Questions on Iron Man Three
Now that Iron Man Three has been released worldwide and most of you have seen it by now it is time to talk about spoilers. There’s been a lot of fan griping about certain parts of this film and whether certain parts worked or failed; I’ll be examining some of those points that I have seen consistently brought up.
Spoilers below; if you haven’t seen the film then don’t read:
To start with Tony Stark’s main theme throughout the film is one inadequacy and seeing the suit of armour as the only way he can protect people. After the events of the Avengers Tony saw things he thought impossible and how much scares him. He fought aliens alongside a god and a monster as well as people who didn’t need suits of armour to keep up with him. Steve Rogers words cut him deeper than first thought, “Big man in a suit of armour, take that off, what are you?” So Tony learns through the film that he is Iron Man, that it’s not the suit that makes him a hero or gives him strength. Making an army of Iron Men is no substitute for what he can do. That’s why most of the film he is without his armour, to get him to realise that he is Iron Man with or without the suit.
It fits with his overall characterisation in the films so far. In the first film he built the suit to escape the cave and then kept tinkering with it because of what that experience did to him. It is the same situation after the Avengers except now he feels he needs a lot more than one suit to protect him and Pepper. The prehensile suit is also an extension of that; needing to be Iron Man whenever and wherever the situation calls for it.
The Mandarin was another main bone of contention to fans, some loved the twist and others hated that they were fooled; wanting what the trailers had supposedly promised them. An argument for against it I keep seeing is that people would be outraged if it was done to the Joker in Dark Knight so people should be more outraged in this case. The thing is that the Mandarin is not the Joker. Not just in popularity but he is not nearly as complex or engaging as the Joker. He might be Iron Man’s arch foe, but that just speaks to how terrible Iron Man villains are, not that the Mandarin is some untouchable icon that should be treated with respect. Could he have made for a good villain? Yes. Was their take on him a great twist that improved the film? Also yes.
Their Mandarin was a critique on how the media glorifies these sorts of people. That it gives us a certain image that is entirely untrue in order to scare us when in fact the entire thing had been a creation that appeals to our sensibilities as a media saturated culture. The man behind the curtain is just a man and nothing more is something we see a lot when we get a look at terrorist leaders under their masks.
What was the problem I suspect was the actual main villain, Killian. He wasn’t particularly engaging as a villain and that is in part due to the time spent giving us the bait and switch with the Mandarin. We didn’t get the time spent like we did with Stane or Vanko in the pervious films that made them engaging. Though it is also due to the fact that he didn’t have villainous intents at the beginning of it all. The Mandarin stuff was just to cover up the Extremis experiments blowing up, which just kept happening so he needed to do it more; then it all led to him realising how much power he could have if he did more with the Mandarin. It could’ve worked better than Stane’s ‘Well I’ve been found out, might as well go supervillain’ at the end of the first film and Vanko’s ‘revenge through armour tech’ in the second. But for whatever reason I don’t think it clicked as well as those did.
Which leads on into one of the many fan debates about its depiction, the Ten Rings group. The thing is is that the Ten Rings is not an overarching plot; it was just a reference in the first film and an easter egg for the fans. However some fans think the inclusion of a Ten Rings logo behind the Mandarin means Killian was a part of or in charge of the terrorist group. That just makes no sense and in fact goes against what we see in the film. He more than likely just appropriated the imagery like he did with everything else to do with the Mandarin look.
The Extremis was the main technological advancement this film, unlike the Iron Man armour this enhances the body biologically not technologically. It is an extension of the general themes of the films and gives another example of a Tony Stark gone bad. Killian works well for that purpose as he says a lot more about Tony than the Mandarin does. One of the general complaints about the Extremis is how powerful it is portrayed against the Iron Men army, and that’s the point. Not that they’re necessarily more powerful but that the armours aren’t Iron Man, Tony Stark is. That ties back into the theme of the film. The armours weren’t piloted by Tony so they’re a lot weaker and get torn to shreds. They weren’t Iron Man; he was on the ground, without armour, saving the day.
Which brings me to the final point, where were the Avengers? Well other than the problem of it being an Iron Man film not Avengers 2, Thor was in Asgard, Captain America is dealing with the Winter Soldier, the Hulk isn’t suited to going after terrorists and Banner likes to keep his head down, which leaves SHIELD. They have been involved in the previous films, but fans are grossly overestimating that involvement. They didn’t solve anything in those films and the villains were outwitting them too. So I can believe that AIM has enough political clout, with at least vice president in their pocket and probably more, they could misdirect the SHIELD investigation.
That’s the most I can think of to talk about here. I still think the movie is great and find some of the complaints rather silly, as usual. I look forward to Thor and possibly doing this again with that film since there always seems to be a lot of complaints I disagree with in these films.