Has Iron Man 3 transcended the superhero genre?

Has Iron Man 3 transcended the superhero genre?

Iron Man 3 gave us something we truly did not expect. Was this a masterful piece of writing?

I was quite looking forward to seeing Iron Man 3. From the trailers it looked like a pretty entertaining and action packed superhero flick that would be a welcome addition to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe for those that don’t know). A new director (Shane Black) brought a new direction (naturally) with a slightly darker tone that appealed to me. I was very interested to see how Tony’s post-Avengers shock was affecting him as he was faced with his greatest treat yet (in his solo films anyway), Ben Kingsley’s the Mandarin. His presence was hinted at in the previous films and they were seemingly making the character a theatrical terrorist leader as opposed to an outlandish and (inappropriately?) comic bookish super powered villain, which would certainly work for the established Iron Man movie verse.

However, upon seeing the film I, along with many other people I believe, was greeted with probably the biggest surprise I have ever been greeted with while watching a superhero film. We were tricked. The Mandarin (or Ben Kingsley’s portrayal at least) was not actually the main villain of the film; in fact he wasn’t really a villain at all! He and his terrorist cell were merely a fabrication created by Guy Pierce’s character Aldrich Killian to conceal the illegal activities of his organization A.I.M. from public view. The actual character played by Sir. Kingsley was in fact an English actor named Trevor hired by Killian to portray the fictional persona of the Mandarin in phony terrorist video broadcasts intended to send the authorities on a wild goose chase. Well that was…….different.

While I was initially rather shocked and a tad disappointed by this narrative decision, as I thought about it I began to think that this approach was, well, pretty clever. When a superhero’s staple antagonist is adapted for the big screen, for example Batman’s Joker or Spider-Man’s Green Goblin, everyone expects an obligation on the filmmakers’ part towards a certain level of faithfulness to the character (i.e. they will actually be a big bad villain as they are in the comic books), but when adapting The Mandarin, Shane Black threw us a curve ball and gave us something totally new that had never been done before. And I say hats off to him. While it has inevitably pissed off many hardcore fans, I feel that this was a remarkably fresh approach. The predictable approach would have been to have Aldrich Killian as a pawn working under the Mandarin who would be the big baddie that ol’ Shellhead would have the arduous task of taking down (and how many times have we seen that?) but the writers must have been feeling rather creative and decided to give us something unexpected that we’d hopefully appreciate a lot more from a narrative standpoint. I mean did we really want to see another generic adaptation of a generic villain? So the Mandarin from the comics, he’s a typical “lord of darkness” type figure who shoots energy blasts and s**t from magic rings on his fingers. Not that I want to offend any of his fans but would that really have had as much of an impact? I don’t think so.

Additionally, to get political for a moment (sorry), I feel that this interpretation has a lot of cultural significance in today’s media driven, post-modernist society. The idea that a stereotypical terrorist figure threatening the public could just be a fabrication of the media moguls as a means of aiding their own ends is very thought provoking (and not a little disturbing). Maybe the real villains have always been hiding in the shadows away from the public eye? To quote Killian in the film, “once you give evil a face, you give people a target”. I can’t think of another superhero movie that’s attempted social commentary on that deep a level (not even The Dark Knight).

While their approach to an iconic villain was pretty original, is it enough to make this a truly revolutionary comic book movie? I do think the film as a whole was very solid and the action was mostly pretty satisfying (that climax was nuts!!), however I will admit that it does have a few flaws. For instance the exact nature of extremis and Killian’s motivations could have done with a tad more explanation and the fact that Iron Man’s invincible armor broke apart like Lego whenever it flew into a wall or got hit by a truck was a little silly (although I maintain the argument that actually having a person inside it must give it a lot more structural integrity). Also, when “Trevor” is revealed I think Kingsley maybe hams it up a tad too much.

At the end of the day, whether or not Iron Man 3 truly transcends the genre is debatable. As for the Mandarin however, we certainly never saw him coming!
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brazilianbatman - 5/11/2013, 8:14 AM

The Dark Knight Rises triology> Iron Man triology>Spiderman triology

Spiderman triology is one of the most cheesiest movie series in history.

that scene at the end of spiderman when the citizens of manhattan throw things on Green Goblin to protect their hero spiderman is one of my favorite comedic moments in movie history. that scene is a visual description of what the word cheesiness means.

