Iron Man 3 (2D) - Fifth-Pass / Spoilers
Cert: 12A / 135 mins / Dir. Shane Black
I know what you're thinking, and part of you might be probably a little bit right, but I was there for the first screening of this at my local, and in the absence of anything else to watch I may as well be there for the last one, too.
The dust has settled, the film's been picked to bits, and it seems that Marvel/Disney have pulled a good one out of the bag. RDJ's current contract is done now, and it'll be interesting to see what occurs for Avengers 2 & 3 as the closing card of IM3 states simply 'Tony Stark Will Return', leaving us (me) to speculate what form this will take. Iron Man 4 looks like a no-go (which is fine by me; go out on a high), but we've got Cap and Thor sequels to take us towards Avengers 2, and it'll be interesting to see if young Mr Stark makes a cameo in those.
So, in closing, I didn't really get anything new out of my fifth watching of IM3, but it did reinforce something I've been thinking about for a while now. There's been some talk, both on and offline, comparing the third Iron Man film with the third Batman one. While there are very valid points to be made in this, it seems to skip over the central theme that separates the two heroes (and indeed, films). Iron Man isn't the same kind of hero as Batman, and isn't trying to be. Throughout Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, Batman repeatedly puts over the point that the people of Gotham need a symbol. That symbol can be anyone; anyone who's prepared to commit himself to justice. It's the suit that's important, not the man. In order to effectively monitor Gotham, Bruce Wayne keeps his alternate identity a secret, knowing that the revelation will (and does) compromise his ability to function.
Tony Stark, on the other hand, outs himself as Iron Man at the end of his first movie. The problems that come his way are less to do with street-crime, and more to do with his past as an arms-dealer and Grade A Arsehole. Stark is the public face of the Avengers; you just can't keep that kind of ego down. It's the ego that gets him into trouble, and the ego that helps him out of it. In the third IM movie, when young Harley finds an intruder in his garage, and Stark shines the spotlight on the armour, the boy asks "…is that Iron Man?" to the reply "well no, technically I am". There are multiple characters who wear the suit (both Iron Man's and Iron Patriot's) in the final film, and on top of that there are a bunch of empty ones that show up for good measure. But they're not Iron Man. Tony's last words to the viewer (and/or listener, depending on how you want to look at it) as he drives away from the ruins of Stark Mansion are that you can take away the house, the gadgets and even the suits; "But there's one thing you can't take away… I am Iron Man."
Whereas in TDKR, Bane orchestrates the destruction of Wayne's personal and financial empire, breaks his back and leaves him in a Middle-Eastern jail to rot; Tony Stark's major stumbling block isn't having his mansion destroyed, it's a series of panic-attacks. It's the one entirely personal obstacle he has which wasn't placed in front of him by the Ten Rings organisation, the one which only he can fix, and the one which isn't really fixed by the end of the film (because Tom Conti punching you in the spine doesn't really work for anxiety issues).
I'm not saying one character's better or worse than the other, just that their motivations are too differing to compare directly.
There's no doubt about it: Batman is a hero. But Iron Man is a super-hero.
Bring on Thor.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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