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Iron Man 3 (2013)

2013 was less than a great year around these waters, and we didn’t get out to the theater to see the Marvel movies as we had. So I decided later on to hold off and see this one, and the second Thor film, with our son when he was old enough. It’s kind of nice to slot in these last few blocks.

That said, I’m just going to note the bare minimum here because I’m ill today and should be in bed. We all enjoyed Iron Man 3 very much, though the best parts were the ones dealing with the security guards that AIM has employed. I really liked seeing Tony Stark rely on wits and improvisation to succeed. The sequence where he gets away from the Extremis soldier posing as Homeland Security was fabulous.

I also really enjoyed Gwyneth Paltrow’s character of Pepper Potts getting to enjoy some of the scrapping this time out, and not serve the plot strictly as somebody for Tony to argue with. Don Cheadle has a lot more to do as Rhodes in this movie, too. Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley are the villains, and they came up with a brilliantly imaginative take on the Mandarin. Miguel Ferrer has a small part in this one as well. As always, the casting is terrific.

And our kid was of course completely thrilled. He even says that the final fight, in which Tony activates “House Party Protocol” and fills the sky with dozens of empty suits, acting as drones, to fight the Extremis soldiers, was better than the one in The Avengers. This was a very expensive few days for Tony Stark, even by his standards!

One minor note on plausibility: the town of Rose Hill TN does not actually exist, but it’s very briefly shown on a map in Tony’s lab as being in west Tennessee. However, the Christmas beauty pageant is covered by a news crew from Chattanooga. While I honestly don’t know the local news stations here all that well, I’ll believe a man can fly a nuclear warhead through a wormhole in space before I believe the news stations in Chattanooga would send a van within fifty miles of that spot on the map!

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Iron Man 2 (2010)

So the third Marvel Universe movie… it’s kind of underwhelming, isn’t it? I think I’d honestly have preferred a six episode TV series with Tony Stark wheeling and dealing and saving his own life without any superhero stuff in it. The superhero stuff here just isn’t all that interesting. Mickey Rourke is the villain this time, an odd gestalt of two comic book characters, Whiplash and the Crimson Dynamo. It’s a very odd performance, even for Rourke, who has a reputation for being a little eccentric. The screen certainly doesn’t come to life when he’s on it.

When Tony’s being rude to the Senate Committee, on the other hand, the movie’s absolutely full of life. When he and Pepper Potts keep talking at the same time, it’s almost magical. I absolutely love watching Robert Downey Jr. and Gwenyth Paltrow together. They have such great chemistry. And when Black Widow does her thing and takes out eight or nine guards while Happy works very hard to pummel one, that’s pretty wonderful, too. But Tony and James Rhodes, now played by Don Cheadle, have the big climax together against a small army of armored drone robots, and it’s one of the most dull conclusions to any of these movies. There’s no sense of awe this time out, just punctuations to the actors having a better movie in their civilian guises.

I admit that this post is pretty underwhelming, too. This just isn’t a very inspiring movie to me, really. All of the plot complications were completely over our son’s head, in part because he was too excited to pay attention. This is a big day for him. We got up a little early to watch this, and then take an hour for him to exercise and spend some energy while I hammer this out, and we’ll be on our way to see Black Panther in about thirty minutes. Two Marvel movies in one day? He’s died and gone to heaven or something. He just interrupted playing the Hulk smashing zombies to interrupt me with a hug.

So he’s received a quick recap of the apparently relevant events in Captain America: Civil War, but I’m not sure he’ll need it. He just wants to see costumed people ripping cars in half. The whys and wherefores aren’t all that important at age six.

Honestly, in this movie, I’m kind of happier watching the costumed people argue in doughnut shops.

There’s this completely strange subplot to the movie where Tony is dying because the radiation from his arc reactor eats through the palladium core. But Nick Fury gives him a hint that there may be other elements, which works out because Tony’s father built a giant clue about a new element into the… wait for it… grounds plan of the 1974 Stark Expo park. So he synthesizes this new element with a makeshift supercollider and then gets all better. I realize that superhero origin stories are often tortuous, but that’s pretty silly.

Now the Hulk has chainsaws and saws for ultimate power. He’s honestly coming up with something more interesting than what we just watched. I wonder whether Downey and Paltrow are available?

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