Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On Iron Man 3

Okay, I was going to save this for tomorrow's Throwback Thursday, but I'm scheduled to escape the temperamental weather of Utah for the sanctuary of Vegas' oven tomorrow, so I might not be able to be online. What I was planning to talk about today were the released trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy, until I realized, having not grown up with these comics and characters, the review would amount to, "Looks cool. Hope it doesn't suck." To me it seems like Marvel is starting to get a grip on their own films, even if they're sending directors running scared left and right. Captain America: Winter Soldier I really enjoyed and Thor: The Dark World was ... serviceable and entirely forgettable. 

But Iron Man 3?

I didn't honestly think that Iron Man 2 could be topped for being schlock, but this movie is really trying.

So what prompted this? I stepped into my living room and my roommates had popped in the BluRay and I  decided to give it a second chance (the next time this scenario played out, they were watching Dark Knight Rises and I fled the room snarking), and at first I was surprised. I'd walked around for months calling the movie a train wreck of poo, and for a while, I thought I had judged the film too harshly. I was enjoying the hell out of the start. 
Theeeeeeeeeen the third act kicked in. 

Man this movie fell apart hard. I could literally feel the film's gears shift and explode into shrapnel that dug through my eyes and attacked my brain. Say what you will about Iron Man 2 (it's cutting room roadkill?), but at least it's consistent in its stupidity. 

So, I wasn't overly bothered by the villainous Killian. I love Guy Pearce, I thought he was doing well, it seemed to be an interesting rivalry as opposed to Sam Rockwell's bumbling character in the previous film ... and then it turned into the most generic cliched revenge story. It overtook the international terrorist storyline in a half-assed way, and offered up a complete slap in the face to the few Iron Man comic fans out there.

It's as if millions of fans suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced

I don't mean insult to Iron Man fans, but think of this, the reveal about Mandarin was fun and actually well executed, in the context of the movie, but with knowledge of the comics, I was pissed on comic book fans' behalf. Why? If Dark Knight had revealed Batman's numero uno villain, the Joker, to be an actor hired to pretend to be a crazy homicidal clown, there'd have been riots in the streets. I think it shows an extreme lack of respect for the fans who originally gave you your start. 

I will never question Wolverine's regenerating stubble again.
Moving on, the Extremis component of the film. What the hell happened? In the comics it was -- and in the movie it was -- ugggh. Again, I'm not opposed to alterations to the source material in the transition to the big screen, but once the alteration becomes nearly unrecognizable, just change the f***ing name to something else. If you're not going to adapt the concept in any meaningful fashion, just go all the way and make it your own. I was also pissed that the Extremis Virus was so poorly developed a part of the film. It allows regenerative qualities. And as a fan I was thinking, 'Oh! Like Wolverine?' to which the film responds, 'No. It's not just rapid healing.' 'So it's like Ang Lee's Hulk?' 'Well no, since there's no gamma rays, and no big guy.' 'So ... is it like in the Amazing Spider-Man?' 'Nope, no source animal DNA to overtake the human DNA.'

So what is it?

Hell if we know but it allows you to breath fire and explode!

Did we ever explain this? No? Ah, f***it.
... Are you sure this isn't a Thor movie? 

Totally plausible science.
It's not necessarily an asinine idea, but as far as I remembered there's no explanation of how or why this occurs beyond, "Some people have an explosive reaction to the virus." This is not science fiction, it's pure fantasy, and I always respected Iron Man for living closer to the former than the latter. Once you buy Arc Reactor technology, it's not hard to accept the rest of the events in Iron Man 1 or the Avengers .... No comment on Iron Man 2. 

I really hated what they did with Tony. I don't hate what they tried to do. I just hate what they actually did. They try to explain that he's having panic attacks because of the 15 seconds of the Avengers he spent beyond the dark portal and the battle in New York. This doesn't add up for me. Tony makes it through a terrorist capture, and the betrayal of his oldest friends in the first film, nearly dies in the second from blood poisoning, and spends most of the Avengers around purported interdimensional Gods--none of which phased him. What the hell happened? So the idea behind it? Moving Tony into a new area, a new vulnerable place? I applaud the effort ... but I'll give them a 2 for biffing the landing. 

We do birthday parties too.

This might have been a poor decision.
The last major thing I'll bag on is this, the House Party Protocol. Now I know it's stupid for Tony to spend most of the movie worrying about his 'Prodigal Son' armor, which wasn't even combat ready, when he had a dozen plus suits waiting in his blown up house (also, Tony makes some really bone-head moves in this movies). That's not my major problem. My problem is that in this movie, the Iron Man suits seem to be made from tissue paper. What the hell happened? 

Dark Knight Rises? No, never heard of it
Kevin Smith influenced this scene.
Okay, time for another list. I'll just stick specifically to the Avengers, since I watched it most recently. In that movie his armor stands up to a toe-to-toe battle with Thor, God of Thunder, and even though my money was on the beef-cake, he was holding his own damn well. Later? He gets caught in one of four turbines that keep a Aircraft Carrier flying, and the damn thing still works (albeit damaged). And lets face it, during the final fight, he puts his suit through hell, case in point, the Jonah scene. It is shown over 3 films that his suits can take a beating. Until there are twelve suits on the screen. It's not a perfect metaphor, but it reminds me of Storm-Trooper syndrome. The more there is of something, the less effective it immediately becomes. The Series final of Buffy the Vampire Slayer suffered from this, but at least Whedon had the decency to make that happen in the name of his thematic message of women's power. Jeesh!

And the ending just seemed a bit cheap to me since anyone who's stumbled around the internet recently knows he'll be back for the next Avengers film, and chances are he'll even be in a suit! 

They're actually talking about where to grab food after.
So what did I like about the movie? The film had some good fun dialogue, especially closer to the beginning, and this time, the strength of character wasn't only reserved for Mr. Downy. I felt like the secondary characters had a lot more strength than in the previous installment, and a certain buddy-cop aspect seemed to underpin the fist half the film, even with the kid, who I personally liked. The action scenes were good, even if I didn't understand half of them, and the idea to see what Tony could do without his suits was a good one I think.

Alas, the reason the movie pisses me off so badly is that it had so much potential and started out so strong that I got really invested, so when it started to fall into bad and lazy writing traps, I felt more betrayed than I might have, if the movie had inured me to its stupidity right from the getgo. 

I totally forgive this whole storyline for ... some reason

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