What I'm Watching: Iron Man 3
In the category of, "Hey, that's not horror!" Iron Man 3 premiered today!! And hey, it's science fiction, and it's my damned site, and I love comics. I'm allowed to write what I want!
It goes without saying, but just in case...there be spoilers beyond this point. Run away now if you don't want to know stuff.
Every time I walk out of a movie, the first question I get asked is, "What did you think?" As is the norm, I suppose. I normally have a quick, one word answer. Not so much this one, and I can't *quite* put my finger on it. I *did* like IM3. But I would probably stick it down amongst my least favourite of the IM movies. Which is not a bad thing. As I say, if you're rating a group of good things, someone is gonna come up last, right?
If Iron Man was a 10, and IM 2 was a 9, I would give IM 3 a solid 8, or 8.5. So it's really JUST trailing the pack.
First up, some random stuff I did like. LOVED the opening. So many movies start with that semi-pretentious quoting of something, and this movie undercuts that instantly. Which is so perfect for the tone of Iron Man. It tells you *immediately* who Tony Stark is, before you even see a frame of him on screen. Also, it sets up the running gag of quoting people, usually for comedic effect.
RDJ is back as Iron Man/Tony Stark, and if you loved him in the first two movies and Avengers, well, then you get more of the same here. In fact, you get a bit more Tony than Iron Man, so that's good for some people. In fact, he even gets to play a bit more with emotions this time, and is given a bit of a character arc to work through.
The villains were good, and I quit enjoyed the movie's take on the Mandarin. There were some very good twists in the story with him, and AIM, and a few other characters. I legit did not see a few of them coming, and that's always a good thing.
Ben Kingsley... Well, he's Ben Freakin' Kingsley. I don't need to say anything about him at all. He brings such gravitas to the role, and then some.
I absolutely loved, LOVED Pepper getting to wear the armour, and some serious contributions to the action. Her moments of stupid in the second movie ALWAYS sat poorly with me, and were my biggest complaints with IM2. This was a bit of service in rectifying those moments, IMO. She still had a bit of damsel in distress, but they at least had her not be an idiot staring at an about to explode robot.
Finally, a movie that did not culminate in the bad guy wearing a suit of armour all his own to fight Iron Man! That drove me up the wall, that Whiplash needed to do that in the sequel. Just because Tony wears armour, his villains don't all need to wear armour as well. The movie DID put some of the baddies into metal forms a few times, but they were not the main goal of their plots, more diversions than anything else. I appreciate this so damned much. The Extremis abilities really worked as a good counterpoint to Tony's armour.
Now, for the bad. Don't worry, it's not that bad!
Was the humour...off, for anyone else? It felt like it got a little goofy at times? Tony being Tony was fine, but something about anyone else trying to be funny didn't quite work. Justin Hammer had a little bit of that awkward humour in the second one, but it felt more prominent here. I dunno. Maybe it was just because this movie had a darker tone in its narrative that made the gags stand out all the more.
The first act felt a little slow, but I'm not too perturbed by that. After the mind-blowing craziness of the Avengers, the movie kinda needed to take a breath, and it's always good to give the characters a chance to breathe. But you do sometimes get antsy waiting for the action to start in an action movie, yeah? ;)
I mentioned Tony's character arc, and while I appreciate the attempt, I felt it was a little weak. He's having a crisis of something, and he's having anxiety attacks! They give some reasons in the form of gods and aliens, but it felt REALLY glossed over, and I never really bought into that side of the storyline. "I fell through a hole in space...AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! *flails and hyperventilates!!*" It felt like it needed more thought put into it, and more time spent building it up. I like that Tony was affected by the Battle for New York...I just didn't buy into it.
Also, the resolution to it was equally as hasty. "Well, just build something!" "OK!" If you're going to take time to slow the movie down and build character, go for it. Don't start, then rush through it in the end zone, guys!
I do wonder what it is with trilogies ending with the hero seemingly hanging things up. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Dark Knight. That was an odd way to end this movie, with Tony almost getting rid of all things Iron Man. I know it won't last, and it does have that bit of coming full circle, and completing his growth begun in the first film...but with more movies to come, it is a weird place to leave the character.
I also wasn't a huge fan of the kid, but it still gave me some good laughs, so the good outweighs the not so good there. Also, it gave us time to get to know Tony, and develop him in ways the previous movies never quite got around to. He really starts to come out of his playboy tropes at last, with this movie.
So, for the most part, I enjoyed it. It's flawed, but it's more Iron Man action, with the same smart writing for Tony, with a solid plot, and stuff for everyone to do. They don't make the mistake of overloading the movie with characters, stick with the few mains and the villains, and more sequels need to remember this. You don't need all the same characters back from your previous two movies plust six new people. It's a good way to tie up the Iron Man trilogy for now, and is a good action movie with some solid attempts at humanising Tony Stark.
And of course, stay through the credits for your usual surprise.
In the shadow of Avengers, I don't think anything would have been truly satisfying 100%.