What Do You Want From Iron Man?

For the last week or so, I’ve been meaning to get over here and give my two cents regarding Iron Man 3. I’ll start off by saying that although I used to read comics when I was a kid, I was more of a DC fan than Marvel, and so didn’t follow the Iron Man stories too closely. But at midnight on opening night of Iron Man 3, my husband and I — along with a fair number of friends we ran into — christened our brand-spanking-new IMAX theater with this movie, and it was nothing short of a blast! This is another franchise which, although outside my usual scope of movie preferences, got me hooked by a swaggering protagonist (the other most notable franchise to accomplish this having been Pirates of the Caribbean) and an entertaining story. The effects were almost literally breathtaking at times, the action was appropriately popcorn-movie-style, and Tony Stark was…well, Tony Stark. I kinda love Robert Downey, Jr. in these movies, so he’s at least half the reason I go. Add in a very surprising cameo by Ben Kingsley (no, I didn’t read many articles about this one, or I wouldn’t have been surprised), and it was a pretty great night.

Iron-Man

As I sometimes do, I came home and started perusing the internet for the early reviews. I started with user reviews on Flickster, which were almost unanimously saturated in hatred and vitriol! Apparently, if you’re a big fan of the Iron Man comics, you’re not supposed to like what the film did with the Mandarin. They took too many liberties with the story, so automatically you’re supposed to HATE IT!!! Again, I have to say that a person’s enjoyment of movies (mine included) comes down to one thing: expectations. I’ve left perfectly decent movies feeling completely unfulfilled because the director didn’t tell the story the way I expected. It’s not to say they were bad movies (okay, a couple of times they really were), but they just didn’t meet my expectations. But reading some of those scathing reviews, I started to wonder…could this movie have been better?

And then, I read this article from Cinema Blend: Get Over It: Iron Man 3’s Version Of The Mandarin Is Great. Which basically just reinforces the idea that expectation is everything. If you’re looking for extra layers of meaning, you can often find them (just look at Room 237); and if you’re one for interesting juxtapositions of actors and their characters (raising hand), you’ll get an even different kind of enjoyment out of this movie.

Also, I’ll just mention that Stan Lee was an executive producer for Iron Man 3, as well as the creator of the Mandarin character. So if Iron Man 3 was good enough for him, that’s good enough for me.

Oh, and on a technical note: I happened to enjoy this movie in IMAX 3D. Generally I’m not a big fan of 3D — the effects are often cheesy and unnecessary, and many times the overall movie is excessively dark. But in this case, it worked really well. I got used to the 3D vibe very quickly, none of the effects appeared to be pandering, “let’s do this because we can do 3D” kinds of shots, and the lighting was great. The whole things felt a lot like a roller coaster ride, and I enjoyed every aspect of it. So basically, there’s no bad way to see this movie — so go see it!

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