When is a man not a man? A man is not a man only when he gives up. That is what those who have not yet seen Marvel’s new blockbuster Iron Man 3 need to remember when going into this movie. Many of those who have seen this movie have complained that the movie didn’t feature enough of Tony in his suit; that it was essentially more melodrama than movie. Here’s the thing. Just as start Robert Downey Junior noted in recent reviews, he can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again. He meant that in terms of playing Iron Man/Tony Stark again in a potential Iron Man 4 and/or Avengers 2. But the reality is that those comments apply within the context of Iron Man 3 itself, too. Fans have seen Tony Stark don his armor time and again in the first two movies in this franchise. And for the most part, his armor has done the same sort of feats. So seeing Tony lose everything, including his suits (albeit temporarily) and forced to rely on just his wits was actually a nice change of pace. It showed that while he may not have been a superhero for much of the movie, he was still a hero and no less a man. That’s because he didn’t give up. He didn’t even let anxiety attacks hold him down. These are messages that any viewer, comic book fan or not, should take away from this movie.
The messages contained within Iron Man 3 are just one positive aspect to this movie. While it’s hardly perfect, the fan boys and fan girls that have lambasted it for its surprise regarding The Mandarin and the Extremis story arc have gone into the movie with too much of a closed mind. They perhaps didn’t catch that Writer/Director Shane Black and his Co-Writer Drew Pearce did in fact poke fun at themselves indirectly concerning this matter. When the truth is revealed about The Mandarin, Rhodey asks Tony, “This is The Mandarin?!” Tony retorts with one of so many wisecracks that audiences have come to love from him. Those that are open minded enough will appreciate that this short moment is actually Pearce and Black’s way of beating the fan boys and fan girls to the punch in hopes that it will get them to laugh at the story changes with them. Though, in defense of the fan boys and fan girls, it is a bit of a slap in their faces to turn The Mandarin into the minor figure that Black and Pearce did. Maybe in any future installments, audiences will get The Mandarin that they deserve.
Any viewer that can accept the story changes to Iron Man 3 will appreciate the eventual reward in the movie’s final climactic battle scene between Tony, Rhodey, and Killian. There are those that say this final showdown is the movie’s only real good part. But as already noted there is much more to be taken away from the movie. Seeing all the armor from Tony’s “Hall of Armor” lets audiences know that regardless of whether RDJ returns for Iron Man 4 or Avengers 2, odds are audiences will still see Iron Man return with much more armor and action in future installments. After all, certain parties noted that the most recent take on The Incredible Hulk would be the last one for a while. But obviously that’s now been proven false as the not so Jolly Green Giant is apparently back on the table again for Marvel’s next phase. So even if RDJ is done (as he seemed to note even within the context of the movie), it would be no surprise if Shellhead returns with someone else donning the Iron Man suit….or suits?
As one can tell by now, there is plenty for which Iron Man 3 should be applauded. For all of its positives, there are some negatives. The first of those negatives is the movie’s pacing. Its run time is roughly two hours and fifteen minutes. But it feels like it is much longer. Unlike its competitor, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3 felt like (just as with DC’s The Dark Knight Rises), Black and Pearce were trying way too hard to cram everything they could into this one last installment so as to close the trilogy. What’s more, incorporating multiple villains, as so many of the comic based movies have done in recent years, only added to the movie’s length. It would have been much easier to simply stick with Killian as the main villain. After all, audiences are hand delivered early on the fact that Killian would be the main villain. The extra storyline may lead some viewers to find themselves checking their watches every now and then, wondering when the two hour plus movie will finally end. And because of this, it will ultimately leave some viewers realizing that this key issue has and will forever keep Iron Man 3 from being the movie that it was hyped up to be. Rather, it will keep Iron Man 3 little more than another transition point to Marvel’s next property, just like its comic books.
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