Iron Man 3 (2013) (PG-13)

This review contains some SPOILERS!
"Iron Man 3" is a movie with no discipline. It plunks away at the same old notes that every other superhero movie has been hitting for years now. The success of the movie in the box-office should be credited just to the Marvel franchise, and also to the huge mega-hit "The Avengers". "Iron Man 3" seems keen to prove that it was just as epic as "The Avengers" (which was not a faultless movie to begin with) by constantly making references to the movie. Every time I heard a reference, I added another five million dollars to the film's revenue.
Tony Stark is a raging insomniac at the beginning of "Iron Man 3"; but like most movies, he can sleep it's just that when he does, he is haunted by the memory of going into the wormhole in New York in "The Avengers". Like most Hollywood movies, not just action movies but dramas as well, sleep is a fitful, violent happening. I really long for the day when nightmares on film are portrayed as the terrors that they are—immobile and unspeaking.
Whenever remarks are made to New York, Iron Man melts down and becomes Soft-Molten Anxiety Attack Man (SMAAM, if you like).
When the movie opens we are told that everyone makes their own demons (too heavy handed on the much overused 'you are your own worst enemy' tangent?). Tony Stark made his back in 1999 when he was rude to a man and had a one-night stand with a botanist.
This botanist was working on a way for plants to heal themselves quickly...or a leafy version of Wolverine, as I thought. But, there's one problem...whenever the plant regrows—it explodes! Yes, a bio-unexplainable bomb. Just cut off a dandelion's head and BAM, you're history, pal. How this occurs, we are never told, only that it's a glitch.
"Iron Man 3" taps into the common-place notion that we only use a certain percentage of a brain. Like many superhero and extraterrestrial movies to come before this one, it would seem that if we could only gain control all of our brain we could heal ourselves...or explode.
Enter the Mandarin, a man who really hates America. I felt that the movie's screenwriters, Drew Pearce and Shane Black, take too much for granted with this villain. Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" made it clear that we are still not over the war in Iraq and why should we be? However "Iron Man 3" just assumes that the audience will buy into the fact that the villain is bad, simply because he's semi-Middle Eastern and he hates America. Remember that comic books were a good source for patriotic propaganda as many of them were being published during WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Here, it just seems kind of racist.
"Iron Man 3" builds and steals on the superhero movies that have come before it. We are led to believe that the villain is as clever as ruthless as The Joker from "The Dark Knight", which he's not. There is a situation much like the conundrum Peter Parker faced in "Spider-Man".
Great superhero movies makes us believe that the good guy is going to lose, that way it's more a pleasure to see him overcome his situation and win at everything (it's secretly what the viewer wants to do in their own life). "Iron Man 3" is not convincing in the least of our hero's doom.
The cast is fantastically mediocre in this film: all of them usually do a good job but for some reason they were all in bad form. Gwyneth Paltrow is usually a pleasure to see on screen, yet here she's annoying—the same goes for Guy Pearce. It's sad when the best part of the movie is Paul Bettany—the voice of Jarvis. The only tolerable on-screen talent was Sir Ben Kingsley.
For someone who supposedly has PTSD, Robert Downey, Jr. just becomes somewhat whiny during his panic attacks and they feel forced and trite.
Questions kept popping up in my mind and I think that I'll share them with you:
Why does the bad guy have some vendetta against America?
Why is Iron Man responsible for the whole country?
If he had all those nifty gizmos, why didn't he use them earlier?
Are we really supposed to believe that a child in Kentucky doesn't have enough common sense to call the police when there's a stranger in his garage? (Instead, in an "E.T." fashion, he brings him metaphorical milk and cookies).
Why does the child go and investigate the intruder armed only with a potato gun?
Everyone else has a gun in Kentucky...why doesn't this kid?
When the villain's motives are explained, it would be kind to say that they were thin. Good guys need good bad guys and "Iron Man 3" lacked a credible villain.
The problem that I had was that (again, in correlation to that stupid exploding plant) the minions of the bad guy were invincible...well, almost. Nothing kills them..."Iron Man 3" has bought into zombies, a fad that is fading fast.
And yes, there's fire-breathing—at which, I pointed and laughed.
"Iron Man 3"'s CGI is really good, it should be by this time in film history. It's just nice to look at and rarely influences the actual plot of the movie.
"Iron Man 3" has an embarrassing script that gives us no real reason besides the main characters to watch the film. All the reveals are easy to spot and nothing is a I said: all the same notes.
I mentioned that the movie lacks discipline for this reason: explanations are needed but dodged. Whether actual laziness set in or if it was ineptitude, neither is a good enough excuse for the lack of explanation (yes, I'm looking right at the exploding plant).
Basically it all boils down to not being rude to people. This could have all been avoided if Tony Stark just had a few more manners.
Now, the movie does have good moments—most of which involve Iron Man's quips and one-liners.
"Iron Man 3" isn't bad, it just quietly hovers above mediocrity with pleasure and some sass.

Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4

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