Iron Man Three

tn_ironmanthree(yes, the ‘Three’ is spelled out on the actual movie, so I consider that the official title)

[by the way since the movie’s been out a week or more in most countries this review is written in the spirit of HEAVY SPOILERS]

IRON MAN THREE takes the modern super hero movie and shakes it up a little bit, weirdly enough to be interesting and fun, but not well enough to be great. Directed and co-written by Shane Black, the writer of LETHAL WEAPON and THE LAST BOYSCOUT, it’s an odd mix of the ongoing Iron Man story and the unmistakable Shane Black style.

I know the script is originally written by Drew Pearce, but it’s got Black all over it: burnt out, mentally disturbed protagonist, conversational and self-aware first-person narration, most characters have witty responses to most situations, little moppet hardened by messy parental situation, constantly sets up movie conventions only to deflate them, and yes, it follows LETHAL WEAPON, THE LONG KISS GOOD NIGHT and KISS KISS BANG BANG in taking place at Christmas. Coincidentally it even has a crazy white guy and straight laced black guy buddy team.
I like that, but it’s messy. IRON MAN grounded its super hero adventure in some kind of a real world, then lightened the mood with Downey’s smartass responses. It’s not dour like a Batman movie, it’s alot of laughs, but the story is serious. In THREE Tony Stark is still constantly making wisecracks (even in serious moments like the one where he thinks he just let the woman he loves die but then finds out she’s alive), and on top of that you add Black’s many comical detours, even using the villains for silly comedy scenes, kind of a no-no in modern (or even good) super hero movies, which I’m sure is why he did it, but still.

It even opens in jokiness with a 1999 flashback scene where Jon Favreau (returning as Stark’s head of security Happy) has a wig and bolo tie like Vincent Vega, and Guy Pearce plays awkward nerd in the style of Chop Top in TEXAS CHAINSAW 2. Also the song played during this scene was pants-pissingly funny to a bunch of people in the theater, so look out for that one, people who are familiar with whatever song that is.

mp_ironmanthreeStructurally it’s a mess that wanders around more than it builds (for example there’s the long middle section where he has no Iron Man suit and is investigating a crime with the help of a little boy) and it surpasses my threshold for things-that-don’t-seem-to-make-sense-to-me: if he had an army of Iron Men hidden underground the whole time why did he spend 2/3 of the movie sad that he had no Iron Man suits? How did the press not know that Tony Stark lived in the awesome Malibu cliffside mansion until he gave out his address? I get that he wouldn’t ask for SHIELD’s help, but why does Colonel Rhodes find out vital information about the country’s #1 enemy and just try to handle it himself? Was I supposed to understand that Pepper actually wanted Tony to stop being Iron Man, and why is she so happy about him doing so moments after she told him she understood why he wanted the suits?

This brings up an issue with the ending: it does that thing where it acts like it’s a happy ending that he’s gonna stop being Iron Man. But we want him to be Iron Man! That’s why we came to see IRON MAN THREE. It’s kind of a mini-version of the problem with THE INCREDIBLE HULK (somewhat addressed in THE AVENGERS) that it was a story where the hero’s goal was to not be the Hulk while the audience’s goal was to see him be the Hulk.

Of course THE DARK KNIGHT RISES also used the hanging up the cape bit, but I think Bruce Wayne earned it. He was being Batman out of a deep pain and tried to quit already in part 2, so I felt happy for the poor bastard, this was what he wanted. But in IRON MAN they deliberately went the unheard of route of having the hero reveal his secret identity to the world and revel in his well-earned fame. He loves being Iron Man. Why are we suddenly acting like that’s a problem?

Those are all nitpicks, hopefully they won’t bother you guys, but for me they started to add up to something.

Luckily it’s also full of good ideas and moments: Tony’s implants that summon the separate armor pieces to his body, the subsequent surprise (and relationship moment) of directing the armor not to himself but to Pepper when they’re both trapped in an exploding building, the time when he can only get a couple pieces to come and has to make do fighting with one Iron Man hand, the image of Tony dragging a broken suit through the snow, Rhody and Tony both using their wits and skills to kick ass without armor, Rhody getting his armor painted red white and blue and being repeatedly sent to home-invade innocent people in Pakistan, the villain being a genius inventor and military contractor peer of Tony’s, Pepper getting to kill the villain, Tony having some form of PTSD from the fantastical events of THE AVENGERS. There’s even a little meta thing going with Favreau’s character no longer being Stark’s bodyguard but being attached and trying to look out for him, reflecting his switch from director on IRON MAN 1-2 to executive producer on THREE and THE AVENGERS.

Like inside Tony’s brain there’s alot of shit going on in this movie, flying in all different directions. Unlike inside his brain he doesn’t find the time to fully develop them into sleek, working machines.

I’m glad it has the Black humor. There are plenty of funny lines and turns of events. And it wouldn’t be a Shane Black movie if there weren’t a couple lines that sound like they must’ve been witty but I don’t know what they mean.

Unfortunately I think the constant cheekiness works against itself. You can only see Tony’s awesome super hero moment deflated by wacky screw-up so many times before you stop expecting him to just have an awesome super hero moment. And you can’t laugh as much at Rhody as Iron Patriot taking a comedy phone call in the middle of a Pakistan mission as if we’d first seen one where nothing wacky happened. Plenty of this stuff is still funny, but it becomes predictable unpredictableness. And I’m afraid Downey is the same for much of the movie, he makes little quips and we’re supposed to be charmed by him but it’s like how Jack Spade was starting to wear a little thin by the third PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie. It’s less effective now that we all see it coming.

On the other hand, stepping out of the Marvel movie expectations is a wise move. I think I liked IRON MAN 2 more than most, but it definitely suffered from demands to tie in with upcoming movies. This one goes in the opposite direction, refusing to build the larger movieverse, even giving it problems to deal with like Tony blowing up his entire arsenal and promising his girlfriend he won’t do that shit anymore. Whoops, might have to address that in the next one.

It also sort of disavows what I understand is a major Marvel character, which is ballsy. But I mean, I said the same thing about Spider-man’s evil dance number in part 3, and look where that got the Spider-man series. I can admire how well Black handles the “Tony Stark hangs out with a little boy” section of the movie while also thinking “are we already at the Tony Stark hangs out with a little boy stage in the Marvel movies?”

But it’s not like it doesn’t deliver some of the super hero goods too. The action set pieces that you see parts of in the trailer are all good and, from what I remember, more exciting than most of the comparable scenes in the last two chapters. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the IRON MAN movies have a strong first 2/3 and get weaker in the last third where they’re about CGI metal man fights. THREE in my opinion reverses the trend, having a stronger climax than setup.

The action movie veteran in Black can’t help but to find many clever variations to the action: what if Tony had only part of the suit? What if his suit wasn’t working? What if he had no suit at all but made his own weapons from items purchased at an ordinary hardware store? What if he had the suit but was fighting against a guy with the power to melt metal with his hands? etc.

I enjoyed watching IRON MAN THREE, and I respect it, but I can’t claim it’s a very good movie. I’ll be surprised if it holds up very well, but at least it’ll stand out a little from the other ones, and hopefully give Black that “I directed a movie that made like a billion dollars so now I get to do whatever I want” shine for a little bit.

p.s. I watched it in 2D because the Marvel ones are always fake 3D. I’ve heard the 3D version looks shitty and I believe it because it’s another one that climaxes with a bunch of CGI robots flying around at night.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 11:38 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

153 Responses to “Iron Man Three”

  1. In terms of 2D/3D: I can confirm that these 2D glasses, that “convert” 3D movies into 2D ones and were heavily talked about on the internet for a while one or two years ago, really work! I tested them on 2TAR TREK in Digital 3D a few days ago and apart from the pale colours (which were obviously part of the 3D format and can’t be changed), it was like watching a normal movie.
    Just in case someone wants to REALLY watch a movie, that only runs in 3D or gets dragged by friends into a 3D showing.

    About the movie: Got nothing to say. Sorry. Oh, and welcome back, Vern.

  2. I agree. Highly entertaining but I’m surprised the fans are giving it such a pass. I mean their only complaint is The Mandarin and that’s the best part. But that thing he does at the end, they’re ok with that?

  3. I dug it. I’m a comics fan but the movie/style needed deflating. Like how they turned a racist comic book character into a red herring/joke. Liked the anxiety attacks – they felt real to me. Maybe Stark’s jokiness was another form of armor he needed to remove.

  4. I think in the comics Extremis is injected armor so that’s being set up.

  5. Dikembe Mutombo

    May 11th, 2013 at 1:54 am

    I’m surprised you thought it wasn’t very good Vern. I liked this more than any comic book movie since THE DARK KNIGHT, because it’s so much its own idiosyncratic thing – I was afraid it’d be a highly watered down version of Shane Black, but aside from some concessions to the pg-13 rating his voice came through loud and clear.

    You’re right that there’s a bunch of stuff in this movie that doesn’t really hold up under examination, but I think it’s a testament to Black’s craft that he makes me not really care. I actually thought it was one of the most well-written superhero movies I’ve seen in terms of telling an engaging story in a clever way, with great dialogue and dynamite pacing. Even the first Iron Man movie I think coasted on the charm of its cast and the novelty of its approach, the movie’s conflicts and payoffs were somewhat perfunctory.

    I hear what you’re saying about the constant wisecracking* starting to intrude on the drama, but I think the movie counter-balanced that nicely with the amount of danger baked into all of the movie’s encounters. I loved Black’s dogged resolution to keep Tony out of the suit as much as possible. The action in the other Iron Men movies is well done but it doesn’t really excite me much because the guy is basically invulnerable as soon as he puts the suit on. Finding clever ways to keep things grounded and basically making the whole movie as much like a Lethal Weapon flick as he could, felt like the best possible approach.

    *I do think Black is a master of the ‘this means business’ variety of wisecrack, where the hero says something clever but also menacing to show that things are going to the next level of intensity.

    Tony’s character arc is really nicely done in my opinion. Early in the movie he treats a panic attack by getting in the suit, which makes it clear that his anxiety about protecting himself and those around him has led to the suits becoming psychological armor. When the kid suggests to Tony that he just invent something instead of relying on his suit, it’s the moment of clarity that leads to Tony leaping in and out of suits during the ending battle as if they’re disposable – they’re just tools, not his identity, and it’s his relationships with those close to him that end up saving him more than the gizmos. The ending loses some of its bite because we the audience know this guy’s gonna be in more movies and he’s not really gonna hang it up like in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, but it’s still a good payoff that I felt was earned with consistent characterization.

    Also, regarding what we the audience want, I think making us want him to be Iron Man and denying it to an extent could be good storytelling because it puts us in the position of wanting more of a cool thing instead of having too much of the cool thing. I don’t know if I’m totally convinced of that, but it sounds good to me. Plus it ends with him still being Iron Man (my evidence is that he says “I am Iron Man” at the end), but just in a different way than we’re used to.

    (Finally, William Sadler as President is pretty funny Shane Black-style casting to me because c’mon, who would elect that guy? I wouldn’t vote for him for the city council. And did Guy Pearce’s role give anyone else a Val Kilmer vibe?)

