(Spoilers Ahead!) So I decided to fight the mad rush and go see Iron Man 3. In hindsight I should have just waited till the crowds died down to go see it and instead have seen the movie, Mud. While Iron Man 3 was better than the Iron Man 2, it was only slightly better. I suppose it would be like saying getting hit by a car is only slightly better than getting hit by a bus. Both suck, but you’d rather encounter the former than the later. I think what bothered me most was the tone of the film. Was it supposed to be a comedy, action film, dark drama, or some weird concoction of all three?
I saw someone recently say about Iron Man 3 that Robert Downey, Jr. is great at playing Robert Downey, Jr. And after seeing Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang again recently, it seems Shane Black is good at harnessing Downey Jr.’s ability to play himself. But while it added a bit of quirkiness to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and fit the overall tone of that film, it seemed a little too forced in Iron Man 3. And in between Downey, Jr. zinging one-liners left and right, he’s also trying to act traumatized from the events that occurred near the end of the Avengers. This is where the film loses me. If I’m to understand correctly, Tony Stark experiences torture in the desert, builds an iron robot to help him escape after watching a fellow prisoner/scientist die, has to contend with a piece of shrapnel in his chest that could kill him in any second, learns of the betrayal of Obidius who plays a somewhat mentor/father-figure to Tony, fight said betrayer and watch the destruction of his headquarters unfold around him while fighting him, all of which takes place in the first film alone, and none of that led to any post-traumatic-stress-disorder. But nearly dying after sending the nuclear warhead through the wormhole in the end of the Avengers somehow causes Tony to start having panic attacks? He’s experienced nearly falling to his death in practically all three films. Why should the wormhole incident change anything. They never quite explain it in the film except for a quick sound bite about now dealing with the fact that aliens and gods (I assume he means Thor and Loki) exist. I feel like this could have been handled better. And after reading that Disney was scared to do the ‘Devil in the Bottle’ storyline where Stark deals with alcoholism, it seems this was the next best thing they could come up with. If anything, the poor kid that helps out Stark should be the one who becomes traumatized after the way Tony treats him (even though Stark tries to make up for it by buying him a bunch of tech gear).
Beyond that, there where other things that bothered me. Why does Tony act like he has to fix the Mk 42 prototype, and even at one point build his own weapons, when he conveniently has what looked like at least 2 dozen Iron Man suits stored away in his home? It’s like he forgot all about them until the final showdown. Also, how does Pepper all of a sudden know how to use the suit, especially when Tony still has problems using it, and where did hernfighting skills come from at the end? And while I thought Ben Kingsley did a great job with the role of a drug-addled actor, why couldn’t he just be a crazy bad-ass the whole film? But most pressing of all is why didn’t the writers continue with Tony Stark’s sub-conscious controlling the suits. In one of the best and most disturbing scenes of the movie, Tony is experiencing a nightmare, only to have one of the sentient suits grab Pepper as she tries to wake him. This scene exuded creepiness and opened up all kinds of interesting story opportunities. Unfortunately that scene came and went, not to be mentioned again.
All-in-all, this wasn’t a bad film, and I do indeed love a shut-off-your-brain popcorn flick every now and then, but for some reason my brain wouldn’t allow me to just watch and enjoy.