When I heard Shane Black was taking over the third Iron Man movie. I had mixed feelings. The dude did a winner (Lethal Weapon) and a stinker (Last Action Hero) close to twenty years ago and I just for the life of me couldn’t figure out why they were giving this to him when he had John Favreau’s shoes to fill from the last two movies not to mention a little flick called “The Avengers” which was going to be the movie it would have to follow.
********** WARNING… I’m a spoiler fiend and don’t care **********
So before I get into the bitter old man comic book fan rant that is Cinema Beer-Te “Iron Man 3″ Edition… Let me just say that as a whole, Iron Man 3 is fun. As a redblooded American Male, it’s got the big three action movie staples:
1. Lots of Explosions
2.Good guys kicking bad guy ass in a big finale
3. A hot chick in undergarments
Bam… you win Shane Black, there you go. That formula has been around since the 80′s and thank you for not straying. This formula mixed with the hype, is going to ensure that Joe America sees and loves the movie.
Now here’s what I have issues with:
It’s not The Avengers:
That’s cool man, it doesn’t try to be. But the sad thing is, I wanted it to be. In my heart, as the Marvel issued movies got better and better leading up to The Avengers (with the exception of the snoozefest that was Thor) I was hoping to see the bar get raised. It’s not Iron Man 3′s fault, this was the act that had to follow probably the best superhero movie to date. The issue I have, is that this movie (as far as I see) did nothing to further the big Avengers storyline for phase 2 Avengers stuff (the phase 1 movies all had an easter egg or plot that would give us a hint of what to expect with the Avengers… and while we are on the subject of plot…
The Plot had more holes than a Goth kid in a piercing studio:
Why oh why is Tony messing with one suit of armor throughout the whole movie? Why is he trying to repair it so bad when Jarvis already reminded him that it is not battle ready? Why is there a 12 year old kid in the movie acting as a sidekick (didn’t they see Phantom Menace? That never works)
When it comes crunch time… BAM! Tony’s underground garage opens up and 41 other Iron Man suits fly out controlled by Jarvis. Yes… all 42 suits survived. So why is Tony stuck in Tennessee trying to repair one crappy untested suit with no weapons?
One more thing on the suits… In the other movies, Tony has fought villains, big robots, alien invaders and giant space worms using the Mark 2 or 3 only… can someone explain why his other 40 suits seem so fragile while fighting henchmen? It was like the slaughter of the Iron Men as they just seem to fall apart. The old armor stood up to blows from Thor for Pete’s sake, why are these so fragile?
Speaking of fragile…
Dude when did they make James Rhodes such a wimp? So as a comic fan who keeps up to date (and loved the siege and thunderbolts storylines with him) I was happy to see Iron Patriot’s armor on the big screen (even if it wasn’t really Iron Patriot) what I’m bummed about is that War Machine is so much more cooler already, but I totally get the fact that kids now have two James Rhodes toys to buy instead of one, (plus 42 Iron Man suits, a Pepper, a few Extremis henchmen, and we can get an even 50 toys out of this)
My big dissapointment in this is that we don’t actually get to see Iron Patriot fight at all, he flies around, and basically gets captured, then in the finale, he is denied a suit to fight in, making him the bumbling sidekick. Hell Gwyneth Paltrow sees more action than him.
In The End:
It was different. It felt different. It moved like a reboot, except with the same cast. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth the price of a ticket, but I came home feeling a little bummed. If any Marvel franchise (besides Avengers) let me leave feeling happy, it was the first two Iron Man films.
Still, Pepper looks hot, The Mandiran character was a suprise (but they shouldn’t have made Iron Man’s best villain a joke) and the movie is paced decently with good special effects. But there is a certain tone and feeling that is lacking from this movie versus the first two.
Don’t get me started on the book.
Iron Man 3 is slated for a May 2013 release, and it’s missing something… a villain. Never fear Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast) is in talks to play the next villain, reportedly yet another corporate bad guy with a hankering for new technology (yawn). But that’s pretty much on par. One of Iron Man’s original comic themes was the implications of the Cold War, and the struggle of the American Inventor to hold on to his own technology in the modern world of government acquisitions and teams ruled by companies where all intellectual properties belong to business not people.
Which is what made Iron Man’s main super villain so cool. Alas we may never see Mandarin, the martial arts magic ring welding, alien technology using criminal mastermind. Even though Original Iron Man director Jon Favreau did hint before we may see Mandarin in part 3, new director and all around buzzkill Shane Black (and honestly Marvel this better not be the guy who had ties to “Last Action Hero” are you guys hurting for money? This guy hasn’t done anything since the turn of the 90′s right?) dismissed Mandarin as a racist caricature at Long Beach Comic-Con last fall. Apparently with China Box Office numbers racial sensitivities matter, and I guess if you have the guy who wrote box office bomb “The Long Kiss Goodnight” you’re going to need all the help you can get, even if it is Iron Man.
And while I make fun of this, because I am sure Marvel will certainly shut me up as they have before by putting out a decent movie, let me go on record as saying I have never heard anyone in my circle call Mandarin a stereotype. You can always shave off his fu manchu. You can’t do much about the accent because well, the character is Asian and he’s also called Mandarin, you definitely want to keep him as a martial arts master, I don’t know man, I just see a badass, I never really thought of myself as a racist because I like the way Mandarin looks, acts, and kicks ass. Maybe you guys are just filled with personal guilt. I mean, I’m a Mexican, but I love Mexican wrestlers who play their stereotype well, I love the bad guys in Three Amigos, I never leave in a huff about it, I love Mexican spoof bands like Manic Hispanic. And if someone wanted to make a villain, dress him up in Dia De Los Muertos facepaint or a sombrero (or both) and call him “El Bandito” I’d be so down for that. Just saying.