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Iron Man Three

Here There Be Spoilers...

[Spoiler (click to open)]
So, I finally got to see Iron Man Three tonight. I say "finally" because let's face it: nearly a week is a long time to wait for a movie like this. But somehow, against all odds, I managed to stay 100% spoiler-free. I knew Ben Kingsley played The Mandarin and that was *it*. I hadn't even seen a preview. I'm oh so very glad I hadn't, as there was one scene that I now know was in some of said previews that I'm beyond happy I hadn't seen ahead of time. We'll get to that in a minute, but first? My overall score: A-. This one's got its issues for sure, but it's a winner. It's not an A+ or even a regular A, but it manages to still score an A range score from me.

It's also my new favorite holiday movie, right up there with Die Hard. Oh, hell, let's be honest, I love Die Hard, but I *adore* Iron Man. This is my new favorite holiday movie. ;)

Anyway, the nitty gritty:

If you are going to take on the Extremis storyline, three things need to happen:

1-Maya has to die (she also needs to be a secret baddie and an ex-lover of Tony's, but those are less important). Check.

2-people (test subjects) must explode. Check.

3-I'll cover this later, in my thoughts about the end of the movie. Suffice to say: Check.

Now, if somehow you are going to blend in aspects of the Rescue storyline, one thing has to happen:

1-Pepper must don the suit. Check. Holy fuck, hell yes, CHECK. This be the scene I referred to above. Oh, how glad I am I hadn't seen this earlier, because this was far and away the best scene of the movie for me. I loved it, and I'm glad I got to see it with fresh eyes. More on this in a minute, but to say I loved it is an understatement. :D

Thirdly, if you're going to wrap things up by doing the "Tony destroys everything he's ever made in a fit of guilt/to prevent it falling into the wrong hands/to get a clean start" thing, well, it's pretty obvious that only one thing has to truly happen.

1-the suits must be destroyed. All of them. And yes, there needs to be a lot of them, with each one designed for a specific task, because that's the way Tony Stark does things. Check and check.

So, all in all, this movie did a hell of a job covering all the canon bases, for those who are inclined to care about such things. In general, I am not one of those people, as I can easily separate films from books in regards to this. But Extremis is pretty near and dear to me, and, well, this one mattered a bit. They did a good job here. They tagged all the bases.

That said, they took some liberties with the canon, and frankly most of those liberties didn't hurt a thing and *gasp* even made things better.

1-I like that they used Extremis to change Pepper rather than an arc reactor. I like that they didn't mortally wound her to do this. Having the bad guy transform her was pretty cool, and it provided some serious drama for Tony, which I liked a lot. And the fact that Pepper got to fight? FUCK. YES.

2-speaking of Tony and that particular drama and being in no way canon, I actually like him and Pepper in this movie. The odd falseness of them in Avengers wasn't there anymore. They were Pepper and Tony the way Pepper and Tony would be if they actually ever got together. I liked that they weren't all shiny and bright. Tony being an idiot is required here, and they did that. That was nice. Also, the reason this movie works as a holiday film? It's all sappy and sweet at the end. All together now...aaaawwwwwwwwwww, look at the Pepperony! *cuts a big slice and digs in*

3-Happy. I'm glad he didn't die. I like that they nod to his fate in the comics, but don't kill Happy. Happy is awesome.

4-but there was one area where they deviated from canon that bothered me some, and I'm sure a lot of fanboys are all up in arms about it. I haven't read any reviews or anything else yet about this movie, but making The Mandarin some sort of charade? I'm not so on board with that, and I suspect a lot of others feel the same way. I thought it was funny, yes, but it was odd. Granted, the Mandarin did try to Extremis the whole world at one point, so having Killian do that fit the storyline, but...odd. They castrated one of the greatest villains of all time by making him some sort of joke. I'm not a huge Mandarin fan, so I can live with this just fine, but it and the kid helper cliche is the reason this movie isn't an A+ for me. I liked the kid alright (I was tickled with Tony's treatment of him and the kid trying to manipulate Tony and then shrugging it off, because he knew exactly what he was doing - he was a real child, not a movie perfect kid), but...meh. And when you add in that Killian's plot/motivation are a bit sketchy at best, well...meh. [EDIT: see comments for more on the Mandarin point. Also, I seriously considered giving this movie a B+ because of this, but thankfully, Pepper Potts and RDJ saved the day. *grin*]

Moving on from the canon/not-canon crap, my very favorite thing about this movie was Tony himself. I absolutely loved that they went there, if you know what I mean. Tony isn't okay. He's not going to magically be okay anytime soon. He's a broken man, and it affects him in many ways at this point in his life. Having him struggle to cope is fabulous, and very Tony. His characterization in this film is spot on, and RDJ absolutely nailed it. I also enjoyed seeing Tony get back to his ingenuity roots that got him out of that cave with that hardware store run. Again, very Tony. And the fact that Tony is clearly still a clueless moron in many ways with Pepper but puts her first when push comes to shove in that fabulous suit scene? Perfection. Tony may be a douche, but when the chips are down, he's got your back. Having Pepper cover his six in response? *dies* So pretty.

