First off, I know this isn’t a horror movie; it’s an action/super hero movie, and as such doesn’t belong on this list. However, given that I am a nerd and a huge fan of nearly anything Marvel-related, I feel that my level of disappointment with this movie needs to be shared. Given that this blog is the closest thing I have to an outlet to vent movie frustrations, I think I can make an exception this one time.
We all know the plot being advertised in every commercial – Iron Man gets into a fight with “Mandarin” and thusly chaos ensues: Tony Stark’s house gets blown up, War Machine dons a new suit called “Iron Patriot” and a scene where an airplane explodes is shown repeatedly in every trailer. This much you know. What you don’t know, is how your expectations will plummet faster than your heart will sink after you watch this movie.
Let’s commence the very first non-horror movie review…
1. Anyone who was a fan of Iron Man or any comic books for that matter already knows how big of a villain the Mandarin is, and how much trouble he has caused Iron Man over the years. Since the very first “Iron Man” movie, fans waited eagerly for an appearance by the ten-ringed menace, but alas, we were let down. My friends, believe me when I say we were better off without him in the franchise, because at least Marvel Studios couldn’t screw up what wasn’t in the movie. Ready for this? The Mandarin is not the main villain in Iron Man 3. Hell, he’s not even a villain. Calm down, I know what you’re thinking. He’s shown in the trailer and called out by name in all of the advertisements, so he has to be in the movie. Well, he is in the movie… sort of. At first, we are led to believe that the Mandarin is the mastermind behind all of the terrorist attacks in the United States. He’s even shown in a cave recording a live feed, making threats and performing executions of hostages… sound vaguely familiar? We’ll get to that. Around halfway through the movie, Tony Stark discovers the Mandarin has a house in Miami, and decides to pay him a visit. With his suits seemingly destroyed, Tony Stark uses his ninja-like reflexes to take out all of maybe six bodyguards at the Mandarin’s mansion, and stumbles into his bedroom. There, he finds two women in his bed, when suddenly the Mandarin struts out of his bathroom in a t-shirt and robe. Tony Stark looks at him, perplexed, and when interrogated, the Mandarin cowers in his chair and speaks using words like “man” and “dude”. The Mandarin puts down his potato chips and, while watching a soccer game on TV, proceeds to tell Tony Stark that he is only an actor, hired by a corporation to pretend to be the face of a made-up terrorist. That’s right. The Mandarin is a joke; a laugh by Marvel at the expense of what could have been an incredible super villain for future movies.
2. What is going on? I didn’t feel like I was watching a super hero movie at all. They waste no time killing as many people as possible, and they do so in cold blood and without remorse. Throughout the movie, there were several “oh my god” moments before I finally realized: This whole movie was made for shock value. The references to terrorism and blatant violence, the Mandarin (being a joke terrorist as a way to poke fun at what’s going on in the middle east), the increased use of foul language, and the abrupt way every action scene begins and ends. I hate to say this, but this whole movie seemed like it was made as a way to capitalize on fear and ignorance that has stirred up over the past 12 years.
3. There were a lot of rumors spreading about who actress Stephanie Szostak would be playing. Some said she would be introduced as “The Wasp” while others said she would be Ellen Brandt, wife of “Man-Thing”. Well, unfortunately she isn’t playing the Wasp, and she barely plays Ellen Brandt. She has one scene in the movie where she tries to kill Tony Stark, but that ends quickly when he puts his pulse-palm to her face and blows a hole through it. Yeah, I told you the violence was amped up. Pure shock value. This scene was preceded by Tony’s best friend and driver nearly dying when one of the no-name bad guys blows himself up in a public place.
4. Well, with the Mandarin out of the picture, you might be wondering who the real villain is. Since I recognized his name from the credits, I knew Cold-Blood would make an appearance, and he does. He keeps popping up throughout the movie, getting into fights with Iron Man and Iron Patriot, but his influence is seemingly small and he doesn’t really have many speaking parts, so we know he isn’t the main villain. Besides, Iron Man holds him against a wall and shoots him at point blank with his chest beam, so he can’t be the main villain. Oh right, they killed off another villain, leaving nothing open for future reappearances. Aldrich Killian is the main villain of Iron Man 3. Who is he? He is a scientist that works for a corporation called “A.I.M.”, a corporation that created Ant-Man (yet there are no Ant-Man references in the movie). Killian has developed a new injection that makes people burn as hot as lava from the inside out. These lava-people are the ones fighting Iron Man for the duration of the movie. Yep. They have a wonderful villain like Mandarin at their fingertips and yet they choose to have Iron Man fight lava people. I’ll go ahead and let that sink in.
5. What was this movie called again? Iron Man 3? Hmm, I was wondering because we only see Tony Stark in his Iron Man suit in the very beginning and the very end of the movie. In between, he is just running around trying not to die. Seriously, he gets his ass kicked throughout the movie. Since “Avengers”, Tony Stark has been having panic attacks and I’m assuming that has led to performance anxiety, because he is a joke in the movie. Getting hit by cars, getting crushed by walls, and losing every fight even to the very end of the movie. Aldrich Killian kicks Iron Man’s ass up and down until someone steps in and saves him. Can you guess who it is? Is it War Machine/Iron Patriot? No. Is it his long-time friend and driver? No. Is it one of the Avengers? No. Is it a new super hero? God, I hope not. It’s Pepper Potts. Killian injected Pepper with the same lava-like stuff that he injected himself with, and now she is as strong as the rest of them. She hits Killian with one punch and sends him flying. Does this mean she will be in future Avengers movies as a new hero? If so, then go ahead. They’ve already ruined every other character associated with this movie. Go ahead and make up non-existent heroes while you’re at it, Marvel Studios.
In closing, this was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2, to be followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers 2. and I have to say, they did not start this phase off on a high note. I guess you could say this movie made the horror-ble list because it scares me. It scares me for the future of Marvel Studios.
Cheers and goodnight.