A few clarifications before the rant begins; I loved the film in general. Even though it had some serious faults according to me, it still proved to be quite an entertainer with the right amount of humour, action, and plot twists. Although the film really doesn't take off till the big Mandarin revelation, the big game changer, the second half more than makes up for, what I would call the Terminator-esq first half. Still, there is a certain story to everything that happens, that is well thought, and the going back to basics with Tony Stark playing the eccentric inventor billionaire rather than Iron Man for majority of the film is an exciting plot line. But, there were still problems in the film that stuck out as sore metal thumbs that were distracting while I watched the film, but annoying when I thought about them later on.
I am aware that I am pretty late to the whole discussion and some or most of these points would have already been tackled by many critics and bloggers when the film released in the theatres. I unfortunately missed out on it, and thus had to wait till the DVD release. So before you get your undies all wet shouting things like “but all the other Avengers were busy with their own problems”, and yes that is a problem for me, hear me out;
Where Were The Avengers? – I’ll tackle this one first. I get the point made by most that the Avengers and SHIELD must have been busy with their own ‘saving the world’ scenarios. I will also take it that none of these scenarios take place in USA because since the President was obviously busy with this episode, he couldn't have been busy elsewhere. Now, had The Avengers not been made, and that would have been nothing short of blasphemy, or had Iron Man 3 just made a passing reference to the events in New York, I would have been fine overlooking the fact that there are other Avengers out there. As we know, that is not the case. The entire premise of Iron Man 3 is based on Tony Stark having PTSD and New York comes up way too many times to avoid its importance. Keeping that in mind, I do find it difficult to understand why no one would contact the other Avengers or SHIELD. I mean if Thor and Captain America were busy, and SHIELD had their own troubles, maybe call in the HULK because we very well know that Iron Man is a big “fan” of the Dr. Banner turning Green. What annoyed me though was not that there were no cameos, except for the after credit scene, but that a simple single dialogue, by anyone really, suggesting that everyone was busy would have sufficed, but I guess in order to make the superhero have a standing alone, the makers thought it best to avoid even that. I get that Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers will have separate missions and we need to think of them as individuals, almost as if they are separate from the Marvel universe, but once again when the story so heavily relies on a factor that involved the Avengers, disregarding them completely was a mistake.
Those Clothes That People Wear - The other major factor that really pushed all the wrong buttons for me was the clothes being worn by people in Mandarin’s group. I can imagine people heating up to 300 degrees and regenerating themselves, because I have a wild imagination and because the film tries to explain the science behind it, but I do not get the clothes these people wear that do not burn and disintegrate. Everything aside, take the end wherein Pepper Potts falls into an inferno and while I can take her walking the fall off, with a pinch of salt, I do not understand how her clothes remain intact. And, let me be clear, this is by no means my desperate attempt to see her naked on-screen because there are other films available for that. So yes, clothes that can withstand really high temperatures, available in the latest fashionable designs, don’t really fit well.
Tony Stark Vs The Iron Man – Once again it might seem like a minor point for most, but really breaks down the entire story into shreds. I love the fact that Shane Black takes on to de-glamorizing Iron Man. It’s almost like in the back of the mind he had that one dialogue said by Thor in the Avengers wherein Thor suggests that Tony Stark is nothing without his suite. So, as a result, for most of the film, our anxious hero is without a suite and he has to rely on his natural instincts for everything, reminiscent of the first film in which he made the suite in a cave. All seems hunky dory until the final act where we realize that he is apparently extremely dependant on the suit, rather suits, because he is eventually compelled to call in pretty much his entire cavalry to save the situation. In other words, the entire first and second act is of no purpose, because Tony Stark it seems is nothing without the suit. Again, I don’t have a problem with him wearing the suit, but the sheer excessiveness of the suits in the climax seemed a tad unnecessary when the point of the film was something completely different.
The Ending – Everyone has been saved. There were a few hiccups, but things seem to be normal now. It looks like the right time and place to end the story. But no, we need to go round a full circle. So, the next 5 minutes are saved to hurriedly inform the audience that Pepper has been “cured”, Tony Stark has learn his “lesson” with regards to making the suits, which if you remember he destroyed at the end of the climatic fight because being an eccentric billionaire, he could do that, and lastly Tony Stark also got operated upon and is no longer in danger and is back to being normal. So while you may... WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT? The entire basis of Iron Man, and the whole concept of him having to suffer because of the metal shards in his body rectified in the passing, through a voice over? Well, okay then, if that’s how you want to play it. But then why would Tony tell Dr. Banner, as seen in the after-credit scene, about the entire story that happened in Iron Man 3 in full detail, but skip over this very important information in the passing?
I’m sure there are very good explanations for the points I have raised above, but they are not apparent to me, and weren't while I was watching the film. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Ben Kingsley steals the show in his small yet hilariously important role. The reminder of the cast is top notch in their own little ways and as a whole Shane Black has made a cracker of film that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I did bring up some of these points in the Inglorious Basternerds podcast that I frequent, and my esteemed colleagues did have their own viewpoints, some of them rather interesting, with regards to everything that happened. So have a listen to that as well.