Dennis O’Neil: Much Ado About Iron Man
Maybe you’ve been on a vision quest in the Himalayas, or maybe you’ve just been in a coma, so I’ll try too negotiate the next few hundred words without dropping any spoilers. The subject is the movie that looks like it will be the summer’s monster, Iron Man 3, and by now, most of you have seen it, or are planning to see it, or have at least read reviews. As a lowly scribe who once wrote the Iron Man comic book – yes, kids, it was a comic book first – I might be expected to have an opinion about it and I do. But I did promise no spoilers and to state what I liked about it would probably constitute a spoiler…
What’s a fellow to do?
Go at the problem from another angle? Okay: What I did not like about the movie was all the kabooms. Lots and lots of fireworks. Big explosions. Then more big explosions. Hey, no elitism here: I understand the entertainment value of pyrotechnics and to complain about explosions in a film designed to be a summer blockbuster is kind of like attending the opera and bitching about all the screechy singing. But maybe a little moderation? I wearied of all the noise and shrapnel and flame coming at my 3D glasses. Enough was enough. Less might have been more. Anything stuffed down your throat will eventually make you gag.
There you have my major kvetch: the explosions.
I guess I could complain that the villain’s motivations could have been more thoroughly explained, but you might not agree. And if we got rid of a few explosions, the movie would have been been a tad shorter and that might have benefitted it. But none of this constitutes major inadequacy. You pay for your ticket and you get what you paid for, that special kind of summer respite that only happens in cool theaters on hot days. It has been significant pleasure in my life for some 40 years and it still is. (You think I’m not going to see The Man of Steel and The Wolverine and even The Lone Ranger when they grace the multiplex in a month or two? Ha!)
But superhero movies are maturing, as did westerns and badge operas and science fiction before them. While still delivering the spectacle and fantastic heroics that characterize the genre, they’re being put to other uses, too. They’re telling the kind of stories that help us define ourselves, which is something stories have always done. First, there was The Batman trilogy, which was, beneath all the swashbuckling, a tale of redemption. Now, we have the Iron Man movies, which, if you squint a little, also constitute a trilogy and use the character of Tony Stark to…
Whoa! I promised no spoilers. So, if you haven’t already seen it, watch for the scene in which Tony mentions a cocoon and the shot of Tony standing on a cliff. They’ll tell you what I think the movie is really about.
FRIDAY: Martha Thomases
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman