Ok you are being warned. If you haven’t seen this yet and don’t want this spoiled for you. Please stop right here. Don’t go any further. I mean it. If you go past the bunnies, you are on your own and you cannot say that I didn’t warn you.
You still here? Ok, well you on your own. Why the bunny videos? If you saw it, then it would be a no brainer.
Before I review the movie itself, I need to put a word in about the new theater we went to in Brandywine, MD called Xscape 14 theaters.
The theater opened in time for the Iron man 3 premier and it’s biggest selling points are supposed to be the super large 70 foot screens, the reclining chairs and the ability to get your tickets and order your food simultaneously. I will give the theater a B for effort but an C- for execution. While the theater has some nice ideas for how they want to change the movie going experience by trying to mimic in some ways the home experience, getting IN to the theaters was by far the worst I have seen in a very long time especially when trying to do this on an opening weekend for a movie. Let’s start with getting tickets.
First I was glad that we ordered our tickets online because taking into consideration that Xscape wants to eliminate the ticket kiosk by combining tickets and concessions all into one kiosk is not feasible for those who quite simply just want to to get their ticket and go in. You are forced to either wait in line or use the terminals situated off to the side and hope that they work as a few people I spoke to said that they had trouble accessing the machines as the terminals would not accept their card to pay. Next up is the design and location of the terminal. Well obviously it’s too late to ‘rotate’ the building a’la SimCity but because the kiosks directly face the door and at the time of day we went when the sun shown directly through the windows, made it impossible to read the menus because of the glare on the HD monitors that they are using and also mitigated by the fact that monitors were so busy, it was hard to distinguish the movie times with the food items and specials.
If you somehow make it through all of that well getting the food is the next hurdle to actually getting to your seat. Xscape 14 wants to serve you more than popcorn and soda. They want to also serve White Castle burgers, pizza and other food…which is great. That is, until you realize that they aren’t using a kitchen and using microwaves and toaster ovens to prep your food. I got excited at the prospect of getting a White Castle burger until I learned it was the same frozen food fare I could get at a Giant’s grocery store frozen foods section but cheaper. Worse still was the 20 to 30 minute wait because myself and everyone else wanted food and of course they don’t have the equipment capacity to serve the numbers there in a reasonable time, coupled with the fact that you are trying to get yourself a proper seat and running back and forth checking on your food means many people had to cancel orders or risk missing part of their movie trying to get their snacks. One good plus was that the popcorn was made fresh and was excellent but uh when you got popcorn, a large soda, candy and microwaved White Castle, along with tickets would it kill you guys to give us some kind of recyclable tray to carry all of that on? It’s an accident waiting to happen as we only have 2 hands.
(yes I am almost done talking about the theater!)
Now you are in, you found your seats, now thinks get kinda good as you have big and tall recliners that give you all the feeling that you are home and almost ready to watch your movie. until you realize that the aisle is still JUST wide enough that you have to lower your seat to allow others to come through. Oh sure, my nephew had no problems because he is 5 foot nothing and the seat swallows him whole but as I am 6ft and a few inches more, if you got that one person who has to go back and forth like we had in our showing, it become a bit of a nuisance. The last issue is the fact that as the lights go down and your movie is about to begin, you may notice that the safety lights on the steps are on…and boy are they bright. Very very bright. I like the idea that Xscape is considering our safety and applaud them for that but the lights were a considerable distraction from the movie itself especially scenes where it was dark . Dear Xscape or anyone that wants an idea of how to do a theater, you may want to steal some notes from Scotiabank Theater in Vancouver, Canada. It had a nice variety of food choices, excellent seating and sound and courteous customer service. My wife and I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 3 when we went there a few years ago and it was the best theater experience I had. Other than that I won’t be traveling all that distance to Xscape but I would advise unless they work a few kinks out, I would tell others, go at your own risk.
Now the movie!
There are 2 ways I could review this movie. I could review it from the angle of the ‘purist’ who has to have the movie stay pure or as close to pure to comic canon as possible. In which case the movie would receive failing grades all around based on the fact that the Mandarin character was never fully realized. Once you see that he is being used to dupe the world into thinking that he is the mastermind of his bin Ladin like attacks you the audience member will feel like you were duped too as we were “promised” a worthy villain unlike any we have ever seen. One who would brutalize Tony Stark more than he was since the first movie. Also the ‘purists’ should be furious about the Extremis project and how it was changed for the movie in which it was never really mentioned at how fast Tony could process information but they retained…you know what screw it, purists would hate this movie.
