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The second part of Iron Man almost had me at the point of abandoning hope for the franchise. Trying to recall the plot of Nr. 2, I honestly do not have a clue anymore. I remember a feeling of utter boredom, and that’s about it. Maybe only the fact that “The Avengers” managed to inject some refreshing humour into the Marvel universe shop made me interested in the new Iron Man installment at all, and that was followed by some positive reviews, indicating they might have found a new story to tell.

“New story to tell” is a bit of a stretch. What’s happening is that they partly de-technologize the whole enterprise by taking away a lot of the nonsense robot crap from Robert Downey Jr.’s Mr Stark. That has its benefits, as it forces the authors to go back to the question why Stark is supposed to be a likable character despite his at times ill-humoured nature and utter arrogance. He needs to be a mechanic again, and he’s good at fixing things with his hands and brains. But the arrogance comes back on him with a vengeance in the shape of another tech genius with a grudge, a Mr Killian. That one, played by Guy Pearce (looking too much like Denis Leary to really push aside the Spiderman images) teams up with supposed super-villain The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), and they seek to blow Stark Enterprises and ideally the whole of the US to smithereens.

This is where the problems started for me. While I liked the overall setup and the way the terror starts closing in on Stark and his girlfriend, I found the “army” working the dirty terror work utterly ridiculous. They have, say, certain skills or features that are central, I suppose, to the work they are doing, but as soon as that became obvious, I got bored with them right away. That meant whenever there were fighting scenes, my attention immediately switched over to pressing matters such as the previous dinner or when to go to the gym the next day. There was plenty of fighting, so my next day was carefully planned through upon leaving the theatre. On top of that comes my serious, boredom-bred dislike for flying and fist-fighting robots. I will only see one more movie involving that special item, and it will be directed by Guillermo del Toro, I think that will have been quite enough for a lifetime. Another aspect I found annoying is the role of Don Cheadle: I really love that actor, and he’s doing a good job here, but why is that character in the film in the first place? It seemed completely detached from everything else that was going on, and cutting those scenes would have been a fine idea given that the film is 20 minutes too long anyway.

This is not to say I did not like the film. Author and director apparently decided (and I am in line with them) that there is no way of taking all this superhero nonsense seriously. Consequently they injected a lot of nice humour into the script, not just Tony Stark rapid-fire dialogue, but also such pleasant details such as episodes from “Downton Abbey” to accelerate the recovery of bomb victims. Their coud de grace in that respect is, of course, how to deal with the super-villain “The Mandarin”, who is built up with great care and editing expertise to be seen as the nemesis of Western civilzation – and who is later on (politely spoken) deconstructed from Bin Laden to Wizard of Oz, making best use of Ben Kinglsey’s range of acting skills and his fearlessness in the face of camp humour. This is all over the top, and I can literally imagine the “true Iron Man fans” cringing in their theatre seats, running home to cuddle with their action figures and praying for a more religious believer to take over the franchise. To me it was just the way to save Iron Man 3 from utter irrelevance.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/iron_man_3/

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One Comment

  1. I found this to be a decent summer popcorn flick but certainly nothing special. Better than Iron Man 2 but is that really saying much? I was not a fan of the kid subplot, the Stark MacGyver impersonation nor the villain MacGuffin. The more I think about this film the less I like it lol


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