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Iron Man 3 Is Brutally Awful

Iron Man 3
Directed by Shane Black
Written by Black and Drew Pearce from the comic book by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby
Paramount/Disney, 2013

It was easy to get excited about Iron Man 3, with Shane Black, the writer of the Lethal Weapon series, the underrated The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Boy Scout, and the sorely unseen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which got Downey, Jr. back into the game after his personal troubles) taking the reins and perhaps guiding this superhero franchise into new territory.  It certainly seemed like a great direction after Iron Man 2 came into cinemas and basically made you long for how fun the original one was.  Then The Avengers came and it seemed like it breathed new life into every character from their various franchises.  Why Iron Man, or almost any character from that franchise, will ever need to fight something on their own, is something silly to think about when you watch Iron Man 3.

There’s this thought that in comic book movies, since the hero is so awesome, there isn’t anything to conquer anymore.  In Iron Man 2, they took this theme to the extreme, basically giving us a short scene at the Monaco Grand Prix that was more ludicrous than exciting, a drunken Iron Man fight, and one huge finale involving a bunch of dumb drones.  The only real conflict throughout the movie seemed to be the government’s need to own Tony’s suit because others could easily emulate it and use it against them.  These are interesting stories, for sure, but they shouldn’t take up all of the running time.  There should be time for fun.  There should be a villain we want to see conquered.  And our fun comes from seeing how the hero will manage it against all odds.

Iron Man 3 begins in the past, where Tony is still in his playboy mode and he’s sexing up a scientist named Maya Hansen (one of my favorites, Rebecca Hall).  She’s got some amazing technology that grows broken plants back to health, only it’s not perfect quite yet and it’s unstable.  Also, as worlds collide in comic book stories, there’s another guy Tony meets named Alrdich Killian (Guy Pearce) who has some amazing technology he wants Stark to see.  Tony’s bastardly ways with both Maya and Aldrich will obviously cause problems later.  Not a bad start.

However, Iron Man 3 continues this disgraceful charade of calling their movie Iron Man and not actually giving us Iron Man.  Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr., looking like he may have had enough of all this after 4 movies donning the suit) is trying to make his suit better with what amounts to mind control, making the suit more part of himself.  But he’s also having trouble sleeping and having anxiety attacks, and this is causing a strain on his now-committed relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  Again, the world is safe and no one dares fight Iron Man.  Except, as always, there’s some megalomaniac who seems to be ready to take on the challenge: The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is orchestrating terror attacks around the world and no one knows who he is, where he is, or where he’ll strike next.

And there seems to be some former soldiers going around and killing people: soldiers who were hurt in battle and now are coming back, glowing red, and causing destruction everywhere they go.  They all have a connection, and Tony needs to figure out why they’ve gone berserk and who’s responsible.  A huge bulk of the movie happens in the small town of Rose Hill, Tennessee.  Tony spends much of it not being Iron Man because his suit, of course, is broken.  Improvisation rules the day.  It also sets up this weirdness: are we supposed to believe Stark is a badass without his suit, much like we kinda think Bruce Wayne is when he’s not in his?  I don’t remember Stark ever going to a far-off land getting training from Liam Neeson.

Again, Iron Man 3 ends with a huge finale.  I found this huge finale supremely boring and lacking in all phases of fun and excitement, but hey, some people think anything with fast motion and explosions is somehow exciting.  People are going to come out of this thinking they saw something good I guess.  Rotten Tomatoes currently has this at 77%, which is just too high for this movie.  It just is.  It will be amazing if this movie has any legs past its second weekend when Star Trek: Into Darkness opens.

I can understand if I’ve missed something, but I’ve already heard several voices declare this movie not very good.  I’m just wondering how it got this much good press.  Pain & Gain is actually a way better movie than this.  Just like Spider-Man 3 and The Dark Knight Rises before it, Iron Man’s third chapter looks desperate to keep viewers entertained.

Follows: Iron Man 2

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