Why Iron Man 3 Was Actually A Great Movie
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now a beloved and behemoth franchise, and Marvel took a great risk by starting it all with Iron Man.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now a beloved and behemoth franchise, and Marvel took a great risk by starting it all with Iron Man. But, boy, did it pay off! The now Disney owned goliath has had Iron Man at it's heart since it's inception; however, the fans seem to write off this three-quel as one of the worst to come out of Marvel's cinematic universe.
A little while ago, I put out my Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranking (which already needs updated with Spider-Man: Homecoming) and it got a little bit of flack for where I put Iron Man 3. There are plenty of voices out there that berate each and every scene of this movie, from the want-to-be-Tony-Stark child to the use of Pepper Potts' "Rescue" (or lack thereof), and most fans agree that it's not the best we've seen from Iron Man or Robert Downey Jr.
Iron Man 3 was a good movie...
And here's why I think so:
It's A Wonderful (Continuation of Tony Stark's) Life
Each of the Iron Man movies has attempted something no other Marvel film had tried (up to that point), with Iron Man putting the MCU on the map in a tremendous way, and Iron Man 2 setting up for The Avengers by adding characters together in the MCU for the first time (with Black Widow and War Machine). As the first of the MCU's Three-quels, Iron Man 3 gives us more of the Tony Stark we love with a compelling personal story of overcoming himself and the immediate fall out from The Avengers on an incredibly personal level. This tale takes us deep into the theme of creating your own demons and we see how Tony Stark has not only done that in his past, but also in his "current" state. While I don't see Disney going deep into the "Demon in a Bottle" story arc, this film takes bits of that and shows us how he views his own identity (as both Tony Stark & Iron Man) in light of the myriad of mistakes from his past. In my mind, it's the growth that we see in Tony Stark's character that makes this movie such a win. If you add that to the obvious ways that this leads up to the predicament he creates in Avengers: Age of Ultron, this whole story makes Tony Stark an even more fleshed out and relatable character then the previous two films.
Side note: I think Iron Man 3 is sort of a retelling of the beloved movie, It's a Wonderful Life.
The Extremis story line is another well loved Iron Man story that could have gone in many different directions on the big screen. Along with the addition of AIM, "Rescue" and other Marvel Easter eggs that comic book fans will love, I was incredibly happy with how they used elements of Extremis in a realistic way that gave us what I believe is one of Iron Man's best on screen villains (so far). Which brings me to my next point...
The Mandarin twist was great, despite the fact that it was not what fans were hoping for from the character of The Mandarin; however, I think that is exactly why this was such a wonderful route to go. Marvel is going to have to divert from the comics in certain areas to keep audiences and hardcore fans on their toes as they move the MCU in the direction it's headed. I understand people's disappointment, truly, but it was unexpected in every way and a smart move for the direction that Iron Man seems to be headed (also, if you haven't seen the Marvel One-Shot: Hail to the King yet, go watch that, because it may fix your issues with the Mandarin). Also, if speculation proves to be right (take that with a grain of salt), we may soon see the end of Iron Man in the MCU in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, so this may be the only version of The Mandarin that they could bring to the big screen given the state of things (here's hoping it's not)!
It Takes Trauma Seriously
Part of why I think this film resonates with me is because of the existential problems presented after the events from The Avengers. With Iron Man figuring out who he is after one of the most traumatic and eye-opening events of his life, this movie is so great, because it's also our story (apart from the Iron Man suits... I wish). Whether it's PTSD, depression, anxiety, or whatever, we all have issues to deal with and huge questions about our lives.
Who am I?
What is my purpose?
How do I find purpose in a world filled with Aliens, Super Soldiers, and Secret Government agencies (or am I the only one asking that question)?
These are all gigantic questions that we ask ourselves as we continue to grow in our own right and Iron Man 3 reminds us that we are not alone in those questions (no matter what you thought of the portrayal of Tony's PTSD). And if someone like Tony Stark can be asking those questions, then perhaps we're not as alone as we think.