  6. I’m getting a little Marvel’d out so I decided to wait for blu ray for this one

    by the way, I can’t wait for Shane Black to make his DEATH NOTE movie because then Vern you’ll have to watch a movie based on an anime/manga

  7. Knox Harrington

    May 11th, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I enjoyed it.

    To be honest, I don’y really get most of your nitpicks, Vern. I think that army of suits probably just weren’t ready until the end. Maybe Jarvis needed to get the system up and running, or some technical mumbo-jumbo reason. The press probably knew where he lives; they just showed up because they knew he was gonna get attacked. Rhodes usually tries to keep things “by the book”, so it makes sense that he would want to handle shit himself and not involve Tony, who is non-military.

    And as for Pepper’s reaction: Come on, man. You know what women are like. It makes perfect sense that she’d try to be understanding about his obsessions and say she accepts them, yet still be happy when he decides to quit (Also, I never got the impression that he officially quit. Seemed to me like he was just cutting back a bit).

    Anyway, what surprised me most was how this massive blockbuster could still be an auteur’s movie. It’s undeniably Black, right down to the battered and bruised hero (mentally and physically), the Christmas period, the wisecracks, people getting kidnapped, the hero getting caught and tied up as an excuse for some face-time with the villain (followed by an exciting escape), and even some mystery-solving.

    I had a great time, and enjoyed it even more as a Black movie than an Iron Man movie. Here’s hoping he gets to make his Doc Savage film. I know he’s been a fan since childhood.

  8. I too had a very mixed reaction.

    I liked the Shane Black’s personal touches, the snappy humor, and Downey Jr. floats through the movie with his charisma. Kingsley was a lot of fun too.

    But I guess by now I’m thoroughly fatigued by the Marvel superhero movie factory. Despite the personal flourishes, every one of these movies are pretty much the same. The hero with the superficial personal crisis, the supervillain of the week with personal connection to the hero, the love interest, respected actors dropping in to collect a paycheck, the obligatory CGI set pieces. And visually, they all look almost the same. It all feels like a rote checking of all the necessary boxes to be a Marvel movie. It’s not fresh or exciting anymore.

    Still, it was thoroughly competently made. I didn’t hate it, and liked individual pieces of it. In the end, it did its job, but just left me indifferent. Like I had eaten a well made McDonald’s burger. Don’t regret seeing it in the cinema, but I have no desire to buy it on BluRay either.

  9. “But I guess by now I’m thoroughly fatigued by the Marvel superhero movie factory. Despite the personal flourishes, every one of these movies are pretty much the same. The hero with the superficial personal crisis, the supervillain of the week with personal connection to the hero, the love interest, respected actors dropping in to collect a paycheck, the obligatory CGI set pieces. And visually, they all look almost the same. It all feels like a rote checking of all the necessary boxes to be a Marvel movie. It’s not fresh or exciting anymore.”

    that’s my problem too, it’s just starting to get old, the original Iron Man was very fresh, The Avengers was fresh, but beyond that it’s getting stale

    and I think I’m getting a little Super Hero’d out in general, I’m looking forward to Man of Steel, but that might be it this year for me, save for Kick Ass 2 maybe

    what I’m super excited for this summer is Pacific Rim and Elysium

  10. I don’t really have a problem with anything you talk about, Vern. Spending so much of the movie out of the suit was fine with because we got some cool ideas out of it, and STILL had the charisma of RDJ carrying things. It reminded me a little of the “World’s Most Wanted” story where he’s on the run and has to keep using inferior versions of the suit to stay ahead of his pursuers as well as try to stay off the radar without so much of his resources. SHIELD and the other Avengers not being involved was weird, but Kevin Feige says future movies will account for what SHIELD were doing around this time, and 3 of the Avengers (Cap, Widow, Hawkeye) are agents, Thor’s off-world and Banner probably wouldn’t be the best person to involve in a delicate situation such as Global Terrorism. Still, I do agree they should have called Fury when they figured out Killian’s plot.

    “Also the song played during this scene was pants-pissingly funny to a bunch of people in the theater, so look out for that one, people who are familiar with whatever song that is.”
    I got a chuckle out of it, but I don’t think you need to know the song to find it amusing as a contradiction to the previous two movies using classic rock all the time.

    “if he had an army of Iron Men hidden underground the whole time why did he spend 2/3 of the movie sad that he had no Iron Man suits?”
    Because they were buried under all that rubble at his house and he couldn’t get to them right away when he could have used them. This is pretty clear with Jarvis tells him that the wreckage has been cleared later on. Not to mention Jarvis runs all that stuff and he gets disabled for a good time.

    “How did the press not know that Tony Stark lived in the awesome Malibu cliffside mansion until he gave out his address?”
    Okay, I’ve heard this one before, and this is how I see it:
    They always knew where he lived. Tony even thought the Mandarin would know. He just gave his address as a cool way to end his threat. The press helicopters are filming his house NOT because they only just found out its location, but because HE JUST PUBLICLY CHALLENGED A TERRORIST TO A FIGHT, so they’re gonna want to keep tabs on his activities.

    “Was I supposed to understand that Pepper actually wanted Tony to stop being Iron Man, and why is she so happy about him doing so moments after she told him she understood why he wanted the suits?”
    There’s a difference between saying you understand why someone FEELS a certain way about something and actually thinking that attitude is healthy. You can understand a crackhead being addicted. I don’t think she actually wanted him to stop at all, just not be as obsessive about it as he’d been since the AVENGERS. I think basically the whole point is he’s done NEEDING to be Iron Man, but when a situation calls for it, he’ll get back into the suit for the good of the world.

  11. “You’re right that there’s a bunch of stuff in this movie that doesn’t really hold up under examination, but I think it’s a testament to Black’s craft that he makes me not really care. I actually thought it was one of the most well-written superhero movies I’ve seen in terms of telling an engaging story in a clever way, with great dialogue and dynamite pacing.”

    Totally agree!

    “if he had an army of Iron Men hidden underground the whole time why did he spend 2/3 of the movie sad that he had no Iron Man suits?”

    The suits vault was blocked by the destroyed house debris. At one point Jarvis says that the debris has been removed with cranes. Maybe the audio it’s not enough clear in that part. I saw a spanish-subtitled version.

  12. “But that thing he does at the end, they’re ok with that?”

    Vern – Because we all know he’ll pop up again in AVENGERS 2 and build new suits to fight whatever new global threat. Duh. On that front, I think you’re thinking too much.

    Its like Rambo in RAMBO III and RAMBO aka JOHN RAMBO. We all know he’s gonna kill a shitload of people but he must keep his vow of peace or wallow in his pain or whatever before he straps the guns back on and turns on the meat grinder. If a 5th Rambo happens, expect Rambo to try to avoid going to war until he’s forced to. Again. (Hell first FIRST BLOOD, notice how long it took before Rambo went Rambo and that was only after the redneck cops pushed him over.) Do you wonder too much how easily he relapses into his kicking ass?

    As for those locals who say they’re tired of superhero movies, yeah if those some ones praise MAN OF STEEL I’ll go Stu on them. Then again I’ve been hearing that complaint for what, 5 years plus? Then TDK came. Then AVENGERS. And who knows, if the buzz is actually delivered, then MAN OF STEEL.

    I think the trick to keeping genres and sub-genres (since comic book movies mostly are sci-fi/fantasy hybrids) keep going and not die is to keep finding new twists and angles to the same old basic stories. Who knows, maybe DC will finally produce that Wonder Woman movie? Marvel’s been rumored lately that they might do Black Panther and Ms. Marvel* films for their Phase 3. Not to mention getting the filmmakers in auteur fashion to invest themselves fully into these movies. I mean Nolan for BATMAN BEGINS was inspired by Donner’s SUPERMAN movie broadly, but he did his own thing.

    And hell, Shane Black took that Iron Man plot template set by Favreau and I thought gave it a good kick in the ass. Its weird you also missed that crane line which did explain why he couldn’t get the suits. Hell I loved that no-suit section with RDJ having to go MacGuyver. Seriously you didn’t like that scene when handcuffed, trapped in hick Tennessee town, no suits, and two nearly indestructable soldiers on your ass and RDJ doesn’t sweat it? I LOVED THAT! I know Marvel since forever kept claiming IM3 would be a throwback to that 1st act in the first IM, but damn they were right.

    *=For a brief moment in that climax, that pretty much was the Ms. Marvel movie if you think about it.

  13. “As for those locals who say they’re tired of superhero movies, yeah if those some ones praise MAN OF STEEL I’ll go Stu on them.”

    Honestly the “superhero films are so passe now” thing is weird to me, because how many other genres have many many more times the stories and tropes that we don’t say that about? Cop movies? Romantic Comedies? Horror? And it’s not like Superhero movies are one size fits all. Let’s just look at the Marvel Movies as an example
    -Iron Man- smartass in a hitech suit fights other evil technology using assholes
    -Hulk- scientist messes with his body, turns into a monster who’s just as much a threat to the public as the villains he fights
    -Captain America- World War 2 pulp action movie, soon to get a sequel that’s more of a modern spy thriller
    -Thor- fish out of water fantasy adventure, soon to get a sequel which is more high fantasy/medieval warfare based, from GAME OF THRONES director
    -Avengers- everybody gets together, fights aliens
    -Guardians of the Galaxy- Aliens get together in the future, fight other aliens. Space opera shit

    And let’s look at other things they COULD do
    -Blade reboot- no explanation required
    -Black Panther- Coming To America meets Batman
    -Daredevil- gritty street level crimefighting about a blind guy who also practices law
    -Luke Cage- gritty street level crimefighting starring an ex con who’s socially minded
    -Iron Fist- mystical kung fu action adventure starring a guy who gets his powers from punching a dragon in the heart. Goes to New York and gets involved in gritty steet level crimefighting and falls for a sassy african american detective with a cybernetic arm

  14. “Um…?”


    But yes Stu, you nailed exactly what I’m talking about. (Though along with CTA, I would say a potential Black Panther film would say its also Lion King meets Batman if they go with that basic plot of the hero dethroned and having to fight to get his crown back.)

  15. I love the fact that Vern somehow managed to miss hearing Eiffel 65’s “Blue” until he sat down to watch Iron Man 3.

  16. Stu: I think you make a great point about the potential for superhero movies. Marvel has managed to avoid some of the problems with superhero fatigue by choosing characters that take place in slightly different worlds. Captain America takes place in WWII and has much more of a pulp feel. Thor is as much a fantasy film as it is a superhero film. There’s a lot of potential for crossing genres in superhero films. A number of years ago David Goyer was apparently working on a Green Arrow film where he would be captured by the police and locked up with a bunch of criminals that he had actually put away. It sounded like a cross between a prison film and a superhero movie. It eventually died a slow death, but it shows that you can do a lot in the world of superheroes.

    But I do sympathize with superhero fatigue to an extent. The origin story movies are especially stale. They all follow a pretty basic outline where the ordinary guy finds out that he has a greater destiny, he fights it a bit, and he eventually gives in. There’s an unveiling moment where he reveals his new superhero persona to the world and eventually we get to the big fight at the end where it’s discovered that the main villain is somehow connected to what gave him super powers in the first place. This is a pretty rigid formula these days, and it’s why I never saw the new Spiderman movies or why I won’t see Man of Steel in theaters. It’s also why Green Lantern failed. They could have crossed the superhero movie with science fiction, but it was obvious the studio wanted the story to match previous narratives. So in the second half of the film we’re stuck on Earth.

