In commemoration of the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) as well as AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit ALL of the films relating to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
- THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)
- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)
- AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)
- ANT-MAN (2015)
Click the following links for:
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (SHERLOCK HOLMES  and 2 , and upcoming films SHERLOCK HOLMES 3  and THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE ), Ben Kingsley (OPERATION FINALE , COLLIDE , JUNGLE BOOK , THE WALK , STONEHEARST , HUGO , and the upcoming THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT ), Ty Simpkins (NICE GUYS  and JURASSIC WORLD ), Guy Pearce (MARY QUEEN , ALIEN: COVENANT , and EQUALS ), and Rebecca Hall (HOLMES & WATSON , DINNER , BFG , GIFT , and upcoming films A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK  and GODZILLA VS. KONG )
Director/Co-Writer: Shane Black (THE PREDATOR  and NICE GUYS)
Co-Writer: Drew Pearce (HOTEL ARTEMIS )
Executive Producer: Jon Favreau (JUNGLE BOOK , and the upcoming THE LION KING )
Composer: Brian Tyler (ESCAPE ROOM , RICH ASIANS , POWER RANGERS , NOW YOU SEE ME 2 , and upcoming films WHAT MEN WANT  and FIVE FEET APART )
Cinematographer: John Toll (BILLY LYNN , and the upcoming HARRIET )
Editors: Peter S. Elliot (BAYWATCH , RIDE ALONG 2 , and upcoming films THE WAR WITH GRANDPA  and SHAFT ) and Jeffrey Ford (STREET KINGS  and HIDE AND SEEK )
This is my honest opinion of: IRON MAN 3
Despite his hand in saving the world from an alien invasion the previous year, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has been suffering from PTSD. He can’t sleep and he spends every waking hour tinkering with new Iron Man suits, and even that hasn’t gone incredibly swimmingly. At the same time, a new threat has emerged. The leader of the 10 Rings, known simply as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), has been waging a small war with America, intending to make it bigger. Finally, he bombs a target and Tony’s former bodyguard and friend, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), is caught in the blast, alive, but unconscious. In a fit of rage, Tony makes an active threat against The Mandarin on live TV, giving him his address and everything. However, The Mandarin’s attack is more successful than anticipated, destroying his house, and nearly killing him. Despite Tony’s survival, his prototype suit inadvertently flies him all the way from California to hunt down clues as to where the Mandarin may be hiding.
I think I have a newfound disdain for this movie. Not only do I take back my original belief that this movie was better than IRON MAN 2, not only do I think this is the absolute worst of Marvel’s MCU flicks, but I don’t even think this is a very good superhero movie in general!
I can already feel the controversy painting a target in the back of my head, so let’s get right to it.
Jesus, where do I even begin? For one thing, you know how, like, eighty percent of the population that saw STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI basically hate it with the passion of a thousand Death Star blasts because they (partly) hated it for how it treated Luke Skywalker’s character? Take that flaming hatred and you’ve got about how I feel about this movie and how it treated Tony. Seriously?! PTSD?! Panic attacks?! Insomnia?! Give me a God-damned break! The man was closer to death in the first film when his own missile exploded and put shrapnel into his chest, hence the chest piece he sports. He was tortured by 10 Rings terrorists and watched the man who saved his life sacrifice himself and die. Tony survived his near-death encounter with Iron Monger, had a pretty close call when fighting Ivan Vanko on that racetrack- uh, really?! The nuclear blast, that he wasn’t even remotely near, and free falling to Earth, which he was mostly unconscious for, that’s what finally caused him crack?! I’m sorry, I don’t buy that for one God-damned mother f***ing second! In another performance, I can see Downey acting the hell out of this role, but it just doesn’t work for Tony Stark.
As a result of this misguided direction of his character, this is largely why certain sections of the movie didn’t work for me. When Tony threatens Mandarin, how does his code-red lockdown thing at his house not have an early warning system when that first missile heads on over to blow him up? Or for that matter, some sort of anti-missile defense for it? Or some kind of shielding? Seriously, how does Tony not prepare for this eventuality? You know, I have a co-worker who has been anti-Iron Man for the longest time, and she and I always butt heads over whether or not he’s a good character because she says that most of his problems are of his own doing. This is a terrible movie because it reinforces her argument in a way that I can’t argue against. Seriously, I think it was a local news station that tipped him off. Hell, it wasn’t even him that was tipped off, it was his ex-lover Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) who pointed at the TV showing a missile heading in their direction. Hey, uh… JARVIS?
