So if you've been considering going to see it, but haven't been real sure if it's any good or not -- go!
In fact, go right now, and don't read the rest of this review until you're back, because I am going to discuss plot twists and character development and all kinds of stuff that you Do Not Want To Know before you see it. So don't read the rest of this post until you've seen the movie. Please. I'm serious. I'm putting three yummy pictures right here so the rest of this post won't appear on your screen without you scrolling down, so you won't accidentally read any spoilage.
So. What I'm gonna do here is not so much just review the movie as discuss the fact that, basically, it's a remake of Batman Forever (1995).
But more to the point, Batman Forever has a lot in common with Iron Man 3. First off, both Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) are insanely rich and the heads of powerful corporations. Both movies begin with a nerdly, genius scientist approaching the lead character with a brilliant idea they want to share. Both Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) have long, stringy hair and bad glasses.
|Jim Carrey in Batman Forever|
Incidentally, both Nygma and Killian's ideas? They involve mind-control. Nygma goes on to create The Box, a silly-looking device that lets TV viewers feel like they're inside the show they're watching, meanwhile sucking their brainwaves and feeding all their thoughts to Nygma. Killian's idea is more vague and science-y, but it involves harnessing unused brain space to help subjects grow and change. (I really need to see IM3 again to really figure that part out).
Both Nygma and Killian strike out on their own after being rejected. They find success, clean up beautifully, and make a move on the star's girlfriend. And they try to get their idols to join them once again, which results in yet another round of rejections and anger and vengeance-plotting. Both then join forces with Homicidal Maniacs, Nygma with Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), who wants to destroy Batman, and Killian with The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who wants to destroy America. (Yes, yes, I realize that was a ruse, or so they want us to believe....)
Another similarity? The girlfriends. Both reddish-blonde knockouts with distinctly comic-book-y names. Bruce Wayne woos Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), and Tony Stark is still having a combustible relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
And both Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark acquire a protege, a younger male character in need of a father-figure. One is newly orphaned Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell), a trapeze artist whose parents were murdered by Two-Face. The other is Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), whose dad walked out eight years earlier and whose mom never makes an appearance in the movie.
There's a big emphasis in Iron Man 3 on the idea that you create your own enemies. Tony Stark brushed off Killian, and Killian spent years figuring out how to get back at Tony and take over the world while he was at it. Bruce Wayne refused to develop Nygma's idea, and also failed to prevent the accident that transformed Harvey Dent into Two-Face, and the two of them spend years figuring out how to get back at Bruce and take over Gotham City while they're at it. Both movies seem to be saying that a little kindness goes a long way, and so does the lack thereof. Not terribly profound, but important nonetheless.
Do I really think Iron Man 3 is a remake of Batman Forever? Nah. Iron Man 3 is far more serious, after all. But they do have a similar plot arc, one that clearly resonates with me since they're both my favorite entries in their individual movie series. Why does it appeal to me? I know I'm drawn to the idea of proving yourself, that you can do what others say you can't. It's the bad guys who are proving themselves here, but I do know I felt so very bad for Killian when Tony lied to him -- I could have slapped Tony. Other than that, I'm not quite sure yet -- I'll have to think on it some more.