VIDEO: Iron Man 3 (2013)

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Tony Stark: Not just Iron Man any more. In this episode, Ursa discusses the crumbling of Tony’s hyper-masculine ideal to reveal someone who’s actually… kind of great.

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Tag: Marvel Cinematic Universe

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  • Jonathan Campbell

    I liked Iron Man 2 as well.

    Have my issues with it (felt less like a sequel than Iron Man 1.5, and the plot and villains were weak) but it probably had the best performances and character arcs of all the Phase 1 movies, with the (possible) exception of The Avengers.

    I liked Iron Man 3 as well, but it has a separate list of problems (and Tony telling the world his address isn’t the problem- its probably public knowledge, given how rich and famous he is-; the problem was more the idea of challenging a terrorist to attack it).

    I can appreciate the character development in this movie and it certainly has good acting and action and special effects and whatnot, but while it has a more plot-driven story than IM2, the plot was still somewhat….”meh”. The fact that it was basically “The Incredibles” (and for that matter, Batman Forever) only makes it less original. The Mandarin is Tony’s arch-freaking’-nemesis and he is reduced to a gag, and that’s just wrong. Especially since the villain we got isn’t particularly fun or interesting compared to Sir Ben Kingsley’s menacing “bin Laden with shades” (and he totally IS a hipster).

    And on that note…no, no it doesn’t make more sense for him to be a glorified prop to hide a scheme to overthrow the US government just so AIM can sell its crappy product. Terrorists are just as real as smarmy, creepy businessmen with rapist vibes, but much more likely to try something as crazy and violent as what Killian was ultimately up to- and if the Mandarin was real (discounting the recent retcon that he IS real and Trevor is in for a world of pain for imitating him), he would be more competent, given that Killians’ plan started with the fact that Extremis was a failure.

    And the Mandarin being hyperbolic and over-the-top makes sense because a) a lot of real-world dictators, crime lords and terrorists really ARE hyperbolic and over-the-top, and b) its a comic book movie so…yeah, I kind of want to see comic book villains, particularly since Marvel Comics in particular has such an excellent and three-dimensional cast of bad guys (including the Mandarin, when he is done right) and the movies thusfar have tended to fail to do them proper (in)justice- on which note, role on Ultron.

    Thor lost his mother, his father (even if he doesn’t realize it yet) and his brother is LOKI. There is a lot of trauma there too, you know. Steve Rogers has managed to adjust quite while all things considered.

    Still, interesting episode overall.

    (also, can someone explain Hawkeye’s Farm to me?)

  • I too loved Iron Man 3. It is tied with Pacific Rim for my favorite movie of last year. Though I do think the people who were less than thrilled with Tony basically just “getting over” PTSD so quickly have a point. Then again, superhero stories are rarely renowned for their accurate portrayal of mental illnesses.

    • Jonathan Campbell

      Based on what I’m gathering about Phase 3, I wouldn’t say Tony has got over it QUITE just yet.

  • All three of the Iron Man movies have roughly the same plot. The military industrial complex props up terror groups in order to sell weapons.
    Iron Monger propped up the 10 Rings
    Hammer boosted Whiplash
    AIM creates a fake terrorist to have even better control over the roll out of the terror.

    Even the exploding vets are a metaphor for PTSD. This movie has a lot of layers.

    Also, the Mandarin is basically a parody of the type of villain Malakith was in “Thor 2”.

    Obligatory self plug to my written review of this:

    • Jonathan Campbell

      “Also, the Mandarin is basically a parody of the type of villain Malakith was in “Thor 2″.”

      Eh, no….They really aren’t.

      And you are aware that Iron Man 3 came first, right?

      • Yeah, I know what order they came out in. I meant more the character type, heance why I wrote “type of villain”. Same goes for Ronan and Red Skull. A bad guy who is just unequivocally evil for the good guy to fight. The one prone to monologue, lots of faceless goons, and garish clothing.

        If the Mandarin had been played straight, just a straight up adaptation of his comic counterpart, it would have been super boring, because we have way too many of that type floating around already. They played with expectations and it enriched the narrative.

        • Jonathan Campbell

          The Mandarins’ comic book counterpart is far more interesting than anything in any of the Iron Man movies, at least when done right. He is just as smart as Tony, has access to advanced alien technology, and serves as a foil for Tony’s capitalist and futurist ideologies (Mandarin is a futurist too; he just wants to use technology for his own ends). He can match Tony mentally and has the power to take on the Iron Man suit physically, and they have a long and storied history.

          None of the characters you have mentioned are straight up adaptations of their comic book counterparts either; they are all one or two-dimensional takes on complex characters who have DECADES of backstory to them. All are far more formidable and interesting than the films have made them out to be.

