Iron Man 3: a Christmas movie?

The teenager and I have a favorite Christmas movie— The Ref with Denis Leary.

But Denis may have lost his place as our unorthodox Christmas hero because Tony Stark has usurped his place.

I had the vague feeling of déjà vu watching the film as I remembered more of this one than I usually do with films I’ve only seen once.

This one is fun because Tony Stark spends much of the film without the use of technology and his suits, relying instead on his wit and his body.

There’s a theme of taking responsibility for one’s actions running through the film, perhaps getting us ready for Spider-Man’s line, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

There is also a young man named Harley who I hope to see in a future film, and I also want to see Agent Caulson’s cellist. She was mentioned in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. But I digress.

But what really steals this movie and provides probably the closest thing to reality is Tony Stark struggling with PTSD and anxiety attacks after fighting off robotic aliens in New York (Avengers). It’s refreshing to see a good guy deal with mental health issues on screen.

More Marvel Movie Reviews— Can we go for shawarma?

The teenager and I started watching the Marvel movies in order, as I posted here and here.

This is what we have watched so far:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain Marvel
  • Iron Man
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • Marvel’s The Avengers

I left off with the last movie we had completed, Iron Man.

The teenager had to rent The Incredible Hulk as it is not available on Disney Plus, Netflix or Hulu. And she made a good point that if we were going to commit to watching the whole franchise, we had to watch the whole franchise.

The teenager has the very strong opinion that the actor portraying the Hulk in The Avengers is physically better suited to the role. (Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk vs. Mark Ruffalo in the later films). I realized that I had never seen The Incredible Hulk but instead I had seen Ang Lee’s Hulk. (I have also seen the TV Hulk as, after all, I am Gen X.)

I enjoyed both men, but Mark Ruffalo, to me, had the right demeanor in the role to seem intelligent, mild, and also funny. To me, Ed Norton always seems a little awkward and a little cocky.

But the movie was fun.

I, of course, enjoyed Iron Man 2 because Iron Man is an eternal wild card. I like that Pepper takes control of Stark Enterprises, and I also like that Tony Stark has to both fight and work with his friend Rhodes in this installment.

This push-pull of situations that force friends/family into enemies and enemies into friends resurfaces everywhere in the Marvel Universe. In Avengers, we see Natasha Romanoff have to fight Clint Barton, Thor have to detain Loki, and the whole damn Avengers team resort to bickering amongst themselves.

Is it a theme of “watch your back?” Or merely a reminder than humans are creatures that respond to their circumstances? We will turn on one another — sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for selfish ones.

Speaking of The Avengers, from the original Iron Man to The Avengers, Tony Stark has experienced the largest transformation. He, more than anyone in the group, transitions from a typical human to a hero.

I have a very large problem with my willing suspension of disbelief with Tony Stark. In Iron Man, he receives an oversized magnet in his chest to prevent a piece of shrapnel from entering his heart. In Afghanistan. In a cave.

The person who tended to Tony in this environment could rig up a massive magnet, somehow make a hole in Tony’s chest and find a way for it to heal into a nice little chamber, and power it with a car battery… but he was incapable of finding the shrapnel and removing it?

But that aside, and ignoring the subplots created by that device, Tony Stark is the one in the group who choses, as Bruce Wayne similarly choses in the D.C. Universe, to arm himself. Except Bruce has motivation to become a vigilante. And Tony just wants to build cool toys as a thrill.

So, Tony progresses from a thrill-seeker, to a weapon, to a hero. He voluntarily carries a nuclear bomb into outer space.

Tony Stark controls every change in his character arc and actively choses where to go.

Captain America? Drafted by the army and chosen to be transformed by super serum.

Captain Marvel? Military accident then kidnapped and brainwashed by aliens.

Hulk? Radiation accident.

Thor? Alien/God.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the movie Thor. Chris Hemsworth— he’s easy on the eyes, especially when he takes his shirt off. I love the speech patterns of the Asgardians. I also love the humor in the alien-arrives-on-earth scenarios. And I respect Jane Foster’s physics research.

