As previously noted on Twitter, I did not hate this! I actually liked it? And I actually liked Tony Stark??? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE WORLD??!!
This was an enjoyable summer blockbuster, which exceeds my expectations! I had previously sworn not to see the movie on learning about the Mandarin, but then I saw reviews trickling in saying that it was actually really cool, then more reviews from people in my dwircle. I spoiled myself rotten re: the Mandarin, but even so, some of the footage was painful to watch. Less the Mandarin's broadcasts, to my surprise, since I was so distracted by Ben Kingsley's unidentifiable accent with hints of AMURRRican, but oh, did we have to have the Chinese women in qipao?
So. I still wish they hadn't gone with the Mandarin, but since they did, I am glad they managed to do so in a way that was subversive.
Similarly, I wish Marvel would actually have one movie (JUST ONE, MARVEL, WHY IS THIS SO HARD?) starring someone who isn't a white guy, but given the lineup, I was really happy to see a Marvel movie, and an Iron Man one at that, not only trying to critique US presence in Pakistan, but also actively dismantling drone Iron Man suits. I don't think all the critique works, since obviously none of the brown people get an actual voice, even if Rhodey expresses his doubt that he's doing any rescuing, but it's heads above Scary Brown People. And I kind of loved the guy who laughs at Rhodey because his password is so stupid.
I had also been spoiled re: Pepper and Rhodey getting to be cool, and Pepper getting to wear the suit at some point. I was actually less excited about Pepper in the suit since it is over so fast! I was hoping she would get to wear it the whole time, but then I guess you wouldn't have Tony presumed dead. But OMG. Extremis!Pepper! I knew Extremis was in the movie, but I had no idea what it was, since all attempts at giving me comic book summaries slip right through my head because they are so convoluted. I had thought one of the suits would save her during the fall, but no! OMG. I did not think Pepper would get that much action! She was so badass! And SHE'S the one who gets to kill off Killian, which was nice, given how much he wanted her as a trophy.
I also loved Rhodey being competent without the suit, particularly his gun skills. And the sequence where he gets to rescue the President was awesome.
I actually loved all the time out of the suit for everyone. As opposed to IM2, where Tony is pretty much in the suit all the time to overcompensate for his fear and manpain, he's out of the suit for the majority of IM3. I personally think Pepper knew something was up when Tony-controlled suit tried to romance her because he hasn't been needing it as much of late, despite still spending a ton of his time making various versions. And then of course, there's him posing by the suit when Harley finds them, as well as Harley saying that Tony's not Iron Man, he's the mechanic. And I love that Tony takes pride in that. So, who knew? I actually like Tony Stark when he's not being an asshole, attempting to privatize world peace, drinking too much, coming on to a ton of women, and antagonizing Steve!
Tony's big action scenes are almost all improvisation, from him having to use surrounding materials in the fight with Extremis people in Rose Hill to his Home Depot get up while breaking into the Mandarin's compound. It's not quite how he spends the Helicarrier action sequence repairing things, but close enough for me! Honestly, I find the suit kind of boring. And the final showdown actually has very little Tony action, all things considering. Much of it is him jumping around trying to find or get to Pepper, or falling out of various suits. He does, of course, have the slugfest with Killian in the end, but it feels very different from him just going at Thor in Avengers. (Hi! I have a lot of Avengers comparisons! This is because I have blocked IM1 and IM2 from my mind.)
Also, thank you IM3 for not doing the "I can save the politically important person/the masses/whatever or I can save the woman I love! How can I choooooooose?!" thing. Teamwork! It helps you save everyone, who knew?! And sometimes the people you are trying to save can come back and save you too!
coffeeandink has a lot about how MCU refutes rugged individualism, which is pretty much why I liked Avengers so much. I was so happy to see that carry through for IM3, of all movies! Tony and Rhodey take on a ton together, and then of course Pepper finishes off Killian, but there's also Harley and even Gary the creepy fanboy. I actually liked this Tony, who is still sarcastic and quippy and pointed but isn't mean. He barely even yells at the media surrounding him and channels most of the rage toward the Mandarin (Stupidly. But I guess he would not be Tony Stark without some stupid impulsive decisions. Srsly Tony. Don't tell him your address!). He's nice to Harley, which didn't surprise me, but what did surprise me was how he dealt with Gary. And he was emotionally mature! He told Pepper right off that he wasn't doing well! He apologized! That was when I figured I could really sit back and enjoy.
Also, in conjunction with the theme of moving away from weapons toward helping people, I love that one of the longer Tony action sequences is him flying around getting the various people in the air to catch on to one another. Bonus points because I hate the collateral damage in action movies (Rose Hill, frex), and I felt so bad for the people getting sucked out of the airplane! I have seen to many action movies in which the villain gets sucked out and then chopped to bits by the jet engine.
I know I keep comparing MCU movies with the Batverse movies, but IM3 really feels like the cap of all the differences. Tony isn't nobly self-sacrificing himself in Avengers--self-sacrifice, yes, but like he tells Steve, he's not going to if he can find some other way out--and he's saved by Hulk, who he's made an emotional connection with. And here, like Batman, he's giving up the superhero mantle (temporarily, I am sure), but there isn't the male power fantasy level of a statue erected to his manpain or how no one really appreciates him except the few people who know his secret. He's just moving on to another part of himself and wiring more things together. And he manages to do so without cutting almost everyone off from his life!
- Was Pepper in so much white before Avengers? I remember her white button down shirt there, and here there was the white suit and then another white button down.
- Also, love that she takes off the shoes when she gets home and that she's barefoot when she goes to confront Tony in his lab. Nice echo of the Avengers scene.
- Love the brief shot of Pepper on the cover of Forbes or some other business magazine. Also love that Pepper doesn't fall prey to Killian negging her about "Oh but you aren't Tony, so how bout you do it my way instead?" and she's just, "Yup, not Tony, and still don't like your thing!"
- Also loved Pepper's reaction post-fight of "Oh my god, that was so violent," because that is what I think a lot of the time re: action movies. Even though I love watching Pepper beat down Killian.
- Was comparing Tony underwater in this movie, struggling for his life, versus confident Tony underwater in the opening of Avengers, connecting something to make Stark Tower go live.
- Really could have done without the ableism in the Extremis storyline. I was already feeling nidgy when we learned that was how AIM was recruiting people to test Extremis, and it was even worse as the Vice President's motivation. Disabled children, always the best motivational device!
- I laughed so much at Trevor Slatterly. I know people said they didn't whitewash Ben Kingsley, but I didn't actually catch that part in the movie.
- I was really sad Maya did not say the thing about how she and Tony are the same. I think that is the only bit of the Extremis comics summary that I remember!
- Also, I am really annoyed Maya was killed off. Glad she and Pepper actually have a fairly non-confrontational conversation though!
This is all for now, since I should go to bed!
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