Monday, December 21, 2015

Recap: "Iron Man 3" Intro

One year ago, for Hannukah, I took a look at Iron Man, the first film in Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This year, for Christmas, I’m doing the same with its threequel. But it’ll take me a little longer to talk about it than usual. Because this isn’t just any movie. This is Iron Man 3. No MCU movie before or since has been this polarizing. This isn’t just something I can bang out in the middle of wrapping presents. Partially because I’m not very good at wrapping presents.

Something has gone horribly wrong....
So thank you all for an amazing year while I covered Phase 1 of the MCU. And as we examine the beginning of Phase 2, I’d just like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus. Even you, Ant-Man.

"Aw, thanks!"
Just shut up while I talk about this movie. Think you can hold your usual commentary in until we get to yours?

"I'll do my best."
That's all I ask. Now let's begin.

Known as 3 Demir Adam in Turkey. Do not confuse it with 3 Dev Adam.
Behind the scenes, there was a bit of a snag figuring out the distribution of the movie. Paramount had distributed the last two, but Disney had bought Marvel by this point. The issue was settled when Disney ponied up $115 million for the rights, and production began. From the very beginning, things were shaping up quite differently from the first two. Jon Favreau did not return to direct the third film, partially because of his experience dealing with Disney’s demands and mandates on Iron Man 2, but also so he could work on Magic Kingdom, a Disney-themed Night at the Museum pastiche that has yet to see the light of day. But Favreau was still an executive producer on The Avengers, and stayed around to not only be executive producer of Iron Man 3, but reprise his role as Happy Hogan.

Shane Black was quickly brought on board to write and direct, and he was joined in writing by Drew Pearce, who was originally slated to write the film adaptation of Marvel’s Runaways before that project fell through due to the extensive backstories involved with the characters.

Magic, aliens, dinosaurs, time travel. Yeah, they might need to ease us into that.
Robert Downey, Jr. was pretty thrilled to have Shane Black on board, as they had worked together on Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang previously.

It was not a gritty Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequel. I was disappointed.
From there, familiar actors returned, and new ones were hired for new parts. And there are many things that I need to address regarding the new characters and actors, but I’ll get to all that in good time as I talk about the film. And with no ridiculous pre-production horror stories to tell, I’ll instead focus on the most important question regarding the sequel.

How to proceed? Not only with the Iron Man film series, but with Phase 2? And indeed, the Marvel Cinematic Universe from this point forward?

Shane Black has said in interviews that he wanted to do more of what he called “a Tom Clancy thriller” than yet another movie with "two men in iron suits fighting each other.” And that’s exactly what he did, for better or worse. This film is quite a different beast from the last two. And even from the rest of the MCU up to this point.

Having already adapted the origin story and the famous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, this film adapted a more recent Iron Man storyline, “Extremis,” with a few elements borrowed from other stories. Not only that, but they decided that it was time to bring in Iron Man’s classic enemy, the Mandarin. …And I can’t talk about either of those points right now.  Because in order to discuss them in the proper context… well, I’ll have to go over the whole movie first. But rest assured, I’ll talk about both those points, because that’s what everyone else talks about at great length. Extremis and the Mandarin. Across message boards, across film reviews, across the whole internet, people still debate how this movie handles those two aspects to this very day.

So yeah, the film's unique direction ended up being very polarizing, but at the very least, I’m glad that this movie was different than the previous two. Iron Man had given Marvel a very successful formula, and here at the beginning of Phase 2, they decided that perhaps it was time to try something new.

Were they successful?

Objectively, yes. The film made $409 million in America and $806.4 million across other countries, adding up to $1.2 billion. It’s the seventh-highest-grossing film, the second-highest-grossing of 2013, the highest-grossing Iron Man film, and the highest-grossing threequel.

"Debate all you want, internet. I consider that a success."
And yet, this movie is still ridonkulously polarizing. But here I am, ready to give my two cents on the topic. As ever, feel free to disagree with me. And feel free to voice your own opinions in the comments.

And so, I am about to step foot on the battlefield. To throw my hat into the ring. Once I type the words, they can never be untyped.

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet….

Iron Man 3 is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time.

And I am prepared to explain why.

At length.

Coming up in Part 1! Past, presents, night terrors and terrorism!

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