Now for something completely different! I want to recommend Iron Man 3, especially for my writer friends. I know, girls, it’s a guy flick. A lot of us aren’t into the Marvel movies. Explosions, testosterone drenched egos, people shooting each other, and the good guys are going to win anyway, right? What’s the point?
It’s a study not only in character change, but also ratcheting up tension. There were new writers for this script, and they understand story craft. They get that the characters have to be flawed, but they can’t be too flawed. They have to feel real to us. This is the first Iron Man movie that I actually wanted to hang out with Tony and Pepper*. Not only were the characters much more believable, they didn’t cut them any slack. Things just kept getting worse and worse. Not that I couldn’t see how they were going to get around the apparent death of a main character. They weren’t that subtle, but they made up for it by telling us the whole story instead of chopping it off at the end of the action like so many guy flicks do.
And the villain! I can’t even tell you about the villain without spoiling it. All I can say is they gave him the right amount of skeeve without giving him away immediately. He just barely edged ahead of Ivan Vanko (played by Mickey Rourke), who was great, but lacked the creepiness of Mandarin.
Unfortunately, we were about half-way through the movie before I remembered that I should be looking for story components. It drew me in that quickly, and it wasn’t until one of the characters was running across a scaffold hanging over a fire that I realized what they were doing. That’s how it is with writers, right? There comes a point where you can’t just watch a movie or read a book!
One side note: If you’re new to Marvel movies, don’t leave until the credits are over. Yes, I know your bladder is about to burst, but trust me because they have a little vignette after the credits roll that’s worth your time. The only movie that let me down was The Avengers. That one was just cheesy. All the others you’ll want to watch.
*Who the heck picked the name for Pepper Potts? Honestly. She deserves so much better, especially since she has to put up with Tony.