Maguire's face is funny as well. Oh what about aunt May holding herself with an umbrella after being tossed by DOC OC? LMAO

quote from the movie
"Go spidey go!" hahahahahah

imagine somebody saying "go batman go!" in the Dark Knight or in Iron Man.

OH funny series...
WorstUserNameEver - 5/11/2013, 9:12 AM
The Dark Knight Trilogy is a vastly superior trilogy to Ironman's...

It broke into demographics that don't watch superhero movies and transcended the genre, its no secret that while us lot of comic book fans would turn up at the premier of Matter-Eater Lad we are few (as proved with Dredd last summer). The Dark Knight Trilogy found fans of even the most die-hard cinema buff.

Now I know that IM3 is heading towards if not bettering each of Nolan's films but I think its obvious that the majority of that is coming from the kid's party brigade. The kind of demographic Harry Potter, POTC et al. discovered/rediscovered. This isn't meant to be too much of a slight as on the whole I loved Phase 1 for the most part and I hoped that with the new found interest that the Avengers garnered that it would give Marvel a bit more scope as each movie is now a nailed on cash-cow...

Ironman 3... Shane Black... RDJ... and I thought it was pretty awful tbh... gutted.

Oh and I actually think Ironman 2 was half decent (the lack of Whiplash screen time aside) and enjoyed it more than 3.
tonytony - 5/11/2013, 9:15 AM
Nope it hasnt. TDK did this but that was special. Im3 is played for laffs
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 11:13 AM
I liked IM3 quite a bit...

I was disappointed by Mandarin not even existing, but I think it was interesting in the way that it showed that terrorist leaders are truly cowards and they hide behind their so called "ideals" as well as take advantage of others to fulfill their goals. That's what Kilian did in the film, if terrorist leaders were really so noble they would be out fighting for themself instead of manipulating others to do their dirty work.

I thought the film portrayed that quite well, along with great action and CGI. As well as Tony's growth as a character. Humor didn't work and was way out of place...aside from that loved it.
TheSuperguy - 5/11/2013, 11:37 AM
If I had to rate the Iron Man trilogy, they would be:

1: Iron Man (B+ or an A-)
2: Iron Man 3 (B)
3: Iron Man 2 (B-)

I enjoyed every Iron Man film, but I am ready for other MCU characters to get the spotlight.
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 11:40 AM

I'd say when comparing the Iron Man trilogy to the Batman trilogy...
Batman Begins = Iron Man
The Dark Knight >>>> Iron Man 2 (I liked IM2, but TDK is the greatest cbm of all time)
Dark Knight Rises = Iron Man 3

Overall, Batman trilogy was better.
StealthPWNAGE - 5/11/2013, 11:51 AM
You want to transcend the superhero genre? Make a good female superhero movie(for example, Captain Marvel [Carol Danvers])!
Brainiac13 - 5/11/2013, 11:57 AM
These movies changed superhero movies!!!

GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 12:10 PM
No, overall IM3 and TDKR are pretty much the same. As are IM and BB.
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 12:14 PM
I do it like this....

1. Nolan Batman Trilogy
Batman Begins=GOLD
The Dark Knight=PURE GOLD
Dark Knight Rises=great film

Then Raimi Spider-Man and Iron Man

Iron Man=GOLD
Iron Man 2=not bad...
Iron Man 3=great film

Spider-Man=great film
Spider-Man 2=GOLD
Spider-Man 3=meh...
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 12:16 PM
Fourth is X-Men trilogy...
X-Men=good film
X2=great film

Fifth is Blade trilogy
Blade=good film
Blade 2=good film
Blade 3=bad
Tainted87 - 5/11/2013, 12:21 PM
Not sure why people are so intimidated by Iron Man 3 - like it's going to somehow ruin your established favorites from DC or Sony.

Ah well.

Transcendence is a big word. All Killian did was send everyone on a wild goose chase, although sure, later on he kidnapped the President. People didn't bitch and complain about Keyser Söze, but then, it did have much more objective and structured writing.