  17. Honestly I’m not tired of super hero movies myself, I think Spider-man is the only one I’ve skipped in years but I’ll probly rent that soon. I like the different variations and appreciate the idiosyncrasies of this one (borrowing big word from above), I just don’t think it gels together for me. But it’s a worthy attempt.

    No point in debating my superficial nitpicks, but the reason I brought up the thing about the press not knowing where he lived is because I believe it was specifically stated in the movie that they now knew because he gave out his address. I guess it was probly just a Shane Black smartass line but it came across to me as exposition for something that would’ve made more sense if they’d said nothing.

    And yes, of course it is most likely that he’ll just build a new Iron Man in the next movie (Black and Pearce even said so in an interview I just listened to, laughing because it wasn’t their problem to deal with) but that’s part of why it didn’t work so well for me. It’s a character evolution that is unneeded and that nobody even believes for a second.

    I will accept your explanation of why he didn’t have the bonus suits until the end, though. And Dikembe I really like your interpretation of how getting into the suit during the panic attack and jumping between the suits at the end reflects his psychology.

  18. My response to this one was similar to Vern’s, I liked aspects of it and I dug what Black did with his shot at a Marvel film but in the end it was just OK. Actually watching the film I wished that instead Black & RDjr had teamed up for a KISS KISS BANG BANG sequel instead of an Iron Man squeal. My favorite parts of the film are the bits that have Blacks finger prints all over them like (SPOILERS) the scene where Stark is tied up and he gives the thugs watching over him the speech about witch one of the thugs he is going to take out first when he frees himself. It is a great scene and one of the better examples of how Black applied his sensibilities to a Marvel film.

  19. The multiple suits in the end felt like an excuse to have as many varied suits as possible on screen, so they could sell more toys based on them.

    And Stark blows them all up in the end to clean the table, so he can build a new suit (or two or three) just in time to combat the villain in AVENGERS 2. And sell more toys.

  20. I love comic books and I am not tired of comic book films, but I do wish that some of the talent working in comic books films would focus their time and talents on other projects instead of comic book movies. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is cool to see Black’s take on a Marvel film but I would rather Black work on other more personal projects where his story telling isn’t confined to playing within continuity of the Marvel Universe sandbox.

    I do agree that Marvel Studios has been smart to make sure that the characters they choose to develop films around are pretty diverse to keep things fresh. Especially since now they don’t have to use them to build to an Avengers film they can be even more self-contained and explore different aspects of the Marvel universe. Thor is about mythology and magic, Iron man is about technology, Captain America is a soldier, and the Hulk is a monster. Those characters can all support film franchises on their own as long as Marvel Studios embraces their differences and lets them be their own thing instead of trying to make them all feel so connected/the same.

  21. Vern – I don’t remember that line about the address to be honest, but if they did maybe it was more different words of saying TONY YOU JUST THREATENED A TERRORIST! sort of “what the fuck were you thinking?” A charm of RDJ’s Tony Stark is that he’s an egomaniac who can usually back up his bullshit, but sometimes it blows up (literally) in his face.

    I dunno guys, I thought this worked. Some nerds got mad about the Mandarin because the ads promoted basically another THE DARK KNIGHT remake (like SKYFALL or AVENGERS or whatever) with a supervillain mastermind that outsmarts the heroes and authorities, make the heroes spend themselves, blah blah. They were all set up for that….only to instead get the superhero LAST BOY SCOUT (or LETHAL WEAPON). Really taking the CGI and the sci-fi/fantasy portal of Marvel and attaching the old buddy movie actioneer from the late 80s/early 90s, it made it fresh. Hell this vibe is what I always pictured for HEROES FOR HIRE to be honest. But yeah those nerds sure love THE DARK KNIGHT getting remade alot.

    HEll thats why Kingsley/Pearce absolutely worked for me since most villains in those movies of those times were “evil” by being douchey or look evil and sport some good one-liners. Seriously I’ve argued this before: What “depth” did Gary Busey in the first LW have other than playing Gary Busey? I mean Busey in LW, you paid him to be Busey menacing creep. Pearce and Kingsley for IM3 were paid to do what they did pretty much.

    “And yes, of course it is most likely that he’ll just build a new Iron Man in the next movie (Black and Pearce even said so in an interview I just listened to, laughing because it wasn’t their problem to deal with) but that’s part of why it didn’t work so well for me. It’s a character evolution that is unneeded and that nobody even believes for a second.”

    Vern – so you didn’t like the first Spider-Man because you didn’t buy that Peter Parker and Mary Jane went get together in the next movie? did EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’s ending annoy you because you know Han Solo has gotta be rescued in the next one? What about WRATH OF KHAN when you knew Spock wasn’t gonna stay dead forever? You didn’t like ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE because Bond will (or was supposed to orginally) hunt down Blofeld in the next film for murdering his wife? How about DARK KNIGHT, did you not like it because you knew Batman was gonna be redeemed as the hero in the next film?

    Its a serial mate. OK we know the hero won’t call it quits because well there’s too much money at stake to write him out. So how does he come back? I’m guessing it’ll be Thanos or Masters of Evil or something so fucking bad that yeah, Tony Stark has to break his vow like that Buddhist monk badass in that Steven Seagal DTV movie (BELLY OF THE BEAST?) had to for the greater good. Hell maybe the Tony Stark in AVENGERS 2 will be more cautious, not so flippant? Who knows.

    “It’s also why Green Lantern failed. They could have crossed the superhero movie with science fiction, but it was obvious the studio wanted the story to match previous narratives. So in the second half of the film we’re stuck on Earth.”

    RBatty – I think it was more simply they wanted to ripoff BATMAN BEGINS and IRON MAN (which itself has a 1st act that ripped off BB but nevermind) but unlike those movies and the older movies they clearly were inspired by, GREEN LANTERN just added nothing interesting on their end to spice things up. I mean at the meat of the concept, this guy out of the blue transported to this fantastical solar system and all these aliens and their magic rings and oh yeah you the goofball, uncaring jerk…yeah now you’re supposed to be a hero with serious responsibilities or try to be one at least.* That’s more interesting than going back to Earth to defeat generic monster threat with an unremarkable, underdeveloped adversary. What a misfire.

    Somebody (Broddie?) argued the GL movie should’ve been a space cop movie, and I absolutely agree. Hell an animated DTV movie produced some years back by DC was pretty much Green Lantern meets TRAINING DAY. Or MAGNUM FORCE, with Hal Jordan as Dirty Harry and Sinestro as Hal Holbrook.

    *=Which is what GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is looking to be with Star Lord. Its like when GL came and flopped, Marvel realized DC dropped the ball and that they could do cosmic sci-fi/fantasy movies and make money. I mean GOTG is going to involve the Nova Corps, which were a GL rip-off.

  22. Don’t you guys think this movie making a billion dollars is maybe the best possible way for Black to get to do those personal projects you want to see? A few weeks ago, 2KISS2BANG2 would have been an impossibility. Now if both those guys feel like doing it, they could probably just go ahead and do it. It’s the classic “one for them, one for me” model, and it works for everyone. Blockbuster studio project gets a little of that authorial vision, personal passion projects get a little of that studio budget. It’s how we get wonderful oddballs like INCEPTION and PAIN & GAIN.

  23. HT – I thought the climax’s concept made good storytelling sense. They set up that Stark pretty much went paranoid after AVENGERS with the aliens and advanced tech, so he basically went Doomsday Prepper on us. But instead of investing on a bunker or buying up millions of assault rifles and canned food and subscribing to Red State, he built suits upon suits for different purposes.

    Anyway the film also set up that these Extremis soldiers are a tough bitch to fight even in a IM suit. (Remember the Air Force One fight?) Also remember one of them melted through that one suit with his bare hands? At the end with our heroes outgunned, outmanned, and pretty well fucked…Stark drops his trump card to equalize those soldiers. (Notice how many suits got destroyed though.)

    Also yes, it served as a purpose to sell toys but also pure fanservice with all the suits that came from the comics like the Hulkbuster. Don’t be surprised if Stark secretly has his most advanced suit ever ready to go but mothballed, which rolls out for AVENGERS 2. Shhh!

    I guess the difference between Marvel and Hasbro (another studio which makes movies to sell toys), is that I enjoy Marvel’s movies. Nice imagination, entertaining (at the very worst Marvel is still watchable), all that but I’ll never buy a Marvel toy because you know, I’m a grown up. Of course if I was a kid when these movie came out, sure I would buy up those toys. Hasbro’s movies I just don’t enjoy as supposed entertainments. Mindless toy ads of little value. If you’re gonna do a toy ad*, entertain me ok?

    Charles – when Joe Carnahan pitched his Daredevil movie last year, he said that these sort of movies were the only ones to break into the mainstream with and get funding for the movies you really want to make. For now currently in this epoch, they’re your break into Hollywood top ranks like Roger Corman used to be film school grads’ cherry popping into the industry.

    Then again Ben Affleck has made himself a name as a director without resorting to those films. (Turned down JUSTICE LEAGUE if reports are right.) Its not the only way, just an easy, popular one currently.

    *=You know I wonder if the toys are why WB has never produced a Wonder Woman film. What good is a superhero movie if it doesn’t sell toys, specifically would boys buy toys of a female hero? I could see that being the reason why they held back. (Yet WB did toys for a pretty adult movie like THE DARK KNIGHT, so go figure.)

  24. Mr. Majestyk – right on. Hell Black already has got his dream project (his Doc Savage movie) ready to go finally over at Sony. When he’s done making billions with his AVENGERS movies (I’m certain he’ll do all 3), I wonder what project Whedon will cash his billion dollars chips on?

    Speaking of PAIN & GAIN, I still consider it an interesting failure. But mate, more and more, I admire that movie actually exists and what it was gunning for. We witnessed something….special. Special as in remarkable or special as in special needs classes, I don’t know. But it was interesting.

  25. Mr. M, I agree the success of IM3 should allow Black to make more personal projects and that is a good thing, but I think IM3 is not the best example of his strengthens as a film maker/story teller and that is not Black’s fault it is because when you make a Marvel studios film you are doing it in service of the Marvel brand and properties and you are limited by working within that frame work and continuity.

    RRA, you and I have already gone back and forth on this subject in the DEATH RACE 2000 thread and we just going to have to agree to disagree about your Marvel Studios – Roger Corman comparison.

  26. Charles – Who ever said IM3 was the best example of Black as a filmmaker? It’s making a billion bucks, got good reviews. Hollywood tends to pay attention to little shit like that. You might be taking this too personally. SPIDER-MAN wasn’t Sam Raimi’s best movie or best “example of his stregthens”, but that was good for his career. As was BATMAN for Mr. Tim Burton. And this for Mr. Black.

    Plus it could’ve incredibly backfired. Should I point that out? Look at what BATTLESHIP did for Peter Berg when he tried and failed to make a Michael Bay-esque blockbuster.

