Monday, May 13, 2013

Iron Man 3

Hello. To those who still have faith in me as a writer, welcome. I realize that it has been a significant pause between this and my previous post, and for that I lament in my absence. Yes, nearly a month without my beloved insight on film, and I, too, am desiccated from the lack of words and wit. There is no suitable explanation as to why I have been dormant all this time, other than the fact that I am putatively suffering from an eating disorder. Apparently, I haven't been eating enough for my physical proportions and age, therefore both my mind and body are affected by the supposed "malnutrition". Don't you despise terms like that? Malnutrition, unhealthy, anorexic. These are just a few words that have been attributed to me in the past month, which allow me to blame my absence for these very "afflictions". If you are beginning to get worried about my well-being, don't. I am perfectly fine. Why, just today I skipped a day on the elliptical, opting for a slice of homemade banana cheesecake instead. Evidently, I need it. I made that tasty cheesecake myself, in honor of Mother's Day. Anyway, aside from my pseudo-eating disorder, I've been watching several movies, ranging from suspense to familiar delights. Also, I finally finished LOST, something that happened a while ago actually, and I regret that I have not written a "desperate" post in dedication to it. Oh well. Since it has been such a long time, I will simply write about one film in particular: the latest in the Iron Man franchise. I just shaved my legs this morning, and already new stems have blossomed on my kneecaps. The woes of femininity.

As far as the latest trilogies or sagas or, as they are collectively known, "sequentials" go, pleasing dedicated audiences does not fall under their key objective. Apparently. Otherwise, I would have said something that flatters sagas, but I did not, so the fact remains that they, for lack of a better word, are disgraceful testaments to the admiration of viewers. Is it me, or was that utter gibberish? It's been a while. Forgive my creaky sentence structure. From comedies that have grown stale to action franchises that really serve no purpose anymore and should just stop, sequentials are not doing so well in market value. No, that is completely false: They are doing extraordinarily in the market, producing exponential box-office receipts on account of faithful viewership. What they lack is the love they should have towards their audience because what, other than sheer laziness and indifference to viewers' reactions, can justify the fresh rotten-quality of films following the outstanding originals. Case and point: The Hangover. What was an ingenious comedy degraded into a trite, uninteresting series of stale gags, led by the unfunny Zach Galifunkikis. Now, with the third (and hopefully final) part of the "epic" trilogy, I have absolutely no sincere desire to see it. This scenario, furthermore, is not uncommon within the cinematic stratosphere, for nearly every part-two I find myself anticipating has fallen drastically short of what I expected. Which brings me to this evening's topic of analysis, as well as the conclusion of yet another introduction, and that is Iron Man 3.

I really did not expect much from the third film, considering my stance on sequentials, so it came as no disappointment that the end result was blank entertainment. By blank entertainment, I mean that, while I was enthralled by the adrenaline-rush scenes, I was unimpressed as a whole. Usually, I would simply leave it at that--the enjoyment of scenery above story--but the multitude of critics out there have expressed their immense admiration of the film, citing that the storyline of the film's title character, Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man, both astounded and made viewers "think". I'm paraphrasing, of course. It perplexes me that educated critics actually found something tangible and even insightful in any aspect of the movie's predictable plot. Most superhero pictures are, in nature, predictable, surmounting to the ultimate theme of good-triumphs-over-evi, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am all for cringing corniness and virtuous heroes and bad villains, but to delve beyond that--consequently into nothing--and call this a meaningful picture that means more than it presents itself on the surface? Well, that's just ridiculous. Iron Man 3 is as simple and two-dimensional as any Marvel epic can get, proving to be just that much less than the original Marvel Universe initiator.

Let's back up and scrutinize the surface. Robert Downey Jr. returns to the role of Tony Stark, the notorious playboy-genius-philanthropist he prides himself on supposedly being (always in that order). Perhaps I'm alone in this along with my dad, but I have grown averse to arrogant Tony Stark, and Robert Downey Jr. himself for that matter. His self-assured, pompous attitude has really become obnoxious after the second Iron Man and The Avengers, yet here he culminates into an utter arse. Oh, and his rapid, fast-talking demeanor has officially become incoherent psychobabble, and by psychobabble I mean he is a mentally unstable person who cannot speak. (Don't you detest when people use the word "officially" in a phrase like that? By whose regulations has that statement become official?) Throughout the third Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. has assumed the inarguable right to act as important as he wishes, sauntering around with a smug swagger that makes me want to place my palm in front of his face so he can no longer walk. (Yes, I am alluding to the idea that I am taller than him, and am therefore able to stop him in his tracks in such a juvenile manner.)
As the frontrunner in the Avengers assembly, he (both Tony Stark and Robert Downey Jr., since I am fairly certain that they are identical in personality) takes himself seriously in a cool, mocking sort of way. While he has a self-important aura around his grotesque ego, he plays off that intellectual persona by making jokes and acting oh-so cool as a cucumber. (It's a saying, and a damned neat one.) Gee, Mr. Stark/Mr. Downey, you seem so professional and wise, yet you are also outgoing and hilarious. Who'd'a thunk it? I am, once again, brought to my prime question: How is this particular Marvel film deeper than the others? Many sources suggest that it is Tony Stark's damaged soul that drives the film; after defeating Loki in The Avengers (because, remember, they are all connected), Tony is exhausted in all aspects. Evidently suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his adventures, the concept of battling two more villains here is too much to endure for our conceited hero. From what I could collect, Tony Stark is still a self-important, first-rate douche of a hero. Although he is spiritually and physically damaged, he still has the energy to make smarmy bits of humor. How convenient. It is positively mind-numbing how obnoxious he has become. Or maybe I'm exaggerating on account of my decreased tolerance of society's individuals. Either way, I have grown to find him unbearable. But he still fashions that facial hair pretty damn finely. In a fine manner, that is.

