Random Thoughts on Iron Man 3

After an action-packed ensemble adventure in The Avengers, Iron Man gets the stage to himself once more in Iron Man 3. The movie is definitely fun, but not as good as the first two Iron Man movies or The Avengers. Director Shane Black adds more humor and snark while retaining the awesome mech-fueled action of his predecessor, Jon Favreau. Unfortunately, his storytelling isn’t as tight and his movie doesn’t have as much heart. Here are some random spoiler-free thoughts on Iron Man 3.

When Did Jon Favreau Get Old?!? — The first thing that caught my attention in Iron Man 3 has nothing to do with the quality of the movie. Seconds after the opening credits, I was shocked to see how old Jon Favreau looks. I knew he was getting larger, but his face was a harsh reminder of my own mortality. He’ll always be that fresh-faced newbie Angeleno in Swingers to me. I can’t believe that movie is as old as McKayla Maroney. Gah.

Jokey Jokesters — My friend Paul and I agreed that this movie had much more humor than its predecessors. The first two had funny moments, but the jokes were interspersed with a little bit of drama and lots of action. The gags in Iron Man 3 are more frequent and felt forced or excessive at times. Especially when…

…Tony Stark is Being a Dick — While Robert Downey, Jr. was expectedly excellent, some of the material he was working with had an unusual tone. The previous movies did a wonderful job of establishing Stark as a narcissistic and womanizing genius that has substance issues and a growing conscience. For some reason, this movie unveiled his dickish side. It lead to some funny exchanges, but seemed out of character. Stark can be stubborn, self righteous, and overzealous — both in the movies and the comics — but there are moments in Iron Man 3 where he’s unusually cruel. Even though Downey delivered the lines with aplomb, the meanness felt out of place.

Mandarin Surprise — When I found out that one of the Iron Man 3’s protagonists was the Mandarin, I was worried. The character works in comics, but is a bit too ridiculous for movies. The movie version of Mandarin was not at all what I was expecting and it totally worked. Keep in mind that I usually hate major deviations from the source material (Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, for example), so I was shocked by how delighted I was with movie Mandarin. Of course it helps that a master thespian like Ben Kingsley completely owned the role.

Executive Mocking Continues — I love how the Iron Man movies poke fun at real-life executives. In Iron Man 2, Sam Rockwell showed qualities of Microsoft Bill Gates and Apple Steve Jobs while playing Justin Hammer. In this film, Guy Pearce takes several cues from Virgin Group Richard Branson. I’m looking forward to Iron Man 4, when Tony Stark will battle a Mark Zuckerberg pastiche, complete with a menacing hoodie powered by Extremis.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Abs — While I vehemently disagree with People Magazine crowning Ms. Paltrow as the most beautiful woman in the world (she wasn’t even the most beautiful woman in Iron Man 2), she’s still a lovely creature that takes exquisite care of her body. Borrowing a page from Padme Amidala’s playbook, Paltrow’s Pepper Potts shows a lot of skin during the movie’s climax. Her stomach looked marvelous and made me dream of what it would be like to eat sushi off of it. It was so yummy that I probably missed some cool tech sequences while I was mesmerized by Gwyneth’s abs.

No Dual Villains — One of the reasons I enjoyed Iron Man 2 so much is that it had separate villains for Iron Man and Tony Stark. I enjoyed that Whiplash menaced the superhero Iron Man, while Justin Hammer threatened businessman and technologist Tony Stark. This is a layered and complex hero, and I loved that the second movie had antagonists for different facets of the character. With that in mind, I was disappointed that the third movie didn’t do the same.

Pacing and SurpriseIron Man 3 flows at a consistent but predictable pace. The first two movies did a better job of using humor, action, and drama to mix things up. While this movie isn’t paced poorly by any means, it just feels very by-the-numbers. That’s all on Shane Black, who simply isn’t as good at dealing with Iron Man as Jon Favreau was.