No, seriously, I didn’t even have a problem with Tony threatening Mandarin on live TV. I really didn’t! Happy was a fun and funny character, and that some Extremis nut-sack nearly took his life, you can be damn sure that I would have done the same thing. But I think I would have been better prepared with a more battle-ready Iron suit. And that’s another thing, why would he have himself suited up in a suit that wasn’t even fully tested?! He literally had a legion of suits to choose from, all properly tested (presumably), and yet he chooses the prototype that can barely fly or even keep itself in prime condition.
To make matters doubly worse… can this even be classified as an Iron Man movie?! One of my biggest complaints of IRON MAN 2 was that he was barely ever in the suit. Maybe for two scenes. But at least he was fighting bad guys in those two scenes. He was doing Iron Man things. Here, he doesn’t even really fight as Iron Man! No, I challenge you to prove me wrong. He’s not flying around blasting the enemy gunships that destroy his house. He’s firing pianos at them. Thumbs up for creativity, but I want to see Iron Man do Iron Man things! I get it, this movie was meant to explore Tony’s character and resourcefulness outside of the armor. Got it. Maybe it was meant as a challenge from Captain America’s line in AVENGERS when he says, “Big man in a suit. Take that away and what are you?” and this was meant to show what he’s capable of without the suit. Here’s the problem. IRON MAN 2 kind of did that! He’s trying to make peace with the final days of his life as he slowly dies from poisoning, and how his erratic behavior has been shoving a wedge between him and his friends and loved ones. We’re rehashing the same damned problems, just packaged differently, and with even more frustrations! At least Tony’s incompetence happened at the halfway mark and eventually picks up, but this movie is like turning that second half and making it the entire movie. Maybe Tony’s non-functioning gadgets is funny for a quick joke, but the running gag makes him look so dumb and that’s not who Tony should be. <<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ Even in the climax, he’s barely doing anything with the suits! Sure, he bounces from one suit to another, and maybe that would be creative if the suits were more than just aesthetically different and had different powers to use against the other Extremis soldiers and what have you. But that’s not what we get. You can argue that we don’t get a single Iron Man fight scene in this entire movie. F*** that! ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Let’s see. It’s also not particularly written well either. When Tony takes up residence in Harley’s (Ty Simpkins) shed, the kid is aiming a potato gun at him, completely straight faced. He sees the Iron Man suit and freaks out, and hands Tony a newspaper WITH HIS FACE ON IT. Wait, hold the phone, stop the presses… what?! So, this kid knew exactly who Tony was, but didn’t react accordingly?! I’m so confused.
Since we’re on the subject, please tell me I’m not the only person who thinks that Harley was unbelievably annoying. On top of the many problems this movie already had, we needed to “Disney Afternoon” this movie and give Tony a kid side-kick? And not even a cute kid either. No, this is not a jab at Simpkins. He’s fine and I liked him in JURASSIC WORLD. Not what I was getting at. Harley is that annoying kid who almost needed to be slapped upside the f***ing head. Look, at first, he’s harmless enough. He’s asking about the suit, fighting with the Avengers in New York against the aliens, fair enough, any kid would have a million questions about that. But here’s the problem. He can plain as day see that his questions are upsetting Tony. And not just in an annoying way, though he was certainly towing the line for me. But Tony was having a panic attack and this kid doesn’t care. At all! I mean, what is this kid’s problem?! Kids aren’t this apathetic to another person’s pain. Any other kid would have freaked out not knowing how to help, or too scared to know what to do. But this kid just sort of… does nothing. He keeps badgering Tony and it was getting to the point where I wish Savin (James Badge Dale) had killed the kid.