          Iron Man 3 basically did the plot of The Incredibles and Batman Forever; and the whole “make your own villain” harkens back to even more things like The Dark Knight. Aldritch Killian was just like every other Iron Man villain except smarter and with vague-defined superpowers, but he certainly wasn’t an interesting character in his own right. He, like the bulk of MCU comic book villains, exists to give the heroes something to do; the focus is entirely on the heroes, and the villains are there just to serve the character arc of said heroes or even just given them something to do. And that isn’t remotely like it is in the comics.

          • The Mandarin in the comic is not interesting, and by the standards of modern writing a racial sensitivity he is a laughable caricature. The source of his powers, at first magic, then it was aliens, then magic, his out of date motivation (to restore old style Chinese dynasties) makes no sense anymore.

            And yes there are decades of back story to all of these characters, written by dozens of people reacting to vastly different editorial staffs and market trends, so many of these guys are not so much “complex” as they are just inconsistent. The Red Skull is not complex at all, he is a Nazi super villain and he uses various super technologies to kill people or infiltrate the government. Ronan I will grant is a little more complex, but when he just handed over the Kree Empire to the Inhumans (and now it is back under the Supreme Intelligence, hooray for everything spinning its wheels and going nowhere) I had no idea what his motivations or drives were anymore.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Every version of The Mandarin I have read about used alien tech. His motivation isn’t to restore Chinese-style dynasties; its that he is descended from them (or believes he is, at least) and is egomaniacal enough that he feels this entitles him to anything he wants.

            Yes, he started as a racist caricature, but he’s come a way since then and can be written with a certain amount of nuance, in the right hands at least. Regardless, I’d much prefer a timely update of the character to Killian (we might still get it, since the REAL Mandarin was teased in the All King The King short, albeit as a bit of a gag).

            The Skull is interesting, if you know his backstory and look at the stories where its hinted he feels remorse for his actions, not to mention he was conceived back when the Nazi’s were actually around. The main thing he’s got going for him is that he is a moral foil to Captain America, someone who can turn the story of a boy-scout hero into something significantly darker. He basically is meant to represent the absolute worst of human nature, versus Cap who represents the best. Where the film didn’t do him justice (due mostly to the tone it was going for) is to make him a generic bad guy rather than a villain more frightening and dangerous than the Joker.

            Whatever Ronan is up to now, he was always far more in the comics than a narrow-minded genocidal fanatic. All of the Marvel villains thus far (except Loki, and to a lesser extent Thanos) exist to show up and die, and are not allowed to be interesting characters based on the comics or not because they aren’t meant to last more than one movie.

          • Yeah, the bad guys in the movies show up to be killed (Hammer, Loki, Thanos, and some exceptions) and like I said, the Mandarin serves to illustrate how silly that sort of villain is. He is this blustery cartoon created just to be a bad guy by the real bad guy. You could say that Killian is actually a movie producer hacking out a bad guy based on some amalgamation of popular trends and spread sheets.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            You could, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t that sort of villain himself.

            And unlike Osama Ben Kingsley, he very suspiciously resembles the villains of the previous Iron Man movies to boot.

    • madmanoreo

      You’re kind of wrong:
      -Iron Monger’s interaction with 10 Rings amounts to paying an existing terrorist group to assassinate Tony, and later getting them to collect the pieces of the Mark 1 to try to reverse engineer his suit from it.
      -Justin Hammer is just using Whiplash because he thinks Whiplash is intellectually on par with Tony and wants to use Whiplash’s technology to boost his company to the same level as Stark Industries.
      -Aldrich Killian is using The Mandarin to obfuscate exploding test subjects and corporate espionage by claiming that they’re acts of terrorism.

      • If that is all Iron Monger was doing with the 10 Rings then why were they so well suppliied when fighting Iron Man in the middle of the movie (the scene just before he fights the two planes). The Rings have tanks, mobile missile launchers, tons of guns, Tony blew up all the guns Monger had given them for Stark’s capture, so he must have been giving them more stuff to continue the conflict. He is a 1st world industrialist using 3rd world thugs to further his goals and to propagate a money making war.

        The Hammer and Whiplash interaction you describe is correct, but it is still a 1st world Industrialist using a 3rd world terrorist/criminal to make money, which is the boiler plate plot of each of these.

        If Killian was just mitigating the unintended explosions, rather than suffer the bad press of just going, “sorry my amputation curing formula causes explosions, this is why we test things”. Then why was Killian going to kill the President? He clearly wanted to use the Mandarin image for something more, and he couldn’t control real terrorists, so he made one up. He was even going to plant his man in the White House via these terror attacks. He is again a 1st world industrialist, using a 3rd world boogeymen to further his goals.

