Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Iron Man 3" (2013)

If I had to choose one word to describe this movie, it would be "unimprovable."  Which my computer says is not a word, but phooey on it.  I can't think of one thing I would change in this movie that would make it better.  Not a different casting choice, director, visual style, plot change... nothing.  I liked it better than the first Iron Man and much better than Iron Man 2.

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).

Please don't leave!  I'm serious.  I love that movie -- it's my favorite Batman movie.  Sure, it's so hammy and cheesy it could be a diner sandwich.  Sure, its effects look really clunky now.  But it's got some great acting (and some of the craziest scenery chewing of all time, I will admit that), a fun plot, and some kickin' music.

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
Both Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark turn down the overeager scientists, though Bruce lets Nygma down way more nicely than the way Tony deals with Killian.  Because Nygma and Killian idolize the people who rejected them, they both take this very personally and, naturally, plot revenge.  This is how nemeses are born, after all.

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.

18 comments:

  1. So I didn't read this since I don't really want spoilers and I haven't seen it yet (soon, though -- hoping!). But I enjoyed the pictures! I saw IM2 last week and really enjoyed it...need to sit down and write my review. And IM1...oh, a few months ago. Sometime last year. Not a big fan of it, really liked 2 better! But Captain America remains my favorite, and Thor...well, it was one of the stupidest movies I ever saw, and I still really enjoyed it. ;) LOL! What-a-life. So. But! I'll look forward to reading this someday!

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    1. Good for you for not reading it! You'll have a much more enjoyable first viewing if you avoid spoilage.

      My friend that I saw this with also prefers IM2 over IM. I prefer IM3 over both -- isn't it interesting how different story elements grab different people?

      Thor was pretty oddball, I agree. I don't like Jane, I think she's all wrong for Thor (but that could be just jealousy talking). But I liked it better than Captain America because the plot held together better and it had more story elements that intrigued me. Which is unexpected, since I love WWII. I actually don't even own Captain America, though I'm thinking I should get it cuz my kids will probably love it, and having all the Avengers' movies but his is just... striking me as silly. Not to mention Cap is my 2nd-fave Avenger.

      So anyway, to stop rambling, I can't wait for you to see this so you can read and comment! :-D

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  2. Okay, fine, I didn't read your post yet, though I was extremely tempted to... ;-) You have just made me want to see it that much more!!! :-)

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    1. Good job with the will power! I hope you get to see it soon :-D

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    2. This has nothing to do with Iron Man 3, but I just ordered Bring Me a Unicorn by AML today! Yay! Thank you for the rec! I absolutely cannot wait to read it!

      I hope you are having a great week! :D

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    3. Sweet! I hope you love it. You're making me want to pull it down and have a re-read. So many books, so little time.

      And we're having a lovely week so far! Thank you. Are you?

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    4. Oh, I know...I have so many that I want to read through this summer...the notebooks of Katherine Mansfield, the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris, Persuasion, etc.... *sigh*

      I have been having a very good week! I watched the 1995 Persuasion movie for the first time, and loved it...Anne was so sure and steady, much like Elinor, but in an even quieter way, I think. So beautiful. Have you seen this version?

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    5. I really like the 1995 Persuasion! It's the only version I've seen so far, but I love Ciaran Hinds as Capt. Wentworth. It's my favorite Austen novel, and I thought that version captured both Anne and Wentworth well, though I also thought they kind of skimped on getting some of the storyline across.

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    6. I love that version of Persuasion! Actually, I love the new one too. It has several things I don't like, but as Persuasion is my favorite Austen, I love it anyway. :)

      Anne is such a lovely character. As Rebecca said, sure and steady yet quiet. Definitely someone to depend and rely on. The '95 version particularly shows her physical change really well too. Because she does change in the novel. Not hugely, just quietly noticeable.

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    7. Persuasion is my favorite Austen too! Who's in the newer version?

      Anne blossoms so much in the book, but quietly, as you say. She learns to value her own opinion and trust her instincts, and to stand up for herself. Love it.

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    8. Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones. I like both, but do admit that Rupert is very nice to look at! Which may help my enjoyment of this version. ;D

      "Blossoming"! I knew there was a word I was looking for and couldn't think of it. Thank you!

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    9. This Penry-Jones person is popping up a lot on my radar lately. I found this version on YouTube, so maybe I'll get to watch it soon!

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  3. I liked it too! I don't know why some people were saying it was not good... And I never saw /Batman Forever/ so I was unaware of the similarities.

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    1. Were people saying it was not good? I've heard only positive reviews.

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  4. I haven't seen this one, but I did read the whole post. (I actually like being spoiled. I'm weird that way.) You've definitely convinced me to watch it when I get a chance! :)

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    1. A lot of times, I don't mind being spoiled at all. I'll still merrily read books and watch movies after I know how they end. But sometimes I avoid spoilers, and some people hate them, so I always try to warn that they're ahead.

      I hope you get to see it! It's great fun.

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  5. Agreed on the part where Iron Man 3 is "unimprovable", the best comic book film other than The Avengers for me at least. Loved every minute of it, already planning to pre-order the Blu-Ray.

    Interesting parallel with Batman Forever. I kind of dislike the movie, however that is mostly because my little brother made me watch it for what felt like "Forever" when we where kids.

    Another great review, really liking your blog so far.

    -James

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    1. I, too, had a little brother who loooooooooooooooooooved Batman Forever and wanted to watch it over and over and over and over. Only, I wanted to watch it over and over and over and over too, mostly thanks to Val Kilmer and Chris O'Donnell and how I had a terrible time deciding which I liked better -- required a lot of research for a teenage girl ;-)

      Glad you're liking my blog. Random aside: I love your user icon. Han rules!

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