Iron Man 3

MV5BMTkzMjEzMjY1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTMxOTYyOQ@@._V1__SX1217_SY887_Well, it’s summer.

What’s the point, you ask, of seeing a summer blockbuster on opening weekend and yet not reviewing it much sooner than Monday morning? I have two answers. One, I do this for me also, you realize. Two, though, is because public reviewers are completely untrustworthy. Case in point, the Fresh Air review of this movie? I can’t say for certain whether my head would have been spinning with possibilities if I had heard it before I saw the movie, but at least one point raised in that review[1] not only definitively was a spoiler right after the reviewer promised not to spoil anything, but was a spoiler that I predicted he would drop, and in exactly the way he did it. For shame, David Edelstein!

But enough about him, and more about the movie. I cannot say exactly what was wrong with Iron Man 2. It wasn’t bad, by any means, but, as I said before, there was something just slightly not quite there to it. So, the good news is, Iron Man 3 was entirely there. The army of flunky villains was suitable comicky and menacing, Pepper Potts got some solid moments not being a damsel in distress, Kingsley’s take on the Mandarin was superb[2], and for possibly the first time in movie history, the plucky young sidekick trope worked.

But, as always, Robert Downey, Jr. was why you paid the price of admission. In a way, this is true of all Marvel comics. (That sounds like a grinding gearshift, but bear with me, it’s not.) Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby came up with a lot of really cool characters, and it is awesome to watch them swing around and fire their lasers and smash things and do whatever else they can do, but the reason they’re so very good is because Tony Stark and Peter Parker and Bruce Banner are really interesting people with really compelling problems, and the very best issues are the ones where the characters spend as much time in their primary identities as possible.

Hmmm. I wonder what’s out next week.

[1] Obviously I’m not going to give enough information about what he spoiled to spoil it my own self, but trust me, it was relevant information.
[2] I have incorrectly indicated a few times on the internet for sure and probably elsewhere that Marvel’s original Mandarin was not Chinese. I’m wrong, he was half-Chinese and half-British. Do with that information what you will.

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