To my close friend, Colin, who coordinated this perfect night for us…
My blog is about sharing my real life experiences and the feelings that I walk and sometimes tread carefully through. The humorous pretension that I have a talking Golden Retriever with my dog, Phoenix, aside. Film and book reviews are difficult because I want to escape in the moment when watching or reading, not how I will write about it. And hence, I don’t recall things as accurately as I would like to. With that, the story can never be short. Please enjoy…
I wrote a special edition Top 10 +1 list here just for this trilogy.
I had waited since the announcement last year that Iron Man 3 would debut on May 3rd, 2013. For those of us diehard fans we would be able to see it the Thursday night prior. And this last Thursday night all the magic came to the glorious fruition that I had hoped for. The theater did it up right. We were just a few minutes late to get a pic of stand-in actors being presented with the giant movie poster as a backdrop. They even had Hawkeye but he had walked away. All of my pictures turned out poorly to the high quality of the story I wish to write. So there won’t be any sorry!
Colin, Jeff and I had arrived three hours ahead of time to obtain the first in line placing to be seated. John and Hendrix would get there a few hours later for our midnight showing. But, we were one-upp’d by a group of four teenagers who beat us there by two hours. Jerks! Good kids though, as I overheard them discussing many possibilities for the adventure we were all about to embark on.
Last year a group of five of us saw the blockbuster hit, Avengers. To be with a group of my friends where you are calm in their presence. I can be myself without judgment. There is chatter when it’s appropriate amongst us and quiet when it’s needed. We can laugh together, share together, be silent, shed a tear. Any intimate life detail we might express never leaves that circle of trust. And I have several other friends in that same life orb that were not here this night.
It culminates on a perfect wave like a surfer finding his dream ride down the upside of the cascading water below him. His eyes light up and there is an adrenalin rush. Then, that calm and quiet to me like no other. That is movie night with my guys. We have gone to great lengths to attend the big superhero movies together. A very difficult task to coordinate being that our hours are entangled in shift work.
As the lights lowered in the theater I sunk into my seat for two and a half hours of mental life escape. We all had our movie treats and I was thrilled to treat my brothers to a complete night out without any cost to them. The savory, buttered popcorn was being munched on, drinks sipped delightfully and you could feel the electricity between the five of us. For those of us that chose to, we took a couple swigs of our moonshine (ok, it was Jim Beam). Remember the movie Stand By Me? This was our night out for the adult version of that. It culminated with a couple hours at a local sports bar for heavy-handed, delicious bar food afterwards.
We were the only ones in the place. Well, aside from the six law enforcement officers on their meal break who all wished us well. We kept the very minimal alcohol intake within legalized limits so that we all drove home safely.
We start off with an interesting take from the ever narcissistic Tony Stark narrating the story about to unfold before us. It made me feel he was going to be giving us his own eulogy when the end came or maybe just closure to a chapter. He takes us back to 1999 where he encounters a very ambitious, handicapped scientist, Aldrich Killian. Stark blows him off with his usual arrogance and that opens up a chain of events of redemption by Mr Killian that could very possibly prove to be both Iron Man and Stark’s demise.
I had so hoped for some sort of grand introduction of Iron Man with a background put to the set-your-hair-on-fire pulse of AC/DC’s ‘Shoot To Thrill’. I was not treated to my favorite part but in turn sent off in an entirely different direction. Tony is suffering from a horrendous bout of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome upon his freefall from the worm hole in New York. We were previously amazed and astounded in his finely tuned skills with his gadgets and suits. Now, we only see a lot of faulty wiring this time. Both in his mind and in his suits.
The intoxicating Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan are busy running Stark Industries. To have that much trust and love in the girl of your life fills my heart with joy. Her shoulder length locks of blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail while sporting a presumably Italian business suit has me seeing her undeniably sexy. But, her mesmerizing eyes always provide a depth of concern for her wildcard boyfriend. Happy doesn’t miss a beat as he wishes to make his friend proud. He prances the lobby of the building continually tapping his security ID tag as a reminder for everyone else to follow the same protocol.
We are introduced to the very creepy and ominous, Mandarin, via numerous satellite feeds from the media expounding his terrorist attacks around the world. He has set his eyes on Iron Man but Tony tells the world that he, himself, has put a death mark on the evil villain. For me, upon hearing the Mandarin’s voice, I immediately think of a former world terrorist that met his never too soon death. It’s chilling as he seems unstoppable.
