May 4, 2013

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 has some quality moments, a few memorable characters, and a new dimension for Tony Stark. None of that helped sustain me through a long, boring, soggy middle act.

I am truly tired of Gwyneth Paltrow. Yes, she and Downey have wonderful chemistry, but this movie suffers from the bane of threequels - Paltrow insisted that Pepper Potts be given more to do! Why does she have to have more to do? Someday I dream of a sequel that only offers more of the same. Why can't I just have more of what I liked in the first place. Gwyneth Paltrow kicking ass is not on my list. While I like watching Paltrow suffer (I almost paid to see CONTAGION because her character dies horribly), in Iron Man 3 she is tortured...while wearing a belly-baring sports bra. Is her flat and toned belly a perverse product placement for her personal trainer?

Jon Favreau appears again as Stark's comic relief/bodyguard Happy, but he has recused himself from directing #3 in favor of Shane Black. Black is famous for writing the first Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, Long Kiss Goodnight...then a nine-year career gap before he wrote and directed the underseen old-fashioned buddy action comedy Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (starring Downey with Val Kilmer.) Some Iron Man 3 details are reminiscent of Black's late 1980s heyday (and Lethal Weapon in particular):
  • Action movie set at Christmastime
  • Hero runs through a lot full of Christmas trees for sale
  • Heroes in oceanside mansion, ambushed by surprise helicopter attack
  • Final standoff aboard a transport tanker ship
  • ...the President and Vice President are played by legendary character actors William Sadler (Hard to Kill, Die Hard 2) and Miguel Ferrer (Robocop, Miami Vice)!
Looks like the suit needs some Bondo and Armor-All...
In the end, there were some good ideas, and a couple of exciting action sequences, but watching Iron Man battle nearly indestructible villains is not very satisfying. I also find it tiresome that the Iron Man suit has a set of arbitrary rules for when the Jarvis OS will work properly, and more arbitrary rules for the power supply. The suit works or doesn't work when it's convenient to the plot.

My Grade: B minus
THEATER NOTES: Emily and I have already lamented that the extremely violent Iron Man movies are shamelessly marketed to children- the childrens' toys are everywhere - so I should not be surprised that this rated PG-13 movie (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content) screening was full of young children. At least three sets of parents brought their 8-11-year-old kids to see Iron Man 3, which features many evil demonic villains who burn from the inside like demons, and sometimes explode- early in the movie, one bad guy blows up on the street kind of like a suicide bomber...or a certain pair of terrorist brothers.

(With Emily, Arlington Capitol (big screen), in glorious 2D, between our third annual Yard Sale and my 10th annual Walk for Hunger.)