Going into Iron Man 3, I was pretty much giddy with excitement. I’m pausing right now to warn you again of spoilers ahead. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. But I was amped up because the first two films in the series were fantastic. And now they were adding the best villain from the Iron Man comics: THE MANDARIN. How could this possibly go wrong?
Then I watched the movie.
There were some definite great parts. I really enjoyed seeing Tony Stark struggle with his issues. Sure they took liberty and made it about what happened at the end of Avengers rather than his alcoholism (as in the comics), but it showed the other side of him. Also, it delved deeper into the relationship between Tony and Pepper. When superhero stories are able to go beyond the origin and the action, the human experience really takes things to a more relate-able level. Finally, the interaction between the Tennessee boy and Tony brought some levity as well as helped Tony turn the corner he needed to.
However, here comes the bad. First and foremost, The Mandarin was being set up as an amazing villain in the movie. I was getting goosebumps. Then they pulled the old switcharoo. The Mandarin is a drunk buffoon actor?!?!? Really? And to add insult to injury, they introduce one of my least favorite story lines from the comics: extremis. Second, the story tried to add too much humor. It’s Marvel. It’s a comic book movie. It’s a summer blockbuster. Of course it will have some humor and actually needs some humor. But this got to be way too much. It was almost a parody of itself. Finally, it seemed as if the filmmakers decided they needed to include every armor Iron Man has ever had. A new armor flew on the screen every 2 seconds during the final fight. I felt like I had ADHD. It got old really quickly.
I don’t want to give the impression that I hated the movie. It was fun to watch on many levels. However, having teased the Mandarin for so long and him being so important to the Iron Man comics franchise, to do what they did really soured the experience. Hopefully Avengers 2 doesn’t follow the lead and have Thanos be a blow up doll and have the enemy be DC’s Mr Mxyzptlk