The lovely Kylanath and I went to see “Iron Man 3” yesterday afternoon. While I generally liked the overall effect of the movie and many bits thereof, I find myself with some serious thoughts that bear jotting down. The short version is: If you haven’t seen it, and you liked the first movie and/or the Avengers movie and/or the second movie (I rate them in about that order, yes) then it’s absolutely worth your time to see this third Iron Man installment. If you liked the first movie and thought the second was a huge let-down, then… you should probably still see this movie, as it is generally better than the previous. It’s funny, it’s explode-y, there’s great banter, and the good guys triumph over the bad guys. What more do you want?
Well, I wanted a few things to be somewhat better, and that’s why I have thoughts and that’s why there’s a journal entry about it. So. That’s the teal dear summation. Henceforth, therefore, I shall dive into big spoiler-y spoilers. I’m not going to break this into two pieces like I did for “Skyfall.” Sorry.
In general, we had a good time. In specific, here are some particularly excellent parts:
- Ben Kingsley. I couldn’t figure out why he took the Mandarin role, though being the kind of hardworking guy he is, he’s been known to take all manner of odd gigs. Partway through this movie, however, after all the build-up about this scary badass… we get Trevor. Oh, Trevor! In a weird sort of way he saved that part of the film. In a story with what could most generously be described as “a fluctuating enemy count,” reducing the “terrorist preacher” to a broken down junkie actor was a stroke of brilliance. And then I figured out why Kingsley did it, because, wow. What a hoot!
- I was prepared to dislike the you-know-he’s-going-to-be-inspirational Cute Kid the moment he appeared, and yet, somehow they did it really well. While there were some issues with how their friendship played out, they wrote him just right. He was a button-pushing little survivor, yes he was. They really nailed his combination of naivete and smarts.
- Pepper Potts: Badass. Once in the Iron Man suit (dude!) and once… well, mostly undressed (and how did what clothes she had left survive the inferno?) she had a couple of really good action beats. What’s more: It had nothing to do with a catfight! See, what I’ve noticed is that in most action movies where the girlfriend gets to Do Something Useful In The Final Battle, it’s either “Here Honey Go Flip This Switch When I Tell You To” (hello first Iron Man movie!) or (more relevantly) “Go Fight The Bad Guy’s Girlfriend” so we can get a nice (silly) catfight out of the deal… while the male lead deals with the real threat, of course. This time, nothing Tony did would make Killian finally go away… but Pepper finished the job. Sweet! However… this leads directly into…
…the things that make me go “Hmm” a bit. Not things that should ruin the movie for you necessarily, but they worried me and they may concern you:
- Pepper Potts: All The Non-Badass Parts. Other than a couple of good bits of banter (and none even half as good as the “his first name is Agent” sequence in the Avengers movie), Pepper didn’t have much to do other than look concerned at Tony’s antics, look concerned at the only other woman in the main cast, and be a damsel in distress. Oh, and she was hit on by the movie’s main villain a few times. So there’s that. I miss the Pepper of the second movie, if I’m honest. (Her character was one of the few things that movie did very well, for the most part.) Where’s our Pepper Potts: Savvy Businesswoman? More of that, please?
- Iron Patriot: Comic Relief Robot. Okay, yes, they used the “they sent me to the wrong address again” bit as setup for Rhodey getting captured (Did they obey The Rule of Three? I wasn’t counting.) but that doesn’t entirely excuse the embarrassing & awkward moments in those cheesy little sets. Oh, ha ha, poor Rhodey has to excuse himself, he was here to kick terrorist ass but none can be found, tee hee. Um, what?
- The Most Convenient Neurosis. See, we needed a reason for everyone to be concerned about poor Tony. We needed a reason for him to be a jackass who everyone wants to lose faith and trust in again. So, let’s give him PTSD about fighting aliens in the Avengers movie! I… kind of get it, but mostly don’t get it. You mean that after the first two of these movies he hasn’t been put through enough hell to make anybody snap a bit and he shrugs it off, but kicking ass and munching shawarma in the Big Apple totally broke him? Which, okay, fine, but then a snarky pep talk from a young sidekick is able to pretty much cure him entirely. Well… huh.
- The Most Convenient Robot Army. Apparently you’re not supposed to think overmuch about the fact that Jarvis could’ve flown any of several dozen Mark Whatever suits to Tony’s location at any time. Knowing that was an option, why in hell would someone, especially a guy who’s sort of broken and feels most comfortable in the suit not call up one of those suits at any time earlier in the movie?
So, yeah. I liked the movie overall, don’t get me wrong. I laughed, had a good time, and generally got caught up in the flow of things. But man, did they have some things I wish they’d ironed out a bit…