Just because there’s more of you, doesn’t mean you’re right…

Speaking of Internet rage, I Just wanted to put it out there, so that I have something to refer to in two years’ time. Yeah, so in case you just woke up from a coma, none other than Ben Affleck has been cast as the next Batman in the upcoming sequel to this year’s “Man of Steel”, which is supposed to be a Batman/Superman crossover. And again (and pretty much on the same day as the Joss Whedon thing happened) the Internet has crapped its collective pants in the violent episode of nerd-rage and to this day – three days later – it still stinks… Wherever I turn, it’s really difficult to see past the feces-hurling and name-calling, because for the vast majority of the Internet vocal hate-club Ben Affleck is as good as dead as an actor and to take on such an iconic character of The Caped Crusader can only be seen as a slap on the face of everyone out there.

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I’m not even going to delve into the subject deeper, because it’s not my place to comment on casting decisions, especially in light of what I’m about to say. As somebody who has grown up alongside the Internet revolution, I should only remind everyone that the phenomenon of the World Wide Web has not so much spawned, but brought to the public light the collective problem of humanity – the fear of change. We know all too well that we tend to like what we know and fear (and dislike) the unknown and different. That’s about as close as it gets to the foundations of racism, intolerance and a whole slew of other modern problems we struggle with every day. Combine all that with the anonymity the Internet provides and we can bask in hatred all day long, just because somebody somewhere is trying to force a change down our throats.

But change is good and it’s what we need to evolve and further ourselves as humans, and more often than not what we had feared so terribly in the first place, ends up being our next favorite thing in the whole world. ‘Who needs iPads anyway?’ you’d have asked yourselves a few years back – now you probably own one (or its Android equivalent) and cannot imagine your life without it; that’s how addictive toilet gaming is… But I digress…

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So let me dig out some dirt, if you let me, because I simply can’t stand the overwhelming abundance of non-creative memes that attack my poor sense of vision every time I look something up online. As the old adage goes (and if there isn’t an adage like that, there damn well should be one by now), the Internet forgives, but it never forgets. And it didn’t forget what you all felt when you heard that a Brokeback-brat Heath Ledger was going to become the next Joker in “The Dark Knight”. Hell, even Jack Nicholson wasn’t having any of it, partly because he wasn’t even considered for the role, but to leave a character of that magnitude to a prince Charming was just a bridge too far. It’s amusing to read all that profound wisdom from where I’m sitting now, but it wasn’t all dancing and singing back in the day. It got to a point that Nolan himself had to explain his casting choices to fend off the pitchforks and torches.

And do you remember Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man? Well, it didn’t get all that nasty, but there was a good crowd of nay-sayers voicing their disdain about it all too loudly. And Daniel Craig as the next James Bond? I reckon none of those brave hate-mongers who prophesized doom to “The Dark Knight”, “Iron Man”, or “Casino Royale” will admit how terribly wrong they ended up being. Therefore, I’ll reserve judgment until I’ll have seen Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. Sure, he’s made some terrible films in the past, but let’s not overlook that he is  a talented man of film (universally acclaimed and thusly awarded) and I think we might be in for a surprise with this one. But I hope to God he’d ditch Bale’s bat-voice…

“Iron Man 3” – I was NOT amused…

It would seem that the universe just doesn’t want me to do what I really want. Instead, just when I feel comfortable enough to finally sit down and write about what I actually liked, it gives me this… Because of this burning need I feel within me, I cannot yet again do what I want, but I must first get it off my chest and clear up my mind.

The Summer Blockbuster Season is upon us. The teenagers are out and about turning movie theaters into pigsties, the queues at the cinemas are longer than usual, and the amount of superheroes on the posters will soon be at its yearly highest.  We’ve already seen the first glimmer of what is yet to come in “Oblivion” and I can only call it a fail start, so in order to be polite I thought I wouldn’t take that dud of a movie seriously. Sure, it had a solid budget, nice VFX and music, but the sub-par utterly non-creative collage story killed it for me quite effectively.

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That leaves “Iron Man 3” to open up the season for real this time, because right thereafter we have a bag of big budget blockbusters lined up with “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, “Man of Steel”, “Thor 2 – The Dark World”, “Pacific Rim” and “World War Z” leading the charge. There. So I went and saw it…

I think it is well established that “Iron Man” franchise has been widely successful partly due to its self-parody slant. Robert Downey Jr’s comedic and lighthearted portrayal of Tony Stark has grown nearly to a legendary status and after “The Avengers” the bar was pretty high when it comes to what we would like to expect from Marvel’s Phase Two (which starts off this year with “Iron Man 3”). The extensive marketing campaign has successfully elevated our expectations with the fact we would see Sir Ben Kingsley portraying The Mandarin – the ultimate villain in the Iron Man’s universe – and that we would see more Tony Stark, and less Iron Man. We were promised adrenaline, drama, more focus on Tony’s inner problems, and of course tonnes of action and unforgettable effects… And I got none of them. None, null, nada, zero… I literally wanted to demand my money back, but in hindsight, I should have known better in the first place. Or maybe I’ve grown to be uber cynical, but I highly doubt that. It’s not as if I went to see “Iron Man 3” assuming it would suck. I went there hoping for a good time, but the fact that film sucked so badly, seriously impeded my ability to actually have a good time.

