Hey, remember when movies didn't flat-out lie to your face?
I mean, I know all trailers are lies to a certain extent but...
I gotta say: this one takes the cake.
What Iron Man 3 promised during its kickass marketing campaign seemed so right, so perfect, and yet somehow the movie I was faced with while sitting comfortably in the cinema sipping on a large, watered-down Diet Coke, was not what I expected and, by extension, not what I wanted.
Or, I feel, what the franchise itself deserved.
Surprises can be a great thing in movies: Psycho killing off its main actress early on, for example, worked as a surprise because it made sense with what happened next, it was masterfully executed and left the audience feeling lost but curious and ultimately hooked. Iron Man 3 is no Psycho. The film boasts a couple of shock reveals which you wouldn't even think about from watching the trailers but instead of adding an extra layer of awesomeness to the film, it destroys your anticipation completely and replaces it with more plot-holes. I say "more" because boy the movie has its share of those...
Long story short: lower your expectations, like, right now.
And if you're a big fan of the comic-books, get ready to be pretty angry.
The first Iron Man film mixed gritty with popcorn entertainment perfectly, its sequel was pure action and lols and this third outing, it seems, attempts literally every approach, on a giant scale. The film takes into consideration the events of Avengers Assemble: the world is a different place, Tony Stark is a different guy and his enemies are bigger and sneakier than ever. Jon Favreau's replacement, Shane Black, sure had his work cut out and, to be fair, he got a lot of things right. Visually, Iron Man 3 looks as slick as ever, Robert Downey Jr. looks comfortable with his lines, he does brilliantly once again and the casting of Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce is spot-on. It's just a shame that the movie's core plot and the zany subplots that stem from it either make no sense whatsoever, feel tacked-on or are treated as jokes, nothing more. Like with The Amazing Spider-Man, we're treated to yet another invention-for-good-turned-doomsday-machine meets new DNA regeneration technology plot and if you thought it felt a bit cliched in Spidey, wait till you get a load of this one!
The movie is primarily a spectacle, it wants to impress and pulls out all the stops to do that, regardless of how it might affect the logic of its plot threads and audiences familiar with the source material. You've got tons of explosions, an army of Iron Men, micro-technology (in other words: MAGIC), exploding plants... yeah. Oh and loads of comic relief, far too much of it in fact. Almost every scene is peppered (no pun intended) with dozens of jokes and it tries much too hard to be funny when previously, the humour felt effortless. There's something heart-breaking about seeing Tony Stark stumble around in his Iron Man suit as a piece of his metal ass flies towards him from across the room. I really felt like I was watching a silly episode of Heroes crossed with the skeleton of the first Iron Man film and jokes that the second movie would have been ashamed to include.
As a mindless action movie, enough happens that it's never boring, as an adaptation of the comics, it's a slap in the face, as an Iron Man sequel it's the weakest of the bunch. If you know nothing about these characters and just want to watch a silly, entertaining flick then you could do a lot worse but, as I said, be warned: things are not what they appear.
Even iron melts.
And that makes me sad.
Jon Favreau may need to come back...