Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Less is More
When the first Iron Man movie was released in 2008, a lot of people weren’t really familiar with the character or his background. Instead, they were focused on other Marvel greats, such as Spiderman or Hulk. Now everyone knows who Iron Man is, what he stands for, and if he were real, there wouldn’t be a soul who wouldn’t want to meet him, or be in his shoes. Why? Robert Downey Jr. has taken the role, and molded it into something more popular than even Spiderman. There seems to be no limit to what he can do…ironically, that seems to be equally true to his counterpart, Tony Stark. Like the previous films, along with The Avengers, the third installment, Iron Man 3, received a tremendous amount of hype from nearly every outlet. A week before the release, the final trailer to the film could be found in every theater auditorium, regardless of the film’s genre. There was no getting around it; they wanted everyone to see this movie. Did it work? Did the hype overdo it?
Robert Downey Jr. returns to the iron suit after the events in New York (The Avengers) took place. He can’t sleep, he’s been having panic attacks due to the event…so he picks up the hobby of making more and more cool stuff…and it is cool indeed. As if his insomnia wasn’t enough, dozens of reports claiming a terrorist named The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is going around doing his best impersonation of Osama Bin Laden and claiming credit for local terrorist bombings around the country. His followers have the ability to turn into molten hot temperatures, burning through anything at the simple touch. Turning too hot can result in an explosion of unbelievable magnitudes. One of the Mandarin’s right hand men (Guy Pierce) is orchestrating most of the heavy work while the Mandarin is busy looking pretty for the camera, taking credit for everything. To make things short, Iron Man has to stop them before they hurt what he can’t live without, which may be difficult when his only suit stops working.
It is incredibly difficult to summarize this film, because there is just too much going on. Tony Stark’s storyline is pretty set in stone, but when it comes to the antagonists’ storylines, it is very easy to get mixed up. There is no saying that this bad guy is definitely going after this, or definitely trying to kill this guy or that, because there is no definitely about it. You don’t know if their main goal is to kill Iron Man, collect oil, blow huge landmarks up, grow limbs, or assassinate the President…or anything else, really. The plot seems to bounce all over the place. For a character that has been said to be the arch nemesis of Iron Man, you’d think the writers would have come up with a more solid, easy-to-follow storyline. Yes, some movies are allowed to have a very detailed plot that bounces all over the place…if it has a strong foundation…which again…this doesn’t.
Remember Iron Man 2? How you knew exactly who the antagonist was, why he was doing what he was doing, and as you watched the movie – you could very clearly understand everything that happened throughout? Remember in Iron Man when you knew why these bad men kidnapped Tony, and how it all came together seamlessly after the Jeff Bridges reveal? These movies were so brilliantly written as clear, with a solid plot. Why? They both started out so well, creating a formula for the rest of the movie. Iron Man 3 did not start like the others…it started with a man that waited on a roof for Tony Stark to listen to his ideas…which never happens. So then, it’s about revenge? That’s great, then where does everything else fit in, and how is this supposed to level up to a “save the best for last” arch nemesis story? It doesn’t. The movie wasn’t crystal clear, but it wasn’t all bad…in fact it was incredibly enjoyable.
There are some absolutely amazing action sequences in this film, like its predecessors have held as well and yes; the action does improve for the sequel. The CGI is so very well done in the film, and there is plenty that the trailers have not shown (even though a lot of the best stuff WAS in fact shown). Tony Stark’s attitude was perfect, and he again delivered some great one-liners. It should also be noted that there was a lot of The Avengers talk scattered throughout, playing a significant role into Iron Man’s character. I want to quickly comment on the characters of Iron Man and Tony Stark, as well as the red hot tamales villains.
Tony Stark was great, and the filmmakers probably wanted to show the audience that there was another side to him than we realize, that there was someone underneath the red armor, so they have a lot of Tony Stark doing action sequences on his own. For some, that may feel odd, because the movie is not called Tony Stark, but too much of anything can be bad, and this film had a lot of good new things. For example, both the first and second film seemed to have villains that were just a variation of Iron Man himself…same technology, different look. This one took a whole new approach with the fire people, and it works. Here’s a major issue, though…the character of Iron Man seemed to separate from the character of Tony Stark.
Tony Stark is Iron Man. Iron Man is Tony Stark. They are supposed to be one in the same character. That means you feel for the armored man as much as you feel for the man himself. They just gave Tony Stark too much power in this film. They made things way too easy. Yes, it’s awesome to look at, given…but in the long run, it’s providing his character with the easy way out. There are these scenes where Iron Man would be in perilous danger, but the audience feels no level of fear for him, or any imminent danger towards him, because he has those new remote-control Iron Man robots…and maybe isn’t actually in that suit. That was their major downfall. Iron Man should never be Iron Man without Tony Stark. Remote control robots are too easy. It looked awesome, yes…but that’s not what a movie should be about.
Don’t get me wrong, it still feels like it belongs in the franchise, there is never a dull moment, and you will love every second of the action. It looks like Iron Man…it doesn’t exactly feel like the others have felt…but it is still a fun movie despite its flaws. If it were to end at this point, it would make sense, and feel complete. It’s hard to ask anyone to leave their expectations at the door, but ultimately…in order to enjoy it fully, that may be the best choice. The movie has a way of leaving the audience with a look of confusion on their face. Most will say they enjoyed it at the snap of a finger, but feel unsure about what they thought about it on a deeper level.
It’s definitely worth a watch if you have the time. If you love the series, without a doubt…watch it, it’s great, not perfect, but pretty good overall. Iron Man 3 opened everywhere today, May 3rd, check it out!