Thursday, May 23, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

Hey, I can actually see the other armors!
In some cases, better late than never does not apply.


I’ll start with the good stuff. Robert Downey Jr. was great as always, and I really liked Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts getting a little bit of time in the suit. We didn’t get Rescue, but at least Potts got to be heroic. I actually liked a lot of the banter in Shane Black’s version of a super-hero film. The small asides, the depth of character given to throwaway thugs, I appreciated those small touches.

But that brings me to my first complaint. The level of bad guy didn’t increase enough! We had tons of small-time gun-toting crooks hanging around in Miami, with no backup from their hot compadres. Why not put a couple melting dudes in the compound too, doesn’t that make sense? Why leave them all at the oil rig?

And why, oh why, with the width and depth of the Marvel Universe available to you, would you have an army of guys WITH THE SAME UNDEFINABLE POWERS? Can they all breathe fire, or was Killian special? Why in the world would they give Pepper Potts the Extremis upgrade but not give it to Maya Hansen; she freaking invented it! How did they actually kill Killian? Didn’t they just blow him up repeatedly? He kept coming back until his lines in the script ran out, I guess.
Pepper's armor as it should be


Why have Killian form Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) if not one yellow beekeeper suit is even hinted at? Why use it at all? Roxxon got thrown in here too, but just as fan service.

And the Extremis powers. What the heck do they even do? Regeneration, obviously, but why are people blowing up? Was that on purpose? It seemed like the explosions were caused by people not handling their Extremis upgrades correctly, so how could the “Mandarin” be predicting certain numbers of attacks? Why did Rhodey mention that there were more attacks than what the public knew about? Is the “Mandarin” only announcing some of them on TV?

The Iron Patriot. UGH. The armor looked great, and the banter about the War Machine vs. Iron Patriot branding was consistently amusing. But the Iron Patriot never got to do anything. Don Cheadle spent the film flying to the wrong place or retreating. Why even put him in the movie? When you’ve got a character with an auto-cannon on his shoulders, I want to see it shoot! I want to see Don Cheadle rip into some bad guys as a SUPER HERO! Not as a generic action movie hero. This complaint applies to RDJr too, but he at least spends some time in the Mark 42 armor. (Too bad he doesn’t carry a cell phone, though.)

Iron Man, is that you?
The armor. Why bother to create an army of toyetic Iron Man armors with great names if you aren’t even going to show them? I’d say there were only three sets of armor that got screen time where you could clearly see the suit. I saw the Mark 42 silly flying armor, the Avengers armor, and the Igor suit that held up the collapsing building at the oil rig. Don’t put all those suits in, tease us with how cool they could be, then BLOW THEM UP.

In a world that clearly, clearly needs Iron Man, I think it is a bit selfish of Tony Stark to blow up all his suits. Hell, you know Happy Hogan would wear one (he was another bright spot in this film). Pepper Potts shouldn’t have been riding him either. That fireworks display made both characters seem petulant and self-indulgent.

Now that is the Mandarin!
Now it is time for the biggie. The moment where the movie crashed from a B down to my final grade of a D (it did continue to get worse, though). The Mandarin. How the heck do you take a historied, awesome character with a fantastic look and power set, and turn him into a silly actor? Listen, I understand Mandarin has some confusing history and origins, but clearly Black could have chosen one or made up his own. Now I’m heartbroken that he actually wore his rings in the commercial, because it means that really was Marvel’s attempt to bring the character to the screen. Ben Kingsley could have had a great take on him, but instead we get a mockery of the classic villain. The Batman Begins Ra’s Al Ghul trick is one thing, this is just insulting.

So yeah, this is the first time since Thomas Jane’s Punisher that I was considering walking out of the theater. I actually thought my time would be better going to sleep. I shouldn’t have stayed for the bonus scene, either. I want to be excited about the next movie, not just given a throwaway scene.

Iron Man 3 is proof that Comics are EVIL. 

6 comments:

Megan said...

Hopefully I can fill in some gaps.

"Why not put a couple melting dudes in the compound too, doesn’t that make sense?"

It does, but I think all were moved to the oil rig (their big terrorist season finale) by this point. Also, Trevor wasn't a threat and they presumed they were untraceable. No reason for them to have their big guns there.

"Why in the world would they give Pepper Potts the Extremis upgrade but not give it to Maya Hansen;"

Maya was the only one who knew enough to continue to improve it. Extremis was still unstable and could cause the subject to explode. Pepper could get it because Killian saw her as expendable. Until he had Tony, Maya was not expendable. Once he had Tony, her threat to inject herself with enough Extremis to kill her was no longer a problem for him, which is why he shot her.

"How did they actually kill Killian? Didn’t they just blow him up repeatedly?"

That was unclear. It seemed like it was possible to overwhelm their healing abilities to the point of death. (See Savin and Brandt)

"Can they all breathe fire, or was Killian special?"

I've heard tell that was their Fing Fang Foom reference. (Though I imagine that bit of info might make you more upset at the movie)

"And why, oh why, with the width and depth of the Marvel Universe available to you, would you have an army of guys WITH THE SAME UNDEFINABLE POWERS?"

This actually comes from the Fraction story arc that involved Ezekiel Stane. They do exist in the Marvel U.

"Why have Killian form Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) if not one yellow beekeeper suit is even hinted at?"

I cannot thank them enough that the beekeeper suits weren't mentioned. Those things need to go.

