IronMan 3 was “Unbelievable”… but not in a good way.

My two-cent take on IronMan 3:

This was a Disney/Marvel collaboration. Perhaps one problem was that it was too much Disney and insufficient Marvel.

The thing I was conscious of at many points throughout the movie, was that in ridiculously violent fights between unarmored and unprotected simple flesh and blood humans… no one gets hurt. In Road Runner cartoons, when the anvil flattens the Coyote, it’s quite funny due to its ludicrous overstatement. But the real parts of a movie involving humans — which are intended to be believable — really need to remain believable… or it’s asking too much from a mature audience.

As a Science Fiction lover, I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of immersion into a new idea. I loved the first IronMan, and have watched it many times. So I will gleefully imbue a robotic suit with any levels of strength and power the story may require. That’s fine. Bring it on. Thrill me. But I know the limitations of an unaided human body. We all have one. And what I saw far too much of, against human flesh, was a level of coyote-flattening violence that was utter nonsense.

Despite the fact that I have no doubt IronMan 3 will break US domestic box office records, as it already has overseas, I think that “Oblivion” was the far better movie so far this summer.

/Steve. (@SGgrc and http://www.grc.com)

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31 Responses to IronMan 3 was “Unbelievable”… but not in a good way.

  1. Lee says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for the review! Have a great weekend!

    Lee and Dee

  2. Ed Hourigan says:

    Spot on review. I forgot about the Disney connection. That perhaps “ruined” parts of this movie. Iron Man 1 is still the best … cheers.

    • BlueLobster says:

      Also, the lead character in Iron Man 3, Tony Stark, isn’t that much of a superhero anymore and has turned into a sour, embittered, probably impotent human being…. not funny, if it weren’t for the ludicrousness mentioned by Steve here. The funniest and most REAL character yet in that movie (apart from Pepper who is playing in a remarkably expressive mode, I found) is the Mandarin.

  3. I am disgusted by any way, shape or manner of violence, and its portrayal as “an element of drama” simply desensitizes us as people. Violence is bad, wrong and unjustifiable in any form, real or fictional, PERIOD.

  4. jim says:

    Thanks for critique, Steve. Can’t wait to see it! Marvel is bringing back the ’50’s fight scene where the fights lasted 10 minutes.

  5. Lee Cash says:

    Steve, you are more patient with SciFi movies and story-telling than I. The movies, “2001”, and the original “Alien” are two of the “high water marks” for me.

    Considering the limits of special effects, I rank the original “Day The Earth Stood Still” and “Forbidden Planet” (expect for some of the overly ‘cute’ Robbie the Robot scenes) as well done. Most others movies and story lines fall into my “science fantasy” bucket. I even got burned out with Star Wars after the second movie.

    Starting in the late fifties I grew up reading “hard SciFi” from the three greats Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein, in that order, and watching the original B&W TV “Outer Limits,” “Man and the Challenge,” and “The Twighlight Zone.”

    Guess I am spoiled and picky. However, I really enjoyed the opening to “Men In Black” and the line “. . . .next time I’ll shoot you where it don’t grow back . . . .”

    All the best,
    – Lee

    • Lee says:

      If you are in the Los Angeles “Over The Air Broadcast Area” and can pick up KTLA’s 5.3 digital sub channel “THIS-TV”, at 4;00 AM, have your dvr set to record “The Outer Limits” on Saturday and again on Sunday early mornings. Check your program guide for access on FIOS and cable carriers. THIS-TV just started running the series again this morning along with “Highway Patrol” so it is fun to see the old B&W shots of Los Angeles. Cliff Robertson was on this morning with his 3D TV set.

      Lee (not Cash)

  6. Jeff says:

    i just posted a FB comment on I3 lol anyway, I said it was exactly what it should have been. more to the point, they did get the Marvel template correct as this IS a I3 and nothing else. I enjoyed it very much in all thoughts. The more modern ending was just perfect.

    Big GRC fan since before computers rule the world !!!

  7. Acid Reign says:

    …..First post here in a WHILE! We do follow the Security Now podcast faithfully, though. Silly me, I was hoping for some new fabulous software tool, like Spinrite, Shoot the Messenger, etc. Spinrite is one of the few pieces of software I’ve bought over the years that actually paid for itself!

    …..Yeah, I’m not much either on CGI invulnerability syndrome. Give me the days when Steven Segal broke folks in half with one blow! This development does not bode well for Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars empire…

  8. CapnZilog says:

    I was thinking the same thing, but then again… when we’re talking armor-on-human, it’s usually (if not Always) armor-on-enhanced human. So I was willing to go along with the suspension of disbelieve that whatever power allowed the enhanced humans to -melt metal without injuring themselves- were probably made more robust in other ways as well.

    What bugged me more was 1) the endless stream of deus ex machines (c’mon!!) and 2) that the Mandarin character had absolutely nothing to do with the actual Mandarin character which you’d probably have to be middle-aged (like me) to remember. Pointless to do this, really – I wonder if it was to avoid pissing off the Chinese market (where the real Mandarin was a multiple-magic-ring wearing Mongolian)

  9. Nine times out of ten we see Stark going to places where people have died. We see the outlines of where people died in explosions.

    Now onto action, I loved how Stark wanted to protect that one and only. Each action he took was to protect that one person.

