(Because maybe I should start having titles that vaguely relate to the thing I’m writing about.)
First of all, I’m going to apologize in advance for any typos, non-sequiturs, wrongly used words, sentences, paragraphs, etc – I am currently throwing an increasingly gooey tennis ball for a dog who is retrieving it and demanding my attention every ten seconds, so I am ever-so-slightly distracted (more than the usual).
So as you’ve probably guessed, I saw Iron Man 3 today (also last week for an early showing, but I didn’t write it out in time to remember anything).
Okay, so the one thing that really stood out for me was OH MY GOD a major action movie just acknowledged the SHIT out of trauma and mental problems, in a way OTHER than the half-paragraph backstory for the villain of the week.
They realized, hey, this character just went through a really intense event, namely flying into a wormhole into space carrying a nuke and then freefalling back down to earth, and decided maybe there would actually be psychological repercussions to this. And dealt with it in a REALLY good way (in my opinion, please Tumblr do not kill me).
I’ll back up and explain for the five people who haven’t seen this movie yet (they’re planning on going next weekend with friends): In the latest Iron Man, Tony Stark is still dealing with everything that happened in Avengers, mostly the aforementioned wormhole incident.
Throughout the movie he gets triggered by relatively innocuous comments and has to stop everything to deal with the resulting panic attack. He treats it exactly as you could expect from the character, with witty comments and ruthless repression, but at the same time it’s not at all downplayed. The first time it happens he runs to the suit and asks JARVIS (the resident AI) if he’s having a heart attack, the next time he knows what it is but still hyperventilates, trying to explain he has anxiety issues. He has nightmares which end up activating the suit (nearly giving Pepper Potts an actual heart attack). The character is no less badass, he’s still brilliant, witty, and kills shit a lot, but now he’s got this whole layer of “holy shit maybe real people have problems after they almost die horribly.”
Marvel’s actually been getting more into this lately, choosing to humanize characters with problems the people watching might actually have. For instance, the Avengers movie (for all its faults which I’m sure I’ll write at some point) references Bruce Banner attempting suicide and failing. Not in a “maybe I should just KILL myself!” way, and not in a “haha, yeah, I tried to kill myself last year” way, but with a real sincerity that made me believe it was something the character was really going through. I don’t remember ever seeing that in a movie not specifically geared toward mental problems.
Okay, that aside, Iron Man 3 was… decent. The first watchthrough was friggin amazing but looking back that might have had more to do with the energy of 200-some fans filling the theater than the actual movie. It lacked the same “wow” factor when I saw it in a mostly-empty theater populated by the sort of people who go to see Iron Man at 3:30 on a Tuesday.
I admit I have a HUGE guilty pleasure for ridiculous, gigantic, unrealistic action sequences. I loved the A-Team movie for that very reason, I don’t care how silly it was, shit blew up and people jumped WAY too far over huge fireballs, and I enjoyed it greatly. Iron Man definitely lived up to this criteria, I’m not even ashamed to say the scene with the 40+ suits whizzing around an abandoned oil rig punching supermutants was one of the high points of the movie for me.
Lately I’ve been hearing there are some fans who actually didn’t like Pepper Potts, which I don’t even comprehend. She is hands-down my favorite female Marvel-movie character yet. I mean, I tend to dislike Gwyneth Paltrow as a rule for whatever reason, but she is badass on pretty much every level as Pepper Potts. She dons the suit during a missile attack and controls it fairly well (I would just stand there in a panic, afraid I’m going to blow myself up at any second), gets turned into a firey mutant and beats the shit out of the bad guy, using the suit again to blow him up. Whoever is referring to her as a “whiny damsel in distress” has never seen any of the movies, ever.
Oh, and stay til the end of the credits, ’cause you’ll get an awesome scene with RDJ and Mark Ruffalo.
I need a good sign-off.
Oh well. Fuck it.