Sick of films from Marvel Studios? Think list articles are cliche? If your answer to either of those questions is ‘no,’ then there is a chance you will not hate this countdown of the best (and only) films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
After Iron Man 2 received some backlash from fans and critics regarding how lazy it seemed, Iron Man 3 really feels like a response to those complaints. While the film largely follows the broad structure of a Marvel film, there’s definitely a chance of tone from the Jon Favreau-directed films from this corner of the MCU. Shane Black clearly brought his sensibilities to the script in a variety of ways, and I appreciate that Marvel did not simply make yet another version of the original Tony Stark film. The tone of the film is simply different.
However, I do not think those differences led to an increase in quality. The main characters were simply not given either enough to do or anything interesting to play. Roberty Downey, Jr. has to go through yet another self-destructive arc for his character. Instead of alcoholism and a fatalistic mentality, he is suffering from PTSD and literally “asks for it” in regards to the villain blowing up his home and lab. The film forces us to suspend a lot of disbelief to put him in a situation where Stark has to rely on his wits and scrappiness to survive. To test my patience even more, Stark has a run-in with a kid, and the film spends way too much time on their partnership. I love the idea of Tony Stark being stripped of his toys, but the execution of how he got there and what happened while he was powerless left so much to be desired.
Guy Pearce really did not work as the villain to me. He has given some brilliant performances over the years, but this was one of those times where taking a role outside your comfort zone (well, Guy Pearce pretty much exclusively works outside his comfort zone) backfires. The character himself did not give him much to work with mind you (a downright *chronic* problem in the MCU). The petulent nerd-child angry at the world and seeking as much money as possible while destroying his “enemies” along the way does not do much for me.
When the hero and the villain of any story are not given arcs or enough substance to want to follow them on their journey, there is little else a film can do to make me care about it.
The Worst Aspect of the Film: The Epilogue
Tony just simply fixes Pepper (she was turned into some sort of regenerating super-solider by accident) AND his heart. This both kills the stakes of this film (regarding Pepper’s potentially life-threatening affliction) and the whole premise of why Tony Stark was forced to invent something to stay alive. He just fixed it without warning, as if he could have done it all along! If the lifeless story of the film was not enough to make me less than enthusiastic about this corner of the MCU, the ending was the nail in the coffin.