Iron Man 3 was an action movie. Put it on the same level as the Long Kiss Goodnight, and you'll do just fine.
jessepostal - 5/11/2013, 12:30 PM
You can't compare the three, bats is made for a different audience. batman also has had how many outings?????? Same with spidey if u count all of his cartoons and his live action show. Also if u ask a younger audience, most would take iron man any day.
Tainted87 - 5/11/2013, 12:31 PM
Hey I'll correct your opinion any time you want. And, you know, any time you don't want me to.
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 12:34 PM
You stated it as fact, in response to the comparison of Iron Man/Batman trilogies.
Spideyguy94 - 5/11/2013, 1:15 PM
People who say there wasn't enough iron man in iron man 3 clearly missed what Tony's character arc was.
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 1:23 PM

Obviously an anti-DC troll....
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 1:31 PM
I'm more of a Marvel fan than a DC myself, but I still hold a lot of respect for DC and enjoy multiple titles and movies from them. I've just seen everything that Intruder posts, he's an anti-DC troll. Just give it a rest...
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 1:51 PM

I enjoyed Iron Man 2, but you can't possibly be saying it was better than TDK. IMO, BB = IM and TDKR = IM3, but you couldn't possibly deny that TDK >>>>>>>>>>>> IM2.

Dark Knight is the greatest CBM of all time.
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 1:54 PM
No probs, my bad if I seemed like a dick.
WYLEEJAY - 5/11/2013, 1:57 PM
I like the Mandarin from the comics, and I try to be optimistic with my CBMs. But I have to admit I was really worried about Iron Man 3. Now I'm ashamed of myself for doubting. I loved it! The twist didn't bother me at all.The humor didn't bother me. I have no complaints. Maybe see War Machine/Iron Patriot use his shoulder canon at least once on an extremis soldier would of been nice though.
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 2:02 PM
IM3 is better than TDK?? That's your opinion, not trying to change it but how can you possibly feel that way?? I liked IM3 a lot, but really?
GuardianDevil - 5/11/2013, 2:11 PM
"Avengers killed TDKR"

Avengers might have been more popular, but IMO TDKR was a better film.

Hey, Ant-Man is cool.
RextheKing - 5/11/2013, 2:12 PM
Well if people are doing rating vs's here's my two cents.
Batman Begins (9/10) = Iron Man (9/10)
TDK (8/10)(Yes I liked BB better) > Iron Man 2 (7.5/10)
TDKR (7/10) << Iron Man 3 (9.5/10)
gmoney0505 - 5/11/2013, 2:29 PM
Mandarin was cool writing but executed piss poor with the over abundance use of trying to cover every thing happening with freakin humor and never let a real threat be threatening. Iron Man trilogy is an abomination and should never be compared to TDK or Spiderman trilogy, nor X-Men or Blade trilogy for that matter. Iron Man 1 is still Marvel Studios best movie.

Nope TDKR and IM3 is not in the same boat. TDKR>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>IM3. TDKR is does not hide its entire plot behind comedy every half second. 99% of IM3 is comedy and only about 5% was in an appropriate place and worked. That alone puts it way ahead of IM3. Don't even get started on the better villain in the movie.

Please stop acting like comic book entertainment is only at movies. Movies are very lacking in telling good stories and adaptions of characters. A movie from a character comes once every 2 years or so. There are more and maybe better entertainment for animated stuff. I will be glad to see when Marvel studios get some real animated features under they belt that are in the same league as DC animated stuff. Where are the great Spider-Man animated movies? Fantastic 4? Blade? I liked the Dr. Strange & Thor animated movies but we need more from them from this area.

Wallymelon - 5/11/2013, 3:22 PM
dark knight rises wasnt good, it was worst than begins.

if you actually pay attention you wqould see that rises is more of a standard superhero movie than the other two.

begins 4.5

dark knight 4.5

rises 4
CPIXLEY - 5/11/2013, 3:39 PM
unknownfacts - 5/11/2013, 4:01 PM
Wow love how often these comments get off topic every time Ironman 3,The Amazing Spider-man,or anything Batman related.Can we at least discuss the main topic instead of arguing over opinions?
Starkasm - 5/11/2013, 7:56 PM
Intruder cracks me up.

