understand that the writers were trying to humanise him, but it felt flat. Given that Stark’s character is supposed to embody (to a large extent) a Randian superhero, that he suddenly can’t deal with having nuked an alien ship by going through a wormhole seems a tad unlikely. However, I’ll grant that his capitalist super-man could get tiring, so I can give them this one.

He’s dealt with this PTSD by obsessively building Iron Man suits. These are the suits that are seen in the trailers. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping for more than a few glimpses of these suits, you’re not going to be too happy. The action sequence that features them in the end uses ALL of them, and they are used as mind-controlled robots, with the exception of Tony jumping in and out of a few of them. Everything from the Hulk Buster (here “Igor” heavy armor suit) to the Gemini Space suit are seen, but not clearly, and not often. The suits are a throw-away plot device which are easily demolished by the bad guys, who manage (with the help of Extremis) to cut through them and rip them apart.

The suits overall are rather flimsy, and the continuity of the physics behind them is poor. (This is accounting for suspension of disbelief.) In the air rescue seen after the people are sucked from the plane, the suit is managing to brace the weight of 13 people, and yet it falls apart when hit by a truck. (Also, this particular scene was not done very well, and you can clearly see the people are in a triangular shape which would be them on wires, with the wires digitally edited out.) (I do understand that that part was done for the humour/shock value, but it was still poor.) The Mark 42 apparently has its own power supply (?) as it seems to require charging when it’s not connected to Tony – the kid in the shed has to charge it before it can fly back to Tony. Also, I’m not sure of the concept that all the pieces have their own propulsion systems and can travel across country on their own – especially after being charged by a car battery… it’s far-fetched even for a comic movie. Finally, and this is the worst part of all – the armors are ALL destroyed at the very end of the movie. Supposedly to mollify a petulant Pepper (who seems to warm to multiple suits in the previous moment!?) Tony calls for the “Clean Slate” protocol which has JARVIS destroy all the suits. This is a terrible thing to watch, because it sets up a disappointing fireworks show (on what is told to us is Christmas, not July 4th or some other holiday where fireworks would even be appropriate!), and is a tremendous waste of time and money. I understand that billionaire genius playboy philanthropists can (and will) be eccentric, but that the suits are summarily destroyed for no real reason is frustrating. All I could think about was how much of a waste of money that was, to say nothing of the lack of story that should surround each and every one.

Most of the acting is done well (though it seems a bit like RDJ was “phoning it in” on some parts), but the real loss of the movie is the character of Maya Hansen. In the film, her character is rather a minor one, and she’s reduced to collaborating with Killian, when in the comics she was something of an equal with Tony. This is further ruined by the fact that she is summarily executed for almost no reason about 2/3 of the way through the film, seemingly wrapping up a loose plot point the director had no other method of tying off. Pepper gets more to do in this movie, including wearing the suit (though it’s a bit of a stretch that Stark can throw it onto other people, since he’s the one with the implants!) but again, compared with the comic, her character (especially at the end) is exceedingly violent and not true to form.

To that end, Extremis is *not* what allows Tony the ability to control the Mark 42 – it’s implants he’s given himself. Tony never gets it at all. Only Pepper does, and it’s treated like something she’s to be cured of… which is in direct opposition to the comics. Extremis is what allows Tony to become Transhuman, and eventually, to essentially *become* Iron Man when he is able to keep at least parts of the Iron Man structure physically inside himself. While the Mark 42 armor is of the kind that can be controlled by his thinking about it, it’s a far cry from the comic version of what it’s supposed to be. Extremis allows Aldrich Killian to breathe fire (which is actually a nice nod to the comic, especially the motion comic), and he does a fair job of being the bad guy, but this in itself is another disappointment. He’s not supposed to be the bad guy, and the Mandarin is; we’re introduced to a highly evil Mandarin before having the rug pulled out from under us when it’s revealed that the Mandarin is nothing more than an actor. While Ben Kingsley does a fantastic job with the role he’s given, it’s the wrong role; the Mandarin is reduced to a puppet of Killian, and though Killian explains what he is in the movie, it removes Tony Stark’s arch-nemesis entirely. (John Favreau’s character was just annoying throughout – continuing the travesty of the Happy character from Iron Man 2.)

Tony Stark is also not true to form in that he fully rejects the arc reactor at the end of the movie, even going so far as to throw it into the ocean by his destroyed house. He does this while repeating “I am Iron Man.” This contradiction is supposed to show that he’s come to terms with his PTSD and that it’s the “man that makes the suit” and not the other way around, but it is a contradiction!

Speaking of contradicitons – almost everything in the movie contradicts what was written about it online. Some of this may have been intentional, but I must say that to whatever extent the producers of the movie had any control over this, the information online would have made for a vastly better movie. A perfect case in point is the final scene – the after credits scene. Rumoured online to be Tony taking to space in the Gemini suit (Mark 39) to answer a coded signal from the Guardians of the Galaxy (thereby setting up one of the next Marvel movies), we instead get him talking to Bruce Banner almost as a psychiatrist (making the movie a recount from Tony’s perspective) with Banner falling asleep. While “cute” in a certain respect (and reinforces the “Science Bros” meme that has come up on the internet), it’s certainly not anything near what anyone was expecting and was a huge disappointment. How much better would it have been to have had the ending people were expecting? But then again, since Tony destroyed all the suits needlessly, he certainly couldn’t have gone into space – but then that is exactly why this movie was just so terrible.

I really liked the Lethal Weapon movies, and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” was great. As such, I had high hopes for an Iron Man 3 that was directed by Shane Black, but in the end, it shows that those who do not practise their craft often become the poorer for it.