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Iron Man Three a.k.a. Iron Man 3


Peter T Chattaway
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Ah-ha! Interesting.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I am tired of this, and the way it plays in this particular case against the background of the Boston Marathon bombing makes it particularly distasteful.

I don't know what happens in the film yet, but this was written and shot well before the Boston Marathon bombing. Can you elaborate on how it is distasteful in this light? Is it predictive in some way?

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SDG wrote:

: Oh, dear. Have you seen it already, or are you reading tea leaves?

Tea leaves, mainly. Particularly the way Chris Pine and others have promoted the idea that their film tackles real-world terrorism themes while the villain is clearly some sort of Starfleet insider (with a grudge against Starfleet itself, to boot). (The nuTrek comics, which are officially part of the nuTrek canon, have also hinted strongly at dodgy dealings within Starfleet, especially among Admiral Pike's superiors.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Okay, so we've got terrorism, political corruption *and* people who side with the villains due to the promise of regenerative healing powers... yup, this is looking more and more like an overlap with Star Trek into Darkness every day...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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David Poland finds the film frustrating. He also notes:

All superhero franchises have a built-in problem. First, you create the superhero. Second, there is someone with a similar power, but bigger (“bigger suit”). And then, with a bigger suit overcome, you can only find a bigger bigger suit or take power away from the superhero (until he or she becomes super again in the final act).

The reason that trilogies are trilogies is not because George Lucas made one. It’s because by the end of three, you’re pretty much done.

Downey’s Iron Man series, is, it seems to me, done. . . .

You’ll notice that there is no hint whatsoever about the amount of time Tony Stark spends out of the suit, talking, in this film. Why? Disney knows that is not why people desperately want to see this film. But the irony… that is the best thing about the movie. . . .

So basically, the same complaint we heard from various quarters about the Dark Knight threequel: Bruce Wayne spent too much time outside of the Bat-suit.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So basically, the same complaint we heard from various quarters about the Dark Knight threequel: Bruce Wayne spent too much time outside of the Bat-suit.
I thought of The Dark Knight Rises while watching Iron Man 3 for this very reason, and made the connection in my review. However, it's worse in Iron Man 3, where Tony is running around being Tony Stark ostensibly because his busted-down armor isn't ready for action … but by the end it's clear that he, ah, had other options. If you've seen the trailers you know what I mean.

The reason that trilogies are trilogies is not because George Lucas made one. It’s because by the end of three, you’re pretty much done.
I don't think it has to be that way. A James Bond-esque franchise is at least a theoretical possibility. Nobody's managed to do it, though. Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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The reason that trilogies are trilogies is not because George Lucas made one. It’s because by the end of three, you’re pretty much done.
I don't think it has to be that way. A James Bond-esque franchise is at least a theoretical possibility. Nobody's managed to do it, though.

What made it easier for Bond to reach beyond the trilogy mark was its relative lightness, that it was less invested in character development than in painting with different colors. The pressure wasn't on to create a story that put its character through some kind of arc. The films were differentiated more by their scale and imagery than narrative substance.

These days, most blockbuster franchise films are expected to be more than "Just another _____ movie" in the way that Bond films served up variations on "Just another Bond movie" for decades. There's pressure to make this an *important* story for the characters, not just another story in a history full of them. And now even Bond has fallen into the same trap; the series been rehashing many of the same story tropes since LICENCE TO KILL, and Bond's "origin" trilogy refuses to let Bond get on with his work. He's been AWOL in every single film!

I wish you *could* almost have "Just another _____ movie" again. That's not to say the Big Stories aren't interesting, too, but a lot of pleasure with superheroes comes from their smaller, more episodic adventures, where their character comes through in smaller interactions rather than in big, transformational arcs.

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What made it easier for Bond to reach beyond the trilogy mark was its relative lightness, that it was less invested in character development than in painting with different colors.
See, you could have had that with Iron Man, though. They didn't ultimately go in that direction, but it was a viable possibility after the first film.

I wish you *could* almost have "Just another _____ movie" again. That's not to say the Big Stories aren't interesting, too, but a lot of pleasure with superheroes comes from their smaller, more episodic adventures, where their character comes through in smaller interactions rather than in big, transformational arcs.
Yeah, I know what you mean. The closest we've probably come lately is probably Indiana Jones. Even there, there are stabs at arc-ness, but the arcs aren't what really matters, after the first film. Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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What made it easier for Bond to reach beyond the trilogy mark was its relative lightness, that it was less invested in character development than in painting with different colors.
See, you could have had that with Iron Man, though. They didn't ultimately go in that direction, but it was a viable possibility after the first film.

Absolutely. But it succumbed to other pressures (THE DARK KNIGHT came out, for one thing), and so they wanted to take a stab at the "Demon in the bottle" storyline (although they did it in a very half-hearted, unsatisfying way).

For me, the strong dependence of superhero films on these super-epic, save-the-world, break-down-the-hero-completely-and-rebuild-him stories has contributed a great deal to my superhero film burnout. It makes for films that are more exhausting than exhilarating.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Wow.

I can't get over this quote: "Tony doesn't have to do this alone. China can help."

As a friend tweets: "Disappointing. CB movies in China have gone from banned (TDK) to propaganda tools (IM3) in < 5 years. Lame Marvel."

Why Many in China Hate Iron Man 3's Chinese Version

The film has about four minutes of added content for the country. Before we get to the hatorade, let's review what was added for Chinese audiences and what was apparently not shot by director Shane Black....

