Lord above, at least it was better than “Iron Man 2”. Tony Stark goes out with a bang (at least from the movies, but not from the Avengers), Pepper Potts kicks some serious butt, a kid gets called a pussy, and Jean wonders why Brits and Aussies are better at American accents than Americans are at British ones. Not a total waste of time, but it left me with some ethical dilemmas.
I was getting a wee bit tired with the whole snarky Stark thing in “Iron Man 2” (not least of which because “Iron Man 2”, barring Sam Rockwell’s fantastic weapons monologue, is a waste of time), but Tony Stark gets a new character to spar with, a 12-year-old kid. And it works! It totally works! There isn’t a trace of sentimentality in their interactions, and if there are smidgens of cutesiness, they get obliterated pretty quickly by Stark’s innate jerk gene.
It should be a foregone conclusion, but stay for the post-credits scene. You will be eternally rewarded. And the rest of the script is pretty groovy. (And yes, Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall rock an American accent. Honestly, the only American actor I know who can rock any kind of British or Aussie accent is Gwyneth Paltrow. This condemnation includes Robert Downey Jr., whom I love as Sherlock Holmes, but whose weird fusion accent I do not. Just a generalization, though.)
Okay, I have to be vague to avoid spoilers, but I really, really don’t know how to react to Shane Black’s treatment of the Mandarin, the main bad guy, and terrorism. It’s been a week, and I still haven’t made up my mind. A part of me really agrees to Manohla Dargis’ assessment of this film, which finds it emblematic of a Hollywood trend that has been exploiting our fears of terrorism (post 9-11). The mid-film twist can certainly be read that way. It could also be read, however, as the screenwriter’s satire of the media’s exploitation of our fears of terrorism, while acknowledging the inherent paradox of satirizing said exploitation in a movie, etc. etc. I really enjoyed the twist, but even as the scenario played out I kept waiting for the other pin to drop. Which, again, could be read as either exceptionally clever on Black’s part (the audience’s reaction as a metaphor for the past decade’s anxiety!), or bang-on asshole behaviour. As I write this though, I’m inclined to lean towards the latter.
There are so many holes in this story, I can’t even start. I’m not even talking about the nitpicky holes, which I usually don’t notice, but the big, gaping, “Wait, that doesn’t make sense” holes.
Nowhere near as good as “Iron Man”, but eons better than the travesty that was “Iron Man 2”.