Iron Man 3 Reviewed

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I spent a good portion of the week in Wisconsin for a family reunion. Much of that time was spent out in the country at my Aunt and Uncle’s house where I had exactly zero internet or phone reception. While scary at first, the tradeoff is amazing scenery including beautiful old barns in various states of dilapidation, checking in on a pair of bald eagles every day, and spending quality time with my amazing family who indulge me when I ask them to participate in “May the Fourth be with you” and “Revenge of the Fifth” (or Sixth, apparently someone decided to change it. Whatever, who cares) photo sessions. I even baked. Yes, I BAKED. Shocking, I know, considering my history with baking. My Grandma, Aunt Johnna, Mama Jedi, and I spent a good chunk of Monday baking sandbakkels, a traditional Norwegian cookie that tastes kind of like shortbread and is labor intensive enough to only be fun when doing it with a group of female relatives.

We also decided to surprise my cousin Paul by taking him to see Iron Man 3 in 3D while I was there. He was pretty stoked.

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*Spoiler alert: I try not to but I probably do. You’ve been warned. Also, I usually go way into the comic books for my reviews but this will be quick and dirty because I’m playing catch up after my trip.

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The basic plot of the movie is that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) rang in the year 2000 in Switzerland with a sexy super botanist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). While there he runs into Yinson (Shaun Toub aka the dude who builds the electromagnet precursor to the arc reactor way back in that cave in Afghanistan), and a gimpyy-looking guy in desperate need of a shower who introduces himself as Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) the founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics, a think tank for smart, sadistic people. Stark blows off Killian, just like he does everyone who doesn’t have a nice rack and Killian looks very disappointed about it. Flash forward to present day and Tony’s having post-New York PTSD issues. This is complicated by the fact that a mysterious villain called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is setting off inexplicable bombs. When Tony double dog dares him, The Mandarin accepts and the shit hits the fan. There’s a kid named after a motorcycle, some day-glo baddie henchmen, and not everyone is what they seem. Dun-dun-dun!

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FYI, this movie is based on a 2005-2006 Iron Man comic book series called “Extremis” in which Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian are scientists trying to (surprise!) recreate the super-soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. There are a few similarities between the book and the movie but, for the most part, it’s very different. Killian’s role, for example, is greatly expanded for the film. Iron Man and Iron Man 2 also took cues from this particular story arc.

The Pros:

The trademark humor and action are intact. Tony has some hilarious zingers, even in the midst of his panic attacks. The part near the beginning when he’s trying on the new Mark 42 suit and his scenes with Harley the kid (Ty Simpkins) are particularly notable. Some might think that the kid being there is the franchise jumping the shark but I really enjoyed their interaction.

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Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) finally gets a chance to be badass. Twice.

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Happy (Jon Favreau) gets a promotion that he takes very, very seriously. Note to self: don’t ever forget your badge. He’s smarter than he appears and Favreau does a good job getting that across.

War Machine aka Iron Patriot. Rhodie (Don Cheadle) has some hilarious moments in which he’s led on a wild goose chase to find the Mandarin. I kind of recognized the girl who took off the burqa. She looked an awful lot like Leslie Bibb but I can’t confirm that it was her without seeing it again. If it is her, then she’s uncredited. Anyone know?

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Stan Lee as a beauty pageant judge. ‘Nuff said.

The part where the big bad wolf blows the house down was super exciting. I actually found myself holding my breath at parts. The piano was a nice touch.

Gary the cameraman (Adam Pally) – “I have to go, something magical is happening!”

Tony fighting with just his left arm and right boot armor and the guy who surrenders saying “Honestly, I hate working here, they are so weird.”

Barrel of monkeys. It warmed the cockles of my heart.

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The ending credits were awesome and make sure you sit through them to the end. You will not be disappointed by the scene that takes place after the ending credits. I promise.

The Cons:

What the frak did they do to the Mandarin?!? Granted, it’s been a while since I read any Iron Man comic books that involved the Mandarin, but I remember him being a crazy evil genius with mad kung fu skills and 10 super awesome magic rings. I get the whole bait and switch thing but holy crap, they royally screwed up an epic supervillain. They’ve been building it up since 2008 when the terror cell in Afghanistan announced they were called the “Ten Rings.” Then we got word that he was being played by the always fantastic Ben Kingsley, and then they threw in some badass looking posters and got us all hot and bothered. But what do we really get? A farting wimp and a crazy white boy with a dragon tattoo?!? Don’t get me wrong; I had a good couple of laughs during the Trevor Slattery scenes but OMFG WHY?!?? Opportunity wasted Hollywood dudes.

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Why do his suits keep breaking off in pieces every time he gets hit or trips on a step? Tony’s gone through three movies in suits that go through hell and back and never fall off but he goes through about 15 of them in the big battle scene alone. It was funny at times but completely atypical.

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The Maya Hansen character is beyond predictable. That being said, I liked her. I like strong, intelligent, badass women. She redeems herself, albeit briefly, in the end.

Miguel Ferrer is fantastic and he was sorely underused as Vice President Rodriguez. President Ellis (William Sadler) got some decent action.

Iron suits make for pretty fireworks, but was that really necessary? I mean, really?

