6 May 2013

Media - Iron Man 3

- Spoilers Past the Break -

I had another post for today but instead at the last minute I'm writing this. 

Rank 3 - Fun and worth it IF you liked the previous films in the Marvel franchise.

Iron Man 3 is RDJ's last contract film. Marvel/Disney made a great final film for the actor on who shoulders many people think the whole success of the Avengers (aka Marvel Phase 1) worked so well. Of course I expect Tony Stark to return for at least one more film (Avengers 2) but beyond that there are two ways I see this going - new actor (ala James Bond) from Kevin Feige's own mouth or Tony stepping aside (like he does more then once in the comics).

Here is the simple fact. The film was fun. Hardcore comic fans will get their feathers ruffled.

Enjoy the flick for a comic movie and for some of the risks they took. Is it as good as the rest of the films in Phase 1... maybe I yammer on about that below, but they tried to expand the character and the rest of the stable of secondary ideas. Some paid off, some did not but the flick is still worth the price of admission.

Spoilers Follow the Break.  You have been Warned.

My reason for the score of 3.

Where they loose many of the fans - 

This guy. With the introduction of Thor and Aliens the Mandarin look possible. It was said he wasn't used in the first films because the take of Magic and Aliens had yet to be sorted. A guy with 10 magical alien rings each with a unique power didn't fit the original taste and feel of the first Iron Man film.

Wasted Potential - Maybe
Done well - Yes
Maybe seeing them in Odin's vault would have been a great lead up to the character in the Thor film. Having a guy with alien tech running around taking on Tony Stark would have been awesome. Hell that was what was expected during the lead up to the films release.

Instead the actor puppet was funny but I feel was a waste of the traditional Iron Man nemesis. I would have used MODOK some sort of alien virus/AI created by AIM (the real film villan). No one respects the giant head monster. They could have used this guy as the cyber terrorist to test out recovered Alien tech while spreading fear to create revenue. Makes a bit more sense and you still have the Mandarin in your pocket for the next Iron Man film that may or may not include RDJ.

A classic Iron Man villan - Yes
Should we see it in the films - Not unless you can explain it
Imagine some story of a new terrorist leader who's been changed by the fallen Alien tech in Avengers, twisted by rage and US hatred. Imagine that guy hacking your TV and Internets bombing places all willy nilly. When you see him on TV it looks like a giant science freak gone wrong... now making that a whole movie magic twist. Tony Stark could have quipped in with a 'I should have guess, how can a big giant head be an evil villan'

The rest of the film could have been left alone.

What they did so bloody well -

After Avengers, it felt post 9/11 in the Marvel film universe. "Since New York" is the line that is repeated and leads to the new world now small since Avengers. On top of that you have Tony Stark going through PTSD.

This was the best portion of the film. Tony was still Tony, when given a movie kid sidekick, Tony still acts the selfish jerk and keeps the humour about him. He's too smart and can't out think his only trauma and fragil psyche. I'm very glad Tony didn't dive back into the bottle that would have not gone well and broken up the pace and feel of the film.

RDJ plays the PTSD so well and Director Shane Black really pushes this mood through the whole film. Tony even with all the toys he's been cooking up is still unarmed and feels helpless. The 'MacGuiver' scene in the Mandarin's house raid was brilliant. It fit and never once felt or looked dumb. The super science during the last who-rah was well used and not as a win button unlike Lord of the Rings: Return of the King's ghost army.

In the comics Iron Man goes back to basics so often it's part of his character cycle. Doing this in the film is risky but it sets up Tony Stark stepping back from the Avengers after the second big team up flick.

I was also happy with the use of Pepper Pots who's been getting better and better through the films. Acted well and given a chance to stretch I was glad they didn't introduce Rescue but at the same time I would have been ok with it if they did it well.

Glad they didn't go this way
I think they can pull it off better next time
I would have had a 'Medical Rescue' Iron Man armour show up, save Pepper and purge her of the virus since it was in the early stages and have her in armour winning the last fight. Tony reconfigures the armour on the spot and she joins the club but only for a moment.

WarMachine was also so well done in this film. Rhodes was breathing in some Rambo when he was doing his thing. It reminded the viewers that Rhodes is a military vet and not a push over. Tony has brains, Rhodes has combat experience.

Wasted but Attempted -

The Extremis plot is from award winning writer of comics and the odd novel Warren Ellis, and it's pretty high up there sci-fi wise. Using it was pretty risky but they did the super science well. My only issue was it felt disconnected with the rest of the established world. Giving it a connection to SHEILD or the Super Soldier project would have been fine for me... otherwise it's introduction and presence felt a bit force.

Also the final fight felt backwards. I know I've done this twice already with my 'if I did the film' but I think Pepper could have crippled the final boss and then Tony could have loaded up the armour for self destruction. To avoid his tech to fall in strangers hands, he nukes his suits and is now forced to start from scratch. His greatest armour blown away to save himself and Pepper.

Final Words

I don't need or expect comic films, in particular the DC/Marvel films, to follow the comic originators but I do hope they use the provided previous material well. I want them to make great flicks based on stories you pick up from the newstand (a traditional way of selling comics, most of us buy them from speciality stores now).

Iron Man 3 was fun.

Enjoy it for what they did well and what they tried. They will never make it as good as the fans want but it seems they are still making good films.