“Iron Man 3” started off with a premise that the events of “The Avengers” had taken a serious toll on Tony Stark’s well-being. He couldn’t sleep, suffered from insomnia (and nightmares when he actually slept) and kept building new suits and contraptions that would keep tragedies of that magnitude from happening… or something.

Meanwhile, a mysterious terrorist, who calls himself The Mandarin, is on the loose. No-one really knows what he wants, or where he is at a given point in time, and his vicious terrorist attacks go mostly unpunished. Only when Tony Stark’s close friend winds up in a hospital after one of Mandarin’s bombings, he finally decides to suit up in his can again and face his foe. What he doesn’t know is that in doing so he’d have to face enemies he made way back in his days of arrogance, condescension and banging strangers. In order to actually face The Mandarin and settle the score Iron Man will need to come to terms with his problems, finally understand the importance of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in his life and revisit some old acquaintances… very fiery acquaintances…

 

This is pretty much, how “Iron Man 3” looks on paper. It sounds enticing, it promises action and all, but delivers nothing but disappointment. As I said before, “Iron Man” franchise has never taken itself too seriously and stayed unique this way, up until now. The third installment of the adventures of Tony Stark went a bridge too far and as a result, the whole film turns into farce before the story is even rolling. It begins with grandiose statements of how the past determines our present, and so on, and so forth. We see the suffering Stark, who then quickly forgets all about this and turns into a one-liner robot. Not that I don’t appreciate a good one-liner in an actioner, but this time it was a bit much. There were moments I wasn’t even sure I should care about anything that happens on the screen, because Tony Stark kept taking a piss virtually every time he was on it, regardless of what peril he (or Pepper) was in.

So that’s that. Secondly, I realized that “Iron Man 3” was supposed to be packed with super-awesome action sequences, but they all were somehow lifeless; pretty, but I couldn’t care less… Probably partly due to Tony Stark’s humor getting in the way far too often. Additionally, for the action to be meaningful, the story needs to be compelling. And here, there’s nothing. You could show me a million Iron Men army fighting dragons and demons, but it’s all for nothing if I don’t care about any of the characters. And I can’t care about anything when Tony Stark doesn’t  I know he’s supposed to be cynical and all, but it really annoyed me this time round.

And the Mandarin… Oh, the Mandarin. In the interest of not spoiling anything for anyone who still hasn’t seen it, I shall say the following. I really enjoyed Ben Kingsley here. It was really fun to watch him, even though his manneeeeer of speeeech was ratheeeer annoyiiiing at tiiiiiiimes. But, whoever claims Kingsley’s Mandarin is on par with Ledger’s Joker, needs to go to a store and get himself a pair of new eyes. A good make-up doesn’t really cut it here, does it? Especially that “Iron Man 3” takes a ‘cough’ rather unorthodox approach at The Mandarin. I shan’t say more. I could (and maybe I will) rant a bit more on how The Mandarin would not even shine Joker’s shoes, but it’s neither the time nor place for it…

“Iron Man 3” is simply a generic action superhero flick aimed at the teenage audience. There’s action – sure, there are explosions, evil henchmen, a couple of villains, gunfights and the like. On the plus side, the film sports a twist that you don’t see coming and is in fact hilariously entertaining. But the era of M. Night Shyamalan is long gone and a twist won’t save a film any more…

Nevertheless, I sat there mostly indifferent turning my head in discontent and performing occasional face-palms every now and again. It got to a point when I couldn’t really wait for this movie to end, as its final sequences were terribly boring; but I survived until the end.

The credits rolled and I sat there waiting for the post-credit sequence hoping for a teaser of some sort. What a waste of time that was. Don’t get me wrong, there’s one and if you like, stay put and have a look at it, but it is a bit underwhelming. Nothing major…

That would neatly sum up what I thought about “Iron Man 3” when leaving the cinema – nothing major. I felt bamboozled. This was not what I was promised in the trailers. This was not how I expected of “Iron Man” trilogy to conclude. The story was all over the shop, the action was meaningless and the humor quickly got stale. The plot was full of holes, the characters (especially the villains) were poorly introduced and in the end no-one cared about anything that happened on the screen. Waste of time. I hope “Man of Steel” is going to raise the bar, because action movies like “Iron Man 3” are simply unacceptable.