  27. I really enjoyed this movie, the overall theme of it was kind of like a Nolan Batman where it was about Tony more than Iron Man, re-evaluating who he is, etc. And I loved seeing him stripped down to almost nothing and figuring things out like a MacGyver/James Bond type. I thought it was really ballsy to use the Mandarin like that, they sacrificed the comic book character to use as a great plot device/twist. It’s even more ingenious because they had him in the trailers and on character posters as this ultimate badass so you would buy into it. I love comics, been reading them since the early 80’s, but I’m not a purist and I had zero problems with it unlike a lot of comic book people did. Maybe because I didn’t care that much about the Mandarin, I mean if they did that with the Joker, I guess I would have been pissed off, too. Maybe because I love film more than comics (as much as I love comics) and ultimately just want a good tale told above all else. Comic book characters always get reinvented/retooled anyway.

  28. Vern said: “Also the song played during this scene was pants-pissingly funny to a bunch of people in the theater, so look out for that one, people who are familiar with whatever song that is.”

    It might have been funny because it’s one of those hit techno songs from the 90’s that now sounds very dated. In the vein of “A Night at the Roxbury”.

  29. RRA, I take no personal offense so don’t worry about it. I think the big difference between IM3 and the Rami SPIDERMAN, or the Burton or Nolan BATMAN films are that IM3 is part of a franchise tied to the Marvel universe as presented by Marvel studios. SPIDERMAN is not Rami’s best work as a film maker (or his best Spiderman film for that matter), but it is a great movie that was elevated by having Rami at the helm, and Rami wasn’t handcuffed with someone standing over his shoulder making sure that his work was in line with their vision for the Marvel studios brand. It was a less restrictive creative environment. The same could be said about Burton & Nolan’s Batman films. They were not tied to a larger universe or continuity. The stories they told were allowed to stand on their own instead of working in service of growing a brand or a cinematic universe and continuity they had no control over. I liked the little touches Black brought to the Iron Man franchise, but IM3 could have been made by any number of directors and it would have been just as good possibly even better. At this point directing a Marvel studios film is like directing an episode of a big budget successful TV show, it looks good on your résumé and I am sure it is enjoyably work, but you are limited on what you as an artist can bring to the project. In other words if you get a job directing an episode of a show like CSI there is only so much you as an artist can do with in the established mythology and aesthetic of that show because it is an established brand with an established audience who have an established set of expectations (see QT’s CSI episodes as an example).

  30. One thing I appreciated about the film that I haven’t seen anybody mention is the fact that they resisted the urge to include that Black Sabbath song. I’m sure there was a note from the studio execs to include that because it was in the last two movies and “it’s basically his theme song” or whatever. I’m glad they avoided that cheesiness.

  31. Iron man three is by far my favorite of the series, (discounting the parts where scarlet johanssen’s ass was in leather in part 2, which I consider to be the reason film was invented).

    But my god, is this movie morally odious or what? First off, our hero straight up murders people in the face like 80 times. Second off, this movie is %100 about drone warfare and thinks that drone warfare is %100 awesome.

    And then there’s the scene where our hero straight up says out loud, “what I am about to do is first degree murder. This is not justice, it is murder. Fuck international law.” I was waiting for stark to flip it, like “that’s what you want me to say, mister mandarin. But I’m better than that, better than you. I will not commit first degree murder, but I will avenge my friend by bringing you to justice.” But he never does that. Tony stark just threatens to commit international war crimes and were supposed to think that it’s badass.

    Oh, oh! And the bit where drone warfare killing innocent civilian women and children (and adult men) is played for laughs. Multiple times.

    I really enjoy the iron man movies when they are about tony stark and am utterly fascinated by them as a historical document of modern politics. Swear to job, this shit’s gonna be studied in film schools 20 years from now the same way we look at soviet propaganda now.

  32. I think I missed the parts of the movie where drone warfare killing innocent civilian women and children (and adult men) is played for laughs.

  33. When The iron patriot goes in to the wrong house multiple times and gets phone calls. They play it for laughs. And it’s funny because we Sent a billi

  34. Yeah, which parts were civilians killed by Iron Man and friends? I remember people blown up on Air Force 1 and in the other bombings, but those were done by the villains.

    RRA, the comparisons you give are all cliffhangers, where the point is “How is he going to get out of this one?” This is not a cliffhanger, this is played as a character evolution, that he has learned a lesson and grown as a person. And that would be more powerful if it was 1) set up better and 2) believed by anyone to have any kind of permanence.

    To be fair I do think there is an off chance that Downey will want a smaller role in Avengers 2 where he is just their technology guy and doesn’t become Iron Man. But probly not.

    In the Black/Pearce interview on the Empire podcast they mention an earlier draft where Pepper wants to keep the Extremis powers and Tony sacrifices his suits as an act of solidarity to convince her not to. That sounds way better to me, but of course in the existing movie she only has the powers for a minute or two of screen time so they’d have to rework it considerably to develop that whole thing.

    Apparently there was a 3 hour 15 minute cut of the movie, so that explains why alot of the story seems so choppy.

  35. When The iron patriot goes in to the wrong house multiple times and gets phone calls. They play it for laughs. And it’s funny because we Sent a billion dollar weapon to the wrong place! Get it? And we abdicate responsibility because the iron patriot doesn’t actually kill them. He just makes slave labor jokes.

    So, the joke is an acknowledgement that we’re bombing the shit out of civilians with ever increasing ease, and the punchline is a dismissal of the human cost. See it’s funny because you assume that brown people are terrorists, but they’re not! And then you think that the iron patriot is going to kill them all, but then he doesn’t, you know, because we fight wars ethically and stuff.

    The reality of that situation is that we would send a missile to that locale and kill everyone in the building by mistake. It makes no sense for the iron patriot to even be there.

  36. Also, why no ACR for this film? Most of it was pretty good, but during the final battle I have literally no idea what all those iron man drones were even doing. They were just buzzing around at random.

  37. I want to see the 3 hour and 15 minute Shane Black cut of IM3.

  38. This Tony Stark movie was kinda entertaining but ultimately pretty lame. I do like the fortune cookie speech and the fact that the film climaxed in a standard 80’s location-the docks! Black is a man out of time and out of armor.

  39. Brimstone said: “I think in the comics Extremis is injected armor so that’s being set up.”

    Didn’t even think about that, interesting…

  40. I’m not saying I’m giving up on the Super Hero movies for good, I just need a break for a while

  41. Vern said: “RRA, the comparisons you give are all cliffhangers, where the point is “How is he going to get out of this one?” This is not a cliffhanger, this is played as a character evolution, that he has learned a lesson and grown as a person. And that would be more powerful if it was 1) set up better and 2) believed by anyone to have any kind of permanence.”

    I guess the cliffhanger is… What’s going to make him put on the suit again for “Avengers 2” or even “Iron Man 4”, although the real cliffhanger is “Will RDJ resign another contract to make both of those happen?”

  42. Knox Harrington

    May 11th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Speaking of toying with action movie conventions, why the hell has Vern never reviewed MacGruber?

  43. Good points by Tawdry. I also like this best of all the Iron mans. Another place I cringed was when Mandarin threatened to kill that hostage unless the president phoned him, but then killed him anyway as if to say “ha only a coward would even contemplate diplomacy”.

    Also I live in South London and the Kingsley line about his Hamlet being “the toast of Croydon” got the biggest laugh from the audience. Quality joke amongst many. Hopefully Shane Black can make whatever he wants after this.

  44. Actually, Tawdry, you have it backwards. If anything, Iron Man 3 is ballsily liberal. It’s saying the caricatured “other” bad guy, the Osama bin laden types of the world, which get eaten up by the media, are not the one’s you have to worry about. It’s the corporate think tanks and weapons manufacturers pulling the strings.

  45. Except that a weapons manufacturer is also the hero. And his privatized military force is more effective than that of the government.

    Films that show corruption within the system that is also solved by the system reinforce the validity of the status quo. The message is that we don’t need to keep a close eye on the military industrial complex, it self-regulates and will ultimately protect us by way of a horatio Alger style rugged individual “job creator!” Because as we know, people who inherent vast sums of money are prone to altruism and concern for the “lower classes.”

  46. Knox- I think Vern has explained that he doesn’t generally review comedies because sense of humour is a very subjective thing and it’s hard to really do an appraisal of comedy that everyone can relate to in the same way.

  47. Darth Irritable

    May 11th, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Ah but Stu, MacGruber should be the exception.

  48. Knox Harrington

    May 12th, 2013 at 3:56 am

    I think Vern might make an exception for action comedies, like he did with Cop Out.

    Don’t know if he’s really into the SNL crowd, but I think MacGruber is funny as hell. That obsession with KFBR392 is one of the most disturbing and hilarious things I’ve ever seen.

  49. I remember him saying he liked MACGRUBER before, but it’s such an out and out goofy parody compared to more action comedies. I know he reviewed BLACK DYNAMITE, but he seems to think there’s enough straight forward blaxploitation stuff to review it on it’s own terms.

  50. RRA – My guess is that if you compare Guardians of the Galaxy to Green Lantern, it will likely show why Marvel has bested DC in most full length live action movies. Obviously I’m making an educated guess, but it seems like Guardians is going to end up being the epic space opera that Green Lantern should have been. Marvel knows how to tweak their movies just so in order to avoid boring the audience. This is unfortunate for me, because I’m one of the few people who are actually partial to DC.

    Tawdry – There’s some really weird stuff in the Iron Man movies in general. At best, this film is just a sublimation of all of our post-9/11 anxieties. Terrorism becomes an exciting plot point, and the violence is strangely blood free. The filmmakers get to indulge in a terrible Eastern stereotype while sidestepping it at the last minute. (To be fair, I’m glad they made The Mandarin into a red herring, because the alternative would have been worse). Tony Stark’s speech about his actions being about revenge rather than politics, as if the two are mutually exclusive was probably the most politically troubling. To me, it’s interesting how much dancing around these real life subjects the film has to engage in. But as a piece of entertainment, I think it’s the most accomplished of the Iron Man movies.

  51. A fun film, good characters and very imaginative and well constructed action scenes.

    It has the usual issues for a super hero story in that the scale of the power of the characters often doesn’t make much sense in that they are weak when they need to be and strong when they need to be for the story. So you get a lot of “if he could do that, whey didn’t he do it then?”

    For me the suit army at the end was just a bit too far. It had a lot of entertainment pay off, but I wish they could have set it up better.

    Thanks for the review!

  52. RBatty024 – I’ve said it before, but the fact we’re getting a GOTG movie before Wonder Woman film is just sad and hilarious (in a sad way). But after GREEN LANTERN bombed, WB really lost their spine with their own properties unless Nolan seems to be involved.

    But yeah unlike the Internet, I love both Marvel and DC. In fact if MAN OF STEEL does well, forget a Justice League movie: it might get Guillermo Del Toro’s Justice League Dark movie produced, his all-star DC/Vertigo team of magical/supernatural heroes in Constantine, Swamp Thing, Dead Man*, etc. That actually intrigues me more to be quite honest. So yeah if MOS (and Del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM of course) make money, then that might happen.

