Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: "Iron Man 3"

The idea of an extraterrestrial life visiting Earth and making contact with humans has been expressed many times over. I remember spending a lot of energy on the subject, to the point where it caused me anxiety. It got so bad, my parents decided NOT to take me to see Independence Day, until I calmed down. Of course, I’m a bit more collected now, but I still wonder; how would we respond to the knowledge of intelligent life beyond our planet?

In Independence Day, we fought against an attack. In District 9, we impoverished an entire species. And in Marvel’s The Avengers, we assembled our best to protect us and send a warning. The options appear to be either A) Fight them or B) Control them, at least in the examples provided. In the case of Avengers, we get a series (the Marvel Cinematic Universe) that shows our world prior to, during and now after alien life has been exposed to all. How does the world move on in the follow up film Iron Man 3?

Better than you’d expect, actually.

No riots, no mass suicides, no political coups. From what we can gather, all that has happened is people are now massive fans of Earth mightiest heroes, and just gush that we fought off aliens. A worldwide nerdgasm, basically. However, the burden of not only having fought off these creatures, but the possibility that more could come back, can be too much for one man.

Tony Stark may be Iron Man, but even his suit can’t defend him against panic attacks. The mere mention of the events of Avengers brings him to a shaking and almost crying state; even superheroes can suffer PTSD. He spends every waking moment building suit after suit, technology after technology, in an obsessive and manic frenzy to not only be prepared for the worst, but to protect his love Pepper Potts.

In this post alien Earth, terrorism STILL exists. I guess that isn’t surprising, but you’d think something as heart stopping as new intelligent life would bring about a worldwide peace, at least for a few months. Terrorist leader The Mandarin makes several threats to the U.S. President, and his bombings get the personal attention of Stark. A challenge is made, and Tony is put on a path that will not only save the day, but teach him how to cope, and ultimately better himself.

Stark has now been featured in 4 movies, including his own trilogy. And, to my surprise and delight, has shown depth in each film. He starts as a cocky bastard who could care less about his actions, to confronting and understanding what his inventions have done, has a figurative and literal change of heart, and dedicates himself to using his skills for good. In one of the boldest moves for any wealthy character, he declares that he will give up his military contracts, and openly admits to being Iron Man. He’s egotistical enough to give himself the spotlight, but repentful enough to grasp the weight of what he has done in the past. What a guy.

It’s amazing how this series can move from the comic book movie side of the spectrum to superhero film. “What?” In my opinion, flicks featuring superheroes can be distinguished as either comic book movies or superhero films. For example: Captain America: The First Avenger is a comic book movie, and Spiderman 2 is a superhero film. One is more about the action, while the other is concerned more with the character. Iron Man 3 succeeds because it delivers the personal conflict AND the thrilling moments. Tony Stark gets to complete his hero arc AND be smarmy to a little kid. Avengers gave Hollywood the blueprints, Iron Man 3 roughs out any edges. Improvements can still be made, but Marvel has the right formula.

Would our world change much after the announcement of alien life? Probably slowly. I’d like to think that it would lead to an era of progress and enlightenment, like in Star Trek: First Contact. Do we have a Tony Stark equivalent to make use of the new ways of thinking? Now I’m stressing out.

4/5 *s

1 comment:

  1. Thanks!

    Just checked out your review - yes, it is more of a discussion... but a very good one. I dug how it was the overall theater experience, starting with the audience and trailers. Fun stuff. I +1'd it on Google+.


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