Saturday, May 11

Iron Man Three (2013)

Directed by Shane Black

I got back earlier today from seeing the newest Iron Man movie, a week after it debuted. Last weekend was eaten up by various other activities, duties, and happenings, some good, some not so good. Then this was finals week. But I finished up yesterday and turned my grades in, putting a particularly grueling semester behind me.

My first reaction is that I liked it, very much. I'm such a fan of the first Iron Man movie that I can't say this one is better, but I enjoyed it every bit as well. That is not something I could possibly say about number two, not even during the initial viewing. And frankly, as you may have gathered over the course of a couple of years, more often than not my first impression of a movie like this is positive. Sometimes I even look back at my own reviews after the passage of some length of time has given me a bit of perspective and frankly a bit more objective opinion and thin, "Boy, I was too kind!" Not just movies – I'm the same way with just about anything. But my enjoyment of the first movie has not faded but has rather grown from the initial through repeated viewings, most recently in a cable-channel rerun last weekend. On the other hand, what was a “meh” reaction to the second upon seeing it in the theatre has grown into active dislike as I've caught bits and pieces (never the full movie) in reruns. On the third hand, so to speak, I do look forward to seeing three again.

To continue the same theme of bashing Iron Man Two, I was gratified that there were no specific callbacks to that movie – beyond in the most general sense such as the existence of Rhodey's War Machine armor, here of course rebranded as “Iron Patriot.” Other than that easy to rationalize development that the US government would have its own armored operative, the events of the second movie can be pretty much ignored. If only they had just gone with a specific name for this movie (“Iron Man: Mandarin Gambit”? “Iron Man: Extremis”? “Iron Man Extreme”?) to remove the inevitable gap on my DVD shelf between Iron Man and Iron Man Three!

Of course, I could just put The Avengers there to take up the physical space just as it very much informs this movie. That connection I very much liked, especially how Tony Stark's psychological issues, frankly present from the beginning but now exacerbated by the extraordinary events in New York into full blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (he denies it, and maybe that's not what it technically is – I'm not that kind of doctor), take center stage here and make for continued character development over the course of the story, even reaching a kind of resolution in the end.
In that respect, as I write this, I'm coming very close to considering this the superior movie.

One thing struck a sour note with me, however. The by now obligatory aftercredits scene seemed a bit of a letdown, more a waste even than the silent second aftercredits shawarma scene at the end of The Avengers. There was nothing pointing toward the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – although on reflection perhaps that is in keeping with a sense that this may be the completion of Tony Stark's story. On a certain level, I can almost understand Robert Downey Jr.'s rumored reluctance to come back to the part of Tony Stark in the future. I would really hate to see anyone else trying to fill those armored boots, though.

But other than that one gripe, I really liked this movie. Cheers!, and Thanks for reading!

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