Hello. It's been a long time.
I can't say I was excited for Iron Man 3. The trailer looked a little too "let's be Batman" for me, and Shane Black directing it doesn't get me excited. Having said that, it's not like I was dreading it. (I mean, I did see it). Having now seen it, I can say that I care about it far more than I did before, although not for the right reasons.
The story starts a short while after The Avengers. The world seems to be largely unaffected by the total destruction of Manhattan, the discovery that there are in fact aliens and gods and the assembly of a group of superheroes. Earth has not made even the slightest attempt to unify itself against these new otherworldly forces. America is still fighting the war on terror. The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. are nowhere to be seen and no explanation is given for their absolute absence. Oh, and it's Christmas. Not really sure why.
Tony Stark has PTSD. Pretty cool idea, huh? Unfortunately, all it boils down to is occasional shots of him looking at his Iron Man mask broodingly and jokes involving him having anxiety attacks. It never ties in to anything else in the film, and it only pops up when it's convenient.
A child is also added into the mix for, as far as I can tell, no reason at all. His presence in the film doesn't teach Stark any valuable lessons, he isn't used as a plot device for anything, and it's not like the movie's about the kid or anything. He literally just doesn't serve a purpose.
Meanwhile, The Mandarin is terrorising America using people with volcano powers and glowing eyes as bombs. I'm not joking. Somehow, someone created a regenerative medicine that gives the patient the power to turn their skin into solid lava, explode on demand and have super strength, among other (spoilery) things. Honestly, who the fuck thought that was a good idea? Aside from the fact that it sounds like something from a bad Fringe episode, it's given literally no explanation or context. They actually expect you to believe that adding regenerative genes to people turns them into volcano mutants.
Lack of explanation seems to be a running theme throughout Iron Man 3. Many of The Mandarin's henchmen were previously ordinary people, yet none of them are given any motivation for turning evil.
Unfortunately, the story's structure is largely the same as that of numerous recent films like The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall. The protagonist has a traumatic experience and falls from grace, a new villain comes and screws everything up, and the protagonist has to learn a bunch of lessons so he can rise to the challenge and defeat them. Is that really the only story anyone wants to tell right now?
It's not all bad, though. There is a twist at one stage that was actually pretty cool, and I never saw it coming. That's basically the only positive thing I can say, though. It truly was a pretty awful movie.
The movie also tends to be inconsistent with both itself and the other Marvel movies. Human characters perform stunts that are both realistically and stylistically out of touch with what's been set up in the other films. Honestly, Black Widow and Hawkeye did less ridiculous stuff in The Avengers than a suitless War Machine did in Iron Man 3. Additionally, In a section of the film where Stark has no access to any of his belongings, he somehow gets one of his cars and as much money as he could ever need.
There was one scene where Tony Stark (without the suit) effortlessly secret agents his way through a heavily-guarded complex using nothing but his skills as a total ninja and some backyard science equipment. Not long afterwards, he teams up with War Machine (both without suits), and it almost becomes a slapstick comedy sequence as Stark demonstrates his complete incompetence in combat. Come on, guys.
Some of the design was extremely cheesy, too. There's a flashback sequence very early on featuring one of the most stereotypically nerdy characters I've seen in the last few years. And what's worse is that we're actually supposed to take him seriously, and even sympathise with him to some extent! It almost seems as if the movie is making fun of its comic book origin.
A lot of the fight scenes, in particular the final one, were quite lackluster. The scope and scale of them felt insignificant after what we've seen in the previous Marvel films. I'm not saying it should have been on par with The Avengers, but the stakes in the final fight (environmentally, especially), were too low to trigger any excitement.
With the exception of one hysterical knockout line, the humour was also fairly unfunny. Most jokes garnered little aural feedback from me or the rest of the audience in the cinema, and some were met with awkward silence. It's shame considering the main reason I enjoyed the previous Iron Man movies so much was the humour. Certainly in the case of Iron Man 2, the humour helped me look past some of the substandard filmmaking employed in it.
While I didn't have the highest expectations for Iron Man 3, I never would have thought it'd be as bad as it turned out. The movie is full of unforgivable holes, bad jokes, uninteresting $200 Million (!!!) action scenes, cheesy characters and the most wtfucking dumb ending they could have given it. It's by far the worst of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to date. Don't go see this rubbish. Read what happens on Wikipedia so you're up date when The Avengers 2 comes out. Here's hoping Thor: The Dark World makes up for it.
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