Iron Man 3 has been tossed around by some fans as one of the worst MCU movies and in the bottom tier of their entire catalog. To me, yeah…not so much.
I believe Iron Man 3 is the most underrated MCU movie.
As many of us know, Shane Black, overseer of this film, is a very talented director. He’s also directed Robert Downey, Jr. before this franchise began. Nonetheless, Iron Man 3 has such a bad reputation and I don’t understand it.
This movie has a 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the 6th lowest-rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes, tied with Captain America: The First Avenger (something of which I’ve already expressed my disagreement). This movie didn’t get accepted well with critics or fans. Why?!
Here are only a few reasons why…I just don’t get it:
Tony Stark’s Character Arc
The reason MCU works so well is they focus on the “hero” more than the “super.”
They understand how to build characters and make them seem like real-life people. You can see this in all of the stand-alone MCU trilogies. The hero loses what is most important to them (or, more specifically, what most resembles them) in their third movie.
- In Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rodgers loses his shield.
- In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor loses his hammer.
- And in Iron Man 3, Tony Stark “loses” his suits and his arc reactor.
(NOTE: I put “loses” in quotations because in the very next movie, Iron Man has all his suits and nothing about them missing is explained. *cough cough* Avengers: Age Of Ultron * cough cough* but I’m not going to get into that now.)
The beginning of Iron Man 3 has Tony Stark living a pretty good life but by the end of the film, he’s a damaged, changed man. As the movie progresses, anxiety becomes one of his most conflicting issues. This new facet of his identity brings out his inner thoughts, which leads to many good scenes in the movie.
Most importantly, I love how Tony Stark is practically alone making this feel like a solo adventure. Tony’s Stark’s character arc in Iron Man 3 is one of the best–if not, the best–character arcs in the MCU. Marvel focuses on the character of Tony Stark more than worrying about ‘Iron Man’ here, which makes this an even better movie.
As great as the story is in this film, the action in it is even better.
The MCU has many problems with action in some of their movies. Most of the time, the action feels forced, like it is jammed in a scene to have the audience stay interested and not get bored.
In Iron Man 3, there are not many action scenes but when the action happens, it is a work of art. This is a film that does a very fine job at inter-cutting action in the movie and placing it where it makes sense. Every bit of action happens when it’s necessary.
Come on! You have to admit, Iron Man 3 had good action. The scene when Iron Man saved all of the people from the plane is one of the best MCU scenes of all time!
In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark doesn’t always have his suit, which shows what Tony Stark is really capable of creating with his mind. The scene where Tony Stark is interrogated while he’s waiting for his suit to come is so good because he is vulnerable, which raises the stakes of what he has to lose. I don’t understand why Marvel doesn’t do this more. Then, the payoff we get with all the suits is simply brilliant.
I hope Marvel Studios does more of this “balanced action” with their heroes in the future. Nothing is forced in this movie, which creates some of the best action scenes in the MCU.
Iron Man 3 has some of the best dialogue in the MCU. Period.
The dialogue feels fresh and it flows. Nothing is cliché or cheesy. Okay, I’ll take that back, some scenes have flat dialogue but it’s like that for all MCU films at some point (i.e., Thor: The Dark World, Age of Ultron, Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp). Now to most of the general consensus all of those movies aren’t the most loved MCU movie and are the weaker films of the MCU, so it’s easy to make that critique.
No secret: Dialogue is huge when it comes to movies.
There’s no coincidence the movies with the worst dialogue in the MCU are the movies that people hate on and aren’t the most loved films of the MCU. By the way, the opening narration of Tony Stark is truly amazing and provides some memorable lines. The dialogue throughout the film is like that, rich and clear. It flows with the tone of the movie and never takes the characters “out of character.”
Twist of the Mandarin
Now I know many fans hated this–the Mandarin twist. I didn’t, so hear me out.
At first, I hated it but it really grew on me and I understand why Marvel did this. They did it because the Mandarin just wouldn’t work on the big screen. Critics and fans alike hated it because the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 is different than the Mandarin in the comics. And, to be honest, I get where they are coming from.
Think about this: Guardians of the Galaxy is different In the comics.
Ego isn’t Star Lord’s dad. Nebula looks way different. If I had a dollar for every time Marvel changed something in their movies than what was in the comics, I would be a millionaire. I don’t mind when studios change the character and design for these new stories, if it’s done right. Marvel changes their source material all the time and we’ve become used to it, so why frown about this one? In Iron Man 3, it works well and puts a huge twist to the story.
If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 in a while, go check it out. Tony Stark’s lone survivor adventure is fun to watch. Iron Man 3 delivers a terrific story filled with compelling characters. Most of the MCU’s plots are generic and a bit flat but Iron Man 3 learns from that problem and excels on it.
Overall, there are more reasons to love this movie than to not love it. Give it another chance, movie lovers. You’ll see.