Hello, Spongey here.
Marvel’s The Avengers was the biggest hit of 2012. Their movies that lead up to it caused tons of hype, which lead to it being the hit that it was. And with Phase one of their plan done, they have to move on to phase Two. Yep, they are doing more films to lead up to Avengers 2.
And for the first film of phase 2, they did a sequel to their most popular lead up film. But first, I must briefly say my thoughts on the first two films. I’ve done this before, so I’ll make it really fast.
Iron Man: Smart, funny, great performances, surprisingly good villain, amazing action and effects. Rocking good time. A
Iron Man 2: Very mixed bag. Performances still rock, great action, even better effects, has a lot of the charm of the first one. Some plot elements work. Overall plot is a mess with too many new things and plot threads. Also, felt too much like an avengers lead up, and less like iron man. Could have done without fury, but damn is Black widow cool. Could have been better, but mindless fun. Certainty not forgettable, like Mr Robert Walker and Honest Trailers claim! C+ on critical level. B+ on guilty pleasure level.
And now, for the conclusion to the Iron Man trilogy. Does Tony still have strong metal, or has it gotten rusty? Let’s find out.
This, is Iron Man 3
PLOT: After what happened in The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) has been feeling pretty bad. He has barely slept and is mostly just working on new armors, and this isn’t help his relationship with pepper potts (Geweth Paltrow). The only thing that can make this worse is a terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) showing up to shake the world with his attacks. After a not so good encounter with the terrorists, Tony has to shape up, save the world, and patch up his life to save the day.
This was my most anticipated film of the year. The plot sounded great, and it seemed like it would more than make up for Iron man 2. That film tried to juggle dark and complex stuff with the first film’s style of comedy, but it failed at doing so.
And this one….hit that mark exactly! It is easily 1000 times better than 2, and maybe even than the first one. But let’s address that later.
First, the comedy/dark mix. They switched out Jon Faverou with Shane Black, who you may know as the director of Kiss Kiss bang bang. And it shows, big time. However, it is a big laugh fest where the dark elements clash. No, the writers do a great job of putting comedy right where it needs to be, and the dark elements never clash with the comedy.
Some are saying it is both the funniest of the three, and the darkest. I…don’t get that. It is the darkest. But funniest? No, it’s not full of quip after quip or anything like that. Oh, it has tons of funny moments, but not to the point where it’s the funniest. I think the first one had the best barrage of quips and one liners, and the second film was overall the most comedic.
This one though, perfectly mixed comedy and drama, and the quips always fit well with the situation. Okay, there are a couple odd bits but those are isolated incidents. Even the dark parts aren’t overly dark. It’s more…dramatic than dark, if that makes sense.
They got the perfect mix that the first film had, and more some. I know my theater was laughing a lot…even at parts that weren’t THAT hilarious, but the same thing always happens so whatever.
On to the rest. The characters were nicely handled this time around, with more development given to them than ever before. Tony is still the snarky loveable jackass we’ve come to love, but now he has many challenges to face. I won’t go in too deep cuz 1. SPOILERS 2. I am bad with words.
Due to the whole life changing thing in The Avengers, and many other fumbles, he is questioning a lot of things about him, and wondering if he can survive . At many points, he is put in situations he seemingly can’t get out of, and, spoilers for those who haven’t seen the trailer, has to live without his suit for awhile.
I love it when the hero of a story hits rock bottom and has to climb out without his usual toys. They did it in The Dark Knight Rises and it worked very well. The villains pretty much put Tony in a really bad spot, and he must use the usual wits to get out. Granted, he ends up using the suit to get out of his problems, but he does spend a lot of time out if it thinking, so there is that.
Diving further into this would mean spoiling the film, so I won’t get in too deep. But I will say that Tony’s character arc is completed perfectly, with the opening and ended lines capping off his character well. The contrast between the opening of the first film, and ending of this one, perfectly shows what the character has gone through, and how he sticks up for not only himself, but for others. He want from rich asshole, to a genuinely good person who sees his faults, and sticks for his loved ones.
And not only does it never feel cliché, but it’s well done, and with a funny, smart, and wonderful character. That’s the character I have the most to say about it, so talking about the rest will be quick.
Pepper gets to shine in this one. She was great in the first two films, but here she reaches her peak. The romance-ish thing is still done decently, and not only does it add to Tony’s development, but pepper’s as well. Everything in this movie is put to the test, and the relationships are no exception. Thanks to Tony’s aforementioned issues, she worries about him and even starts to feel distant. I’d go into it more…but the awesomeness of what happens with her, is a spoiler. Let’s just say that I felt really bad for Tony one moment…then I cheered a few minutes later.
Here’s another hint: I think they did it to make up for Black widow not being here to be the badass hot chick. But even before that happens, she was as awesome as she always is. She’s more than just a love intrest, she’s an actual character, and a good one.
