Merry Christmas, Mandarin: A Spoilerific Review of Iron Man 3

There are two things that can make me cringe in even the best of superhero films: children that save the day and dancing heroes. Iron Man 3 has both and […]

iron-man-3

There are two things that can make me cringe in even the best of superhero films: children that save the day and dancing heroes. Iron Man 3 has both and was far from the “best of superhero films.” I will come back to these painful notes shortly but first, what does Iron Man 3 have going for it?

-Robert Downey Jr. RDJ lives up to his three previous performances of the role. There truly is no one else that I would ever want to see as Tony Stark/Iron Man. I even READ the character as him in the comics.

-Guy Pierce. He has really been showing off his skills lately and IM3 is no exception. Pierce plays the villain well and is frighteningly skilled at turning the evil on and off at the drop of a hat.

-The gadgets. There is an incredible scene where Tony Stark Macgyvers some trinkets together to manufacture some make-shift weaponry and single-handedly break into the main villains’ hide out. But sadly this “No Iron Man” trick is way over used.

*****************************************************SPOILERS******************************************************************

A good portion of the movie is used up with Tony being bummed out because his latest Iron Man armor is not working right. Tony is stressed out about his new armor when a terrorist named the Mandarin (or so we think) uses people-bombs to hurt his friend, Happy Hogan. With all the stress and his friend being in the hospital Tony threatens said terrorist on live TV. He is attacked and fights back. This leads him to the source of the human bombs, and the little boy that ruined most of the movie for me.
I have never been a fan of child “sidekick” types in superhero movies. Spider-man 2 (one of my all time favorite hero flicks) has two little boys who’s promise to “we won’t tell no one” makes me hurt physically. So when Iron Man teams up with a little fatherless boy that struggles with every line he delivers, I was less than thrilled. But at least the Mandarin is a compelling and, for the most part, comic book accurate character, right? WRONG.

***************************************************BIG SPOILER AHEAD*********************************************************

Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin is NOT the Mandarin! Everything you knew was wrong. Pierce’s character, the inventor of Extremis, is ACTUALLY the Mandarin. He was just fooling us all along. I did not like this twist very much at all. One thing that I really loved about the first Iron Man film was its faithfulness to the source material. This, however, is not the most puzzling decision made in the making of this film.

The whole film takes place around CHRISTMAS—for no explained reason. This may sound like I am making it up but, cross my heart, Christmas lights all around! I thought at first that this would have something important to do with the plot but it never pays off. It gives the movie an uneven tone and distracts from the plot.

Despite how hard I am on the film, I didn’t HATE it. I just think it is strange that I appear to be the only person that didn’t LOVE it. There are great action moments, some very good acting, and an enjoyable end credits scene in the true Marvel fashion. Even with all of this, the kid, the unexpected twist, and the strange, unsure tone left me unimpressed. I am only going to give this movie 2.5 armors out of 5. Sorry internet.

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