    So many DC characters/properties could work as films or on TV. I still surprised that after Harry Potter and Twilight and all these young adult fantasy/sci-fi-flavored properties (including X-MEN to a certain extent) made big money that WB never looked at their books and thought, “gee we could cash in too with Teen Titans?” I’ve made that rant before so I won’t go on.

    *=Which surprisingly never became a TV show. That screams TV if you ask me. Same with Robinson’s Starman. Hell I’m also kinda surprised SANDMAN was never adapted for HBO. Go figure.

  53. The problem, I think, is that DC has no power when it comes to its own films. It was always owned by Time-Warner, so they never had Marvel’s leverage when developing their properties, since it’s always going to be Warner Bros. who makes them, even if Warners has no interest in the. So since the executives don’t have to sweet talk anybody into signing on the dotted line, they feel free to do whatever the fuck they want, despite having only a minimal understanding of what makes these characters popular. Marvel, however, used the studios to get financing for its early projects and then became its own master. As long as DC is still just a bauble for whatever stuffed shirt happens to be the head of Warner Bros. at any given time, we’ll never have a clear, unified strategy for a DC film universe.

  54. Mr. M – That’s the situation in a nutshell. I guess it could be worse. Remember when Cannon Films got the rights to Spider-Man and they never heard of him and tried to turn that it into a giant spider monster movie?

    I can’t remember who reported it (Bleeding Cool?), but I remember last summer after AVENGERS dominated that WB sent out allegedly people quote on quote covert out to comic book stores as research, to catch up to Marvel. Which seems smart, right? If you don’t know this shit you own, find out from the nerds on the ground what they like/hate and what they would like to see or not. Anyway in one instance at one store, one of the WB guys openly brings up Ant Man with the people he’s talking with and calls it the dumbest fucking idea ever. Then he found himself horrified when the people at the store actually couldn’t wait for the Ant-Man movie.

    I doubt that story is true, but it’s still hilarious.

  55. RBatty:

    I think Iron Man is the last major post-9/11 film (with Taken or possibly Cloverfield as the first post-post-9/11 film to have any impact.)

    And just to be clear, I really enjoyed this movie. It can’t compete with scarlet Johannsen in leather for visceral thrills, but it’s certainly the best Iron Man film as (non-sexualized) entertainment. And just because it makes me queasy on a personal level doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the poise of the thing on a surface level.

  56. I don´t know anything about Ant-Man,never heard of him before.But it sure sounds stupid, at the same time fascinating.

    Sounds more interesting than MAN OF STEEL both by title and content alone. With content I mean with MAN OF STEEL I know what it´s going to be, but I have no fucking idea what a movie about human ants is going to turn out like,or at least I´d like to think so.

    In my mind I predict ANT-MAN will be such a commercial success that the franchise will branch out to another species spin-off with mammals instead of insects, such as KOALA-MAN or KOMODO-DRAGON-MAN or *insert amazing mammal*

    But I suspect it´s just another typical (except for the antpart) superhero,right…? Damn! Well a man can dream.

  57. Wait a minute, komodo-dragons are not mammals. My bad. But they are cool.

  58. I really liked this, although I have many of the same issues as everybody else.

    I also had a minor issue that I don’t think anybody has mentioned here… The post credits scene. I really liked the scene between Stark and Banner and it playfully answered the age old movie narration question of: “Who the fuck is the narrator telling this story to?”, but it sort of screwed up the tradition for these marvel post credit scenes. In previous movies, this was the chance to set up something that is coming up. Iron Man 1 had Fury teasing the Avengers, Incredible Hulk had Stark talking Avengers with Gen Ross, IM3 teased Thor, etc. This one, while actually a better scene than those previous ones, left me feeling empty because I’ve come to expect a scene that had me walking out of the theater anticipating the next film in the Marvel Universe. It’s a funny thing, because of my expectations not being filled, a perfectly serviceable fun end tag became a little bit of a let down.

  59. Tawdry, I think you have it backwards. The Iron Patriot being sent to invade innocent people in Pakistan is satire, it is making the exact point that you agree with, you just choose to be offended by it as if it’s serious instead of recognizing that it’s on the same side as you. It’s a tiny bit of Verhoeven smuggled in here, I think it’s very clear that the movie is against sending red white and blue robots to bust down doors of innocent Arabs, and is rubbing our face in it. But I do agree that the joke about him accidentally rescuing them from slave labor softens the blow.

  60. I did like MacGruber. I considered reviewing it and writing about its references to RAMBO III and Chuck Norris movies and stuff but I guess I didn’t think I had enough insights into that to be worthwhile. Really funny movie though.

  61. WB and DC need to put one person in charge of the WB/DC films with strong knowledge of the dc univrse, kind of like what Marvel has done with Whedon. I think they should reach out to Bruce Tim. He has a proven track record of success with the WB/DC animated division and he knows and loves the DC U.

  62. Putting one person in charge of the DC movies is a great idea as long as security has a picture of Grant Morrison at the front desk with a Post-It labelled “SHOOT TO KILL” on it.

  63. I’m pretty sure Grant Morrison’s batshit insanity has rendered him impervious to conventional weaponry. He’d probably phase out of space-time or something.

  64. Fine with me. I don’t want him dead, I just want to ensure that he has no input whatsoever into the filmmaking process.

  65. I second Bruce Timm. Hell, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is probably my favorite Batman movie. I enjoy some of Grant Morrison’s work (obviously a lot of it is just a mess). Still, I don’t see a movie studio allowing him any sort of input any time soon. The problem with a lot of DC’s properties is that they likely work much better as comics than as films. A lot of their characters go back to the 30s and 40s, and they’re more like characters out of mythology than they are action heroes. It would be best for DC to focus on slightly less popular characters who have few superpowers, like Green Arrow. (But after Green Lantern and Green Hornet bombed, I don’t think WB will give the go ahead to a character with Green in his name).

  66. That and Green Arrow already has his own TV show (minus the green, for obvious reasons).

  67. Shoot- Ant-Man isn’t part ant or anything. He just shrinks down his size…and happens to have a helmet that can allow him to command ants to do his bidding, so he can weaponise them or just ride them around when tiny. I’ve explained in another thread here that his character is a bit original in that he has a MAJOR inferiority complex because his scientific discoveries and applications are kinda mocked and he’s not taken very seriously by most people, and it’s lead to him having psychological breakdowns, and inventing the Ultron robot which gains sentience, turns evil and ends up being one of the Avengers’ most recurring villains. But I do think Ant-Man could be an exciting SF action movie based on that test footage reel that was online a while ago showing him fighting a bunch of guys and constantly shrinking and re-enlarging while fighting them. Could make for a cool 3D movie, especially with Edgar Wright’s zoom and pan-heavy filmatism.

    Here’s the AGENTS OF SHIELD teaser, btw

  68. I don’t think it’s like verhoven at all. At the end of robocop, delta city is still on the way and ocp still plans to make more robocops and Ed-209s. At the end

  69. I don’t think it’s like verhoven at all. At the end of robocop, delta city is still on the way and ocp still plans to make more robocops and Ed-209s. At the end of total recall, Arnold has an aneurism and dies. At the end of starship troopers, the nazi regime is still in power and bloodthirsty as ever.

    In iron man, there is a bad weapons manufactorer who is defeated by a good weapons manufactorer who buys the former company and continues to develop the dangerous tech. But no irony in this.

    And I the joke of the Pakistani scenes is; the military is ineffectual when compared to the lone actions of a totally deregulated, unsupervised private mercinary who openly admits that he’s cool with first degree murder and political assassinations.

    Again, I liked the film, but it’s a horror story, ethically speaking.

  70. So who’s seen the AGENTS OF SHIELD teaser?



    I won’t say who the fanboys currently think that guy in the cloak allegedly is. But if they’re actually right….oh Jesus Yes.

    About time he appeared in the flesh. (Film or TV.)

  71. DAMN I missed Stu putting that clip up already. Sorry man.

    Still looks promising.

  72. DC actually does have someone in charge of developing movies and TV shows, and it’s Geoff Johns. Bruce Timm I’m sure was happy being the guy overseeing all the DC animated properties, but he is taking a break from that for some secret project. I’m surprised no one said Paul Dini, but he actually had his hand at developing a live action Batman movie (Batman Beyond) and wasn’t very fulfilled by the experience, says he doesn’t really need to be involved in live action Batman.

    Most of this I learned from Kevin Smith’s podcast Fatman On Batman. I’ve never been a fan of Smith, but him just interviewing people about Batman has become my favorite podcast.

    I hope DC doesn’t try to imitate the Marvel model too closely, but I’m okay with them trying to create a unified movie universe, perhaps somewhat influenced by what they’ve done with The New 52.

  73. Except Tony Stark is an EX-weapons manufacturer – the crux of the first movie is him developing a conscience once he’s kidnapped and sees the death and destruction that his weapons and military contracts have caused firsthand. He ends up creating the Iron Man armor to round them up and destroy them.- In the first movie, there is contention between him and Obadiah when he decides to drop the military contracts, and the end of that film is basically a reformed Tony Stark vs an amoral war profiteer. In the Avengers movie, he’s working on a green energy project, is a self-defined humanitarian, etc.

  74. Infra-Man – I can’t remember where I read it, but I seem to remember Johns somewhere complaining (or somebody saying Johns was complaning to them) about how he was completey locked out of Nolan’s Batman. Then GL, alot of those involved complained about studio notes and inteference and blah blah.

    This ties back to what Majestyk mentioned. Its nice and all to have a “boss” of this stuff, but if he’s got as much influence and power as Marvel mascot Stan Lee does within his own company, what use is he really? The only guy who probably could run DC carte blanche and not become a token is probably Nolan, WB’s Steven Spielberg really in that “No” is not usually a word you say to him. But he has zero interest in this stuff, so nevermind.

    Its like when Fox announced Mark Millar would run their Marvel properties and coordinate all that shit with a master plan or whatever. Then Bryan Singer shortly afterwards said he’s never talked to him, just when hes about to starting shooting his new X-Men movie. Does this mean anything or simply Millar’s job is post DAYS OF FUTURE PAST? I don’t know.

    You know I do wonder what Marvel would’ve done if they had gotten back control of Spider-Man and Fantastic Four and so forth. Would they have bothered with Guardians of the Galaxy and done FF rebooted instead? It makes you wonder, in a I’m bored and want to kill time sort of way.

    As crazy as this might sound, I could actually see them in this alternate timeline still making that Spider-Man movie last year or where abouts. Whether its a good idea or not, they would basically INCREDIBLE HULK it in doing a reboot, pseudo-sequel so they could get one of their top draws into their own movie continuity. Hell probably shoehorn in the idea that he was partly inspired to go into the costumed business after the Avengers saved NYC. In the comics, Captain America was his favorite superhero. Maybe he modeled his webslingers on Stark’s own technical ingenuity, like how aspiring artists copy their favorites in their doodles? Hell I could see another shoehorned scene in IRON MAN 3 with somebody watching YouTube clips of that “Spider Dude” swinging around.

