Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Reconciliation, Part One.

It's not often I get to really geek out (It's also not often I actually get to blog....), but when I do I try to make it good.

WARNING. This post contains spoilers for a buncha things, but mainly Iron Man 3. If you haven't seen it yet, for the love of God, get thee to a computer and Netflix that shit.

The Reconciliation, Part One: The Break-Up.

Almost exactly a year ago, Iron Man 3 came out. This was my penultimate movie, with expectations running amok as I was coming off my high from The Avengers, this was to be the grand finale in the Iron Man saga. We had a phenomenal cast lined up - the obvious, principal players - Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle, but we also had Guy Pierce and the amazing Ben Kingsley rounding out this final installment. The trailers and posters looked amazing, leaked pictures and the media frenzy was promising. I did myself a service and took the advice from River Song and stayed away from spoilers. I wanted this to be special.  I had taken the journey, all the way from the beginning - the opening night midnight showing all those years ago to now, wearing the very same "Mrs. Tony Stark" shirt I had made up for the first occasion. I was a different person, and a different fan, but my love for shellhead was stronger than ever.

The depths of my disappointment was vast. I sat there with Ed, as the credits rolled and tried so hard to smile and say it was perfect. But I couldn't. Because it wasn't. I was let down badly because I felt the movie trashed everything that was exceptional about the comics. The Extermis story line was terribly mishandled, and the epitome of Iron Man villainy - the Mandarin - was turned into a bumbling, lecherous failed actor. A shameful misuse of the amazing talent of Ben Kingsley as well. Iron Man 3 was a nice action movie, over the top, complete with cute kid sidekick and pretty girlfriend, but it was missing heart and soul - that Marvel polish and panache - that defines not only the Iron Man movies but most Marvel movies.  It was a betrayal on a Shakespearean scale. My trust was so broken, I shied away from comics and Marvel all together, weary and leery of anything bearing that red and white logo.

I broke up with Marvel.

It wasn't a fitful break, there was no screaming, crying, gnashing of teeth. No 2 AM texts, drunkenly tapped out in a fit of despair and alcoholism. No shame spiral after realizing what it was you actually texted to the ex. It was quiet, done with a shake of the head, and a firm walking out. It still hurt, but there just wasn't any passion or desire to still be in this quasi-love affair. I was failed, terribly so, and I felt it was best to step away.

In the intervening year I have been able to extrapolate some decency from the movie, find the good things, the silver lining. The ending, and not being snarky here, was well done as it exemplified something that has happened to Tony many, many times in the comics. Losing everything, and building from the ground up. Good. Many suits of armor. Also good (but bad too, since the collection was implemented fairly lamely). Lots of tech, also good but bad too, as we've seen Iron Man up against tech and prevail. Why can't we see our technological wonder up against something he's never seen before, something he hasn't prepared for and will have to use every shred of cognitive skill that brilliant brain of his holds to overcome? Like, say, magic or the supernatural or...something not of this world. Oh, right, because that would have been the realm of The Mandarin (or Doctor Doom, a girl can dream...), and we wouldn't want to follow those silly comic books because that just wouldn't be clever enough.

That, there is the crux of my issues with Iron Man 3. The loss of The Mandarin was a heavy blow as I was really super psyched as I followed the tantalizing hints and clues laid out in the first two movies. I could happily accept The Mandarin as the head of a terrorist organization - it was perfect, really. But was left bitter, disappointed and distrustful of Marvel.

Fast forward to this past weekend.

About a month ago, I made Ed take me to see Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel. I got guilty about it and decided to take Ed out to see Captain America: The Winter Solider, as he'd been dying to see it for over a month now. I had felt guilty because I was willfully ignoring the existence of a new Marvel movie, as I had done with Thor 2. Ignoring Cap was harder though, as he is Ed's main squeeze. It was a great movie, in all honesty, still working hard to tie in those threads from other Marvel movies but maintaining an identity. Also introducing The Falcon, yes! It was nice, it felt good. But my instincts were screaming to not fall into a trap, I would get hurt again.

So, instead of being cautious, I decided that instead of waiting for Netflix, we were going to pick up Thor 2 right after the movie, because I was just in that mood.

Suddenly, and in spite of everything, the game was suddenly changed because of that one Blu-Ray disc.

Continued in Part 2....

I'm not going to expostulate further on why I thought Iron Man 3 was terrible. However, here are some articles that articulate my thoughts fairly well:
10 Reasons To Hare Iron Man 3
4 Reasons Why Iron Man 3 Was A Horrible Start to Marvel's Phase 2  (a "normal" movie-goer perspective)
Iron Man 3 Just Isn't Just Bad, It's Downright Insulting