"Roxxon got thrown in here too, but just as fan service."

Roxxon has been mentioned frequently throughout the Marvel movies. I think the Iron Man movies have referenced them at least once prior to IM3. It fits, too, they're often corrupt in the comics, and having a Roxxon suit be killed by the "Mandarin" as evidence of a "corrupt" America fits.

"And the Extremis powers. What the heck do they even do? Regeneration, obviously, but why are people blowing up?"
This was addressed in the flashback and in comments Maya and Killian made in the present. Extremis works, but it's unstable, this is why the plant in Maya's hotel room exploded in 1999. I think the explosion in Tennessee was the impetus to Killian's final plan. He realized he could use the Extremis fail cases. Which leads to:

"Was that on purpose? It seemed like the explosions were caused by people not handling their Extremis upgrades correctly, so how could the “Mandarin” be predicting certain numbers of attacks?"

That wasn't totally clear, either. I think they were intentional, I think the people were given an overdose that would cause them to explode. However, if they left it to uncertainty, that would also work. Hard to track down the next explosion if the terrorists themselves don't know. They could then just stop giving it out once they had the number "predicted".

"Why did Rhodey mention that there were more attacks than what the public knew about? Is the “Mandarin” only announcing some of them on TV?"

Also unclear. Possibly an attempt to undermine the government further if a conspiracy to cover up 67% of attacks were to be revealed to the public.

Megan said...

(Part II)


"When you’ve got a character with an auto-cannon on his shoulders, I want to see it shoot! I want to see Don Cheadle rip into some bad guys as a SUPER HERO!"

Agreed. Though when I saw it the second time, he was in it more than I thought from the first time. Would have been cool if Tony disabled the Tony Stark only protocol and let Rhodey at least use a couple. Not sure the point of that other than to increase danger in the final fight.

"This complaint applies to RDJr too, but he at least spends some time in the Mark 42 armor."

Second time through I realized he spent far more time in the armor than I had thought from the first viewing.

"Why bother to create an army of toyetic Iron Man armors with great names if you aren’t even going to show them? I’d say there were only three sets of armor that got screen time where you could clearly see the suit."

There were more than that. You could see, there were also the Heartbreaker, Asgardian (I believe), and the Silver Centurion. At least those, I think there were two or three more that I'm blanking on at the moment.

"In a world that clearly, clearly needs Iron Man, I think it is a bit selfish of Tony Stark to blow up all his suits."

This was an emotional release for him and a symbolic gesture to Pepper. They were a symbol of his depression/isolationism/obsessiveness after New York. He plans to build more, just not as many as quickly; hence the robot he was pulling and the screw driver he picked up. (I'm guessing likely based off of Extremis and, eventually, the Bleeding Edge/Heroic Age suit.) Also, not to mention him saying "I am Iron Man" at the end. The first time I saw it, I saw it as him retiring. The second time, I saw it as him moving on from his injury in Afghanistan, but not moving on from Iron Man.

"I shouldn’t have stayed for the bonus scene, either. I want to be excited about the next movie, not just given a throwaway scene."

I LOVED, lovedlovedloved the bonus scene. Science Bros!

Timbotron said...

Hah! You've got all the answers!

I am not a fan of the Extremis story at all, so that could be part of my annoyance too.

I did get the Stane reference with the human bombs, but it seems like it would have been more entertaining to have Blizzard, Boomerang, or even Big Wheel as some other thugs rather than generic glowing guys.

I was fine with the Roxxon as fan service thing, that wasn't a complaint!

I do remember a few more, the big piledriver fists, etc. I just wish we could have seen them in action for more than 30 seconds. Especially my beloved Silver Centurion armor.

As for the bonus scene, I was hoping for another hint at a Wave 2 movie like Guardians, Cap 2, or Thor 2. Again, it was probably my expectations that need adjusting!

Megan said...

Tony actually wears the Silver Centurion armor for a minute or two before it gets torn apart.

"but it seems like it would have been more entertaining to have Blizzard, Boomerang, or even Big Wheel as some other thugs rather than generic glowing guys."

I think I'm glad they stuck with the glowing guys. ;) I also think they were also trying to avoid doing another armored villain.

As a side note, Extremis could totally be used to explain how Carol Danvers got her powers without explaining the Kree (and by extension, the Skrulls).

Dan O. said...

While there are some thrilling scenes in this film it’s rather buried under something that feels more Hollywood generic at times. Didn’t hate it for that reason, just a bit bummed. Good review.

Dan Reilly said...

I was very disappointed in the film, too. I have pretty much the same beefs as you. I was horrified to see The Mandarin reduced to an old drunk Limey, only to, once again, leave us to s "Rich white guy fights other rich white guy" ending. A Mandarin with the rings could have been epic, and, at this point, after we've seen space-whales attacking Manhattan, I don't think anyone would have batted an eye an Fin Fang Foom. As long as he wasn't wearing biker shorts. They could have even tied The Mandarin's rings into Odin's weapons room and The Infinity Gauntlet. It would have fit right into Marvel's overall plan, and it would have given us an epic IM/Mandarin throwdown.
Also, and my Wife thinks this is totally insane, they lost me as soon as Killian started to breathe fire. That was just too much for me to accept. My Wife said "So you can accept that the rich man in a suit of flying, ray-shooting armor hangs out with a God, a giant green man, and a frozen/thawed out old man from WWII, but a guy breathing fire is where you draw the line?"
Yes, it is.