Iron Man 3 Review: The Good and the Bad Breakdown
Was Iron Man 3 the right way to kick off Phase 2 or did it have too many flaws, ending the Iron Man story with no arc reactor to keep it going.
Normally, before these comic book movies come out, I like to break things down in a prediction article depicting 10 things that I'm excited or worried about with that film. In the case of Iron Man 3, I decided to do interviews for that instead (located here) and then break things down in a review format from my perspective. With that being said, here are 5 things that I was happy with in the film and 5 things that disappointed me.
! WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD !
THE GOOD POINTS
1. The Mandarin is a Figurehead
In general theory, this was a pretty cool idea. The Mandarin is a character from the comics that would more than likely just be too difficult to pull off and stay true to its roots. The stereotypical Asian that happens to have ten power rings from a crashed alien space ship concept more than likely could have taken the film too far into the fantasy genre for its own good. With both the first and second Iron Man films, the villains tended to be power hungry businessmen with underlings and hired muscle, so I expected this to be the same.
2. The Suits of Armor and the Action They Saw
One of the main things that people in the lines were talking about being excited for was the amount of new armor we would see and I feel like this didn't disappoint. Tony Stark's been busy and we saw a wide variety of different suits to keep things fresh. The Mark 42 armor's piece-by-piece assembly was certainly cool, as was one of the standout suits "Igor" – even if I have to admit I feel as though it's a poor man's Hulkbuster to an extent. When Tony is limited to just the one hand and one foot, the action was still great. I wanted more, but I was satisfied with what we did get.
3. The Humor
As expected, there are a lot of times in the film when people will bust out laughing. This point is essentially already made if you've seen the first two, as it's on par if not better in terms of comedy than those.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Right from the moment I had heard that this would be a plot point, I was excited to see it. The idea of Tony Stark having issues coping with the events of Avengers is something that I completely didn't expect to be coming our way after that film. It not only makes perfect sense but it also brings a different element to the character that we haven't seen before, which is always a plus. This helps make the Tony Stark story that much better as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, showing us that everything in each film truly has consequences instead of just being mindless action for pure entertainment's sake.
5. Cameos Abound
We may not have seen Hank Pym or Black Panther, but we did get a large number of comic book characters in this film. One of my biggest complaints about these films is that they tend to create new characters that fulfill the same roles as ones from the comics but refuse to actually use that source material. Iron Man 3 does the opposite. When in doubt, if you have characters that don't have much of a backstory but can be utilized, why not throw them in there? This film has Advanced Idea Mechanics, Aldrich Killian, Maya Hansen, Ellen Brandt, Eric Savin, Jack Taggert, Iron Patriot, and even Yinsen again! Awesome job to those who decided these characters shouldn't just be new ones.
THE BAD POINTS
1. The Villains' Goals
Even though I like the idea of Mandarin being a figurehead, I don't think this was executed the best way possible. Why did it have to be a gag about an actor instead of a more sinister plot? For that matter, what was Killian's goal in the first place? Has he been using the Ten Rings for about a dozen years just to get back at Tony Stark for standing him up on a roof date? Why did he need to kill the President in a lavish fashion if the Vice President was in on it? How does Extremis factor into this? In Iron Man 1, the Ten Rings appear to just be terrorists looking for weapons and working with Obadiah, whose motivations are based upon wanting more control of the company. In Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer is also driven by power but more so jealousy, whereas Ivan Vanko is out for revenge. What exactly was Killian going for with Extremis and why were Maya Hansen and the AIM army joining him for the fight?
2. The Supporting Cast's Roles
It can be a good thing to give the supporting cast more to do, but once in a while they overstep their boundaries a bit. Pepper's action sequence felt forced to me and I wasn't a huge fan of that. On the other hand, Happy Hogan is left to sit aside nearly the entire film to be replaced by a random kid that provided essentially the same service. This was a choice that I wasn't exactly thrilled about and I feel they could have done differently and much better, such as what they did with Rhodey in the film.
3. Tony Stark Will Return
There's no mistaking that there is a lot of humor in this but there's also a lot of brooding and whining. Sometimes, I felt myself wanting to see more of the charismatic and cocky Tony Stark and less of the man who has given up his own personal crusade. Wasn't that was the first two films were about? Why give up being Iron Man now that you're so good at it you can do it basically with your eyes closed? I don't know how they're going to continue with the character after this without making it seem like the end of this film means nothing in the grand scheme of things, similar to Thor's arrival on Earth in Avengers after being unable to do so at the end of his solo film. I don't want an explanation of "shut up, it's a movie and we need him to be Iron Man again, just enjoy it".
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder's Resolution?
As much as I loved the idea of this storyline, I'm quite annoyed that it didn't seem completely resolved by the film's conclusion. Maybe it's just me, but I don't truly see any cathartic scene that depicts Tony getting over his issues. Instead, it just appears as though this plot element is dropped while Tony goes off to fight. Again, you guys could point out in the comments various scenes that I might have been overlooking which showcase his coming to terms with things, but upon leaving the theatre, I couldn't remember any off the top of my head.
5. The Post-Credits Sequence
Was it a funny idea? Sure. Was it good enough to be a launching point for Phase 2? I don't think so. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think this had to have been some giant gathering of all the superheroes alongside a brand new set of characters like Quicksilver and Ms. Marvel, but I would have appreciated something to reference Guardians of the Galaxy or perhaps a reference to SHIELD telling us that Iron Man will return rather than just a James Bond style text credit.
To keep it simple, those are some things that will be doing battle with each other over the next few days as I try to decide where Iron Man 3 should be placed on the list of my favorite MCU films. What did you think of the movie? Leave a comment below!
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