There are two kinds of Iron Man movie-goers. There are the ones that read the Marvel Comics of Iron Man, and there are the ones who went to see Iron Man because it was a super-hero movie that had Robert Downey, Jr. in it and how could that not be a train-wreck to pull the car over and look at.
The first kind of Iron Man fans ... hated this movie with an unholy passion. I admit that they had their reasons, primarily because the villain -- The Mandarin -- was not the same as in the comic book. No, he wasn't. If you think you are going to see the comic book Mandarin, forget it. Sorry.
I am the second kind of Iron Man fan. I go to see Robert Downey, Jr. portray Tony Stark as a hedonistic, self-centered, egotistical ass who puts on an Iron Man suit to kick the butts of those who tread on Tony's newly-found sense of responsibility. As the second kind of fan, I loved this movie from start to finish.
Tony Stark, billionaire genius, begins this movie with the revelation that the appearance of Thor and Loki from the dimension of Asgard (in The Avengers last summer) as well as the wormhole that allowed evil militant aliens to break through into Earth to subjugate it has rattled his clever psyche to the point where he can't sleep. Obsessively he tinkers with his Iron Man armor, adding this, honing that, fabricating suit after suit after suit, trying to find that invincible combination that might have given him a greater advantage against the alien invaders. Yet because of the anxiety and sleep-deprivation, his new inventions are not as sharp as they should be -- just as Tony Stark isn't.
When Stark's former bodyguard, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is blown up by a terrorist attack authored by a man who refers to himself as 'The Mandarin,' Tony Stark wigs out and issues a challenge to the villain, who takes him up on it in a matter of hours and attacks Stark's mansion with extreme prejudice and sends most of it explosively into the sea off the coast of Malibu.
Without his armor, without his omnipresent AI concierge Jarvis, how will Tony Stark manage to track and defeat the Mandarin?
Good special effects.
Good Tony Stark.
Great Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. Even if I didn't love Tony Stark as portrayed by RDjr, I'd be first in line to own this on DVD for Kingsley's performance.
I want you to read a selection from Wikipedia. Wikipedia on Lois Lane.
DC instituted its multiverse system in the early 1960s for organizing its continuity, and introduced the Earth-Two Superman in Justice League of America No. 73 (August 1969). This retcon declared the Golden Age Superman and Lois Lane stories (i.e. comics published from 1938 through the early 1950s) as having taken place on the parallel world of "Earth-Two" versus the then mainstream universe of "Earth-One." In Action Comics #484 (June 1978), a flashback story reveals Earth-Two's Lois became infatuated with Clark Kent after the latter lost his memory of his superheroic identity (thanks to a spell cast by the Justice Society of America enemy, the Wizard), with the result of Clark acting more aggressive and extroverted. Clark and Lois began to date each other, and were soon married. However, during the honeymoon, Lois discovered that Clark was indeed Superman, and after recruiting the aid of the Wizard, restored Clark's memory. The now-married Lois and Clark starred in a series of stories Superman Family #195 - #199 and #201 - #222 titled "Mr. and Mrs. Superman," which presented their further adventures early in their marriage. Susie Tompkins made a return as a recurring character. Years later, Lois and Clark acted as parental figures for Power Girl, Superman's cousin, after she arrived on Earth.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries, the Earth-Two Lois Lane was seemingly seen for the final time, as Lois, the Earth-Two Superman, and the Superboy of Earth Prime are taken by Earth-Three's Alexander Luthor into a paradise like dimension at the end of the story. Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version of Lois was retroactively removed from DC's continuity.
