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    Iron Man 3 Is The Best Of All The Iron Man's. Please Stop Making Iron Man Films.

    The real star of Iron Man 3? Jarvis the Stark-programmed companion, possibly dying from some form of robot cancer.

    So, this was the best Iron Man movie of all the Iron Man films. Crazy talk, right? How does one forget the awe-inspiring original film that shocked the moviegoing world by not sucking all the way? We expected nothing from a character that wasn’t already sewn into the fabric of idealized American superhero idols. Iron Man 3 is the best we could have ever hoped for in a third installment of ANY film in this day and age, while managing to embrace the “full hokeyness” that the previous two films seemed to lack. Unfortunate timing surrounds the film given one of the major themes of Iron Man 3 is localized terrorism.

    A film centered on poking jabs at the current ills of mainstream media coverage, government mismanagement and the long-term effects of fear mongering. Tony Stark inhabits a new civilization hoping their iron-clad millionaire restores hope, excelling where government fails. If life were only so simple. The best thing Iron Man 3 does is acknowledge, in a very literal manner, that this is a post-Avenger world. Both in cinema and in our actual life, that Avenger film happened and there aren’t many reasons to continue pushing the science fiction, space and interdimensional travel buttons.

    So what did we get? A retelling of an origin story synonymous with the very generation producing the film before our eyes. I mean, that’s what I saw. This Tony Stark, crippled by his anxiety to be the high-functioning brilliant leader he’s been socially projected over the years. I see a Tony Stark, when all of his toys and gadgets stripped away from him -- well, most of them, being that nerd trying not to stand out in a crowd. How is this not representative of the kid who got picked on in the 80s? The nerd that grew up in the 90s? and makes films about his heroes saving the world in the early oughts?

    I get it. We get it. The nerd grew up and is running Hollywood. I only fear what the 90s baby will trudge up from their upbringing. Will we see ‘gritty’ retellings of Blue’s Clues and Lazytown?

    We can’t pretend Iron Man 3 is a perfect film, but we can see parallels of what the film wants to go for. Layers of Watchmen, Batman: Year One, and Superman’s Man Of Steel are apparent in this new Action Comics-esque Tony Stark tale. Why is Tony Stark having anxiety attacks when forced to socially interact with another? Is Iron Man the costume, or is Tony Stark the facade? Why are the most powerful scenes in Iron Man 3 involving Tony Stark turning into a Bond-esque detective? All questions we’ve seen in books and films leading up to this grand tale in, umm, small town Tennessee.

    Some of the best and worst scenes in Iron Man 3 take place in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A place where, according to Hollywood, people ain't never heard of no Iron Men nor take kindly to them.


    Yeah, apparently in small town Tennessee, only one person is familiar with how Tony Stark looks and speaks. Maybe director Shane Black was trying to convey that the slack-jawed yokels of this city don’t care what kinda celebrity enters the county limits. They are but simple folks with simple needs. By the way, the rest of America, Chattanooga, Tennessee isn’t actually that small of a town.  Just an FYI, in case you plan on suspending belief in a world that isn’t particularly interested in depicting places and people as they are -- normal.

    The Mandarin could have gone a lot of directions in Iron Man 3, most of them racist. Especially considering this is amongst the many enemies in the Marvel universe which could be representative of cultural insensitivity. Not only that, but boy is Mandarin’s story ri-damn-diculous [which is actually why I like the character and why I never thought he’d translate well to film]. So, I’m actually pretty cool with the superfluous twist they made with the overacting Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin. Considering what we all experienced in Iron Man 2, I’d settle for just some stuff exploding and pretty people kissing. Both of these things happened. We even got a Scrooge-esque story in between Tony Stark’s anxiety attacks and meeting a doe-eyed youth. Damn, shame that kid can’t act his way out of a wet diaper.

    The hokey levels teetered off the rails in the final act, again, Iron Man films just don’t know how to end. We’re treated to zany antics by both sides of this yarn, we’re even seeing a character wrestling with a mental disorder rarely depicted in mainstream films. Then, we’re given Donkey Kong personified as the ending. Where the Mandarin is the agile, yet scorned, ape. The flaming barrels thrown by the Guy Pearce acted ape are people. That’s right, the flaming barrels are people.

    Gwenyth Paltrow manages a decent showing in her role as a superheroine to counter-balance Stark's neurosis. Not holding my breath on action roles springing up for her based on her transformation into Lava Girl.

    We love to remember the Tony Stark that built his original suit based on cave science, scrap metal and an endearing montage. When I look back at the previous Iron Man films, that is one of the few lasting images that ages well. What doesn’t age well are Paltrow’s scenes ‘over-reacting’ to an obvious green screen tennis ball. We rarely see her character, Pepper Potts, in Iron Man 3 -- except when she’s doing an odd sort of martial arts kick. The film did a good service empowering her nearing the final minutes, because the “damsel in distress” trope seems beneath these characters that have already been through so much scenery-chewing. Sorry, character development.

    Iron Man 3 is the best of all the Iron Man films, because it finally came to the conclusion, that people care more about the protagonist than the one-note villains the franchise is unfortunately saddled with. We’ll never see the supporting characters killed off, that’d be almost too interesting. The flavor a Pepper Potts, an Iron Patriot, and whatever character Jon Favreau was playing are great appetizers set around what we all came to see -- Tony Starks. You could do better, but Downey Jr. is probably the one doing his best in this film.

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