    Dtroyt – I know what you mean. Its like comic books back when I was a kid (still do I guess) where the last page would be a cliffhanger/teaser for the next issue, the next nemesis, whatever. What you wrote is exactly why I believed that rumor that Stark was going to fly into outer space and meet Guardians of the Galaxy. I mean made sense with the Marvel playbook so far, right?

    Latino Review, like a broken clock they’re right sometimes.

  75. So, those 50 iron man suits…they aren’t weapons? And didn’t stark industries make war machine/iron patriot? Or did they get Ben affleck to reverse engineer it and then wipe his memory?

  76. I liked it a lot. I love most of these Marvel films because they are fun.

    However, Vern does have an achiles heel after all. He likes Macgruber. What an unfunny movie that may or may not have ruined my marriage.

  77. Knox Harrington

    May 13th, 2013 at 4:56 am

    What Rymar was saying was that Stark no longer makes weapons for profit. Come on, Tawdry, you’re just looking for something to argue about now.

    Shit, Sternshein, MacGruber ruined your marriage? Was it that awkward sex scene that did it?

  78. Knox Harrington

    May 13th, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Sorry. That was mean.

  79. Darth Irritable

    May 13th, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Tawdry, am I missing something? When did Arnold have an aneurysm and die in Total Recall? Was there an alternate ending or something?

  80. Off-topic (too late), anybody got any thoughts about 24’s return?

  81. RRA – I thought that was just a rumour.

  82. Shoot – Deadline reported this morning that Sutherland has signed on, 24 is coming back as a limited series.


  83. But since Kiefers other show didn´t turn out so good apparanetly,he will probably agree to it. Not easy being typecast as tv´s most ruthless actionhero because it has become really hard in seeing him in different kind of roles where he is not murdering suspects or just generally treating people like dirt.

  84. I’m a bit wary of AGENTS OF SHIELD. There’s a good chance it’ll stumble the same way previous shows of its kind have – trying to do a weekly superhero show on a TV budget. That means doing week-by-week villains with very budget friendly powers (“hey, that guy has mind control, or can transform himself to look just like one of the main cast!”). No chucking cars or blasting city blocks with energy beams. And if they do, they do it very conservatively and save it for big episodes. Also, new “mutants” come and go quickly to suit whatever story they want to tell in 45 minutes. ALPHAS, SMALLVILLE, HEROES, BIRDS OF PREY, the list goes on.

    Hopefully Whedon and the others involved manage to sidestep that and finally create a superhero show I can give a shit about. Maybe they even pull off the miracle of tying the show into the wider Marvel film universe continuity, and mine characters and storylines from the comic books instead of creating some half-assed one-off villains to pad the episodes.

    I said I was a bit of tired of the Marvel movie formula, but if done well, I can appreciate a TV show that really digs deep into the Marvel universe, and takes it seriously (I don’t mean it can’t be funny, I just don’t want it to be reduced as a joke). Shit, a twelve-year old me would have exploded if it had known there’s going to be a series of successful big budget Marvel movies that are all interconnected, and will have a TV show to back them up.

    I want to be cautiously optimistic. Whedon has proven he can do TV, but bargain bins are littered with the corpses of terrible superhero shows.

  85. Knox Harrington

    May 13th, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Hopefully the show will be a good testing ground for more obscure Marvel characters and audiences’ reactions to them.

    I can see a character like Moon Knight being very popular as a regular guest star.

    Then again, they could fuck it up by casting some mediocre TV actor in an iconic role and completely ruin any chances of that character making his way to the big screen.

  86. HT – Its the same as any of these movies: It could fail, and you can see how it could fail. But it could absolutely work too. You don’t know if you don’t try, and Marvel/Disney wants to cash in while they’re hot and anything connected to AVENGERS apparently touches gold. Its a risk worth taking.

    I mean that’s been the whole idea behind the Marvel movie strategy, that these movies basically advertise each other in this synergetic corporate scheme. We’ll see if the Thor and Captain America sequels get a bump from AVENGERS like IRON MAN 3 did by making a billion bucks within 3 weeks. Or AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. for that matter, with that guy who somehow survived getting speared through the heart this side of Duke in the G.I. JOE cartoon movie.

    For better or worse, this reminds me of YOUNG INDIANA JONES. As a kid I remember being so hyped up for that show because holy shit, a weekly Indiana Jones TV show. Yes! Then you see it, and……..really? I rewatched a few episodes when History Channel reaired them, and god what a great concept that was basically done lamely. I get it Mr. Lucas, you wanted to entertain the kids while giving them history lessons. Noble idea, until stories stop and go with the lectures*. I mean nobody will ever confuse the Indiana Jones movies as history lessons, but they give out slices of real (and pseudo) history that fire up your imaginations and get you interested in researching the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail and whatever.

    And for the record, I like ARROW. Maybe too grounded at times for my taste (because I do want some ridiculous shit, like the boxing glove arrow) but its an enjoyable serial. Plus I like that he’s a Punisher, no qualms about morality of killing as a pseudo-psychopath.

    Plus ARROW does remind one that TV has one advantage over film: It can be like a comic in that you can be allowed to develop relationships beyond broad strokes and nourish them into full maturity if done right. I mean in the first season, ARROW has set the stage for how this whacko gets his base of operations, his cover stories, his little team of fellow vigilantes, his adversaries who’ve been defeated and want another shot, etc. AGENTS OF SHIELD will have that same opportunity.

    And yes, all those Marvel characters that could appear that won’t get their own movies or otherwise might not get into the movies. Of course.

    *=Though to be fair YIJ had one really good episode, when young Indy meets up with Pancho Villa (which the last INDY movie referenced). High concept, young man learns the world (and revolutions) aren’t white and black, more greyish, hard-learned knowledge that would make Indy the world weary badass he would become later.

  87. I wonder if Marvel will get their film stars to cameo in the TV show right around when their movie launches as a promotion.

    “Hey, that new Thor film is coming out next week, watch Thor appear this week on AGENTS OF SHIELD too!”

    Push that corporate synergy to the limit.

  88. Knox Harrington – Or for that matter, She-Hulk. She could potentially steal the episodes she’s in considering by name audiences would expect the Hulk with boobs, but instead a near complete contradiction.

    And hey who knows, maybe the law firm she works for is owned by that Matt whats his name blind dude from Hell’s Kitchen?

  89. It’s the new Whedon show. I’m watching it. The fact that it has superheroes in it is inconsequential. I’d watch it if it were about a team of botanists, since I’d know they’d be sexy, funny, well-written botanists.

  90. HT – Knowing them they’ll try to go as “economical” (aka cheap) as possible so instead of Thor it’ll be probably be Natalie Portman’s friend whats her name who has that CBS sitcom I’ve never watched. Especially true with that recent report of the Marvel cast members allegedly teaming up to go to war against Disney for raises.

    But you never know. I remember as a kid when STAR TREK VI came out, Leonard Nimoy around that same time did a (terrific) guest stint on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION to help promote the movie.

  91. RRA – Since the cast is up for re-negotiation, maybe in exchange for those raises, Marvel will write cross-promotional TV appearances into their new contracts. They already have video game voice work in their current contracts, so I don’t see a minute or two cameo a few times a TV season would be too much of a sticking point when getting a several million pay bump.

  92. Interesting note worth considering: Sometime back Kevin Feige said somewhere that Sony and Fox only has “film” rights to those Marvel characters. The implication from that statement was that supposedly if Disney wanted to, they could put X-Men or Spider-Man or whoever on a TV show with those characters they own the film rights to, as long as they don’t pop up in the movies themselves.

    Which they’ve done already obviously with their cartoons. I wonder if they’re arrogant and ballsy enough to do that for the live-action SHIELD?

  93. Infra-Man, I know that Geoff Johns has that title but I don’t think he wields the same type of influence or power in the WB/DC film and TV world that Whedon does with Marvel Studio (some of that has to do with how Marvel has their own studio versus DC’s arrangement with the WB). At the end of the day if there is a disagreement with Johns and WB, Johns is going to lose. Also, I like Johns work in comics, but based on the quality of THE ARROW I would say that he is not the guy to guide the DC film universe.

    I am going to go on record and say I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruce Tim’s secret project he is working on is the JLA movie.

    I also like FAT MAN ON BAT man. Say what you will about Smith as a film maker but I think he does a great job as an interviewer.

  94. AGENTS OF SHIELD seems more like a spy show set in the Marvel universe, mixed with a little of the X-Files (“We investigate the cases SHIELD hasn’t classified yet”), rather than a proper superhero show, so I’d base my expectations around that and expect more focus on the street level stuff that doesn’t get featured in the movies.

    I considered tv appearances being part of contracts, but also I don’t think it’s out of the question that certain people from the movies could do guest spots, such as Thor’s Warrior Buddies (comedy episode where they come to Earth for a bender and SHIELD has to contain the damage they cause and cover it up) or even Don Cheadle…who you wouldn’t even have to have make a huge appearance, instead just dub his voice over someone wearing the suit. Though if they are going to be casting not so A-List Actors, then could we actually see my pipe dream of SCOTT ADKINS AS IRON FIST????????

  95. Only if Michael Jai White is Luke Cage. It would just be too almost-but-not-quite-perfect to have one without the other.

    I would also accept Terry Crews. Actually, he might be better for the part, but I prefer the synergy of pairing two DTV titans on a big-budget mainstream network TV show.


    I read this comment and blacked out. When I came to, I was standing in a dojo wearing a pair of Hawaiian print gym shorts and a white v-neck cotton t-shirt. I was barefoot. 13 men in black gis were spread out in front of me, unconscious. I fled back to my computer when I heard sirens.

    Back at the computer, I reread the comment. I seemed to be ok. No blackouts. I began to compose a reply. Just typing the sentence “SCOTT ADKINS IRON FIST” made my hands start shaking. A bead of sweat formed on my upper lip. Could it be? Would I actually be lucky enough to see Undisputed 2’s principles reunite in a Power Man and Iron Fist film? My head was throbbing. I needed to lie down. I may have been exposed to a meme that was too powerful for my neural framework. These things happen.

  97. ^ This guy. I like this guy.

  98. I would love to see guys as MJW and Adkins doing roles in superhero-movies. Doing parts that actually took advantage of their strengths. That way they will be exposed to a much larger audience then the usual crowd (us) who are used to the UNDISPUTEDs and the UNISOLs and perhaps getting more recognition that way.

  99. So I wasn’t the only one fancasting White/Adkins HEROES FOR HIRE movie/show? Good to know.

    Stu – Or even a WW2 flashback episode (without Chris Evans)?

  100. Tony stark as a concept is one awkward rape fantasy scene away from being an Ayn Rand protagonist. The fact that he runs a private military force not-for-profit doesn’t actually negate that. The films have some surface level liberal mindedness, but they are libertarian at their core. And I don’t think most of us like Rand around here. Except when Vern reviews The Fountainhead (aka, his best review/comment thread ever.)

  101. I vote for Gareth Evans to direct the Scott Adkins & MJW: Luke Cage & Iron Fist dream project.

  102. The interwebz are rumoring that J. August Richards, a.k.a. the one black guy Whedon knows, is Cage. Which would be kind of a bummer, since he was always the weak link of the ANGEL cast. He’s likable but lacking any of the toughness and edge the part would require. Kind of like the inner city vampire killer he played on ANGEL. You can’t just put a doorag on any old black dude from the suburbs and turn him into a straight G.