    The unbelievable….I tend to echo your response to how certain people in the movie could not die easily, producing this heat that could protect them in fire and it seemed a little to far fetched.

    This all on the whole with me only got a two star review out of a five. I would loved to of seen him use those armours more and less hand to hand but that was probably Disney’s idea.

    That’s my two cents on this movie myself, I was a little disappointed because of the story line myself.

  10. Ted Mieske says:

    Did know where else to leave this. BUT, do you plan on any further software projects?
    Such as an update to Spinrite or DNSBench?

    • Steve Gibson says:

      Hi Ted.

      In short.. yes. I am ALWAYS working on projects of one sort or another. It’s all I ever do. But sometimes they are not super-obvious. For example, I have just, this weekend, switched the entire GRC site over to pure HTTPS protocol, and declared with a special browser header (HSTS – Http Strict Transport Security), being sent out to all web browsers, that they are ONLY to send secured connections to GRC (that declaration carries a continuously renewing expiration of one year), and that THEY are permitted to upgrade ANY object request from http to https. It’s not earth shattering… but it’s part of something that will be coming along shortly. :)

      So, yeah… there’s always something going on with one project or another. I doubt that the DNS Benchmark will get much more attention, since I think I nailed it two years ago. But SpinRite IS high on my list of things to return to and get done. I have some stuff that I want/need to get done first… then I’ll be switching to SpinRite and EVERYONE who has ever purchased v6.0 will be upgraded to v6.1 for free.

      The ONLY THING I wish for… is more hours in the day. Though I will always make time for Science Fiction! :)

      /Steve.

      • Lee Cash says:

        Steve, from your remarks about “more hours in the day,” have you heard of the “Time Affluence” concept?

        I learned about it very recently. Here are a couple of related links I feel you may find interesting.
        1. PROBLEM STATEMENT: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130503130619-143695135-america-s-real-deficit-crisis

        2. MY APPROACH: Subscription to Jules Evans weekly Politics of Well-Being (PoW) e-mail, see:

        http://philosophyforlife.org/category/politics-of-well-being/

        by “Jules Evans”
        Centre for the History of Emotions
        Queen Mary University
        Mile End Road
        London E1 4NS
        I receive a weekly e-mail and always find the topics interesting. These are great overviews of currents in philosphical inquiry and their practical application for living the good and well-examined life. In the past year, I have exchanged a couple of interesting e-mails and frequently share these e-mails with several friends.

        All the best,
        – Lee
        .

      • Steve,

        Are you going to go see Star Trek Into the Darkness? If so what is your take on the previews? Yes it is going to be a good or no it doesn’t look that good? Mainly just curious! ;)

  11. Jan says:

    Remember the A-team anyone? There you can shoot/being shot at all you like and no one ever gets hurt ;-)

  12. I have a tremendously hard time watching anything with the Disney for,the very reasons you cite above. Rarely is,there any honesty to be found.

  13. Prabal Shah says:

    Great review. I noticed another significant flaw. I understand the alteration made Ms. Potts survive the plunge as everyone expected her to but how she she suddenly become so athletic that she was able to perform the ninja/acrobatic take down of the IronMan armor at the end. It makes IronMan seem like he’s made out of cardboard.

  14. Rick says:

    You missed the idea, it’s not scifi, it’s superheroes! Recall in avengers they were fighting with gods?
    If anything would be disbelieved it would be the impossibly morphing suits!

  15. heirhound says:

    I think it’s a fine line – most movies have unbelievable stunts and acts in them these days but would we go and watch them if they only had mundane and ‘normal’ every day action? I agree though that there is a point where action is so unbelievable it detracts from the plot and the movie.

  16. Daniel Smith says:

    I loved the first, but rather hated the second until the final fight scene began. Having a movie include an epic battle for basically the entire third act was a breath of fresh air. So sorry to hear the third is more in line with the second than the first.

  17. The Real Nirv says:

    Hi Steve

    We all have our hobbies and I know sic-fi is certainly one of yours. I am not going to tell you what to do but I wish the great mind you have would engage in the more pressing topics of the day. I suppose it is all a matter of the point of view. In any case, I’ve not watched this movie, even though I am a sci-fi movie fan, I have always preferred the more serious sci-fi, the more believable, more ‘real’. I feel kind of awkward in that I appear to be telling you what you should think is valuable for your readership but I hope the reply field is for just this sort of thing. Can I offer you a recommendation? Jaron Lanier has a new book out, “Who owns the Future”. I’ve not read it yet but the reviews are incredible. I would love to get your take on it, if his work is of interest to you. Respectfully yours.

  18. Lynn says:

    I haven’t seen Iron Man, and sounds like I’m glad I haven’t. I did go see Oblivion yesterday and found it confusing and full of plot holes. I had to come home and check out the Web to understand what I just saw. Steve you’re usually spot on with your Sci-Fi book reviews, guess we can agree to disagree on Oblivion. See the following link for plot holes in Oblivion (spoiler alert) http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/opinions/9-big-questions-left-unanswered-by-oblivion.php

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  20. Wiley Coyote says:

    I agree with your comments. There is no way the Road Runner could ever recover from my ploys.

  21. wetnap says:

    I agree, there was no tension, powers arbitrary, lazy insertion of a hoard of drone robot suits galore at the end, it just was a poorly thought out film. I didn’t care for the plight because nothing seemed to really matter.

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