The movie I saw was good for a Hollywood first out of the gate blockbuster movie. I liked the idea that Tony’s biggest issue this movie is getting over the PTSD that he is suffering after his battle in The Avengers and his near death experience. he is trying to get his life together when the Mandarin decides to go bin Ladin on the world. The idea of course it’s because Aldrich Killian was butt-hurt because he got turned down by Stark years ago which caused Killian to create AIM (purists should be spitting bullets as most know that AIM was created during WWII and an offshoot of HYDRA, but we are splitting hairs here right purists?) which became the modern day analog to Al-Quaeda. Once Tony learns that Happy is personally injured by Mandarin he goes on the offensive.
The movie itself was a lot better paced than the second one without leaving a lot of us hanging but one of the biggest plot holes to me was if the Mandarin was such a credible threat, why wasn’t SHIELD a bigger presence in this movie? Mandarin’s forces pretty much destroys Tony’s home and committed tons of terrorist acts and you mean to tell me that SHIELD can stop space aliens but couldn’t stop Mandarin? They kidnapped the president and no SHIELD? Ok whatever man. Well, that may be the ‘purist’ in me but it was a plot hole that was kinda missed. On the other hand with the story the movie was trying to convey I look at it as, if you ever want to see what a person does when they stand up, knock them down first and take all of their toys from them and walk away from them as they are crying. Let Karma make Tony her bitch. Be the bully and that is what we got here. Plot holes aside, the story itself was watching Tony have everything taken from him but of course, like Batman, Tony has his Deus Machina around when he needs it and when it all goes down, you get a scene near the end that is somehow more satisfying than the last movie.
I am still however mixed on how the Mandarin was treated this movie. The idea that he is just a shadowy figure and a puppet that Killian pulled the strings on was a good twist that I think no one saw coming and even when Kingsley was explaining how he was just a two bit actor playing a face, I was still half expecting it to be a ruse and he would drop the hammer on Tony, but when the moment passed I was still pretty surprised that this was the move Marvel allowed to be made considering that in the comics the Mandarin makes for a great and ruthless rival of Stark (and even Victor von Doom) especially with his 10 rings and martial arts prowess.
Also your miles may vary on how Tony gets back into the fight because of an eight year old boy. Some of the scenes between RDJ and Ty Simpkins were good but there were some that could be borderline inappropriate and creepy which brings me to…DON CHEADLE. More than enough undue hype was brought along the fact that the Iron Patriot (purists are you mad that no nod was given to Norman Osborne for creating the armor? Well hey go make Sony pictures sell back the rights of Spider-man to Marvel Studios so we can get a proper Iron Patriot reboot movie!! HAHHAHAA) would be a chief armor in the movie and while we had a few more scenes with Cheadle donning the armor but One would have hoped that in the last fight scene we could have seen more action with Iron Patriot against the AIM enhanced soldiers. It’s pretty much Iron Patriot saves the president, drops him off and you don’t see him again and it was wasted. Granted that the last fight scene was better than part II even with showcasing the many armors but still wasted when it comes to Iron Patriot. By the way, did I forget Guy Pierce? He was ok but Sam Rockwell was better in Iron Man II.
All in all, when it’s said and done, you almost get the feel that this was done almost along the same lines of Batman: DKR but just not so heavy in tone. but then again with all of the reminders of the acts of terrorism seen it recent years, it can be argued how the final chapters of this movie and DKR are played out. Iron Man 3 came along did what it needed to do and closed out the chapter, not with a huge bang but with an ok boom and actually more of a boom signalling “our summer movie is first out the gates, we made our money, what about the rest of you?’ where The Dark Knight Rises ended a story and knew it could get people in to see it.
And now, we shall see what Man of Steel can do and if it will get DC Comics movies on track.
Iron Man just barely gets a 3 out of 5 stars
Not the home run we were looking for but it’s a hit to get the crowd talking.