I also loved the post-credits scene. (One guy left - surely it was his second viewing? Because really?) The Science Bros in action, so to speak! (By the way, True Believers, you know that Mark Ruffalo fully endorses the Science Bros phenomenon, right?) That's all there is to say there.

So, that finally brings me to the end of the movie, where I'm going to cover that last little point about Extremis.

I'm putting this behind another cut, because frankly another thing I loved about this movie was that the end is open to interpretation, and if you want to just live with your own, I encourage you to do so. I love open endings, and I don't want to bias yours. As Jimmy Buffett sings, "write your own ending and hope it comes true." But if you want to know my thoughts, click the cut.

[Spoiler (click to open)]The third thing that has to happen for any Extremis story to be complete is that Tony has to get Extremis. Check. You can interpret the removal of his shrapnel however you want, but that's what happened. He stabilized Extremis in Pepper and then injected himself with it, so he could repair himself, have his shrapnel removed, and ditch the arc reactor. Oh, and, you know, directly interface with his armor now. Minor detail, that.


So, no. Tony is not done being Iron Man. Not by a long shot. I know that could be inferred, but... no. Just no.

However, I actually sincerely hope they are done making films about him for a while. This film caps off the Iron Man trilogy nicely. The open ending is beautiful just as it is, and though I would dearly love to see Rescue kick some ass in the next movie (I think I'd have a seizure if that happened), I think it's time to put this franchise to bed. I know RDJ has expressed similar feelings, but I'll believe that when I see it. That said, I hope it's true. The first Iron Man film was brilliant, the second was decent, and this one was good. Let it lie. Iron Man can come play in the Avengers sandbox, but he needs to tour with the group now.

I'll need to watch this movie a few more times to make more sense of my feelings about it, but overall I quite liked it. My new favorite holiday movie indeed. (What's with the May release? Like the Mandarin thing, I can't quite figure this one out, but whatever.)

Oh, and one final note?

I didn't say a word during the entire movie. I rarely do, but in this case? Not a word was uttered at any point until I felt a slow smile spread over my face just before the last four words of the film. I mostly mouthed them just as Tony said them, but I confess I did just barely whisper them to myself. I couldn't help it. I knew they were coming, but that didn't lessen their impact. And those last four words are what keep this movie's ending from being too over-the-top sugary for me. They were a nice call back to the first film and they injected an essential touch of grit to the ending. They let us know that Tony is still Tony, and that even if he's trying to be a normal guy right now, he'll never let go of his suits, and he'll always be there for us. Always. So say it with me now.


I AM IRON MAN.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
sgteam14283
May. 9th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
Saw the midnight showing (because I have no life right now) and a small group got up as the credits started to roll. I sort of get why, but at the same time people should know by now not to leave! ;)

SCIENCE BROS FOR LIFE!!! :D

Anyways, this might be long-lol. I agree with all but one point on of your review. I only have a glancing knowledge of Extremis and the Mandarin, but felt that they did a really good job all over.

They really nailed the the PTSD scenes, how they handled that post-Avengers and Tony admitting to Pepper that he had a problem (I was like "You're showing progress Tony...awwwww"). Because he's right, compared to the rest of the Avengers he's just a guy in a tin suit and how can he compete with demi-gods? Also after seeing aliens and nearly dying in outer space, how is he supposed to turn that off? Even Rhody was like "dude, you're not fine" just from talking with Tony. Even having "New York" and "wormhole" be triggers for him was good.

Pepper in the suit and fighting was epic. You do not mess with someone who can wrangle Tony Stark day in and day out. I was really glad to see Pepper getting more "fleshed out" instead of still being the PA/CEO of SI. Some people had issues with the scene where she leaves Tony after almost getting hurt by the sentient armor but at the same time in order to support/help Tony she needed to feel safe and in that moment she didn't. So it was completely rational (at least to me it was) for her to remove herself from an unsafe situation.