Bottom LineIron Man 3 is definitely entertaining and enjoyable. It has bigger and better action than the first two movies, but as a whole I don’t think it’s as good. The actors are better than ever in these roles, but the direction and writing have taken a dip. A few of my friends and a few critics have said that Iron Man 3 is the best in the series and the best Marvel movie to date. While I enjoyed it, I completely disagree with that assessment. After seeing Iron Man and Iron Man 2 in theaters, I wanted to see it again. After the Iron Man 3 screening, I’m content to wait for the Blu-ray.

Author: RPadTV


15 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on Iron Man 3”

  1. Ray, If you hadn’t seen the first two films, would your opinion be different? Would IM3 be elevated from good to great?

    1. I don’t think so. Even compared to other superhero movies, this one is good, but not among the best.

  2. I was planning on seeing this movie this weekend, but it’s all sold out (or rather, all the good seats were taken), so we’re going to see it next week instead. My question was going to be similar to Tokzs’: Is the 3D worth the extra $3? I’m really not a big fan of 3D seeing how most studios just add a bit of depth to the scenery post-production (i.e. the lazy mans’ 3D), plus, wearing those stupid glasses is annoying.

    Reading your comments, I’ll probably just see it in regular 2D.


    1. I only saw one (and it’s a good one!), but keep in mind that it was a reviewers screening. For example, in The Avengers I didn’t see the schwarma scene.

      1. I guess i’ll have to find out about a 2nd one. Im going to go watch it tonight.

      2. For iceman: 3-D not worth it.

        Overall this movie was ok. This was by far the best villain hes encountered but i still feel that movie was ok. This proved to me what i always felt about Iron Man and that he hasnt any great villains or story lines. I remember the extremis, which this is based on, was the best iron man storyline in awhile. If u feel u have to see it wait for a matinee or if ur like n8 double feature it at a drive thru but if u can wait then wait.

      3. The schwarma scene wasn’t filmed with the rest of the movie. They filmed that sometime after the movie’s original premier.

  3. I just watched this last night and found the movie enjoyable. Portions of the movie did feel out of place, like Tony Stark being an asshole. I didn’t think those portions were forced, but they were excessive. The conversation between the little kid and Tony when he was leaving after the bar/small town fight did feel unnecessary though, and I was only taken out of the movie when that kid was on screen. He felt a little too gimmicky for me, especially since I can’t recall any other gimmicky characters in the other Iron Man movies, or Marvel Cinematic movies in general. I am also not sure how exactly I feel about the Mandarin in this movie. I was pretty excited to see them do something cool with his character, and then he just became comic relief. That was rather disappointing. Still, the way they used him to setup Killian was very well done and I absolutely loved that it was a big surprise that I didn’t see coming.

    Even taking into account some of the negative aspects of the movie, I don’t see how it could be said that this movie wasn’t as good as previous ones. There was a great character story following Tony Stark dealing with his creation becoming larger than the creator. Stark is now hollow inside, just like the Iron Man suits he is creating. The story was full of character development which I liked, and the action sequences were astoundingly good. People have been justifying the Transformer movies because the action scenes are so much fun that they don’t care about a bad plot. Well with Iron Man 3 you get a great plot with even better action scenes. It’s a win-win. I almost want to go back and see the movie again just to watch Tony’s acrobatic fight with only a portion of the Iron Man suit again, which was probably one of my favorite fights of the movie. It was a visual experience with a good plot. It might not have had multiple villains, one for Tony Stark and one for Iron Man, but this was a much better movie than Iron Man 2, and definitely stepped everything up a notch compared to Iron Man 1.

    1. It’s real a style question as to why people don’t like this movie as much as the others. Many people, myself included, prefer Favreau’s handling of Iron Man. Shane Black made a fun movie, but there were too many touches of his other works found in it. Some of the destruction scenes might as well have been from Lethal Weapon (his big break in Hollywood as a writer). I didn’t get the character development that you did and to me the movie lacked the heart of the other two. I do agree that the visuals were stepped up, but I expect that with advancements in CG.

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