The original Iron Man was Marvel's first stab at franchise launching and they kept things nice and grounded. Well, as grounded as a film about a dude in a mechanical suit who shoots jets out of the sky could be. There was some smidgen of "realism" to that flick. Iron Man 2 was a cringe worthy two hour infomercial for The Avengers. Now we have Iron Man 3, a totally different beast than any of the previous films in this series. It's fun. These comic book movies, they're meant to be fun remember? Keep that in mind.
So, Iron Man 3. Written and directed by 80's action icon Shane Black. This film stresses the MAN in Iron Man. Following the shenanigans that took place in The Avengers film (Norse gods, a gnarly green rage monster, clandestine government agencies running wild, alien invasions and intergalactic worm holes, you know...) this film had no choice but to scale things down a notch. Just like in the comics world, not every Marvel film can be OMG end of the world important. Iron Man has to deal with Iron Man problems. Now that the cosmic cat is out of the bag in the Marvel cinematic universe, any hopes of instilling that grounded sense of realism from the original into Iron Man 3 is gone. So what did Shane Black do? He made an 80's action style buddy cop picture.
This film is a total tongue and cheek homage to the action flicks of yore. We find Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., duh) suffering from debilitating panic/anxiety attacks after all the crazy shit he endured in The Avengers. So he's a mess, his personal relationships are going down the toilet and he's slowly but surely losing his mind. He also incurs the wrath of an international terrorist call The Mandarin who royally fucks his shit up, ie, destroys his home and most of his Iron Man gear. Most of the movie is Tony Stark, the man, interacting with other humans, using his whits and bare hands to survive. This might be frustrating for people who expect lots of Iron Man action, but have patience, Black rewards the geek faithful with a full blown Iron Man bonanza at the end.
So here's a full count of all the 80's action motifs I loved in Iron Man 3:
Old school violence:
-Tony's house and Iron Man tech get demolished by helicopter gun ships firing a shit ton of ordinance.
-Lot's of random people die. Some are innocent civilians but most are faceless enemy goons/drones.
-Tony and Rhodes sneak into the enemy hideout (by the docks, naturally) armed with handguns. Lethal Weapon anyone?
- Like I said before, Tony and Rhodes are the Riggs and Murtaugh of the Marvel Universe.
- Tony and some smart ass little kid have a cool love/hate/mostly love comedic relationship.
Sexy Ladies & Femme Fatales:
-Every cute woman Tony locks eyes with wants him dead.
- The Mandarin and his cadre of strippers.
- Even Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is in her sports bra and dripping sweat/sexiness by film's end.
Half baked political jargon:(80's action films were infamous for their Reagan-era pro American themes)
- Gotta save the President.
- The war of terror.
Hell, Shane Black even cast William Sadler (Die Hard 2)and Miguel Ferrer (RoboCop) in the film!
|Iron Man 4: Lethal Weapons|
So there it is. The film takes a while to find it's legs, I'd go as far as saying the first 1/3 flat out drags. But once it gets going, it's an old school thrill ride. Lots of laughs, lots of action and really fine performances from the entire cast. Don Cheadle actually does things of value in this one, and Guy Pierce is just awesome in everything. Since Avengers 2 and the upcoming Thor sequel will undoubtedly have CGI effects up the ass, I'm glad Shane Black decided to take a low key approach to this, probably the final Iron Man film. Low key, until the epic Iron Man Royal Rumble sequence at the end. That was just crazy.