  103. I liked the movie more than Vern did, but I’m a Shane Black fan.

  104. “one awkward rape fantasy scene away from being an Ayn Rand protagonist.”

    Tawdry – I thought that was THE INCREDIBLES?

  105. So is J. August Richards supposed to be Cage on the AGENTS OF S.H.E.I.L.D. show?

  106. Mr. Majestyk – If they’re right, SWEET CHRISTMAS!

    Also I like that apparently in that promo, Stark Tower can be seen still with the “A” left. I like that.

  107. Knox Harrington

    May 13th, 2013 at 11:13 am

    J. August Richards as Luke Cage? That would be the dumbest thing Whedon ever did.

    Cage is the kinda guy who can trade blows with the Hulk. I can’t imagine anyone other than White who can deliver both the physical presence and the badass persona that the character demands.

    Hell, I’d rather have Nic Cage in a mocap suit than J. August fucking Richards.

  108. RRA: “Brad Bird:Some pieces compared the viewpoint to the objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand. I thought that was silly and the writers were humorless. I was into Rand for about six months when I was 20, but you outgrow that narrow point of view. Some compromise is necessary in life.”

  109. This film is the Batman Forever of the series. Not very good movie with corny humour and a plot that makes no sense that gets a pass from fans and makes a gazillion dollars. The director/writer/producers will be given free reign on the next on and it will be a disaster. Then people will look back on this on and see where all the problems started.


  110. Hey gang remember when I said some people online called IM3 campy and this was met with disbelief?

    Thanks to pheteesh, now I have proof.

  111. Funny, I actually prefer superhero films that balance real characters with camp. It’s difficult to do, and I only think Spiderman 2 really managed to balance out the camp elements with the soap opera elements. It’s not that I have a problem with the ultra serious route like Nolan’s Batman movies. I just think including some camp is a better reflection of comic books in general. And I like it when the director isn’t running away from a “disreputable” source material.

  112. Overall, I thought this one had it’s entertaining moments and concepts here and there, but was easily the worst of the franchise and the Marvel Films movies as a whole. Just way to uneven. For all the criticsm I saw lobbed at IM2 in that direction, it managed to keep me engaged the entire run time. This one, not so much. And Shane Black isn’t as competent an action director to boot. He’s no Greengrass U alumnus. But there was enough of that shove the camera into the combatants armpits tactic to notice. I found Fav’s style to be much crisper and choreographically imaginative.

    With regards to “The Incredible Hulk”, I gotta say friendo, I’m a little puzzled why what seemed to me the standard reluctant hero/warrior trope came off for you as some distracting unresolvable paradox. I guess it’s more so about whether or not the particular execution of said trope works for ya or not. I found it to be well executed and appreciated some of the subtle tactics of the execution. Like the scene where he cuts his finger while working in the bottling factory assembly line, and immediately whips a tube of crazy glue out of his chest pocket to boy-scout suture it. It dawned on me that the crazy glue was in his pocket for exactly that eventuality. That that’s how tight a razor’s edge existence this guy is eeking out. Likewise with the heart rate monitor bleeping bedroom scene. It’s not that he knows that that particular form of excitement will trigger an incident. He simply can’t take the chance. Just worked for me.

  113. Rogue4-
    Agree with you on the Incredible Hulk things you mentioned. Pretty much the whole first half of that movie was fascinating to me because it was packed with details of how Banner tries to keep from hulking out.

  114. ABC announced AGENTS OF SHIELD will air Tuesday at 8.

    Coulson vs NCIS, may Son of Coul survive.

  115. Also, some nerds are now speculating that cloaked black guy isn’t Luke Cage but instead Rage.

  116. Wow, that was really…expository.

  117. I guess they wanted to make sure people got an accurate idea of what it would be and not expect wall to wall superhero stuff?
    But aren’t most TV show trailer’s expositiony? Take this one for ALMOST HUMAN aka I, ROBOT: THE SERIES

  118. It’s the only trailer I’ve ever seen that seems to be deliberately trying to temper my expectations.

    Duly noted.

    I’m not too concerned, though. Whedon only had one show that had a great first season, and that’s the one that got cancelled. So you never know.

  119. Stu – Considering good portions of the Internet got butt hurt over misplaced “expectations” for IM3 set by the ads, I think Marvel is being prudent in being upfront honest about what it is.

  120. Also, look at 0:15. I speculated last year I wondered how Marvel would either deal with (or ignore) that two supposed SHIELD spies/operatives would’ve been outed by that battle…I guess we got our answer.

  121. I think Agents of SHIELD looks fun and I look forward to watching it. I will also watch it without reading the internet because the internet ruins it for everybody.

  122. I’m sad to say I was really disappointed in this one – I basically had the same story problems Vern had, and even besides that, the action wasn’t crisp enough (maybe because I saw it in 3D), the dialogue wasn’t awesome enough (this may be the only Shane Black movie where I can’t really remember any good lines), it was just too sloppy and messy, even though it was obviously more focused than the jumbled mess that was part 2. If anyone can explain what the plan of the bad guy was, or what the metal things were in the briefcase Happy grabbed, I’d appreciate it.

    I wouldn’t go as far as Pheteesh saying this is the Batman Forever of the series, but I do think it’s going to be one where people suddenly decide not to like it a year from now (I remember everyone was collectively talking about how awesome Iron Man 2 was for the first few weeks too).

    And no, I’m not one of the “butthurt” nerds mad about what happened to the Mandarin. I’ve never read the comic and in fact, I’d say the butthurt guys are pretty much outnumbered 10-1 by people who are really going out of their way to show they’re not nerds and they don’t give a shit what happened with the Mandarin. I just think it was kind of a dumb twist that kind of had no bearing on anything. You could do some minor rewrites and take out the whole Mandarin character and nothing would have changed, really.

    If anything, the whole twist made me appreciate how good the Ra’s Al Ghul twist was in Batman Begins – it made thematic sense with the whole “power of fear and theatricality” thing, it gave a real world explanation for the whole “Ra’s Al Ghul is immortal” thing, it made logical sense for the true villain to keep tabs on the world by hiding in plain sight, and also used clever casting because we’ve seen Liam Neeson play the “wise mentor” a couple of times already and this put a twist on that. The twist in Iron Man 3 just seems like a weird middle-finger to fanboys- it doesn’t really thematically jive with the rest of the movie, the “real villain” is kind of weak, and they literally don’t even try to make his turn a surprise, and I don’t know, after The Dictator and The Love Guru, and all the other comedic things Kingsley’s done, the twist didn’t seem so much as a shock as a “yeah of course he’d really be acting like this”. As dumb as it was, if The Mandarin had the same twist and was played by Daniel Day Lewis I probably would have loved it.

  123. A producer for AGENTS OF SHIELD says Richards ISN’T playing Luke Cage. In addition to that character Rage, he could also be a tweaked version of Elijah Bradley, aka Patriot:
    The powers match, and the family history would fit with him having a distrust of authority and wanting to conceal his identity. I’d just eliminate the whole MGH thing and go with the blood transfusion explanation.

  124. I haven’t read all of the comments on here, but I felt like I should chip in.

    1) Saw this on Imax. Actually it is a LieMax but it’s the only IMAX-y thing we have in my country. I liked the 3D. It was quite well done.

    2) Iron Man 3 was an anti-superhero movie. I’ll explain. The point behind Batman for a long time was to show that due to the events in his life, Bruce Wayne devolves into Batman. Essentially, the more time passes, the more Batman becomes the real identity and Bruce Wayne the “suit”/mask. This idea of a superhero being his true self only when in their suit/outift was quite intelligently taken to completion in Watchmen where one of the superheroes is unable to enjoy sex unless he is having it while being the superhero and not the fake-regular-person.

    Iron Man is the exact opposite of that. Tony Stark does not hide that he is Iron Man. But due to the dangers that he’s faced (Avengers, etc) he is losing control, he feels that without a better suit (which for him becomes an infinite amount of work as he is never satisfied, hence the HUGE number of suits in THREE), without that better suit he will NEVER be GOOD ENOUGH to protect anyone.

    Essentially Tony Stark is going down the Bruce Wayne/Batman path wherein Bruce Wayne is the “mask” and Batman is the true self. Here, Tony thinks that the suit is the key, the thing that makes him a hero.

    Essentially, Stark believes that the suit itself is the hero (psychologically).

    Pepper sees that and wants him to stop. She doesn’t want him to stop being Iron Man, she wants him to realize that TONY is the hero, the Iron Man, the suit is nothing but the hero’s tool.

    THAT WAS THE POINT OF THE ENDING: Tony is the hero who is using the Suits as his tools just like Batman has his tool belt of wonderous gadgets.

    I absolutely LOVED that. Iron Man is about a playboy weapon manufacturing genius doing a 180 and turning into a hero. It’s not about a guy who is a hero only when wearing the suit, and let me be PERFECTLY clear, I am not saying that that is what Batman is, Batman is another thing entirely, one which I love and which has been well on film ONLY once (The Dark Knight), but amazingly well in Batman The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League and Justice League:Unlimited, PLUS all the AMAZING animated movies based on those shows. ALL BOW DOWN BEFORE KEVIN CONROY!

    With Batman you get the dark version of becoming a hero, the paranoia, the fear, the nightmares, the loss of self and then the redemption (of sorts). In Batman you see what Tony Stark COULD end up as if he loses control, if he lets his inner demons win instead of overwhelming them

    Pepper is constantly reminding Tony of the fact that it’s the man and not the suit. Then we get to the end. I AM IRON MAN says Stark, meaning exactly that, not him in the suit AND not the suit, HE as a person IS IRON MAN – the hero. Hence the blowing up of the suits, they were just tools, THINGS, hence Pepper asking him to stop being obsessed about building better and better and better and better (ad infinitum) versions of the suit.

    This movie had plenty of flaws, but overall it is certainly one of the BEST superhero movies ever made, much better than Dark Knight Rises or Amazing Spider-Man or Green Lantern.

  125. Oh yeah. This is the best Iron Man movie so far, for me. I found it to be better than Thor, the Hulk movies.

    I am aware of this movie’s problems, hence I’m not calling it a masterpiece and the overall product is not as emotionally engaging as I would have liked it to be, plus there’s plenty of stuff it could have used to have more of and other things of which it had TOO much of, but the overall result is I think it is one of the best superhero movies EVER made.

  126. Nice analysis, V.

  127. Previously reported elsewhere days ago, but Ghost Rider film rights have come back to Marvel. (Which I don’t understand because I thought Sony produced that GR sequel so they could keep the rights?)

  128. Maybe Sony said “fuck it” and just sold them back to Marvel sooner?

  129. Could the rumors of $$$ troubles at Sony be a reason? I mean they more or less admitted recently that for the right price, they’re willing to “consider” selling chunks of their film division like Screen Gems.

