May 14, 2013
Family Film Blogging: Iron Man 3
Posted by Christine Hurt

Yes, Iron Man 3 has been out 10 days or so, but I couldn't blog about it until now because I had to see it twice.  All five of us went on opening weekend, but our little guy (5 1/2) only lasted about an hour, so he and I spent some quality time in the parking lot.  Thankfully the 11 year-old went with me yesterday so I could see the last half.  Now, our youngest has seen Captain America, Thor and The Avengers, but the Iron Man movies are grittier.  As even Rhodey says during the movie, this isn't superhero stuff.  The bad guys appear as terrorists.  Gritty, nasty terrorists.  More CNN than Saturday morning cartoons.  But the thing that put poor Will over the edge was that Tony Stark has PTSD.  Seeing Tony have several anxiety attacks was the last straw.  And the humor is much more subtle in Iron Man than in The Avengers, so to the kindergarten set, there is no comic relief.  Lesson learned.

But, the rest of us very much enjoyed it.  Tony spends a lot of time out of the armor, which is really what we all want to see anyway -- Robert Downey, Jr./Tony Stark at his genius best.  The plot (not to give too much away) involves a series of "bombings" in the U.S. and a terrorist who appears on television taking credit for the bombings and threatening the President.  The President does not call in Iron Man, but calls in Colonel Rhodes as Iron Patriot (a refurbished War Machine) to go find "the Mandarin."  Tony gets involved when his friend Happy Hogan is seriously injured in one of the explosions and vows to find the Mandarin.  But, his quest is sometimes halted by his anxiety attacks.

So, why does Tony have anxiety attacks?  He says he has had them "since New York."  Unfortunately, none of the Avengers appear in the actual movie, but the events of that movie are mentioned many times.  Since Tony fought Loki's army from another world and went up "the worm hole," he is not the same.  He can't sleep, and he's worried that he will lose the one thing he cares about -- Pepper Potts.  (No, he doesn't go over to the dark side like Anakin/Darth Vader, if that's what you're afraid of.)  So, he's created 42 Iron Man suits in his newly found free time in the middle of the night.

The producers of these blockbuster Marvel hero movies have a problem now.  Now that the four Avengers have met and joined forces in New York (Iron Man, Captain A, Thor and Hulk), how do you keep them out of the individual sequels you have planned?  To me, that seems like the elephant in the room during Iron Man 3.  Why doesn't Tony call his (super) friends?  Where is Nick Fury while the President is being threatened?  At one point, Tony admits he needs backup, but he means his Iron Man army, not his Avenger friends.  There is some discussion that maybe the public isn't ready for the Avengers again, that this is more military-related than alien-related, but these excuses seem rather slim.  The real reason is that this isn't The Avengers 2.  In this movie, the heroes are Tony, Rhodey and Pepper.

The ending seems to hint that there will be an Iron Man 4 (and who doesn't want it?).  There are some details left to the imagination as to how Iron Man 4 will begin.  But until then, we have Thor 2 to look forward to!

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