Now the point I disagree with you is how they did the Mandarin. From what I've read pre/post movie the guy was very stereotypical in terms of portrayal-very 1960s and cheesy with the ten rings and all that jazz. What they had to do was update him and that's what they did; they made him more of what we've come to expect from a terrorist, sounding very Middle Eastern/Asian and anti-American and is in the Middle East. That's where they send Iron Patriot and Rhody's confused when the Mandarin's not there; even when Tony learns where the transmissions are really coming from he thinks JARVIS is malfunctioning. It challenged our preconceived notions of where terror comes from and given recent events in Boston, was very timely. (I know they didn't plan it that way)

They could've kept him as he was in the comic and IMO it would of been disastrous given the overall tone of the movie. One of Killian's lines was "you have the figurehead and no one pays attention to the behind the scenes guys." (summarizing but the meaning is still the same) Which is true because you have someone like the Mandarin and everyone's focused on catching him that they don't see the puppet strings/the man behind the curtain. That's how Killian could be the man behind the mask.

I can see why people are upset over that (and subsequent twist reveal) but, I feel, updating the Manarin was a move that was needed.

Sorry it was so long, I have a lot of feelings about this movie but yes-it was amazing!
jackwabbit
May. 9th, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
Um...seeing the midnight premiere means you have a life, as far as I'm concerned. If I hadn't been vetoed, I would have been there. So take that no life stuff and shove it! ;p

And yes, SCIENCE BROS FTW!

For the record, long comments are always fine. Discussion is generally a good thing. Going into bullet points now:

1-yes, the PTSD was well done. Though slightly OOC for comics canon Tony, this is not comics canon Tony, and I love the MCU Tony just as much if not more, so I'm all for him sharing the load, so to speak. It was pretty.

2-Pepper. As I said, FUCK. YES. I had no problem with her leaving Tony after that incident. It was completely in character for her. As you say, she has to be safe before she can help anyone. Also, unlike some female characters out there, Pepper Potts occasionally just has enough of Tony's shit, and she bolts. Yes, she always comes back, but she needs a break from him sometimes - and rightfully so. This particular character trait is why Tony and Pepper aren't together in the comics. Pepper respects herself too much to be with Tony Stark. Her leaving felt very, very right.

3-the Mandarin. Yes, I get that they had to update him. I know he was very un-PC back in the day and that had to change. I appreciate that, and frankly, I don't really care all that much, as like I said, I've never been a huge Mandarin fan. But he's as important to Iron Man as Lex Luthor is to Superman and The Joker is to Batman. To have him be just an actor? I dunno. It doesn't sit well (the twist was okay, but the subsequent making him look stupid not so much). I had no problem with Killian being the actual bad guy here as a puppetmaster, but did they even need to have The Mandarin there at all in that case? And why call the terrorist organization The Ten Rings if there are no ten rings? Why not just go completely realistic (as you suggest, that's what many expect) and have Killian be a rogue scientist out for revenge (or better yet, money - because what exactly was his motivation anyway)? Oh, right. Because they just did that in IM2 and by using The Mandarin they drummed up a lot of early excitement for this movie because finally people were going to get to see The Mandarin. And they just did an alien story, so the whole ten rings thing is not exactly novel, either (unless they went with the ten different terrorist sects uniting under one leader thing, which would have been a cool modern update and much better than what they did). Anyway...I dunno. Didn't bother me a ton, and I did think it was funny, but it just felt...off. I can't give the movie highest marks while this is out there. But as I said, I have no problem separating comics and movies, so I just shrugged it off. Now, the hard-core fans out there? There will be no shrugging. To them, very understandably so, this is like making The Joker an eight year old kid with a whoopie cushion. ;) Bottom line? I stand by my castration comment here.

PS: someone made a point elsewhere that The Mandarin being in prison now is a good motive for revenge when he gets out. And if he just happened to find some alien tech that gives him immeasurable powers (or unites all the terrorist fragments if we want to go that route), well, that could make for some interesting times for Tony Stark, no? Perhaps this is an alternate origin story and there will be more tales after all? *grin* (I actually hope not, for the reasons I stated above and several more, but in this case I am writing my own head canon for the MCU. This seems like a good one to run with! I kept waiting for the real Mandarin to show up, even after the fake one was revealed. I thought it was an act on his part. In some ways, I still do. The Mandarin would do something like that, so...perhaps he tricked everyone after all?)

Edited at 2013-05-09 12:57 pm (UTC)
sgteam14283
May. 10th, 2013 03:26 am (UTC)
1. Yes, for MCU Tony it was good. I know that they whitewash his alcoholism in the movies (they kind of dealt with it in IM2) but I kinda wish they'd deal with it a bit more because it's such a big part of how he acts.

