Archive for the ‘Sooo…’ Category

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Alright, before I get into things here, this is the first one of these I’m doing so let me explain the idea to you. It’s pretty simple really, “Sooo…” is just going to be about me giving my opinion or thoughts on a topic, or maybe ranting about something that’s bothering me, as may become the case here. This is actually the first of three of these I have planned at the moment, although it’s actually the third of those three to one into my mind. So why is it going first? Basically because the movie is pushing everything else aside in my mind right now. Why call it “Sooo…”? Well, it’s a pretty generic open that can lead into any topic and “Sooo…Iron Man 3”, is a phrase that pretty well sums up my somewhat mixed feelings on the movie. As for the other two editions I currently have planned, those will touch on Injustice: Gods Among Us, both the console and iOS games and the digital first comic written by Tom Taylor, and as a continuation of this edition, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as I see or dream it.

One more thing before I get into the meat here, I’m going to SPOIL THE HELL out of Iron Man 3 here, so if you are actually reading this blog primarily about comics and you haven’t seen the movie yet and you don’t want it SPOILED for you, STOP! READING! NOW! You have been warned!

Is it good?… As a movie? Of course it is. It’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s Iron Man. So yes, as a big, sort of Tom Clancy, sort of action-spy-thriller, blockbuster movie it is a fun, entertaining movie. I’ve heard people calling it the best of the three, and objectively speaking I can’t really argue that. I think for me #1 is the best though.

How about as a comic book movie?… This is where it starts getting a little bit hinky for me. Don’t get me wrong, Tony Stark feels like Tony Stark, Pepper Potts feels like Pepper Potts, etc., but other characters didn’t amount to what I would have hoped and really neither did Extremis.

Extremis… First off, the Extremis story arc by Warren Ellis in Iron Man, vol. 4 is fantastic. Secondly, Iron Man 3 is not the Extremis arc, and that’s fine. None of these movies are really direct adaptations of particular story arcs, nor should they be, because if they were, avid comic readers would already know the ending. However, the movies do draw off those comics, sometimes with more success than others. The way Iron Man 3 uses Extremis absolutely works for the movie and the end result is, at least momentarily, a bad ass Extremis-infected Pepper Potts. On the other hand though, I do have a couple of issues with the portrayal of Extremis in the movie. Keep in mind, these are just me being nitpicky, and not cause for me not to enjoy the movie. First, the virus itself is portrayed as being inherently unstable, with each infectee running the risk of exploding, an issue that wasn’t present, at least in the initial Warren Ellis arc. The virus is also only shown to be capable of one thing and one thing only. A person is infected and either they die or they are given the one power set. In the comics on the other hand, it’s made clear that the Extremis virus can be coded to do different things which s why it affects Tony Stark differently then it affects Mallen. And that’s the second disappointment, that Tony Stark is never, at least overtly, infected. If you think about the end of the movie and that Kevin Feige has stated we haven’t seen the last of Extremis, arguments can be mad for his infection.  We do still ostensibly get the Extremis Iron Man suit through a series of subdermal implants.

Maya Hanson… On the surface the Maya Hanson character is the same in the movie as she is in the comics. The problem is while in the initial Extremis comic arc she turns out the driving force behind the entire story, in Iron Man 3, with Extremis really only serving as a smaller device of the larger plot, she is reduced, essentially, to a non-entity.

James Rhodes… I don’t really have any major problems here, kind of playing three roles, Rhodey, War Machine, and Iron Patriot (I know it’s all the same guy), Don Cheadle is wonderful and the chemistry between him and Robert Downey, Jr. Makes for some great stuff. So why is this here? Well, cause…comics. The fact is Rhodey isn’t Iron Patriot, Norman Osborn is. But of course, Osborn falls under the umbrella of Spider-Man and Sony, so that wasn’t going to happen. That said, working the Captain America meets Iron Man, Iron Patriot into the movie came out perfectly fine.