  130. Also it’s not like Ghost Rider was a big money making franchise for Sony.

  131. For me, it´s not only the best of the three Iron Man, is a great testament to the work of Shane Black.
    I think those who liked the film defended it well, but I want to refer to this:

    “I also had a minor issue that I don’t think anybody has mentioned here… The post credits scene. I really liked the scene between Stark and Banner and it playfully answered the age old movie narration question of: “Who the fuck is the narrator telling this story to?”, but it sort of screwed up the tradition for these marvel post credit scenes. In previous movies, this was the chance to set up something that is coming up. Iron Man 1 had Fury teasing the Avengers, Incredible Hulk had Stark talking Avengers with Gen Ross, IM3 teased Thor, etc. This one, while actually a better scene than those previous ones, left me feeling empty because I’ve come to expect a scene that had me walking out of the theater anticipating the next film in the Marvel Universe. It’s a funny thing, because of my expectations not being filled, a perfectly serviceable fun end tag became a little bit of a let down”.

    I think the scene post credits ARE setting up something, in a subtle, funny way.
    The best scientist in his field, dr. Banner, is helping Stark to find a cure for Pepper.
    Nobody wants a mutant wife that turns red at the slightest fight.

  132. I’m with pheteesh, Rogue4, neal2zod, and parts of Vern’s brain — this movie sucked, though it was more satisfying & interesting than IRON MAN 2, aka THE MOVIE THAT FORGOT IT WAS AN ACTION-SUPERHERO MOVIE UNTIL THE LAST 20 MINUTES.

    Sad to see a budget so squandered — not the financial budget, I mean the Awesomeness Capital that was earned by THE AVENGERS (best film of 2012) before IRON MAN 3 reminded me of the many weaknesses of the superhero-filmatism genre. For the first time since my ears were IMAXed by Christian Bale’s ridiculous gruff voice last summer, I was embarrassed to be watching a funny papers movie, realizing that some of the things the more dismissive reviewers/talkbackers say about the Marvelverse are unfortunately true.

    Gwyneth Paltrow (earning my early Best Supporting Actress nomination — killer body & gloriously expressive face) almost saved the experience (never thought I’d think that), but she’s no Hathaway and Pepper is no CatGirl.

    (grain of salt warning: I’m only a little bit of a fan of Black’s KISS KISS BANG BANG, a good-okay film that is one of the most overrated films of the century.)

  133. Off-topic, somebody I know at another message board saw MAN OF STEEL. And hated it, compared it to X3 and SPIDER-MAN 3.



  134. Does he mean movies that aren’t really that bad at all but the internet got their panties in a bunch about them for no good reason? Cool.

  135. Mr. M – Thats the words that person used, not mine.

  136. No, I got that. That’s why I said “Does HE mean” not “Do YOU mean”.

  137. How about if we tell people who try to ruin a movie a week before the movie is released to go fuck themselves?

    And how about we not post anonymous 2nd/3rd-hand mini-reviews in the “recent commentary” section of a websight that Strives For Excellence instead of striving for box office buzz measurements & undue negativity bullshit?

  138. Well,I don´t want to read the “review” but what i do know is this: I liked X3 and SPIDER-MAN 3 so if he thinks X3 and SPIDER-MAN 3 are such abominations, then I actually think Imight like MAN OF STEEL. Good job, anonymous internet-whiner. Your negativity has backfired! I am now excited!

  139. Finally got around to watching this and therefore reading Vern’s review.

    I know you haven’t got your nerd card Vern but the Iron Man Extremis comic book (trade paperback) is the only Iron Man comic I’ve ever read and it’s really rather good.

    It, being a Warren Ellis joint addresses some mature (not adult in that 1990s vertigo look we have swearing sex and violence sense) themes and comes up with a suitably extreme resolution.

    It does also come back to tickle your lobes during Tony Stark’s concluding monologue.

  140. I agree with Franchise Fred:The mandarin was the best part of the movie. Ben Kingsley and the twist to the character was pretty much the only thing that the movie has going for it, except for Blacks stamp on the piece perhaps.


    The plot was a mess, but the idea of giving the illusion of an all-powerful villain and using him as a smokescreen, could probably give all conspiracy nuts a hard-on. “What if Bin Laden was like this?! Just a loser being paid to play pretend?!!*gasp*” Of course, it´s ludicrous, but it is a pretty fun idea in the movie. And the only fun one.

  141. So I’ve rewatched this one two and a half times in the past 24 hours (my three-year-old niece loves the character, whom she calls “Fire Man”), and I gotta say, I kinda love it. I didn’t pipe up about it when it was the new superhero movie people who love superhero movies hate because they actually hate all superhero movies (before being replaced by MAN OF STEEL), because I didn’t really have much to say beyond “I thought it was awesome and I don’t know what everybody’s problem is.” Now I guess I’ll just list the things I think are great about it:

    • I love that Tony is afraid of the mask. Such a thematically rich bit of behavior. He’s got a codependent thing going on with the suit, but the mask sketches him out because he knows it’s a crutch.

    • Gwyneth in the suit. Dead sexy. After this and Ellen Page in SUPER it’s starting to occur to me that I may have a little thing for girls in superhero costumes. I’m not proud of it, but the heart wants what it wants.

    • The repartee with the kid. Stark insults him, belittles him, and abandons him, and the kid loves it, because it’s a show of respect. They’re comrades, and comrades bust each other’s balls. Stark treats kids like I do: like stupid little adults, not like pets.

    • I also love that the kid is basically the crusty old prospector character who patches the wounded hero’s wounds and gives him a change of clothes. In any other movie, it would be Harry Dean Stanton. In this one, it’s the creepy little shit from INSIDIOUS.

    • I love that the hero’s motivation is basically the same as your average 80s action tough guy: The villain put his best friend in the hospital. It’s a $200,000,000 Bronson plot.

    • I’ve done the math, and the action is roughly 350 times better than anything Favreau ever attempted. All the moves were thought out, they weren’t just monotonous punching and sploding. I particularly dug Stark running around the mansion, taking out guards with improvised weapons. I enjoy seeing Downey Jr. switch from ephemeral goofball to surefooted man of action. His whole body language changes from constant twitching to economic precision.

    • The end. He ain’t giving up being Iron Man. He says it himself: He IS Iron Man. It’s a gesture for his ladyfriend, showing that he’s getting rid of all the distractions so he can focus on what matters. He’ll make more suits, but he won’t be obsessed with them anymore.

    • The end credits theme. Holy shit, that’s some funky shit for a movie with its own Big Gulp cup.

    Anyway, I might be alone in thinking that this is an awesome movie because I’m pretty much hardwired to be exactly on Shane Black’s wavelength. I’m bummed that most people seem to think this a meh kinda movie, but I’m excited about what Black’s newfound clout means for his future projects. I would love it if he had his own TV show, where his dialogue would have a chance to breathe.

  142. Also, it’s gotta be the best superhero part 3 ever. Its only serious competition is THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and people seem to seriously hate that movie, even though I kinda like it once it stops being LES MIS and starts with the exploding.

  143. Another voice in the void: that I and the folks I watched it with also thought this was a great installment, and likewise was pretty surprised when I heard people on the internet weren’t into it. The bullet points above are right-on. Iron Man 2 was so disappointing, but I feel like between the Avengers and IM3 I’m looking forward to see what Marvel does next.

  144. Mr. Majestyk – I’m glad that you and I park our cars in the same garage regarding IM3. I love your Bronson comment because it’s so true.

    Of the “big boy toy” movies this summer, I have IM3 and FAST & THE FURIOUS 6 tied. (Best movie overall though was THE WORLD’S END, and guess where Edgar Wright is working for next? Marvel! That should be an interesting partnership, or more accurately an employment.)

    This summer has been strange with the nerd overreaction. You had that Trekkie convention which voted STID the worst Star Trek movie ever (worse than TREK V? worse than NEMESIS? Are you kidding me?) You had people upset at MOS for Superman killing somebody, as if that’s a rule written in stone that got violated. (My qualm was that I thought it just failed on a cinematic level.) You had people piss on IRON MAN 3 for being too snarky…even though Tony Stark has been snark since the very beginning. Hell even the inferior IM2, nobody whined about him for being snarky.

  145. Everybody seemed to hate everything this summer, but I thought it was a pretty good year for big dumb movies. The only one I didn’t like was the one all the cool kids loved. Go figure.

  146. Maybe all the hate comes from something else, people getting tired perhaps? Should be pointed out that most of these hated movies made lots of money.

  147. It is weird how everybody sees everything and nobody likes any of it.

  148. No Majestyk I think you nailed it. I watched it again recently and it felt as strong a film as the first time I saw it (some films go down smooth the first time and the second time around you realize they were all empty calories – Star Trek 09). For me its the best of this year’s summer blockbusters, the best Marvel movie to date (meaning the Marvel “universe” movies starting with Iron Man in 2008), and one of the best flicks I saw this year period.

    Black’s sensibility, old school detective fiction x 80s machismo accompanied by razor-sharp dialogue and serious storytelling chops – it’s catnip for me, and I love that it made its way onscreen in a $200 million superhero blockbuster mostly unmolested. Moves that might’ve felt stale 10 years ago feel fresh in this context – you’ve got to love Tony & Rhodes sneaking around a container ship and bantering like Riggs & Murtaugh, it feels refreshingly adult in a genre where many films feel like loud and obnoxious toy commercials. I mean, it IS a loud toy commercial, but I didn’t come out of it feeling battered and insulted. I love his patience as a storyteller, his knowledge of how to build to big exciting moments instead of numbing us with an endless procession of them.

    I can scrounge up a few minor gripes, like Miguel Ferrer not getting any juicy moments – but I bet most of them can be explained by it originally being a 3 hour+ movie. There were some times where you could tell Black was working with restraints, like Mandarin opening beers instead of smoking crack and not getting to be very profane. But those are blockbuster limitations and I can live with them if SB can.

  149. “Moves that might’ve felt stale 10 years ago feel fresh in this context”

    I’ve noticed that Marvel basically remakes older films. I mean CAPTAIN AMERICA was basically a remake of ROCKETEER (same director too), THOR was basically the action film version of STARMAN (with a dash of Henry V), IM3 was an 80s/early 90s buddy movie, INCREDIBLE HULK was basically the comic book version of THE FUGITIVE (or it wanted to be at least). Who knows what movies the upcoming THOR sequel will rip-off but give a comic book/superhero paint job?

    CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (out next year), its revealed synopsis basically reads like both a remake of 1970s conspiracy thrillers and Jason Bourne…which itself was inspired by those same sort of pictures.

  150. That’s pretty much how superhero comics have managed to chug along for 70 years. Any story + spandex = superhero story.

  151. Don Cheadle will be in AVENGERS 2: AGE OF ULTRON. Is this to make up for him not being in the first movie?


  152. I finally watched this and not only do I find it superior to part 2 I think it’s pretty much miles ahead of THE AVENGERS.

    Also made me realize that I just like these movies better when scenes aren’t being bogged down by Hawkear, Wintery Soldier, Scarlett: Russian Badass, Shakespeare in the Park and nowadays: NOT AN OLSEN TWIN. I’m weird like that I mean I walked out of CIVIL WAR 25 minutes into it cause I was bored to tears. This here though; props to Marvel Studios for hiring Shane Black to make the first one of these to feel like a real movie in years.

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