2. I'm like you, I'm more of the comic cannon where Pepper and Happy are together (and Happy doesn't die, lol). But yes, that's even why she packed bags before the house got attacked-she just had to get out of there because she'd had enough of his antics/didn't feel safe.

3. I agree

re: P.S. that would be a good storyline!

and they leaked the working title sequence for the movie where the nanotech suit did a striptease taking off the suit and was a bit sad that they didn't do it like that ^-^

(I can see why they didn't do it but wish they had)
jackwabbit
May. 10th, 2013 08:39 am (UTC)
1-I'd love to see them tackle Demon in a Bottle. I heard that's what they were going to do in IM2, but I think they wimped out. That part of Tony's life is so dark that I think they let it go. Also, it's rather mundane. He's in AA. He does the twelve steps. He goes to meetings. No one wants to see an Iron Man movie about that, ya know? (Though one scene of him walking through a door to a meeting might have been warranted.) But he's sober now (except for that brief fall off the wagon about a year ago), so I think the way they've done it in the MCU works. They had him clean up his act. They just used Pepper as the impetus for his sobriety instead of losing his suits. It still works. But yes, they left a fertile field fallow.

2-you know, I have mixed feelings about Pepper and Happy, because I think that Pepper and Tony do love each other, a lot, as soulmates and best friends and the only real things in each other's lives in many ways. That said, Tony is too great of an emotional risk for Pepper to take, and Happy was always right in front of her. Every time Tony screwed up, Happy was there to take her home, so to speak. Happy is stability. Happy isn't going to forget he left you at a party because he got too drunk or thought it'd be fun to hit the bong just one more time (generally - yes, there were a few times Happy and Pepper fell on rough times, but compared to Tony, it was nothing). So, Happy wins hands-down as someone to have an adult relationship with. So, I've always been impressed that Marvel went there. They did not run with the easy storyline, but instead had a female character make an intelligent decision. But my mixed feelings stem from the fact that I actually love Pepper and Tony together. That solitary kiss was cherished - but special because it was never repeated.

Comics spoilers (x2) inside:
[Spoiler (click to open)]Until a few years ago...and the way they did that in the comics was brilliant. Absolutely and utterly brilliant. Smoking hot, too. I won't spoil it, any further, in case you haven't read it, but it's great.

And, um, Happy is very, very dead...one of the saddest things I've seen in comics in a long time is...wait. Perhaps I'll post some panels of some comics. That way you can click or not...I wonder if I can find the issues. Hm...


3-I know, right?

4-an armor strip tease? Fun...but yes, likely best cut.

Edited at 2013-05-10 08:47 am (UTC)
sgteam14283
May. 11th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
one of my friends cried when she got the that part in Civil War.

And I guess that in one of the Downton Abbey clips was a little nod to the Happy/Pepper dynamic in the comics, which I thought was a cute easter egg for people (I don't watch the show so I didn't know that until my friend pointed it out).
jackwabbit
May. 12th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
Oh! Neat! I didn't know that, but not watching Downton Abbey, I would have no clue, either. I'll have to watch for that later.

As for Happy's demise, well, the saddest thing, for me, was when Tony recently lost his memory and Pepper was talking to him and thanked him for all the help he'd given her, Rhodey, and Happy through the years and Tony replied "who's Happy?" Broke my heart. I mean, for one, Tony losing his mind was just so devastating to begin with; and two, the fact that not only was he losing the ability to work a screwdriver, he couldn't even have the comfort of memories of his friends? Guh. *died*

And you know, I still don't know if Tony pulled the plug or not...I guess no one does, and that's kind of the point, no? Sigh.
faith_king
May. 9th, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed your review! I know nothing about the comics. I, uh, didn't know about Iron Man period till the first trailer for the first movie. *shrugs* LOL So it was interesting to read about all the comparisons to comic book canon.

We didn't stay for the extra scene because I was with people who don't get that You Stay for the Extra Scene. But I'm okay with that... it's extra incentive to go again. :-)

My mom (who loves RDJ with a passion almost as much as I love Zac Levi, and that's why we're always there opening day, Comic Book readers or no), had this hilarity to contribute:

"Hey, you know those fire people in the movie? That's what menopause is like!"

... I really, really love my Mom. ;-)
jackwabbit
May. 10th, 2013 08:51 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!

As for the after-credits scene, you didn't miss much, but it was funny.

As for not reading the comics, that's totally okay, and anyone who says otherwise is a total douche. Remember, everyone is ignorant - just about different things. ;)

And your mom's comment? That's hilarious!
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