In 2005's Infinite Crisis miniseries, it was revealed that the Earth-Two Lois Lane Kent, along with Superboy, Alexander Luthor, Jr., and Superman, have been watching the events of the post Crisis DC universe from their pocket dimension. Out of the four observers, she is the only one who still believes that the new universe is just going through a rough patch; Superboy Prime and Alex Luthor are convinced that Earth is utterly corrupt, and Kal-L is slowly becoming swayed to their way of thinking. This version of Lois is frail, and died for reasons not explicitly revealed, though probably connected to her octogenerian status. This was the main reason for Kal-L's determination to restore Earth-Two, as he believed that Lois' health would recover once back on her proper Earth. Despite the restoration of Earth-Two, however, Lois Lane Kent died in the arms of Superman in Infinite Crisis No. 5, regardless of Kal-L's protests that he could not let her die. After Kal-L died at the hands of Superboy Prime at the end of Infinite Crisis No. 7, he commented that he finally understood Lois' final words "It's... not... going..." as meaning that it would never end for them, and one day it would be understood that even the heroes who had been lost in the original Crisis were still out there somewhere. After his demise, they are shown reunited in the stars, while their bodies are buried on Earth alongside Kon-El's, who gave his life to stop Superboy-Prime's attempts to restore his Earth.
Lois later returns as a sinister Black Lantern with her husband in the Blackest Night crossover. Her first task is to kidnap Martha Kent with her spouse, and stating that she and Kal-L wish for Kal-El, Connor Kent, and Martha, to be reunited with Jonathan Kent in death. However, she proved unable to deal with the resourcefulness of Martha Kent, and was set ablaze by the widow, but kept regenerating until Krypto intervened, ripping the black ring out of her hand and preventing regeneration for long enough to allow Superman and Conner Kent to destroy the Black Lantern powerhouses attacking Smallville, and reaching town to aid others unhindered.
Black Lantern Lois later appears to Power Girl, claiming that she has escaped the ring's corrupting influence, and needs her help. However, this is just a ploy to get close enough to her husband's body, which was being held in the JSA headquarters after his black ring had been removed. Black Lantern Lois "sacrifices" herself by removing her ring and giving it to Kal-L, restoring him to full undead status, and causing her own body to become inert.
Now, I know that was rather long and involved, and admittedly I am comparing DC's to Marvel's, but I am trying to make a point -- comic books have a logic of their own, especially very successful, long-running comic books. Lois Lane has been around for seventy years. Iron Man is going on fifty. When a series has been around that long, things change, and in the comic book world, things can change really radically and in ways that are not always entirely consistent with went on in the past. If the present doesn't match the past, just change the past or make something up to explain it, then move on with your life. That is the comic book way.
As Sand has already mentioned, there were liberties taken in the new Iron Man movie, and it bunched a few peoples' panties.
I weep for them.
Moving on, however, for the rest of us who are just looking for escapist entertainment, I've got to high-five the cast and crew of Iron Man 3. This is a rollicking, non-stop adventure that restores the fun to the series that I thought was missing from Iron Man 2.
What's improved? Well for one thing, Tony Stark is back to being a super-smart, sharp-tongued, flawed human being thrust into dealing with the double-edged sword of being a "super hero." Tony likes the fame, but rebels against responsibility. This is the allegorical struggle about growing up, another take on Peter Pan, and a story with which we can resonate. In IM2, Tony was dealing with the dark side of psychosis and breakdown. Maybe we can resonate with that, but it's not something I usually like doing.
The writing is better this time around. Not only was the story nicely convoluted and filled with surprises, the witty repartee that gives Tony Stark his charm flowed much more easily and naturally. I thought the exchanges in IM2 were stilted and forced. And it wasn't just the Stark character that benefited from the writing. Ben Kingsley's character, The Mandarin, was delectably written and afforded Mr. Kingsley the opportunity to showcase his extraordinary acting skills.
I particularly liked the humor in this film. Humor can be difficult. There are jokes, and then there are things that are funny. Watch Benny Hill perform. He is a talented performer telling jokes. Now watch Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin is a talented performer telling a story that happens to be funny, but it is no joke.
IM3 is not on a par with Modern Times, but it does do an excellent job of appropriately integrating some very funny stuff into the story without turning it into a joke.
And of course lots of things blowed up real good.
So, better treatment of the main character, good story with excellent writing, better use of humor, and a technically savvy sci-fi blow-em-up. This film was a great way to start the summer film season. See it on the big screen if you can.
Next week, we get a little more cerebral when Sand and I go see The Great Gatsby.