<<<SPOILERS>>> [ Normally, I’m not one to talk about twists in my reviews, but… you can’t talk about this movie without chiming in on this one. I am, of course, referring to The Mandarin… who is not real, and is some pathetic nobody actor named Trevor Slattery. What a f***ing load. Okay, let me go on record (again) and say that I do not read comics. At all. So I have no idea who The Mandarin is to those who know the character best. But even back when I thought this twist was funny, I knew this wasn’t an accurate representation of the character. All I needed to be disappointed from later research was one sentence: “He is the archenemy of Iron Man.” That’s a big statement. That’s like Joker to Batman, that’s supposed to be the ultimate fight to test Iron Man in every way that can be tested. Instead, we get Trevor mother f***ing Slattery. Look, I don’t know how racist or not-racist the Mandarin is, but that’s a whole lot of implications that were not met with this movie. Divorcing the comic from the movie and basing it solely on the character presented, it’s just way too goofy, even for the MCU. Like, we’re talking even the scenes in FIRST AVENGER with Red Skull and Zola would say this is too stupid. I mean, what a disappointing build-up to an otherwise amazing villain. The true leader of the 10 Rings, the ones who kickstarted Tony Stark into becoming Iron Man. What a great way to circle back around to that. But nope, it’s a tool of an actor, who is painfully unfunny, and the primary villain is Killian (Guy Pearce), who tries to pass himself off as the Mandarin. The true Mandarin. Even as someone who doesn’t know the character, even I knew to call bullshit on that. I hate this twist, and I think it’s one of the single dumbest moments in the MCU. ] <<<SPOILERS CONTINUED>>>
<<<CONTINUE SPOILERS>>> [ Is there even a point in talking about how pointless Maya is as a character? Seriously, she shows up out of nowhere… hangs out with Pepper for a scene… and then is revealed to be a secondary bad guy… who is killed by the primary bad guy. Literally, she makes it a point to show how invaluable she is to Killian only for him to straight murder her. Cool… what an essential character she turned out to be. In retrospect, I doubt she was needed in order to kidnap Pepper. Killian is a rich-ass dude with his own shady contacts. Convince me that he wouldn’t have been able to find her eventually. What a waste of Rebecca Hall’s talent. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Well, I’ve ranted on long enough. Does this movie have anything, and I mean, anything, going for it that might save it for me? Actually… yes, there are a few things.
For one, I give credit that the action is pretty fun for what they are. Tony trying to survive the attack at his house, his brawl with Brandt (Stephanie Szostak), those were pretty fun. I think there’s two major standouts. The first is the airplane scene where Iron Man has to save thirteen passengers from falling, citing the “Barrel of Monkeys” game. That was some harrowing shit and I loved it. And of course… “the House Party Protocol.” <<<SPOILERS>>> [ In a lot of ways, I view this movie as the STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES of the MCU, in that for a vast majority of the flick, I’m not having any of it. I’m almost having a miserable time watching it. And yet, it’s the third act throwing everything it’s got and it works out almost perfectly. I got so giddy when those Iron suits showed up and started kicking ass, we got to see this Hulk-buster one lifting a huge storage container, the sheer visual of a ton of Iron suits going at it was about one of the coolest moments in any of the Iron Man movies. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
I will also say that despite how most of the humor falls flat, there are some seriously great laugh out loud moments. I especially love the scene where Tony tells Harley “We’re connected” as a back-handed moment when Harley said the same thing. I’m sure someone may say that it was too mean-spirited of Tony, but considering how dumb, annoying, and disrespectful that kid was to Tony regarding his PTSD, that kid deserved to be left out in the cold. Or how about that one henchman who’s about to get blasted by Tony, but he immediately raises his hands and is all like, “Honestly, I hate working here, they are so weird.” I, for one, couldn’t stop laughing.
And, I know this may not seem like a big deal, but… by God, I love Rebecca Mader. Don’t know who that is? It’s because you don’t remember the awesome red-headed chick from LOST and who also played the Wicked Witch in ONCE UPON A TIME. The moment I saw her on screen, I squeed. No lies, bro. I have a serious crush on this woman and I wish she was in more shit. Her face alone saves anything and everything.
<<<SPOILERS>>> [ And now for the final subject that should be talked about: this movie’s importance in the MCU. It’s totally worthless. I said it, and I’ll say it again, if you want the complete MCU viewing experience, you can skip this movie entirely. Nothing is added that carries over into future films. Iron Patriot? Nope, reverts back to War Machine in ULTRON. Tony giving up being Iron Man? Psh, that’s about the biggest joke this movie ended up making. Hell, the events in this movie never even get referenced again. I suppose the closest reference is in INFINITY WAR when Pepper makes that comment to Tony that he doesn’t need his chest piece anymore, but that’s something that we could have figured out on our own. Hell, because this movie left such a low impact on my memory, I had totally forgotten that Tony got the surgery that got that shrapnel out of his chest. I just assumed he did that between films. Yeah, on a personal level, I don’t even count it as part of the MCU. And don’t even try to tell me about the One-Shot ALL HAIL THE KING because we all know that the “real” Mandarin is never going to make an appearance. He’s going to be sitting right next to INCREDIBLE HULK’s teased Leader. Completely useless information. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Overall, this movie has aged horrendously. I don’t like it. At all. Maybe a few scenes here and there save it, especially in the climax, but it’s not enough to save it. I know worse superhero movies have been made in the past, but it’s not a flattering ballpark to categorize this in. Considering how bad these movies got, it’s probably a good thing that Iron Man has been reduced to a supporting character, or works best in an ensemble. I think it’s a shame about that, but since lightning somehow couldn’t strike twice with this character, it’s best it end here.
My honest rating for IRON MAN 3: a weak 3/5