Midweek Geekiness: Iron Man 3 Edition

English: Logo of Marvel Comics
English: Logo of Marvel Comics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw Iron Man 3 on opening night in IMAX 3D.  I decided that week after seeing a bunch of clips. The warming weather also means popcorn movie time.  I admit to not reading the comic books, but familiarized myself with the source material through Wikipedia.  It takes time and effort to be a comic book nerd, and this geek has her limits.  After hearing about the Mandarin and the Extremis story line, it’s safe to say to make a movie like this, with Marvel’s blessing, one needs to learn the rules to break them.

The purists will hate it.

I applaud it.

While it did have some uneven plot elements, Iron Man 3 focused my attention on the characters rather than  plot and/or visual effects.  Nobody goes through something like the ‘Battle of New York’ and not have their psyche turned upside down.  Our resident billionaire-playboy-philanthropist has seen a lot, and works on the believing part of what he saw.  Tony’s sleepless nights and Iron drones symbolizes a man denying what just happened to him.  What happens when glib one liners don’t cut it any more?

You talk about to someone.

The movie opens in 1999 as Tony meets Maya Hansen (played by The Town’s Rebecca Hall) and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce).  A voice over sets up the movie.  Meanwhile I sat in my seat wondering Why the voice over?  Who is Tony talking to?  (That, my friends, is why one must sit through Marvel’s end credits to find out.)  Fast forward to post-Avengers Tony and we see a man escaping into his suit, as he experiences a panic attack at the mere mention of ‘New York.’

I confess to watching the movie already figuring out the plot.  While I did say some things felt uneven, the film threw out a few twists.  You can read more spoilery-laden blogs to find out, but it does reinforce for me the idea comics have to undergo the same considerations in adaptation as books.  To literally transpose a comic to film, to satisfy those purists, leaves out the context  originally forming characters and story lines for given issues.  Parts of the Extremis story line exists as does The Mandarin’s villainy.  When the Mandarin fought Iron Man in the comics during the 60’s, China remained a mystery.  Now the shroud has lifted slightly to show an economic superpower; One that likes to go to the movies just as much as we do.

Yeah, The Mandarin in its original incarnation would not fly.

Bringing us to Ben Kingsley…

Memo to those huffing about an actor of his calibre getting involved in a comic book film–get your nose down from the air and chill out.  I loved Gandhi.  I also enjoyed Sexy Beast.  I have seen the guy in good movies and not-so-good-to-bad movies.  Sir Ben was good in this one.  Unfortunately to go into details would give away some key points, and it’s not my style.  I can say the voice he uses in trailers has a purpose, and that’s all.

Would I recommend this film?  Yes.  It’s summer.  I put my money down to get away from life for a little while.  I put on my IMAX 3D glasses, and find myself peering at a world through Tony Stark’s eyes.  It’s actually fun since Robert Downey, Jr pretty much not only made the movie, but kick-started the Marvel movie universe as we know it.  As Phase 2 begins, I only hope the studio doesn’t lose track of what made these films good in the first place.  They attracted top-notch talent.  I will pay for my ticket if they don’t skimp on the talent.  Visual effects are fine, but without characters and a story it’s a body without a soul.

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