Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why Iron Men fans should protest Iron Man 3

Look, I've seen Iron Man 3 and am kind of pissed off at it. If you're an Iron Man fan and haven't seen Iron Man 3, let me give you a heads up. There's a plot twist in the last third of the movie that should have you throwing your popcorn at the screen. And there are other major things wrong with this movie that should have any fan of the comic book or fan of any comic book, reaching for his repulsor ray looking to fire at director-writer Shane Black. I've reviewed this movie without spoilers but I can't complain about the film without disclosing them so don't read if you don't want to know anything about this movie should you see it.


1. The 3D conversion. This film was a 3D conversion from 2D. Remember that the process is like making a cinematic pop up book. It's too dark. Case in point, the scene where gunships attack Tony Stark's house. It's so dark you have a hard time telling what's happening. Additionally there's no pop or depth. Nothing special here. It's not worth your extra bucks, it's just a cash grab by Marvel and Disney.

2. The sarcastic tone. Yeah, I know Tony Stark is a sarcastic man. But this movie takes that attitude and makes it the tone of the movie. It makes the audience feel like the story is one big joke. There's a couple of scenes that show this.

The TV van scene. Stark is in a TV news van. He meets the engineer who's a big fan of Tony Stark. The scene has jokes about the engineer's fawning love for Stark who has a tattoo of Stark on his arm. I hope this is not a metaphor because if feels like a shot at fans of comic books.

Iron Man saves Air Force One passengers. This starts out to be a great scene in a superhero movie. I mean Stark as Iron Man flies up to Air Force One and saves a group of passengers who have been flung out of the plane. After Iron Man drops them safely in the water, he flies into a truck. The truck destroys Iron Man. Nope. It's Iron Man's suit. You see Stark was operating the suit remotely. Ha, ha. What could have been a great heroic moment for Iron Man turns out to be another joke.

3. The Identity of The Mandarin. First, a little background before we discuss the true identity of The Mandarin. According to Wikipedia, The Mandarin is the "archenemy of Iron Man" and is "a genius scientist and a superhumanly skilled martial artist." "He is characterized as a megalomaniac, attempting to conquer the world on several occasions, yet also possessing a strong sense of honor." Wikipedia article on The Mandarin. So there's a legacy to this character. If you love comic books, you respect this antagonist.

In the movie, Iron Man 3, the Mandarin is an actor Trevor Slattery. (Ben Kingsley) You see Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is using him to play a terrorist so he can coerce governments to hire him to make super soldiers to fight him. So what's the problem? In the movie, Slattery is portrayed as a beer guzzling drunkard with a penchant for prostitutes. He's a buffoon. That's not the legendary villain portrayed in the comics.

Iron Man 3 takes a beloved bad guy and trashes him. It's like taking Darth Vader and making him to be really a clown under the helmet. Look, I like bold and complex story telling as much as the next guy. But it has to be sincere. The Iron Man franchise is not comedy. And when you take a character that fans have loved for years and make him into parody, you spit in the face of your fans.

One wonders if this change of The Mandarin has anything to do with the movie market. It's huge. For China, the character's name of The Mandarin has been translated as Man Daren. Huh? Could that be so Disney and Marvel don't upset the Chinese? I hope not.

It's clear that the Iron Man franchise needs a reboot. The next time, make a film with a serious Mandarin. In the meantime, just watch the great 2008 film and ignore the last two movies.

1 comment:

Mitchell said...

i disagree with "the iron man franchise is not comedy". it was borderline so in the first one and the last two certainly are.
This is Marvel's track record with how they treat their films and the fans have been so excited just to see their heroes they are only now realizing it.

also love your last sentence. for all the criticism jon favreau gets, he's the only one to Direct a good iron man movie.