(In which interesting lessons could be learned from unlikely sources.)
Like The Batman Trilogy, I wasn’t able to catch the first two Iron Man movies in cinemas. Unlike The Dark Knight Rises, however, I was able to relish Iron Man 3’s glory in the big screen. But that won’t mean this post could give the movie justice. Just saying.
Over the months during which several Iron Man 3 trailers were released, movie goers got filled with questions, mostly why’s, such as “Why the hell is Tony Stark bloody and his suit in bad shape in that snowy evening?”, “Why is Pepper Potts in that fiery battlefield and wearing . . . a black bra?”, “Why doesn’t that pedantic Mandarin look Chinese?”, and the very disturbing “Why does The Mandarin say ‘You’ll never see me coming’ that way?”
Of course the movie answered all those questions, and then some. But this post won’t.
The third installment of Marvel’s top-grossing superhero movie opens up with insomniac Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) monologue and a flashback of a 1999 conference in Switzerland, back during his “genius, multibillionaire playboy” days. He met a very desperate scientist offering a partnership in a project, to which his response was that the guy wait for him in the rooftop. But being the man that he was before being Iron Man, he never showed up.
And then comes the current, post-Avengers life of Tony, still fueled with his obsession for his suits which drives Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) crazy. Unfortunately for Tony, there are more things that drive him crazy: his inability to sleep, his anxiety attacks due to that New York incident and the suave Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) making a move on Pepper.
Aldrich Killian is introduced as a rich scientist who “shows his big brain” to Pepper (as Happy puts it) via a hologram live feed, stating that its revolutionary scientific technology would enable scientist to see how the brain reacts to anything that happens to the human body. Although astonished, Pepper refused to take the project, saying that the technology could be highly weaponized. What she saw was just the tip of the iceberg.
And then there was The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a terrorist who can mysteriously bypass national television to air his creepy penchant for lecturing and displaying his terrorism acts in various parts of the world, along with his threat that “America will pay”.
And it somehow did. During the bombing of the Chinese Theater, one of Tony’s friends was badly hurt and suffered from a coma. In his efforts to avenge him, Tony releases a press statement to The Mandarin, and adds his home address (so he can easily find him), resulting to an attack that caused Tony’s headquarters, along with his many suits, to turn into scrap metal heading deep into the sea.
After this, the real action starts.
Iron Man 3 actually faced a lot of challenges in connection with its two predecessors. For one thing, Iron Man was a hit because of the transformation Tony has undergone through from being a man who profits from wars to a man who anonymously protects the people. It was fun seeing how Tony becomes Iron Man. But there could only be one movie showing the initial challenges of a civilian-turning-hero, unfortunately. In Iron Man 2, Tony again transforms from a noble superhero to a panic-stricken weakling. Bereft of anonymity and fearing for the end of his days, he continuously makes a spectacle of himself, forcing Rhodes to take on his suit and his duties.
Apparently, Iron Man 3 has to strive harder to avoid a gradually tiring plot to prove its worth. And it did; if its hugely mind-blowing special effects and $345.4 million overseas for its first week alone and is expected to rake $600 million by May 5 (which is way higher than the combination of the entire Iron Man 1 and 2) are enough proof. But no matter, Robert Downey Jr. surely is still smiling. Why, he’s the 50 million-dollar Avenger!
Anyway, of course, Iron Man 3 also showcases transformation. But that’s for you to find out. Hint: It involves a bullied kid, a limited edition Dora the Explorer watch and some fireworks. And by the way, about the incomprehensible monologue during the opening, the explanation will be found at the post credit video. Yes, there is a post-credit video. And it comes after its tremendously lengthy credits. But that’s fine. Because the last sentence will surely put your (semi) Marvel-fan mode on.