Thursday, 13 June 2013

Iron Man 3

The third installment of the popular franchise, the Iron Man 3 follows the events described in Avengers. “Nothing has been the same since New York”, claims Tony Stark as he battles with anxieties, panic attacks and insomnia. His arrogance and over-confidence leaves his life shattered, his girlfriend in danger and the world on the brink of collapse – and thus he need to start to put himself together piece by piece to save those he cares about.

Even though I generally like the Iron Man franchise – I even remember watching cartoons about him when I was younger – it was never my favourite. It is not as serious, dark or severe as some of the other superheroes movies are. It never attempted to provide a food for brain, however little the comics books can give; jaw-dropping was also not its strongest suit; its goal was solely mindless entertainment. Surprisingly enough, the movies didn’t have a lot of action or explosions. The Iron Man trademark attractions always were badass jokes and charismatic main character who could easily and with a charming smile find a way out of even the hardest situation.

It is all different now. Iron Man 3 lost most of the jokes; it lost its happy-go-lucky attitude; Robert Downey Jr. wears lenten face and tries to show just how much he suffers. The whole movie is an attempt to turn the franchise into a more serious affair, introducing time jumps, ponderings and thoughts about destiny and hardship, difficult decisions and a journey of self-exploration. The problem is that the attempt is pale and self-defeating.

Instead of likeable villains, who, for example, used to care about parrots, we are introduced to not-really-that-scary guy who took umbrage with the world. A superhero that overcomes the obstacles and bravely faces any challenge in the world is replaced by a soft and whining Tony Stark who cannot put his own house in order. The small bits of action that used to be in the movie are removed almost completely; they give way to endless and pointless dialogues and monologues. They tried to introduce drama, but it is difficult to empathise with a guy who behaves like a little girl and not a superhero. Instead of Iron Man we see nothing more than an empty shell flying around the town and his girlfriend suffering and fighting in his place.

And that is actually pretty symbolic. It could be argued that Iron Man movies never had a brain; but at least they had soul, something (or, better, somebody) appealing to wider audiences. But in the third part even that was removed, leaving black emptiness behind the façade of the Iron Suit. No action, no drama, nothing spectacular – why to go to the cinema to watch it in the first place? In this context it was a surprise to see the movie in IMAX – the experience was not enhanced a single bit.

One year ago, Avengers have achieved a stunning success mostly relying on the formula introduced by the Iron Man, but producers were looking at the leader of the comic books adaptations, the pinnacle of its kind: the Dark Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan. The third Iron Man clearly attempts to mimic the trilogy style and to “nolanise” the franchise. But it seems to me that you need Nolan to make it work, otherwise all the time jumps, serious faces and dramatic music look like a farce and a parody rather than a proper movie.
Too funny, couldn't resist. Thank you,

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