That brings us to The Avengers. I remember being ridiculously tickled by Joss Whedon’s script when I saw this in the theaters. (Has Joss Whedon been officially canceled for his bad behavior on the Buffy set?)

The humor stands the test of time.

I also remember being confused by the plot. There was a great deal of character soup and the enemies came out of nowhere.

Watching the series in this order certainly solves those particular problems. The movie is still funny, but also ridiculously long. It took three days for us to get through it.

The movie made so much more sense now, and I look forward to the next on the list, Iron Man 3.

As for my title, at the end of The Avengers, Tony asks the team if they can go for shawarma. The very last scene, after the traditional teaser for the next movie, is the group eating silently at a table at a restaurant called Shawarma Palace as the owners clean up after the big end fight.

Movie review: revisiting the original ‘Iron Man’ movie

As mentioned earlier, the teenager and I started watching the Marvel movies in chronological order, the order that the story occurred in.

Today we revisited Iron Man. Now this is one of my favorites— Robert Downey Jr.’s performance is legendary, his taste in classic hard rock impeccable, and moving the story into the modern Afghanistan war is classic.

So, in trying to watch these in story order, I have to ask if the chronology stays so disparate.

Captain America debuts in World War II. Captain Marvel follows in the 1990s— so fifty years later. And now Iron Man jumps another twenty years to circa 2010.

But so far, the movies pass quickly and painlessly. I still prefer D.C.

Review: A Marvel Challenge

First, an update for my regular followers:

  • Dr. Anna Williams of the My Gothic Dissertation responded to the link I sent her of my review of her magnificent podcast. She also commented that some of my interest (cats, photography), she also enjoyed.
  • My hip and spine and leg are, I believe, not in pain today, just incredibly stiff.
  • We received our first snow last night, a fluffy white four inches. The teenager has her first and only snow day of the season— as the school district has proclaimed that any further inclement weather closings will be remote instruction days. “Baby Dog” F. Bean Barker refused to go out into the snow.
  • Our foster pride through our volunteer work with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab is “down by two” as Mama Danu of the Celtic Pride and former community cat Georgie are in local pet store habitats. Danu is at Pet Supplies Plus in Bethlehem Township and Georgie is at Chaar in Forks Township. Georgie tends to be vocal and melodramatic but she’s adorable… this is her playing fetch yesterday before we took her to Chaar: YouTube video of Georgie.
Danu
  • Nala, my naughty Goffin’s cockatoo, celebrated her gotcha-versary this week. She has now been with me two years. She will be six years old next month. This is her most recent YouTube video, featuring our tripod, cancer-surviving cat Opie. This was her first video with me.
  • I am editing both Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money, Parisian Phoenix’s first non-fiction book, and my third novel, Recovery. I am also trying to write the fourth novel, Road Trip, my werewolf Bildungsroman. That is very slow going and making me nervous.
  • And I think, while I was out sick having my hip tended to, there was a mandatory overtime dictate at work. I think I’ll have to squeeze eight more hours into my work week before Jan. 16— which means I will either have to work 12 hours a day (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or somehow squeeze 8 hours into Thursday, Friday & Saturday. I have an 11 a.m. appointment Thursday, three doctors appointments Friday and the warehouse is only open for a 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. shift Saturday. Because, of course, Saturday I have no plans.

On to the Movies…

A few days ago, I mentioned to the teenager that it might be fun to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order of how they supposedly happened. I haven’t seen most of them. We decided to use this list as reference: The Wrap.

We watched Captain America: The First Avenger (which I have seen) on Wednesday. I’ve always enjoyed this movie. I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but I love the goodness in Captain America’s motivations and the mix of history, mythology and comic book nonsense.

Last night we started Captain Marvel, which I have not seen but I do remember some controversy about Captain Marvel being a woman in the movie.

We have not finished it, as life happened, but I am thoroughly enjoying reliving the 1990s and seeing a young Nick Fury. Even more fun is seeing my daughter react to the nineties.