Marvel Marathon: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is so far is this marathon been the only MCU film I’ve remained relatively static on between my only two viewings. I wasn’t a huge fan when it came out, and upon rewatch nothing too much changed.

The film starts with a lot of promise. There is a touch of real-world consequences, where Tony is suffering from PTSD following the events of The Avengers – he also it sitting awkwardly with his role, Rhodes or ‘Iron Patriot’ is taking part in protecting the U.S. against a new threat a terrorist called the Mandarin but Tony as sitting outside the government, is not included.

This is where the plot of the film (or me at least) very quickly gets derailed. I suppose I should add A SPOILER ALERT as there are many quirks to the plot of Iron Man 3.

The way the story evolves around Tony is shoe-horned and unlikely, even for a comic book movie. It has the feeling that the story is written to get to the moments that the writers/director had planned rather than an organic or coherent story that creates good moments.

FOR EXAMPLE. I’m sure others have criticizes this many a time but a major action from Tony is to present his address to a bunch of reporters and threaten The Mandarin. Now its not so much that such a move is reckless, as we expect that from Stark, and it did fit with him being mad, as his good friend jon faveau Happy Hogan had been seriously injured in an attack from The Mandarin. It just doesn’t make any sense for anyone to have done it – wouldn’t an angry Tony threaten to find Mandarin where-ever he lives? Wouldn’t Tony’s home address actually be pretty easy to stalk being the hugely famous Iron Man (I guarantee people would already be looking) but perhaps most illogically wouldn’t someone between Iron Man, the authorities or even the media notice the trio of attack helicopters approaching before a missile hits him?

Like I said the setup was all to create moments, they wanted to have the house attacked, so that they could show Pepper getting suited, and Tony struggling to fight the attack off. Again with multiple contrivances to create that moment, but not actually coherent, the suit doesn’t have flight (until the fight ends and the story needs Tony to disappear) and so on.

Also one notes at this point Tony’s anxiety doesn’t seem triggered at all by actual violent attacks which isn’t completely unrealistic, as sometimes its the between times that people struggle with trauma, but it makes the issue feel like a movie contrivance that only appears during “character development” not “Action sequences”

Anyway I could go on and on but I’ll try and keep my complaints bulleted

  • after the house is blown up Tony zooms away, which is somehow missed by everybody, as if the house wasn’t swarming with media choppers, the bad-guys, the authorities, everybody. Then we have a sequence where Tony uses his apparent death to claim he can’t come back until Mandarin is dealt with as Pepper will be unsafe, failing to note many points such as the Mandarin could still target her after his death (which does happen) that Iron Man being dead would probably make the world overall less safe – and overall his death should create a pretty intense search effort.
  • Tony’s PTSD flares up at first but then disappears with the suggestion from a kid that he “builds something” weirdly it largely seems triggered by children talking to him not actual danger – is something Freudian being suggested?
  • It turns out Tony actually has something like 42 remote controlled suits ready for deployment, its just that they are under some rubble from his houses destruction and it takes just enough time to clear for the final conflict
  • Let’s not talk about “The Mandarin” twist. Twists are good when they turn our expectations in a way that strengthens the plot, revealing that a character eye-balls deep in the evil plan anyway is actually the mastermind is less interesting than “THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE”

Basically the whole story feels like it could have been avoided by more sensible decisions from Tony, and not in a Faustian character tension type thing, just in a “but why tho?” kind of way.

Finally Plotwise let me rant about the ending. Iron Man 3 was portrayed as the end of the solo Iron Man movies, and at the time it was pretty unclear what his role would be in upcoming MCU movies. Thusly with an ending where he blows his suits up, throws the Arc Reactor in the water, and gets his heart fixed (not in that order) its kind of a silly and annoying red-herring, given that Iron Man appears in the next Avengers as Iron Man with no explanation whatsoever. When you listen to his dialogue at the end he does technically say that the suits were a ‘cocoon’ suggesting he was moving on to bigger better things, not necessarily ditching Iron Man – but the ways its presented seem pretty clear he’s quitting.

One last gripe: when watching the movies in quick succession its interesting to see the slight changes in humour across films (oh no Age of Ultron is coming) Iron Man 3’s humour is really weird. Tony sass talks a child, has an encounter with a super-fan and Killian, uh, just seems to have lines which make it unclear whether his character is creepy or the writers are.

At lot of my opinion(s) might seem at odds with the numbers, Iron Man 3 is the most successful solo Iron Man film and indeed one of the biggest earners of the MCU movies. But I suspect a huge portion of this was hype, as Iron Man 3 was the first movie out after the ultra-successful Avengers. While the critical reception of the movie is relatively good, it pales in comparison to the more successful MCU films.

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