Like every other sane person on the planet, I’ve loved Iron Man and the cannon in which he has appeared. Iron Man 3 is easily one of the most hyped movies of 2013 and we’re all dying to see it. After seeing it, I can tell you that it’s fun, funny, entertaining – everything that a summer blockbuster should be – but it’s easily one of the weakest movies in Marvel Universe and is far from deserving the praise that it’s getting. Even though I’m about to tell you all of the negative aspects, remember that I found it entertaining. I just need you to know that it’s not as good as it should be not even close to matching the quality of it’s predecessors.
The ads haven’t portrayed it this way, but Iron Man 3 is the cap on the Iron Man trilogy. Tony Stark may don the suit again in future Avengers installments, but this is the end of the Iron Man stand-alone series. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if it wasn’t for the terrible attempt at pulling a Dark Knight Rises by bringing the story full circle. What is done is meant to give a deeper meaning and purpose to the first Iron Man, but it does so in the weakest fashion. In fact, the twists that we learn only undermine the original and are nonsensical when you place the slightest amount of thought into it. The poor attempt completely ignores the existence of Iron Man 2 and constantly references the same aspect of The Avengers over and over again, as if to say, “Hey! Remember how awesome that New York scene in The Avengers was?!” Yes, we do. Which is what makes Iron Man 3 so much less impressive.
From the writer of the first two Lethal Weapon movies and the writer/director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (the movie that is credited for reviving Robert Downey Jr.’s career), Shane Black has decided to apply his usual schtick to the Iron Man franchise. Despite opening in summer, Iron Man 3 is needlessly a Christmas movie. It’s set in snowy settings and features loads of Christmas decor – all without a purpose. And like his other films, Black has turned this chapter into a “buddy flick.” Stark is constantly accompanied by someone – be it Pepper, Rhodey or some random kid.
After a terrorist attack strikes too close to home, Tony Stark antagonizes the group behind, The Ten Rings. If you think back to the first Iron Man, you’ll remember that Stark’s Middle Eastern cave kidnapping was carried out by the same organization. The America-hating leader of the group, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), is orchestrating public terrorist attacks across the globe. His goal is to cripple America’s core, but Stark isn’t having it. He provokes The Mandarin with the goal of taking him down. Learning early on that the War Machine suit is now painted red, white and blue and carries the name “Iron Patriot,” we can only hope that Rhodey will lend a hand in Stark’s battle. Sadly, Iron Man 3 never delivers. The action that we want is replaced with Robert Downey Jr. rants that are so overly abundant that I compare them to those of Seth Rogen and Vince Vaughn. I don’t watch Iron Man movies for improvised comedy; I watch it for Iron Man.
If you complained about Bruce Wayne not wearing the Batman suit enough during The Dark Knight Rises, then you’re really going to be let down by the amount of Iron Man in Iron Man 3; Iron Man 3 is like a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man movie. Instead of watching Stark perform fantastic acts in his iconic suit, we see him sneaking around and getting in shootouts with a handgun. Every time that Stark gets into a suit, he gets out of it just as quickly. And if you’re hoping that Iron Patriot will make up for the absence or Iron Man, again, prepare yourself for disappointment. Just like Stark, Rhodey spends more time wielding a pistol outside the suit than shooting the shoulder cannons from within it.
The Mandarin and his henchmen are hardly worthy of capping the franchise. Again, let me make a comparison to The Dark Knight Rises. If you complained about Bane’s defeat, then you’re going to find The Mandarin’s fate even less climactic. His henchmen feel like corny monster-ish villains that would have been featured in bad comic book movies X-Men Origins: Wolverine or The Green Lantern. The only thing worse is the amount of screen time that Gwyneth Paltrow receives as Pepper Potts. I’ve liked Patrow and Potts in the series until now, but she is given way too much to do here in a cheesy, unfitting and downright bad manner. If only Joss Whedon would have killed her off in The Avengers instead of Colson – who obviously isn’t dead.
At this point, Marvel has no excuse for backsliding. Each movie takes their quality higher and higher, but Iron Man 3 is a huge step backwards. Yes, it’s still better than the comic book movies that came before Marvel’s “Phase One” films and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but it’s nowhere near the level that we’re now accustomed to and the caliper that we now expect. You maywalk out of Iron Man 3 entertained, but you won’t stay that way. The more thought I put into the trilogy’s unworthy ending, the less satisfied I feel.
Photo credit: Buena Vista