Don Cheaddle’s War Machine is still a lot of fun. But I do wish he showed up more. Oh, he has more screen time than people claim. This time he is known as The Iron Patriot, which means is now the lovechild of Iron Man and Captain America. You’re welcome for that thought.
His interactions with Tony are still fun, and he gets some awesome moments. But yeah, he could have used more development. However, I think he’s in it plenty, so no big complaints here. Sorry to disagree with the masses, but he was in it enough.
But you want me to talk about Harley, right? Yes, him. He’s a kid that tony stays with whale he’s recovering. Yes, a kid. In an action film. This usually means disaster.
But…he was tolerable. Yes, you read that right. A kid in a movie who actually helps with the plot, and is not annoying. Sure, at points he can be a tad annoying, but he never got on my nerves too much. He proves to be smart, but still childlike. He has interesting development, and his interactions with Tony are great. He even plays into the plot well, and the kid they got to play him is quite good.
Any movie that can pull THAT off, is the best movie ever made. But nah, it’s simply really good. So I guess we should wrap this u-
Oh. You want me to talk about the villain, right? Okay, I will. We’ve got Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin. Some Chinese dude who talks like a drunken Cowboy. Comic books, right? But Seriously, Ben does a great job at making him a threatening and awesome villain. He’s a proper step up from Jeff Bridges and Laser whip guy, and he alone is the best of the 3 villains.
But no, that’s not what you mean. You want me to talk the twist, right? Yeah, we’ve got our first big movie twist in a while. I thought M Night’s new movie came out later this month!
I didn’t want to do spoilers, but I must. So..
SPOILERS. SKIP IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS. IF YOU BITCH , IT’S YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT FOR NOT READING
Okay, we all here? No one’s here to bitch? Okay then. It turns out the Mandarin is just a coked up actor, hired to put a face on the attacks. It was really done by Guy Pearce. Needless to say, this was not in the comic’s. Fans are not happy. At all.
Since I am not a comic book guy, I really liked the twist. Even as an adaptation, it still kind of works. Here me out. The Mandarin in the comics was…well kind of racist, looking back. But there’s a reason for that: He was representing the cold war fears of the time. He was the boogeyman of the time.
Today, things are a lot different. A character like him wouldn’t fly. So they changed him to be more like today’s Boogeyman, Osama Bin Laden. And then, they dropped that reveal on us. I read a review explaining why this really works and what it means and yada yada. I’ll skip all that, and say the twist works, and it’s a good way to update the character.
Kingsley is great in the role, managing to be very scary, but also very funny after the twist. All without missing a beat. Guy Pearce is also good as the replacement villain , despite what Robert Walker says. Yes, i’ve slammed him twice in one blog post. …Shut up.
Anyway, that’s what I have to say about the twist. It works very well, and it’s a change that make sense. But if you hate it, I understand.
Also, Stan lee appears as a pageant judge. And there’s a great stinger.
To those who skipped the spoilers, welcome back! Anyway, the action scenes are great, as usual. Only this time, they reach a whole new level of awesome. The final battle alone is just as amazing as the one in the Avengers. Not nearly as good, but on par. Not only is there great spectacle, with amazing effects, but we get very well done character stuff as well. I won’t get into that though. Cuz some things are too good to spoil.
So yeah, the movie rocks. Sure., some of the comedy is odd, and some small plot points confused me, but overall it’s an excellent end to the trilogy. But is it the best?
Well, it’s better than 2, easily. But is it better than 1? Hmmm…Well, the last half hour ALONE is the best of the trilogy. Everything I loved about this movie is right there in the last half hour and it is the best.
But overall…I’m not sure. The first one had tighter writing, and a more intelligent tone to the whole thing. Few movies flow as well as it, and there are very few flaws to be found. 3 however, isn’t quite as impressive, and it has notice flaws. But the good stuff is just SO GOOD and it could easily be someone’s favorite.
So I’ll say it’s very much on par with the first film. At many points it’s better, but overall it’s weaker. But hey, it’s impressive that a part 3 can be almost as good as part 1. Part 3 almost ALWAYS disappoints. Either it’s a rehash or they throw in too much. Thankfully, neither happens. It’s one of the great part 3’s. But we’ll discuss that next time..
Anyway, no matter what way you put it, it’s a great comic book film. The story hits all the right beats, the characters are complex, the dialogue is funny, and the action scenes are excellent.
It’s not just a “Dumb fun” popcorn film. It’s dark, smart, and complex. Like most Marvel films, actually. But most of all: It’s like the first Iron man. AND on top of that,. It takes place at Christmas time!
So it’s now one of the best Christmas films of all time, just like Gremlins and Die hard! But even taking away that, it’s a very good film. I’m sure fanboys will bitch about it, but I am not a fanboy, so I really liked it. Easily the best film of the year so far.
But considering 2013’s track record…that may not be saying a lot. Either way, summer movie season has officially begun.