The Many Problems Of Iron Man 3May 15, 2013
Iron Man 3 has a laundry list of plot holes, and director Shane Black made some very questionable choices. Here, we discuss some of the film’s largest issues.
Warning: this article discusses major spoilers for Iron Man 3.
Iron Man 3 has been out for a little while now, and I just got around to viewing it yesterday. I had been highly anticipating the film, as it looked amazing from the trailers and I felt it had a good chance at erasing my memories of the sub-par Iron Man 2. Would it be as good as The Avengers? I certainly had hope. Unfortunately, I walked out of the theater a bit disappointed. While Iron Man 3 is by no means a bad movie (review here), it definitely falls short of greatness. The film has a laundry list of plot holes, and director Shane Black made some very questionable choices. Here, I will discuss some of the film’s largest issues, in my own humble opinion. Once again, this article is filled with spoilers, so continue at your own risk if you haven’t seen the film yet.
Where the hell is S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Seriously. I understand that it would have been tough to have one of the other Avengers make an appearance, but couldn’t Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury have made at least a cameo? Or, since Agent Coulson is “dead”, at least some other nameless S.H.I.E.L.D. guy in a suit? The country and the President are in extreme danger in this film. This is not a somewhat isolated incident like the fight between Obadiah Stane and Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man (which S.H.I.E.L.D. did make an appearance for, by the way). They’re not even mentioned by name. It’s hard to write it off with a hand-waving, “oh, they were off doing other important business.” The President is captured and almost set on fire. Super-powered lava monsters with Wolverine-level healing factors are on the loose. C’mon.
Ah, the main point of contention for most of the people who saw Iron Man 3. The twist, where Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin is revealed to be nothing more than a drug-addled, nutty actor designed to divert attention away from the true mastermind, Guy Pierce’s Aldrich Killian, was kind of brilliant. This twist was an amazingly-well-kept secret, and something I truly did not see coming. That said, they completely sh*t all over one of Iron Man’s greatest foes. Even if Shane Black felt it absolutely necessary to keep this twist, it could have been done without reducing The Mandarin to comic relief. Some have speculated that perhaps Ben Kingsley’s character really was The Mandarin all along, that it was a double bluff and we’ll see him again in a future film, ten rings and all. No. They so badly tarnished this character that he can no longer be taken seriously in this series’ continuity. It’s quite a shame, because Kingsley was fantastic and a bit terrifying as the character. Not to mention, the whole thing just reminded me of the Bane/ Talia switcheroo in The Dark Knight Rises, which wasn’t quite as bad, but still seemed unnecessary. Now we’ll have to wait for the inevitable reboot to give this villain justice.
The Iron Man Suits Were Totally Nerfed
Seriously, did Tony have his suits made in the same third world, child labor shoe factory that Iron Patriot found? The Iron Man suits have never been as utterly unreliable as they were in Iron Man 3. In past films, it’s endured tank shells, Whiplash’s electric whips, being hit by an F-18 at mach speed, a battle against Thor, and more. The Mark 42 armor, which is admittedly a more mobile prototype, falls apart at the drop of a hat. Better yet, why the hell is Tony using a faulty, underpowered suit rather than the tried-and-true ones when he knows the Mandarin threat is imminent? It’s hard to take Iron Man seriously as a badass superhero when his suit keeps falling apart like a bad Comic-Con cosplay. Which brings me to…
Who Provokes A Terrorist And Gives Away Their Home Address?
Ok, I get it, we’re talking about Tony Stark, the cockiest bastard probably in all of Marvel Comics. Still, this is post-Avengers. We’re led to believe that Tony actually cares about more than just himself, like, oh, say, his girlfriend Pepper for instance. Putting yourself in danger is all fine and well when you have access to an array of Iron Man suits, but Pepper doesn’t. And she’s living in that house when he taunts The Mandarin into blowing the place up. I’m amazed she still wanted to be with him after such a dickish, brainless move. In fact, the whole thing seems designed just to CGI in an (admittedly awesome-looking) explosive action sequence and put Tony on the run with his crappy, untested suit to get the plot going.
Why Did Killian Inject Extremis Into Pepper?
This made no sense to me. She was either going to explode, or get crazy super-powers and become very hard to control. Sure, the final scene that had her taking out Killian was pretty badass, but it all seemed like a late-game rewrite because the writers didn’t know what else to do. Also, why did Tony “cure” her? Or did he just perfect the virus so she wouldn’t explode? It seems like it would be a good idea to let her keep those powers, considering all the danger she was put in (by Tony) in Iron Man 3. Also, why did Pepper’s bra not burn away, considering the rest of her clothing did? Whatever that thing was made of, Tony should have made his suits from it instead of the aluminum foil utilized for Mark 42.
There are other things that got under my skin about Iron Man 3, but these were the greatest offenders. While I thought the film was passable and enjoyable as a popcorn,mindless flick, it had the opportunity to be much more than that, in my opinion. Hopefully Thor 2 and The Avengers 2 deliver.