In Dr. Wu's office, you can see Tony's Iron Man on a TV screen, surrounded by Chinese children and what looks like...Dr. Wu. The good doctor then calls Tony, but J.A.R.V.I.S., the A.I. butler, answers. It's worth noting that in even in the subtitled version, there are no subtitles in this sequence; J.A.R.V.I.S. speaks in Mandarin Chinese. While speaking with J.A.R.V.I.S., Dr. Wu actually says in Chinese, "Tony doesn't have to do this alone—China can help."

There's also this extra long shot of Dr. Wu awkwardly pouring a glass of Yili brand Chinese milk. But it's pure product placement. Before the movie starts, there are two China specific ads: One of them is a Chinese milk commercial that, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, asks, "What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?" (The answer is a Yili milk drink.) The second commercial is for a Chinese manufacturer of tractors and cranes.

M'kay.

Chinese bloggers like Buddha Kicking Rabbit are already calling the pre-movie ads the most unintentionally funny parts of the film and even recommend going early so you don't miss them.

After that, there's fighting and a bunch of Iron Man kind of stuff. And then!

Tony Stark decides he doesn't want to be Iron Man anymore and to have the shrapnel in his chest removed, which, I think, would actually kill him, no?

But whatever, the important thing is that he decides to go to China for an operation.

"No one comes to China for medical care," Jou points out. "That's just stupid."

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Oh! I wondered why acupuncture seemed to be involved, there.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Incidentally, no one probably needs to be told this at this point, but just to be safe: Do make sure you stay to the very end of the credits.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Thom Wade wrote:

: There is a post credit sequence for a Marvel Movie?! wink.png

Yes, and for once it isn't trying to set up the next Marvel movie!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Incidentally, no one probably needs to be told this at this point, but just to be safe: Do make sure you stay to the very end of the credits.

Actually, I have a problem with the post-credits tag.

Remember the portentous first words of the opening voiceover?

"A famous man once said, we create our own demons. Never mind who the famous man is..."

It's not a great opening line, in that it doesn't particularly connect thematically to the rest of the film -- especially since no particular theme convincingly emerges from the rest of the film. Iron Man 3 isn't particularly a movie about Tony battling any demons at all, to the extent that it's about anything at all; and to the extent that Tony does battle demons, they aren't particularly demons that he created. There are half-hearted gestures in the direction of thematic territory that could have been about Tony battling demons that he created. But the movie doesn't really follow through in a way that would give heft to that opening line (or any other opening line I can think of offhand).

But then! The post-credits tag abruptly puts Tony's hitherto seemingly non-diegetic voiceover monologue in a narrative, diegetic context -- and specifically tells us to whom he's putatively been speaking this whole time.

And, well, it adds a whole new level of weirdness to the opening line, who he's talking to, doesn't it? Can you in a million years imagine saying that line to that guy? If you did, wouldn't that be a whole thing in itself? Did Black notice that, or was it just sloppiness? I'm thinking the latter.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I didn't stay. Would somebody email me and tell me about the post-credits bit? (I kinda couldn't wait to get out of there.)

Jeff, did you read my comments above? You could probably just about guess the post-credits gag from my comments.

It turns out that Tony's voiceover monologue throughout the film is ostensibly being addressed to Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. Which, like I said, wreaks havoc with how the opening line plays.

: There is a post credit sequence for a Marvel Movie?! wink.png

Yes, and for once it isn't trying to set up the next Marvel movie!

Like how The Avengers did their shameless plug for Shwarma?

Ah, but that was only one of two credits sequences, right? The other one was a set-up for Avengers 2.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: Ah, but that was only one of two credits sequences, right? The other one was a set-up for Avengers 2.

That's a bingo!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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SDG wrote:

: Peter, no comment on my observation on the Iron Man 3 tag's weird reinterpretation of the opening voiceover line? I thought you'd like that point. smile.png

Oh, I did. Though I wondered to what degree the film itself had subverted that opening line right from the beginning: remember how Tony interrupts himself and starts over? It reminded me of the opening narration to Woody Allen's Manhattan.

Incidentally, I really like kenmorefield's take on the film (and its opening, etc.):

Iron Man 3
begins, fittingly, with an aborted monologue.

Wise-cracking but increasingly troubled playboy superhero Tony Stark suggests that we “make our own demons” by which he means…well, strike that, let’s start over again.

And he does. But the film never really shakes the impression that it is unable to articulate just what Tony’s thematic insight might be, although it spends the rest of its 130 minutes trying.

Iron Man 3
is a movie on a heroic quest in search of a theme. . . .

In the end,
Iron Man 3
is a movie about special effects, and the purpose of the script is to get us to this final showdown, which it manages to do, however inefficiently. There is a surprising lack of emotion and more than one escape precipitated on the convenient arrival of some new suit. Having the armor able to fly without Tony, to fly to Tony, makes
it
rather than him the hero, blurs the like between Tony as agent and Tony as rescuer and Tony as rescued, so when he insists in the film’s final stab at a theme that even without his toys, “I
am
Iron Man,” I honestly scratched my head and said, “what does that even mean?” . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Incidentally, I really like kenmorefield's take on the film (and its opening, etc.):

Indeed. Ken's description of the film as "a movie on a heroic quest in search of a theme" exactly expresses what I was trying to get at in my comments above (and which I wish I had focused on in my review).

so when he insists in the film’s final stab at a theme that even without his toys, “I am Iron Man,” I honestly scratched my head and said, “what does that even mean?”

I like to think that that line belongs to Robert Downey Jr, not Tony Stark. :)

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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