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After seeing the third Iron Man film, I still have the same question i had when I saw the trailers: Why? Why did the powers-that-be behind it decide to change the tone entirely and imitate the Dark Knight film formula when the very-different Marvel Cinematic Universe formula was working? The Marvel Cinematic Universe films were good, and they made money. Lots of money. Why was it ever deemed necessary to change and become more like the formula of a competitor you were already beating?
I ask this because I don't like the results of the change. The writing is weak. The story is a mess — an excuse to show all the explosions and battles and feats of action movie magic. Great effects + poor writing. Don't even get me started on the rapid-fire Deus Ex Machina wrap-ups. Sad, considering the writing of the first Iron Man film and The Avengers was as close to perfect as humanly possible. The story/plot is on the good end of typical for a superhero film, but a step down compared to the rest of the Marvel series.
That being said, Tony Stark's characterization is a vast improvement on that of Iron Man 2, which is what makes this film the better experience of the two. I love how he's on the road mostly alone and has to rely on his own skill and ingenuity to take down his opponents. The PTSD thing would be a good element if it wasn't so inconsistent — 3 months of imprisonment by terrorists in a cave and nearly being killed by Stane didn't effect Tony the way his battle in New York did.
Everyone's performances, especially Robert Downey, Jr.'s, were excellent. A+ all around for the acting.
The kid was less than annoying than I feared, although his name should've been Hogarth, and somebody should've reminded the writers that Marvel doesn't do kid sidekicks, and for a good reason: it's stupid! Once again, I'm baffled why they felt the need to include one — the franchise was doing perfectly fine without a surrogate for the kids in the audience!
In conclusion, I enjoyed the film, but there were a lot of things that left me disappointed and baffled. They spoiled a great thing, but they didn't thoroughly ruin it. What does it say about a film when The Stinger is the best part of it?
P.S. "J. Taggart"?
Is it wrong to say I walked out of the movie after the Mandarin reveal?
Nah, it isn't. While this reaction is a bit excessive in my opinion, I understand you. This was my biggest disappointment in the whole movie.
Be fair man.
Nobody should be named Hogarth.
I've never read the comics, so I don't mind The Man Behind The Man twist. The envious, power-hungry Killian is a more appropriate nemesis for Tony Stark than a Middle Eastern terrorist anyway imho. (I'm sure if I was a fan of the comics, though, I'd hate that as badly as I hate them cutting Madge from The Hunger Games, so I respect that sentiment.) I mind some of the dialogue and the myriad plot holes, though.
An envious power hungry guy is a good nemesis for tony, but it felt tired when we've already had Stane, Whiplash, and Hammer who all fit the "envious power hungry guy" archetype earlier.
I like thematic Rogues Galleries, though. Loki, the best MCU villain, also fits.
fenrisulfur got exactly my point: Killian is disappointing because in the end, he is exactly the same kind of villain than Stane and Hammer were, and his vendetta toward Tony basically is a pettier version of Whiplash' revenge quest. The only thing new he brings is the Extremis, making him the first super-villain to not use an armor, and even that isn't much, seeing how he only has a stronger version of his Mooks' abilities. I was hoping for something actually original for once. The Mandarin in the comic was a good nemesis to Iron Man in the comic because he made a good Foil to Stark rather than being like him. Instead, we get just another Evil Counterpart. Kinda sad.
I do give credit to the movie for one thing though : this has to be the first superhero movie where I see the super-hero's Love Interest kicking the bad guy's ass to save him. And God was it nice.
"The PTSD thing would be a good element if it wasn't so inconsistent — 3 months of imprisonment by terrorists in a cave and nearly being killed by Stane didn't effect Tony the way his battle in New York did."
Except who's to say that this hasn't been a building thing since Tony was abducted in IM 1 and everything that happened to him went on? The fact that he has the shrapnel finally removed - and he implies he could have had it done all along - suggests that everything that has happened to him has taken a toll on him and that Iron Man was a form of escapism for him. He was still weighed down, he just never reached the point that it started to genuinely affect him until the events in New York.
