‘Iron Man 3′ Is The Saga’s Most Successful Pic Yet

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Whether “Iron Man 3″ deserves the hype or not may be beside the point. Its ticket sales alone are newsworthy and is on track to make more money at the box office than the first two movies combined. To give you an idea of how much more money Tony Stark is stuffing into his coffers, think of it this way — “Iron Man 3″ made $72 million in its second weekend, $22 million more than runner up “The Great Gatsby,” and more than the next top eight combined, notes Yahoo News. What’s more impressive than the huge numbers is that this is the third movie of the saga. Sequels rarely amount to much, even sequels to great movies. Threequels are virtual locks as box office busts. Not this one.

If you haven’t seen an “Iron Man” movie yet, the first two are all over Netflix and TV. You can look online or check www.direct.tv to see if you can catch the first two before hitting the theaters for number three.

Sophomore Slump

The first Iron Man was a great action flick. Great effects, great plot, great actors (one of them arguably Hollywood’s best right now) and the show-stealing, girl-next-door, Gwinith Paltrow as Pepper Potts. It was such an entertaining and fun movie that anyone had to doubt that Iron Man 2 could match the original.

A lot of sequels bust at the box office. Think about “Matrix: Reloaded.” You probably got through it, but did you ever watch it again? Probably not. How many times did you watch the original? Think about “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” Captain Jack went from clever guy with a stoned look in the first movie to disheartened guy with a homeless look in the second. Remember a single part of “Men in Black II?” Doubt it. Remember “Ocean’s Twelve?” Of course not. “The Dukes of Hazards: The Beginning” went straight to DVD. “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” should have.

Not ‘Iron Man 2′

There are rarely great sequels. “Iron Man 2″ is an exception. Iron Man Tony Starks showed vulnerability, overcome with brilliant style. Pepper Potts ditched the adorable naivety that made her the princess in love with the bad boy in the original movie and matured into queen CEO of Stark Industries.

Happy Hogan became even more lovable as Tony’s bulldog faced, trip-over-his-own-feet bodyguard and Rhodey was played by the slick, savvy and cool Don Cheadle instead of the petulant Terrence Howard. Equally important, the producers got a real, real bad man to play Tony’s nemesis. Is there a badder man in Hollywood than Mikey Rourke?

The Curse of the Threequels

IThe odds of a threequel being great are as slim as an Olsen twin eating a 96 ounce steak. That’s why the legitimacy of “Iron Man 3,” even with this kind of splash at the box office, has to be questioned. And here’s why it shouldn’t…

The Romance: The romance between Pepper Potts and Tony Starks has evolved in the right direction. The worst mistake producers could have made was forcing a farcical relationship between these two polar opposites, putting their romance in a labeled can and selling it as homemade.

Pepper would never have been believable as a docile, “Mad Men”-like housewife that came home every night and pined for Tony to come out of his lair to pay her some attention. Neither of them are designed to live Downtown Abby lives.

The friction is what makes them believable as as lovers: By allowing for the natural friction that was bound to occur between them once they committed to one another, the producers could allow both of them be the individuals audiences have grown to love.

The Rivalry: Producers found a rival for Tony that was unlike any before — someone exactly like him. Aldrich Killian, played by Guy Pearce, is brilliant, charming and handsome. He is also egocentric and self-assured, highly motivated and has a weapon no one else has. Sounds like Tony, right? He even has Tony’s ability to fascinate Pepper, which becomes a highly motivating factor in Tony’s development as a character.

Change Isn’t Always for the Better: The director and producers of the “Iron Man” movies don’t force something that doesn’t work. For reasons we probably can’t explain, we all like being inside the helmet with Tony as he talks to his computer Jarvis. It’s difficult to say why as the sequence essentially amounts to nothing more than a giant face shot of Tony Starks with little or no action.

Don’t fix what ain’t broke: The supporting cast is incredible and are invaluable to the storyline, but we aren’t force-fed their presence. Happy is there to be funny, Rhodey is there to illustrate convention which, next to Tony’s radicalism, further accents his eccentricities. Jarvis — the tactical yet hilarious machine — makes the entire “Iron Man” notion believable. But the story is really about Tony Starks and Virginia “Pepper” Potts.

That’s why “Iron Man 3″ deserves the hype it’s getting. It doesn’t give us too much of anything, it gives us the best of everything. So, yes, maybe it is the Sagas’ most successful yet. On the other hand, it couldn’t be what it is without the other two before it.

About the Author
Charlie Singer
Charlie loves movies, going to cafes and writing reviews for films and restaurants.