Even when it is a picture of them, it is a picture of him.
Accompanying Tony Stark, in a significantly dimmer shade as to not surpass the mighty Robert Downey Jr., is Hollywood's Most Hated Gwyneth Paltrow as the sharp damsel-in-distress, Pepper Potts. (Alliteration is amusing.) In the previous films, Pepper Potts served as a confidante to Tony Stark's massive ego as well as a feminine touch that lightened the mood. While in the first Iron Man the two characters flirted and love did appear to blossom, nothing actually materialized which, despite what the writers believed, was good. Keeping love as a mere thought in the plot would spice up the flirtatious scenes with the edge-of-your-seat question of "will they or won't they?". Think James Bond and Money Penny or Jerry and Elaine. However, the second film introduced the eye-rolling tete-a-tete between Tony and Pepper, including arguments that resemble those in a marriage and dependence. With Pepper as an emotional asset, Tony Stark finds himself unable to carry out certain responsibilities, or is now easily compromised as the villain abuses his affection as blackmail. The latter situation occurs often in Iron Man 3, as Aldrich Killian threatens the safety of the human race by infecting Pepper, just to torture poor Tony Stark, defenseless in his agony. Dull and, oh yes, predictable. Returning to the thesis of this post, there is nothing wrong with a little damsel-in-distress intensity. In fact, superhero movies demand it. But to praise this film as something more than just a Marvel epic? Please.
There is an alteration in Gwyneth Paltrow's character this time around, as she actually (wait for it) suits up in her sweetheart's armor during an attack on the home. Their home. Seeing her march around in the Iron Man suit was, if this word can apply, annoying, for women do not belong in the superhero line of duty unless they are, indeed, a superhero like Black Widow or Wonder Women. (Black Widow is more of a talented agent than a superhero, but she is an Avenger nonetheless.) I'd also like to point out how Gwyneth Paltrow had no reason in appearing in The Avengers. She did absolutely nothing but share corny conversation with Tony and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most valuable Agent Coulson, who is another product of the predictable Marvel Universe (the friendly agent who is unlike all others). Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, fortunately, rejoice in a blissful conclusion, to those worrying whether they will make it. They do, and Tony makes a considerable sacrifice for the romance that never should have been.

He's here, too. Looks ridiculous, doesn't he?

There are two villains in Iron Man 3, as in the previous installment, which forces me to ponder why such a mistake was made again? Was it successful in Iron Man 2, when Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell battled for the spotlight? Similarly, here, there is one villain who is evil in appearance and action, and another who is evil in the sense of mastermind and brilliance. The evil caricature, in this case, is Ben Kingsley as the leader of a terrorist organization who calls himself The Mandarin. (Not very intimidating, considering it's the name of an ethnicity.) Wreaking havoc upon the innocent with questionable demands, the Mandarin is intended to resemble Osama bin Laden in an attempt by the writers to make a connection to the real world. Why else would he be in hiding somewhere in the Middle East? I suppose it's common. Ben Kingsley (who sounds exactly like Geoffrey Rush in this movie alone) sports a spiffy cloak that, along with his scraggly beard, makes him look like a sorcerer from a fairytale. That being said, I don't know who would find this Rastafarian menace to be that massive of a threat. Throughout the movie, all he seems to be doing is sending the government videos from his cave that were recorded by his fellow reggae comrades. (The twist is revealed in the movie. I won't spoil it for you.)
As for the intellectual villain--the man behind the entire evil scheme of the film--is Guy Pearce (in a triumphant return to the big screen) as Aldrich Killian, a wicked geneticist who established Advanced Idea Mechanics as well as devised DNA-altering technology that turns its patients into molten creatures. I really don't understand his machinations, nor do I really know what I saw with those molten-red human-creatures. Apparently, from what I can gather, Aldrich Killian, inspired by Darwin, formulated a method that would prove to be the next step in evolution. Though I do not understand how turning red and spewing fire constitutes being a superior being. What we have here, I believe, is faulty scriptwriting: For a screenplay to be at the very least decent, it must be comprehensible. And when it comes to the villain and his maniacal endeavors, clarity is especially imperative because the villain drives the hero. If we do not know what the villain is after, how can we root for the hero?

The entirety of Iron Man 3 was a premeditated display of destruction, as well as an additional opportunity for Robert Downey Jr. to flaunt his cavalier air of importance and superiority one last time. According to the media, this was the actor's final film in his contract with Marvel, proposing the idea of Tony Stark's absence in the Avengers squad. Never fret, genuine admirers of Iron Man, as that will not happen. Iron Man is, quite frankly, all Robert Downey Jr. has. Sherlock Holmes is a franchise, sadly, that has settled on a short-lived pair. (That was one sequential that was actually good twice-fold.) Besides Iron Man, what has Robert Downey Jr. been up to? Indeed, expect him to return whenever Marvel makes a movie, period. I am sure he will behave in the same, haughty demeanor he has been parading around in every single time. For those who find him endearing, I hope you enjoy yourselves. For those who don't, join the cringe-watching. Despite my acid tongue, Iron Man 3 was, once again, not an awful picture--a typical (not atypical) superhero flick that impresses the eye in terms of action and less in terms of content. What I will not accept is a review of the movie that applauds its complexity, as there is no complexity. It is sheer action with a dollop of corny amusement. Enjoy.

P.S. I'm back!

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. As always I quite enjoyed reading your venerated, but crafty, piece of writing.

    By the way V, I’ve come to realise that there’s a reason why I don’t comment on all your posts. It’s because they remind me too much of the car chase scene in the movie Bullitt.
    They’re an experience that requires no words!