I think expectations can have a great effect on how you ultimately feel about a movie (or book). Sometimes, when you set the bar low, you end up being blown away and loving something! Sometimes, you set the bar high, so when the plot or characters (or both) disappoint, you end up feeling underwhelmed. My expectations for Oblivion were super high, like, this-is-gonna-be-one-of-my-new-all-time-fave-movies high and I ended up a little bit disappointed. I was looking forward to Iron Man 3, but were my expectations for it were lower. What is actually happening in this movie? I’m sure it will be good but I have no idea what is going to happen. So of course, I ended up loving it.
Iron Man 3 is a little bit darker and more intense throughout the movie than its predecessors. Yes, that cave scene in the first Iron Man movie is a rough, and the first time we see Ivan Vanko on the racetrack in Monte Carlo it definitely got intense, but the danger always felt imminent in this installment. I found the movie well-paced, and it certainly included its fair share of wonderfully funny RDJ/Tony Stark moments and quips that help lighten the mood. We also see the aftermath of what Tony went through in The Avengers, which I liked a lot, and he takes a field trip to good ol’ Tennessee! (Since most of you are probably unaware, I live in Tennessee, so this was exciting. But boo on Shane Black for filming the TN parts in North Carolina! I mean, seriously? But I digress…) I absolutely love the kid he befriends there, Harley, and I think the child actor who played him did a great job (maybe we can recast him as Anakin in The Phantom Menance… and have someone, ANYONE rewrite the screenplay…).
Also, I feel this was Iron Man’s best foe; there’s even an interesting twist concerning the villain, but I won’t give it away! I thought Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley did a great job in their roles. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also did great returning to their roles as Pepper Potts and Colonel Rhodes, respectively (Terrence Howard who?).
There are a few small problems with the movie. First off: it does not snow that much in December in TN. SERIOUSLY. OK, I’m being nit-picky, and it is possible, especially in the East, but still not very likely or common. Second, out of all the crazy things that happen in this movie that I totally have no problem believing, it bothered me so much that there was not a single conversation with Nick Fury or anyone else at SHIELD about Tony getting some reinforcements to help him out. I mean, seriously, what are Captain America and Black Widow and Hawkeye really up to? I’m hoping we find out they’re working on their own missions around this same time, like how Iron Man 2 and Thor took place right around the same time. But even a voice mail that said: “Sorry, we can’t help,” would have been nice. Of course, Tony Stark is presumed to be dead by the world for a good portion of this time, but I think someone would have checked up on that to be sure.
Also, I personally did not have a problem with this, but I know other people did/will, and that is that it can be easily perceived that Pepper is a “damsel in distress” towards the end of the movie. This is kind of true in a way, I suppose, but if you know Pepper, you know how strong she is. What happens is a by-product of her relationship with Tony and it makes sense in the context of the story, and it has nothing to do with her being weak or anything like that. And I think she handles herself pretty well. I mean, by all intents and purposes, President Ellis ends up being a “damsel in distress” too, but no one would say that because he’s a guy. But this does leave me with my last problem with the movie, which is I didn’t really think President Ellis was a well-developed character at all. He never seemed particularly strong, but I don’t think he was meant to come off as weak either. He just seemed kind of OK, and I believe William Sadler is capable of a lot more than the role offered him (just watch Season 7 of Deep Space Nine and you’ll see).
This was a great way to kick off the summer, but unfortunately, I’m afraid there really aren’t going to be a lot of truly great summer movies after May. Four out of five stars. And of course, stay until after the credits. 🙂
Have you seen Iron Man 3? What did you think?