I struggled with not titling it “OMFG IRON MAN 3 SUCKS”, but figured it would be hard to get people to take this seriously if I wanted to present actual logical discourse and analysis. But know that after seeing this film some true nerd rage had erupted within me, which slowly turned to resentment and sadness. Going forward there are *SPOILERS*. So if you don’t want to movie ruined for you, GTFO.
You should know I am an avid and furious Marvel fan. I own several 1000 comic books. Bag and Boarded. Chronological order. On display. Read them often. I bring that up now just so that when the moron who goes “well you shouldn’t expect it to be like the comics you elitist jerk wah wah wah.”, know this: I LOOOOVVVEEEDDD the first 6 Marvel Phase 1 Films. I love these movies FOR their changes, not in spite of and recognize artistic liberties are necessary for film adaptations.
Before I launch into full Nerd Rage Mode, I will address what I enjoyed about this movie.
- Tony’s story arc was the right one: Who is he without the suit? And RDJ knocked it out of the park.
- I was thrilled to see some of those earlier scenes came from right out of the comic book.
- Dialogue was pretty good.
I was on board for the first 90 minutes of this movie. Then Tony goes to Miami, and the whole thing goes to shit. Much like real life, eh?
1) Gimmicky Plot Twist
- Pepper being infected with Extremis nothing more than a plot tool to momentarily kill her. It was a painfully obvious resolution from a stagnant and dated era of movie making. If you were paying attention earlier in the movie, you knew that wasn’t going to kill her. From a writing perspective, if you’re going to create an emotional experience of loss for your audience it’s a fucking slap in the face to turn around less than 10 minutes later and be like “just kidding”. It’s not earned, and quite frankly, its a cop out. In terms of Dramatic Structure this is called being a coward. Then this magical healing, tie it all up with a bow in the epilogue? That’s laziness and further validation that the writer doesn’t have the wherewithal to know how to wrap it up in a more comprehensive and emotionally fulfilling manner. If you wanted Potts’s to have her heroic moment in the sun, there is plenty of well thought-out source material that was way less out of left field that was available to use.
- The Mandarin. This. This is the one part where the comic-book nerd in me seethes. Livid. Such disrespect of a character and of an integral part of Tony Stark/Iron Man mythos. That’s the moment where the movie has passed the line of taking efforts to not take itself so seriously into just becoming farcical. I’m not saying the Mandarin should have been chosen over AIM, I’m saying the writer wasn’t capable of handling both
2.) Characters being treated like afterthoughts
- Maya Hansen was the biggest victim of this. They turned her into a manipulative individual with some momentary bullshit 11th hour revelation that was never earned. If you’re going to not spend time with the creator of Extremis in the Extremis story line you might create some problems for yourself in the fleshing out of the story. We didn’t care that she died because we were never invested in her.
- War Machine ended up looking like a stereotypical useless sidekick. By the end he had no purpose. Part of what makes Tony strong IS the few real relationships he has.
3) Band-aiding/forcing ideas in.
This is a near mortal sin. You do this to compensate for the newly created plot holes you’ve cause by chopping up the original story so much. Generally the new ideas are rigid and short in their explanation.
- If you’re not going to expose Tony to Extremis in the Extremis story line, you’re changing a basic fundamental of it. And that’s fine if you can fill all the gaps. Some hastily glossed over implants for Tony to control the suit did not adequately fill that role. Exposition was minimal (which I usually like) and transitions were too rigid to get away with these sorts of things.
- Iron Patriot.
4.) Plot holes & Leaps of logic
- I’ve accepted that this is the way of the action flick. But there were a few moments where I said “how the fuck would someone who didn’t read the book understand how Tony got from point A to point B, be it physical or intellectual?” There were a few moments where even I said “wtf is going on here?”
Here’s the long & short of it:
Shane Black made enough changes to the story and characters that it forces the question: Did they need to exist anymore at all? He ends up making characters/concepts from the source material look like what’s being forced via a laundry list of amateur writing mistakes and then failed to address the holes he created by doing so. That is not someone I want handling Marvel property.
By the time the Armors vs Extremis fight took place I was exhausted mentally and emotionally and losing hope of any real pay off. Truly disappointed that Phase 2 begins as a shit stain on the near impeccable library they had created with Phase 1. JOSS WHEDON SAVE US ALL!