"The kid was less than annoying than I feared, although his name should've been Hogarth, and somebody should've reminded the writers that Marvel doesn't do kid sidekicks, and for a good reason: it's stupid! Once again, I'm baffled why they felt the need to include one — the franchise was doing perfectly fine without a surrogate for the kids in the audience!"
Except the kid was hardly set up for the 'kid sidekick' role. He does one thing, Tony has to save him, and then the writers actively mock the notion of Tony taking on a kid sidekick by having him dismiss the kid the the "'Cuz we're connected" line and the dickish face he makes as he drives off.
Oh, I decided Pepper is the greatest love interest ever to appear in a Super Hero movie back when she stole the data from Stane and helped Tony win the Final Battle in Iron Man 1. I found the way she pwns the reporter who sleeps with Tony highly appropriate — it's like her saying "Take That, Lois Lane." It was great to see her remain as awesome as ever all through the sequels, unlike poor Mary Jane.
Connecting Tony's current psychological fragility to everything that's been building up since his kidnapping two movies ago, not solely to the NYC attack, would have been great and made a ton more sense... if they had done that, but they didn't. How could they not do something so simple and logical?
Yes, the relationsip/interaction between Tony and the kid was one of the things that was much better than I expected, but I still don't know why they felt the need to add a kid-identification character — their box office takes show they didn't need one, that their formula was working well enough without resorting to amateur strategies like that. It's a jarring role to find in the series imvho.
The PTSD thing would be a good element if it wasn't so inconsistent — 3 months of imprisonment by terrorists in a cave and nearly being killed by Stane didn't effect Tony the way his battle in New York did.
You're seriously comparing the incidents of IM 1 and Avengers on the same scale? One was a period of imprisonment, traumatic as it was, by human terrorists. The other was an alien invasion (with giant dragon ships) in which he had to grab on to a nuclear missile and fly it through a dimensional portal and INTO ANOTHER WORLD to save a city.
You have a few valid points, but your theory of inconsistency is as inconsistent as the rest of your review. There was never any "change in formula"; it's still the same visuals-and-CGI-oriented Summer Blockbuster archetype film that marked the rest of the MCU.
If the Mandarin had indeed been the real Big Bad, and if he had been some joker-esque Always Chaotic Evil douche (like he was portrayed in the trailers) and if the movie had never once stopped taking itself seriously, and if his character had developed a sudden dark, brooding, lone-wolfish, humorless tint; see now, THAT would've been a change in formula.
I admit I may be a bit biased, 'cause I've never liked the Mandarin as a character. I was skeptical about how they would work that into the movie without turning it into an overly-serious TDK/TDKR-ripoff, so I was actually quite happy with the twist.
"Connecting Tony's current psychological fragility to everything that's been building up since his kidnapping two movies ago, not solely to the NYC attack, would have been great and made a ton more sense... if they had done that, but they didn't. How could they not do something so simple and logical?"
Just because they don't state it, doesn't mean that it isn't in effect. New York could have just been the breaking point for Tony. That's where the line 'nothing's been the same since New York' comes from. It suggests that he's been barely able to deal with things throughout since the first IM movie, and that New York just broke him entirely.
I also agree that the 'inconsistent' argument is wrong; Tonally, the film is very much similar to the first film - which, we will note, had Jeff Bridges going from the guy comically refusing Tony pizza, to paralyzing him in a totally cold-blooded manner, amongst other things. If you had argued that Iron Man 2 was inconsistent, I would agree, because that was terribly constructed, especially the manner in which the main villain was never even a threat, and after one scene in which he actually attacked someone, became a comical idiot wanting his 'burhd'. And again, I agree that the 'Mandarin' was completely uninteresting to me in the trailers - I'm so, so bored of seeing villains who are just evil, and claim to know the way the world works. Yes, they rendered the standard image of the Mandarin comical, but Pearce's character bellowing that he's the Mandarin essentially tells us that beyond the surface, they actually put real thought into remixing the Mandarin concept and probably had to bear in mind their newfound Chinese investors, to avoid upsetting them.
Darkman: As I said sooner, the twist itself was a rather smart idea; I was just disappointed because Killian was frankly not that great as a villain. And I expected Mandarin more like a kind of politic, feodal villain than like a Joker-ripoff.
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