Stark puts a death mark on the Mandarin that I think was very poor judgment in that Tony’s mind is not sound and calm. His toys and masterful weapons are not up for this high end stakes game of life in the sand box. Stark’s home is attacked by helicopter gunships. I’ve always loved his home in Malibu with the spaceship-esque architecture. I often thought that might be a prelude of something we would see with the structure actually becoming flight able. Not so, at least not for now. It is obliterated and falls into the ocean. But, one of my favorite scenes occurs during the bombardment as both Pepper and Tony are blown back by the force of the initial explosion. In mid-air he is able to redirect and envelope his newest prototype suit to protect Pepper as she lands on the concrete floor unscathed. That was sooo cool!
Pepper is kidnapped by the bad guys and put through a gruesome assimilation to the Mandarin’s Extremis technology. I just cringed for her. It appears that this technology allows you to grow new limbs of which she does not need. And should the test patient’s body not be tolerant it implodes. Gruesome.
There is one thing that I’ve always come to count on with Tony and Iron Man. Is his brainiac computer alter-ego JARVIS. The latter has always seemed to be a progressive, learning entity on it’s own yet can only excel with it’s owner’s input.
Tony’s suit fails and JARVIS has to go to sleep and I find myself devastated. We need you JARVIS! Tony finds himself in Tennessee befriending a 10 year old boy, Harley. The dialogue and interlude between the two of them absolutely make the movie for me. My Dad loved me with every sparkle in his eye but was unable to communicate that. He was always kind to me and wanted the best yet always wished for my independence in striving for the ultimate success. Tony, this boy needs you as his own father figure as his actual one has abandoned him.
I was asking myself at this point as to why he didn’t call upon one or all of his SuperFriends? There is the thunderous Norse guy who can sure carry a hammer well. A Captain who would have probably been outmatched but would have fought the good fight. Then most of all, the immortal Hulk of guy who surely would have gotten angry. But alas, Tony goes at it alone. With the amazing help of the very bright and intuitive Harley.
Tony infiltrates the Mandarin’s compound with the most crafty, awesome hardware store bought and built weapons. Now, that’s my Iron Man! Upon capturing the Mandarin, he comes to find out he is just a vocal puppet for Aldrich. In hindsight, with seeing the Chinese symbols that were a precursor to all of the tv announcements of terrorism by the Mandarin I thought about it driving home. And sure enough it was meant to portray Sun Tzu. If you’ve never read the Art of War I highly recommend it. And it applies wholeheartedly to the movie. Good call director, producer, creator and writers there. And the Mandarin is not Chinese but just an actor, Trevor Slattery, from England.
Our hero is captured and bound to a spring bed frame and two bad guys are guarding him. He threatens them with their immediate destruction. I kept thinking that somehow one of his repulsor’s would appear in his hand. It wasn’t until after a few moments that I realized he was calling for his suit. A new technology he invented that was the same to enable him to protect Pepper at the Malibu house attack. And it was pointed out to me afterwards that the kid’s watch alarm was the signal for that. Brilliant!
Part of the scene on the platform for me was too much in some regards. I’m old school and still prefer simple not something carried out too far. Meaning let’s get to the meat and potatoes. But, as Colin pointed out, this was a reward to us for our two hours of dedication. Ok, I get that. A perfect opportunity for ‘Shoot To Thrill’ would have been when Tony calls in all of the suits to the “party” on the platform. Does anyone have factual information as to why the song excerpt was not used in this film?
Pepper is trapped and then is almost freed to Tony’s grasp but she falls a couple hundred feet to her, possible, death. I’m a bit slow to the take sometimes but I saw this one coming. Her Extremis abilities would now serve her well and it was awesome. She not only survives but is possessed and pissed off. Really pissed off. To all of you misguided guys with your gal, please remember the tried and true adage: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Pepper uses her unwanted Extremis abilities to destroy Aldrich in a literal blaze of glory. Gawd that was sexy and should give a huge boost to sports bra sales. Tony orders JARVIS to destroy all of his suits and appears to want to turn over a new leaf in his more dedicated, focused attention on the love of his life. Good call there, man, except it left me feeling vulnerable. His short sidedness left him naked once and how would protect the world now?
We are taken back to the young, clever, very captivating Harley in his garage. Gifts abound, arriving unannounced, including a cherry old school Mustang car. Tony has given the boy the dream of dreams for any Science Fair aspirations. Possibly we will see a new ally in the future for our rejuvenated hero. Thanks for that gesture, Tony!
Then something magical happened in the theater where I sat. It took some time for it to take on with movie viewers in the past. Is the post-credit teaser or statement that has now become a Marvel signature. We find Dr Banner having dozed off as Tony blabbed to him about his woes. I yearn for more infinitely…
“I am Iron Man…”