I saw Iron Man 3 this past week, and I enjoyed the film well enough. Shane Black injects some pretty hilarious moments into the franchise and the action beats were more impressive than those in the second film.
But this film is as dumb as a bag of door knobs. It does not rise above the level of popcorn entertainment, and I don’t get film critics who can overlook its myriad of issues. So in the grand tradition of needlessly nitpicking things to death, after the jump you’ll find some of my issues with the film. Feel free to let me know in the comments whether you agree with any of them, as I’m sure you already will. Thanks to Matt Singer for his inspiration (and some of his copy!) in writing this piece.
Massive spoilers for Iron Man 3 follow.
Why does Tony Stark spend 70% of the movie trying to repair/power up his suit, when he has a remote controlled suit army at his disposal? – It’s a pretty stunning moment when Tony Stark barely makes it out of Malibu after his entire house destroyed by the putative terrorists. Tony Stark’s array of suits has been exploded, it seems. The haunting, silent opening shots from the film hammer home that idea. So Stark’s quest to repair and power up his final suit carries a lot of dramatic tension. This is his last suit! He’ll need it to defeat the villains in the film.
All of that tension is totally undercut when at the end of the film, Stark is able to call upon dozens upon dozens of Iron Men suits, all of them with high-powered AI that autonomously lay waste to the enemy. It’s like knowing Neo can fly away from any fight in The Matrix Reloaded. Once you have that knowledge, doesn’t every struggle seem kind of unnecessary? Or in this case, doesn’t the sagging middle section of the film, in which a suit-less Stark barely evades death on a number of occasions, seem kind of unnecessary?
Product placement up the wazoo – Guys, it’s important to know that when Tony Stark hacks into military databases, only hardware prominently displayed from Sun and Oracle will suffice. And that the reporter recording Tony Stark at the press conference was using a TCL cell phone, because their phones offer superior picture and sound. And Tony Stark drives an Audi, a company that I’m pretty sure had category exclusivity in the film (notice the lack of a Mustang logo on the car at the end)? He also bought FiOS for that kid, because lousy Comcast broadband just would not do. Lower quality products just won’t do.
Look, I’m no rube. I understand the realities of modern day filmmaking. But every now and then the “product integration” breaches the fourth wall and rips you out of the film. This film did it multiple times.