Marrieds at the Movies: Why 'Iron Man 3' Was Like a High School Showdown Between Nerds and Jocks

Every Friday night, Movies.com sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.

Iron Man 3

Synopsis: In this third installment in the Iron Man series, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) must overcome panic attacks and a disillusioned Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) in order to do battle with seemingly invincible enemies (Ben Kingsley, et al) bent on world domination.  

 

Was this a good date movie?

Joe: It’s fun, mindless, and not too geeky except for a few lines about Thor and The Avengers, which delighted a lot of nerds in the theater. It’s a good setup for a date; just don’t take her to see it in Mann’s Chinese theater.

Sarah: If a guy asked me to this movie on a first date, I’d wonder if he was an obsessive comic book bore or just into popcorn movies.

Joe: What did you think when I took you to see In the Company of Men?

Sarah: I thought you were a sociopath, but you’re hot so I let it pass.

Joe: Spoken like a true lady.

Sarah: But this turned out to be a great date movie – funny, exciting, and fast-moving even though it’s over two hours.

 

How does this measure up against other comic book movies?

Sarah: I haven’t seen a lot of them. I thought they were for kids, which I know sounds dismissive. This had some darkness, with more brutality and self-awareness than I expected.

Joe: There are movies like Spider-Man, which transcend the comic book genre and tap into something universal, and they’re fun. Then, there are movies like Thor, which are for comic book enthusiasts and they’re kind of dumb. Iron Man 3 doesn’t really fall in that spectrum – it’s more like a really dark Lethal Weapon.

Sarah: Tony Stark does remind me of the old, fun-loving Mel Gibson of the '80s, before he went loco.

Joe: Well, this and Lethal Weapon were written by the same guy, so that makes sense.

 

How was the villain?

Joe: It depends on when you ask. The first 20 minutes were genuinely scary; but, as the target shifted from America to Tony Stark and his besties, it felt like a high school showdown between the nerds and the jocks, and I lost interest. Also, crappy botanists don’t inspire fear.

Sarah: Ben Kingsley was creepy and believable as The Mandarin, but what a terrible name for a bad guy.

Joe: I think Paltrow was the bad guy. She almost steps out with Guy Pearce and later tries to convince Tony to destroy his Iron Man suits. Then, she saves (and chats with) another villain. She’s the worst.

Sarah: Yeah, how was she turned on by Guy Pearce? He was handsy creep with a ducktail and suede slippers. If that’s enough to tempt her, things aren’t looking good for Tony Stark.

 

What will you be thinking about tomorrow?

Sarah: I hate that tons of action-y movies (I’m looking at you, Oblivion) use quick cuts and close shots so that you can’t make sense of the scene until the action stops. Used liberally, this can mean naptime. The shots in this movie were wide enough that the audience could keep up during the long fighting sequences and not get confused or bored.

Joe: There’s a kid in this one. Tony has the same kind of banter with the kid that he usually has with drunken one-night stands. If anyone else said these things to a kid, they’d be labeled a monster but when Tony does it, the audience laughs. It’s a testament to Downey’s abilities, Shane Black’s writing and, I guess, everyone’s hatred of precocious kids.

 

Verdict

Sarah: I can be cranky and resistant to blockbusters but this was pretty un-hateable. See it.

Joe: Yep, see it.

Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.

 

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