Ironman Three


May 6

It doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, it might have taken itself a wee bit more seriously. Compared to the previous movies in the series, Ironman Three felt just a little campy.

It had all the expected archetypes and basic plot line that made it feel to me like it was wearing a sign that said “superhero movie.” Not to say it wasn’t fun. The writing in Ironman Three was funny. Stuff blew up. There were cool gadgets. I do love the Marvel characters and I have to say  Ironman Three disappointed a little there.

Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin was a trip. I don’t want to spoil the fun for those who haven’t seen it.  His trickster villain was my favorite part of the movie.

Marvel has a brilliant stable of villains. It’s hard to top Loki. He’s complex and fully-drawn. He teeters between anti-hero and true villain. His motives are personal and universal.

Aldrich Killian felt just a bit contrived.  Bitter, rejected genius becomes bitter, powerful bad guy with greed and power as motive. It was obvious that he is supposed to be a shadow of Tony Stark. He’s in roughly the same business Tony was in before becoming Ironman. He is an inventor, a mad scientist who creates because he can rather than because he should. He is brilliant but behaves without moral restraint, with unfettered hubris and greed.  Guy Pearce did the best he could to put a molten human face on Killian’s greedy techno-warmongerer, but I’m tired of the archetype.

In Ironman Three Tony encounters a series of reminders that technology can fail. He moves toward embracing the frailty of humanity over the power of technology. His encounter with Killian reinforces his decision to rethink his current trajectory and focus even more on his relationship with Pepper.

Tony and Pepper’s relationship has moved past the honeymoon stage. The beginning of a relationship is much easier to write than the middle. Ironman Three explores some of the missteps and settling that happens later in a relationship. Much of the movie focuses on whether Pepper is actually Tony’s priority and whether his choices reflect his feelings for her.

Pepper is developing as a character in her own right. Though she is Tony’s emotional motivator, she challenges him. I felt her extended damsel in distress sequence went on a little long. I did like some of the unexpected turns the plot took with her character.

Tony is aided by young Harley Keener, who is another version of himself. Harley lacks Tony’s financial advantages but  creates and invents with available materials. Harley sees Tony as mentor and hero yet his eyes are open to Tony’s vulnerability and emotional fragility, and there is a reciprocality to their relationship that is a refreshing. I liked that the writers didn’t try to turn Harley into a superhero but allowed him to support Tony in the way a precocious ten-year-old would.

Though I wasn’t crazy about the plot line for this movie, it’s the characters and the writing that make these stores for me. Ironman Three did what it was supposed to do. I had fun and was entertained.

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