Tony Stark… It’s Robert Downey, Jr., what could I possibly have to complain about here? Well, on his part, nothing. Iron Man 3 features a Tony Stark in a post-Avengers world who is basically suffering from post-traumatic stress, he barely sleeps, when he does he has nightmares and when anyone brings up the events of “New York” (Avengers), he has anxiety attacks, and the short fuse created by all of this is basically the reason for everything that happens to him in the entire movie. Robert Downey, Jr. plays all that perfectly and still finds opportunities to be sharp, witty and funny. I’ve seen people complain about this “wimpy” portrayal of Tony Stark, but that’s just nonsense. I know this is movies and comics, but let’s be real here, Tony Stark is a guy in an iron suit who has just finished dealing with a super soldier (Captain America), gods (Thor, Loki), a monster (Hulk) and aliens, and he nearly died, in another dimension, in the process. So, um, hell yeah he’s going to be a little messed up. My complaint, for all the different iterations of the Iron Man armor in the movie, Tony Stark spends a whole lot of time not wearing any of it, most the movie in fact. It works mind you, it’s just nice to see Iron Man when you go to see Iron Man.

Armor porn… On the subject of all those iterations of the Iron Man armor, while it was very cool to get to see them all, they actually don’t feature in a great deal f the movie. Like I said, Tony Stark spends the majority of the movie not wearing any armor. When he s wearing armor, it’s usually the Mk 42 seen on the marketing materials. All the rest of the armor? Well, for the most part it’s all crammed into the final battle sequence, which, while given a significant amount of time, is fast-paced, chaotic and happens at night. All I’m saying is, it might have been nice if all those cool suits had gotten more than a few seconds of screen time.

The Mandarin… And now we have what is really the reason for this whole thing. Yes it’s fun giving my opinion on the movie as a whole and dissecting it and getting into the minutiae of comic book vs. movie, but what I’m really here for is to lay out my fanboyish complaints about the movie’s portrayal of the Mandarin. Lets get two things clear right away. The Mandarin is Iron Man’s arch nemesis, the Joker to his Batman, the Green Goblin to his Spider-Man. That said, I had no illusions of getting the classic fu man chu sporting Mandarin, he’s a racist caricature, we all get that, not doing that in the movie is fine. So what did the movie do? They cast Ben Kingsley. They moulded him into what basically amounts to an amalgamation of the Mandarin, Osama Bin Laden and basically anyone on America’s most hated/hunted list in the last 10 or 15 years. And he was perfect, he was terrifying, the villain this movie needed to have, the villain Tony Stark needed to have. And then? And then he was ripped away from us. By Trevor Slattery. Who is Trevor Slattery you ask? Why he’s an actor, a drunken buffoon of an actor, portrayed by Ben Kingsley, hired to pose as the Mandarin while the real one lurk in the shadows. Confused? Why wouldn’t you be. Iron Man 3 was marketed on Robert Downey, Jr. and Ben Kingsley, on finally giving us Iron Man’s greatest enemy. And that’s what they gave us, until Tony Stark and “The Mandarin” come face to face, then the character’s true nature is revealed and my heart sinks. Yes, Ben Kingsley was fantastic, the Trevor Slattery stuff was funny, if a bit out of place in a rather serious movie. But that was not the Mandarin we were sold in trailers and that wa not the Mandarin the Iron Man franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and us as movie goers who care about the comics these characters come from should have been given. So, in the end who is the true Mandarin? Aldrich Killian. He tells us that himself. “I am the Mandarin!” In the comics Aldrich Killian is significant in much the same way Maya Hanson is, as co-creator of the Extremis. What we get in the movie is an amalgamation of Killian, Mallen and “the Mandarin”. And it works, for the context of the movie, but really, next to Kingsley’s Mandarin, Guy Pearce just pales. Kingsley was a threat because he was intimidating, terrifying. Pearce was threat only because of his character’s Extremis-granted powers. I can get the logic behind the choices made here, at least what seems like the logic behind them in my mind. Explaining the Mandarin and his ten rings of power as well as everything with Extremis and everything Tony Stark was dealing with would have been very cluttered, so streamlining was necessary, in the end I just wish it hadn’t been the Mandarin they employed fr his little bit of smoke and mirrors.

The end… And speaking of the end, like everything else, in the context of the movie, it works. And frankly, with Robert Downey, Jr.’s contractual status with Marvel currently up in the air and the chances of another solo Iron Man movie with him as the lead seeming dicey, they actually wrapped up the trilogy very nicely. If this was the last Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man movie, I’m good with that.