TDK trilogy was alright. I kind of lost interest half way through each film. And I never really gave a shit about Bruce. There was nothing about him which evoked any emotion other than annoyance with that [frick]ing dumb ass voice. (See tdkr trying to get answers from bane. He went full retard)

IM is my personal favorite CBM trilogy (see how I said personal favourite? Didnt state it as a known fact or bring up critics or whatever to back up my opinion?) I actually cared about Tony.

Please dont crucify me ;)

TheOneAboveAll - 5/11/2013, 9:02 PM
My personal view of movie trilogies (I know I am missing a lot, these came from the top of my head/memory)
Star Wars(4-6)=LOTR>TDK=Indiana Jones>The Dollars Trilogy>BTTF>Batman Animated series movies trilogy>The Black Stallion Trilogy>Spiderman (Raimi)>Mexico Trilogy>Predator>StarWars(1-3)>Ironman>Blade=X-Men>LionKing trilogy>Men in Black> Ace Ventura trilogy(it would be higher if not for the 3rd one like many in this list)>Cinderella animated movies>Goal trilogy>---------Naruto movies------------Care Bears trilogy(this is past the level of hell)
Off the top of my head that is how I rate the trilogies of movies that I remember
TheOneAboveAll - 5/11/2013, 9:03 PM
Crap... I missed the Matrix Trilogy... if I put it would be just behind the Raimi Spiderman trilogy
TheOneAboveAll - 5/11/2013, 9:04 PM
What trilogies did I forget to include?
AmazingFantasy - 5/11/2013, 10:52 PM
IM trilogy was pure dogshit to Batman
I say this as a Marvel

YipCha - 5/11/2013, 11:41 PM
I know my opinions don't fit with the majority but I'd agree with Intruder that Iron Man is the best comic book movie trilogy, despite being very disappointed by Mandarin's portrayal.

My top 5 trilogies in order:

Iron Man: 4/5
Iron Man 2: 4/5
Iron Man 3: 3/5

Spider-Man: 3/5
Spider-Man 2: 3.5/5
Spider-Man 3: 3.5/5

Batman Begins: 4.5/5
the Dark Knight: 4/5
the Dark Knight Rises: 2/5

Blade: 3/5
Blade 2: 2/5
Blade 3: 3/5

X-Men: 3.5/5
X-Men 2: 4/5
X-Men 3: 0/5

Extremis - 5/12/2013, 1:50 AM
Iron man redefined cbm genre in its own like nolan's batman trilogy.each brought their own goods.
ArtisticErotic - 5/12/2013, 12:23 PM
No it has not.
MaximusRodd - 5/12/2013, 5:36 PM
It was a tedious checklist of Shane Blackisms. Did it take "Iron Man" out of his realm? Most assuredly; into a Blackism world where Paltrow, a random kid, Christmas, a freighter on sea, and a million iron suits try to distract us from the real message as Shane Black glibly flips off all Iron Man fans.

Shane Black hates Iron Man fans and America. He was flipping you off with his treatment of the Mandarin. He turns him into a false joke, then ladles the audience with alien tech references. He is saying to the audience, "I could've portrayed the Mandarin as authentic, but F U."

Don't you get it, 'All terrorists are false-flag constructs this country creates'. America has no honor to Black. According to him, we create decoys to hide our wretched villainy. 'Iron Patriot is a fake... turns out to be a weapon that might "destroy" the president (we can only assume, the one he offers allegiance to).

He wanted to hurt and piss off fans. Why would he put Paltrow in the armor for damn near the same amount of time RDJ was in it.
MaximusRodd - 5/12/2013, 5:45 PM
Everyone is railing against the Mandarin being a decoy all over the blogs, but NO one is asking why. It was done to serve Shane Black's viewpoint. It seems to me to be a Truther viewpoint. Think about it.
Pitt - 5/14/2013, 8:56 AM
Nope but it did bring it down a notch
MaximusRodd - 5/14/2013, 10:17 PM
The same 5 people are the trolls on EVERY thread.
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