Don’t let the beard and social deficit fool you – I’m actually not all that into superhero movies, unless I’m seeing one to win a bet with my friend about how bad it will be (Jesse, you still owe me for Watchmen). But the Iron Man franchise, deftly done by Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau and others, is a nice exception. They’re breezy pop films with humor and heart and little Christopher Nolan bombast. All the same, Iron Man 3 suffers one notable hiccup.
It’s not the script or direction by Shane Black of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, though I am starting to think the man can’t write a movie that doesn’t take place over Christmas. Nor is it the villains – and the twist on Ben Kingsley’s role that is so good you have to be glad the trailers didn’t spoil it. Even the 140-minute run time didn’t cause scenes to drag very much. The only issue with it is: all the characters keep talking about the events of The Avengers.
Look, I get it: you want to have this immersive Marvel world where none of the blockbusters contradict each other. It’s a noble idea, but it just doesn’t work in a field where characters are rebooted every six years regardless. Iron Man 3 does an okay job of wittily conveying the nature and consequences of what happened “in New York” for those who don’t know, but when you begin to build on The Avengers – which itself builds on Thor – you lose out to the comic book geek’s idea of overnetworked narrative when you might have done something a bit looser, which is what Iron Man has always been about.
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