Sunday, May 5, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

I wrote my thoughts on the first Iron Man movie back when I did the "Movie-A-Day" challenge on this blog, and I praised it as one of the best superhero movies ever.  I still think that.  I never wrote about the second one, so let me just get it out of the way that while I was initially disappointed, I have since come to appreciate it more upon repeated viewings.  It doesn't transcend the genre like the fist one did, but it's a solid superhero story with good performances, fun dialogue, and some pretty sharp special effects.

I got a chance to see the third one today, and my overall impression is that while possibly better than the second, it's still not on par with the first, or with The Avengers if we want to include every film with that character.

How many "part 3" films don't feature a significant drop off in quality?  That could be a blog post unto itself.  More often than not, they seem to take a serious dive, especially when the second one was better than the first.  However, that trend may be reversing itself as screenwriters are figuring out how to write third parts that are more satisfying.  Toy Story 3 might be the best of the lot, and The Dark Knight Rises might be the weakest of Christopher Nolan's trilogy, but it's still head and shoulders above any of the Burton/Shumacher films.  If that had come out right after Batman and Robin, it would have seemed like the Citizen Kane of superhero movies.

With Iron Man 3, we don't get any majorly jarring shifts in tone or character that often plague a part 3.  There are some moments that don't quite work, including a relationship with a young boy that's all too convenient.  Don't get me wrong; it's not awful, but it didn't seem to come organically out of the script.  It felt a bit forced.

We do get a great villain, which is important.  I don't want to get to into it for the simple fact that I've never been a big enough of a fan of the comics to comment on how well The Mandarin was done, and I don't want to spoil any surprises.  Fans of the "Extremis" story will be mostly pleased, I think.  I happen to have read those, and while it doesn't play out exactly the same way, there is potential for more in any possible future films.

Even more important, we have a pretty good arc for the character.  The film rewards fans of the entire Marvel Universe franchise, as there are plenty of references to what happened in The Avengers without relying on them for comprehension's sake.  Basically, Tony Stark's predicament in the film is pretty believable, as dealing with advanced technology is one thing, discovering that there are gods and aliens who want to take over the planet is another.  It also ends with him in a good place, and they deftly leave the audience believing that this could be the last chapter, and yet, there could easily be more - which is precisely what you want with this sort of a thing.  If it's Robert Downey Jr.'s last shot as the character in a solo movie, it's a more respectable ending than poor Tobey Maguire's turn in the third Spider-Man.

The effects and action sequences are really good as well, and as with pretty much all of the Marvel movies, the CG is used appropriately and I never got distracted by it.  The scene where Iron Man has to rescue a bunch of people who fell out of an airplane is particularly impressive.

The supporting characters all get a chance to do something important, and Iron Patriot (formerly War Machine) gets a chance to be appropriately heroic and integral to the final victory.  It's tough to juggle all these characters, but they managed to pull it off.

I'll leave this with my Facebook status update that I wrote earlier, which tells the story of what happened during and after the film:

During the movie, some lady kept talking as though she was in her own living room. I finally turned around and shushed her.

After the film, while we were walking out, the lady got my attention. (Former students, imagine my voice in the tone you hear it when I'm shutting down some nonsense.)

LADY: Hey buddy, that was really rude how you shushed me.
ME: Oh, I'm being rude? Seriously? You were talking during the movie, and you're going to talk to me about being rude?
LADY: It wasn't necessary for you to shush me. It's very rude.
ME: Really? You're going to tell me about being rude when you're talking? Give me a break.
LADY: Give me a break.
ME: Thank you for repeating me.

We walked out, but when I got out of the bathroom, she was there, bugging Kirsti. She then doubled down on her ridiculousness.

LADY: Look, I wasn't even the one who was talking. The lady behind me was doing it, and it was bothering me, too.
ME: If you weren't talking, then I wasn't shushing you.
LADY: I only said two words.
ME: I thought you just said that you weren't talking! Which is it?

She then walked away in frustration. For the record, she had said much more than two words. It was just a two-word phrase that finally got me to tell her to shush.

I don't think that went the way she planned it in her head.

Don't mess with a guy who works with teenagers for a living, lady.


Justin McRoberts said...


Tony from Pandora said...

Maybe I'm reading too much into the boy in the story, but I thought the boy sort of represented the fact that Tony Stark himself never grew up, and he relates to the boy as well as any adult. I really enjoyed the interactions between Stark and the boy. And perhaps my favorite line in the whole movie was (paraphrasing), "The idea that I just can't get out of my head is... where is my sandwich."

And Toy Story 3 was definitely the best one...

Lance Johnson said...

Don't get me wrong; I didn't hate it. I think that you're right in your analysis. It's just that the way he came to meet up with the kid in the first place felt a little forced.

Tony from Pandora said...

Commenting your interactions with "Lady" (I can only assume it was a cartoon cocker spaniel)...

I usually go to movies by myself for that very reason... less distractions... and the fact that no one likes me...