        • Jonathan Campbell

          I think with Killian the explosions started as genuine accidents, but he decided if they were going to keep happening he might as well exploit them while they worked out the bugs in Extremis, so he arranged for every meet to be in a public place so that if things went south, it would at least be public, and he could call them terrorist attacks. This would allow him to frame “The Mandarin” when he killed the President so that nobody would bat an eyelid when the Vice-President- who is of course now President- started buying Extremis from AIM even though it is a faulty and dangerous product, with the long-term goal of Killian to have the kind of monopoly on war profiteering Stark could only dream of.

          So, your both kind of right, but yeah its not just a simple cover up.

  • Moppet

    I really disliked what they did with Pepper in this one. Not all the time, she has bits where she works out, but particularly her view of “Iron Man” being this hobby, and other manners of phrasing used to frame his work on the suits and what he does with them as childish or a waste of time. It’s really very strange, because this takes place after the Avengers. Tony used these silly toys that whoever wrote these lines thinks of as a waste of time to stop a disaster in New York. He redirected a missile that could have killed countless innocent people, and it nearly cost him his life. Throughout the film he’s suffering flash backs and panic attacks because of what happened.

    And she thinks the Iron Man suit, and working on more suits, is a silly little throw away hobby? Really?

    I don’t think that’s what Pepper would actually think at this point. The Avengers movie actually showed her very concerned about all this, and very aware, but Iron Man 3 paints her like she doesn’t have a clue about these events occurring. This isn’t the character’s fault, Pepper’s a smart character, it’s an issue of whoever wrote these parts needing to never be allowed to write Pepper again.

    I guess what I mean here is that Pepper is not my issue, but how some bits of her character were written for this movie, and anyone responsible for those bits making it through to the final product. It seems completely out of touch with what the character knows to have happened, and what she knows Tony has gone through to get to this point. Pepper is not an idiot, yet someone in the background treats writing her like she’s too stupid to understand basic things she has observed and knows to have happened.

    I wouldn’t be disgruntled by this so much except I like the character, and want her to be handled better than this.

    • I disagree. I don’t think Pepper’s problem was that he was building suits at all, but how firggin many. Keep in mind, the suit he used through most of Avengers was like Mark 7 or 8. By the the time Iron man 3 ends, IIRC we’re hearing numbers like Mark 48. He had enough suits for every memeber of the Avengers short of Banner in full Hulk mode twice over, plus most of the Helicarrier crew. Unless he was looking to equip the entire U.S. Army with Iron man suits, what he was doing could be considered excessive, more so if he was making all of them just for himself.

      • Moppet

        I really disagree with this, because she didn’t say any of what you’re suggesting. If that’s what the character was intended to be getting across? The writer actually needed to have her say it, to have her say what her issues were, but they didn’t. Instead they very specifically had her treat it like a childish hobby. When someone is doing something excessively, that it could be a danger to their health, that’s not a childish hobby – that’s a legitimate issue as well. So regardless of whether she’s treating his projects that have saved people, and the world, like a childish hobby or treating a serious condition that he needs help with like a childish hobby – she is still treating it like a childish hobby instead of like her character should be treating the situation.

        Pepper is smart and direct throughout all three movies except on this subject. If he needed help she’s a smart, motivated and blunt enough person to say it outright and take steps. She does not do this. Regardless of which view of what she’s doing you’re looking at, it’s still out of character and makes absolutely no sense.

        As for moving past being Iron Man himself? I agree with the poster above you that it will tie in with what leads to Age of Ultron but it’s also pretty obvious from the trailers that it’s going to go wrong. Badly wrong. A.I. security system going wrong is probably predictable and obvious, but the government and their armies being provided with them instead likely would have gone horribly wrong in its own way, but that’s comics. A.I. or governments being provided super human powers or advanced technology always goes wrong.

        Anyways, Pepper convincing Tony that he no longer has to shoulder the burden himself, and helping him with his issues, as you suggest, would have been a good character moment. It’s just a character moment that never happened because the writer decided she was going to be completely out of touch, and treat his achievements like childish throw aways instead, which made no sense for her character or what her character knew.

      • Exactly. He was building suits as a way to hide himself from the world, and it was also interfering with his life. Combined, the very definition of an unhealthy hobby.

    • I think she would prefer her friend-lover-boss should stop playing at Superman and use his brain to build armor for trained soldiers and adventurers or turn his thoughts toward safer pursuits. He did his part and has killed more terrorists and aliens than just about anyone, so he should stop now while he is ahead.

      That might actually inform Avengers 2, as it seems Ultron was created as a sort of security force to replace the Avengers as world protectors.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      Well, I could imagine, the fact that Tony nearly died made an impact on her, too – she wants to be near him, that’s why she’s so pissed, that he is working on other things, not realizing, that he is dealing with his near-death, too. It’s selfish, yeah, but I think, understandable.

  • Joseph Patrick

    This movie is a pile of shit. People only give a crap because it’s MCU. Please… It actually made me reconsider how much I didn’t like Iron Man 2, and both films came out pretty even.