Pepper in the suit and other Iron Man 3 delights

I just want to say that Iron Man 3 is a beautiful movie.

It’s absolutely triumphant, and it’s not triumphant because Tony wins out in the end, it’s triumphant because he can feel more stable, more himself, can make good decisions for himself and the people he loves.

Iron Man 3 feels far more like a comic book than any of the other Marvel movies thus far. Part of that is that the universe is well set up at this point – ‘everything changed when the big guy with the hammer fell out the sky’ and all that. We’re out of the origin stories. Tony and his relationships are well-established, so we actually get to develop those.

I am going to take a brief moment to make a comparison with The Bourne Supremacy, which I saw for the first time this weekend, and which kicks off when Bourne’s girlfriend Marie gets killed. (Shocking no-one.) When this happened, L who had seen it before, declared in outrage ‘It’s just such lazy storytelling!’ You can let people keep their relationships and still have tension. Heaven forfend you use those relationships to actually make your story better.

And I was thinking of something I read, that they hadn’t been going to have Pepper in the movie, but Robert Downey Jr insisted on it.

And he had the right of it. Iron Man 3 wouldn’t be half the movie it is without her.

There’s the other moment of triumph – when the hero’s girlfriend falls to her seeming death. But this is a story, and the storyteller gets to decide who lives and dies. And Pepper lives, and Pepper gets her moment of absolute badassery, all the while being exactly the same person she’s been through the whole way. ‘She was already perfect’, Tony says. And I just got chills, when we see her and she’s survived.

And then she gets to take down Killian and it’s beautiful. And I really liked the way they framed her kidnapping. Killian says to her that he admits he didn’t just take her to give Tony a motive to work with him … he had a personal reason too …

And Pepper says, ‘A trophy.’ And he smiles and it’s absolutely right and they don’t make out like it’s anything else.

Best movie. And so much the stronger for having Pepper in it, for letting Tony’s relationships matter and not brushing them aside.

Also Tony’s panic attacks and his conversations with the kid, and how prickly his is.

Also Jarvis and repairing the suit in a garage, using the suits for a distance, having them operate on concert.

Also the framing device where the whole thing what Tony’s narrating to Bruce Banner. And Bruce has been asleep the whole time.

And Maya is a botanist the way Tony is a mechanic and Bruce is not that kind of doctor, Tony.

And what they did with the Mandarin and the whole meta-level of Killian’s manufactured terrorism, and especially getting that second part after the first two movies.

I want to compare this to the Batman movies, to the idea that you make superhero stories mature by making them gritty and ‘realistic’.

No. No. Superhero stories get to be grown-up when their heros get to be grown-ups and have grown-up relationships. And you can talk about and deal with serious issues at the same as having the whole thing being ridiculous and fun. The fun is a key part!

This isn’t the most coherant reaction post but in my defence I went to the midnight screening (I got confused by the ‘midnight’ aspect and thought it would be the night of the 24th, not the morning, so I didn’t get to sleep in the next day after all). I’m kind of in the giddy stage of sleep deprivation at the moment.

Anyway. I really recommend it. I didn’t have expectations at all (because Iron Man 2) but it blew me away.

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