Iron Man 3, reaching superhero overload

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I loved Iron Man and Iron Man 2 but I have to admit that by the time The Avengers came along and certainly by the new Iron Man 3, I was a bit burned out. Not just burned out on Iron Man but on superheroes in general. I’m glad to see that technology has finally caught up to the comic book world so we can now have wonderful, spectacular movies but how many is too many? I think we’ve almost reach saturation…if we haven’t already.

Due to said burn out, I hadn’t paid that much attention to Iron Man 3. I watched a few trailers but otherwise was pretty in-the-dark about the whole thing. This approach actually worked in the film’s favor because I didn’t have any real expectations besides being entertained.

Spoiler Disclaimer: I’m not going to recap the movie plot all that much but I will probably say things that would otherwise reveal things in the film. If you’d rather stay clueless (like I did), go see the movie and them come back.

The build-up

I thought Iron Man 2 was an excellent movie. I thought it was better than the first Iron Man. Iron Man 2 had a near-perfect balance of Iron Man the character and Tony Stark the man. It also had a wonderful tie the character’s past. Of course, all of this was done to setup for The Avengers¬†and the other superhero movies that were involved. However, unlike the other movies, like Thor, Iron Man 2 felt more than a simple means to end. Iron Man 2 is a standalone movie with all the special effects and action you wanted.

The Avengers was a good movie but it suffered from character overload. On paper a film with all the best superheroes sounds great but in reality (and within a 2-hour time limit) that’s a little harder to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really fun movie that tied up all the previous films in the super-showdown we all wanted. It didn’t disappoint. Iron Man 3, however, was kind of a letdown.

Iron Man 3

Without looking it up, I’m gonna say that Iron Man has appeared in more movies than any other Marvel character shy of maybe Wolverine. Robert Downey, Jr. has played the Iron Man/Tony Stark role perfectly but even then you can only take so much. We’ve watched the birth of Iron Man, the past of Iron Man and then the ultimate test of Iron Man over the course of three prior movies. So what’s left in the tank? Apparently, not much.

This time we get more Tony than Iron Man. Too bad.

This time we get more Tony than Iron Man. Too bad.

The premise of Iron Man 3 seems to be Tony Stark coming down off the high that was his evolution and epic battle in The Avengers. I admit, all of that would take its toll on any man (or superhero) but watching the rehab over the course of 2-hours just falls flat. No matter how well the role is played, when I lay down my $10 for an Iron Man movie, I want to see Iron Man and in this film that doesn’t happen much. I know that’s the whole point of the movie – to be a Tony Stark story – but tha78t doesn’t mean I don’t want to see Iron Man flying around and kicking ass. We do get a nice big battle in the end but it comes off feeling tacked on and even then in somewhat of a ridiculous way (even ridiculous for a superhero world).

Another problem Iron Man 3 suffered from was a lack of purpose. If we accept the first Iron Man movie as nothing more than an origin story, Iron Man 2 served to get us closer to The Avengers and then that movie was the pay off. Iron Man 3 rarely references any of the prior movies and doesn’t seem to point to any movies beyond itself. Iron Man 3 is a self-contained Iron Man adventure where a problem is introduced and solved in less than three hours. That might not sound like a problem but over the past few years we’ve been trained to view these movies as pieces of a bigger puzzle and Iron Man 3 breaks that expectation. At this point, we can only hope that the other sequel movies (Thor, Captain America, etc.) do better at feeling less isolated.

And one last thing in the Iron Man parade of disappoint was the addition of the child sidekick. As if Iron Man didn’t appeal to the kids already, Iron Man 3 gives Tony Stark support in the form of a small child. The minute the boy shows up on screen I rolled my eyes and no doubt made an audible sigh. Thankfully they didn’t beat the sidekick angle to death so you don’t suffer long, but then why put it in there at all? It just took me out of the moment when I was watching and there’s nothing worse than that for any film.

The Iron Patriot. Get a good look here because it's about all you get in the movie.

The Iron Patriot. Get a good look here because it’s about all you get in the movie.

It’s not that bad

As usual, I’ve highlighted all the problems I had with Iron Man 3 but it’s not a bad movie…and maybe it’ll get better the second time around. As you would expect, the acting is great from everyone in the film including Guy Pearce, whom I had no idea was even in the film! There are some great moments in the film with just enough humor to keep the mood fun. The inclusion of War Machine (aka, Iron Patriot) is awesome as well but unfortunately all too fleeting.

Needless to say the special effects are top notch as we’ve come to expect. At this point it’s going to be hard to impress anyone with visual effects…it’s just accepted that these movies are going to look great and Iron Man 3 doesn’t falter there.

I don’t know where the Iron Man franchise goes from here. If The Avengers was the high point of comic book movies – the one film all us fans were waiting for – then I think any upcoming comic book film will have a tough time. I don’t doubt they’ll all be a lot of fun but at what point do we just get tired of them? The Avengers required us all to see everything superhero movie given to us but now I think we’ll all find our favorite characters and stick with them rather than keep up with all of them. I don’t want to say that Iron Man is dead to me now but Iron Man 3 didn’t exactly make me excited for any future Iron Man movies.

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Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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