The ending seemed final even though the powers that be keep insisting that it’s not. The arc reactor is gone (which I don’t remember ever happening in the comics but, as I mentioned before, it’s been forever since I read most of them and I haven’t read them all). I’m assuming that RDJr will at least be back for another Avengers film and they specifically state in the ending credits that “Tony Stark will return” – they just don’t say whether or not he’ll be played by RDJr. I pity the next actor who takes on that role because Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark.

A quick note about the 3D…I didn’t even notice it really. Which is a good thing since it was post-production 3D and in the past that would have been glaringly obvious. This 3D didn’t pop out at me like it did in Avatar but it wasn’t a distraction either.

In short, I liked it better than Iron Man 2 but not nearly as much as Iron Man.

3.5 out of 5 Sci-Fives!

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One last note: folks have been asking me to put out a calendar for the last couple of years and I finally got around to doing it. It’s really an awesome calendar. It’s got every nerdy holiday you can imagine, plus a super handy convention calendar, and some never-before-seen pictures that will never, ever be seen anywhere else. I know it’s May but it’s worth it to get the 2013 calendar. Besides, if I don’t sell these, then there probably won’t be one next year so, ya know…buy one :) Since it’s May, they’re super discounted (I promise you I’m not making a fortune off of them) and the price includes taxes and shipping within the US (if you live elsewhere email me at princesstrek@hotmail.com). AND I’ll sign it if you want.

Long Beach Comic Con wrap-up 2012

I love Long Beach Comic Con because it’s still small enough that comic books are the main focus. San Diego Comic Con is great, with it’s giant movie and TV show panels but it’s nice to be able to get back to the roots of what comic cons started as…a place to nerd out over your favorite artists and find out what’s next in the genre of, uh, comic books. Plus I got press passes again this year which totally rocks my socks.

My brother was just as in to X-Men as I was when we were kids. He even stole my Series II trading cards (I still haven’t gotten them back…ahem) but he’s never been to a Comic Book Convention. Neither has my nephew, Zeke (yes, that’s a boy, don’t let his voluptuous locks fool you). So I thought LBCC would be a nice starter convention for them.

It was a huge learning experience for me as well. For example, I now know that if I want to sit in on some panels, bringing a 4-year-old is probably not the best idea.

Case in point.

But that’s okay. I loved taking him around and he was totally blown away by all the “supers” (or “shoopers” in 4-year-old speech). He even convinced his dad to whip out his credit card and buy him a Green Lantern action figure. Of course, then we ran into Superman AND Green Lantern so Zeke needed a picture with them.

I’m pretty sure he had a nerdgasm over the sheer volume of action figures surrounding him in every direction.

We tested Zeke’s superhero knowledge often. It’s become apparent that our entire family is on a mission to make sure this child is a geeky as humanly possible.

If you follow the facebook page, you probably saw my announcement that I managed to convince my brother and sister-in-law to give Doctor Who a try. I’m proud to say that they are officially obsessed.

There was an artist there named Matt Stevens who creates and makes metal fan art. It’s basically a crapload of little dots engraved in metal. The pictures don’t do them justice, they are really quite stunning.

If I was a wealthy woman I would have bought the whole lot because they all went together in big montages and he had them for most of my favorite TV shows. Since I am not a wealthy woman, I settled on a small one of the 10th Doctor in all of his sheepishly adorkable glory and a small one of Wash in the midst of a sudden but inevitable betrayal.

We just happened to walk by Jesse Blaze Snider‘s booth while Zeke was being fussy and he was sweet enough to give The Zekester a free Toy Story comic that he’d written. We ended up chatting with him for a few minutes. He’s got a couple of projects coming up, including one about heavy metal bands featuring some of our favorite Asgardians that I’ll be keeping an eye out for.

Yes, we started pinning Zeke’s bangs back with a bobby pin. His mother refuses to cut his hair.

We saw a couple of celebs including Jason Faunt aka Wes Collins aka Red Time Force Power Ranger.

And a personal favorite of mine, Lance Henriksen. Lance has many, many, many amazing credits to his name but he is best know to the masses as Bishop from the Alien franchise. Lance was extremely nice. He kept calling Zeke “she” and was mortified when I gently informed him that I was holding my nephew, not my niece. Zeke seemed to get a kick out of that 😉

They had a whole Star Wars section.

Including a game where you could shoot various Troopers of the Clone and Storm variety using a vast array of Nerf weaponry.

They had a Jawa hanging out with them but he got the hell out of Tosche just before the shooting started.

Around the corner was a laser tag obstacle course. I can only imagine how ridiculous this looked to my brother (he’s a Marine). I should ask him.

Then this happened.

Oh, Leatherface…

On to costumes!

I don’t know if it’s because I went on Sunday or if there were just fewer cosplayers this year, but the costumed character selection was a bit limited. But here’s the best of the best of what I saw.

Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.

The Joker from The Dark Knight.

Rick and Daryl from The Walking Dead.

A pair of sexy lady Punisher‘s. I really wanted a picture of Zeke standing between them but he didn’t want to get his picture taken unless me or my brother was holding him. Of course, once I picked him up he was totally stoked to be next to such hotties.

I felt a happy disturbance in the Schwartz when I saw this guy with his singing and dancing Chestburster from Spaceballs.

The 11th Doctor. He was facing away from me and I quietly said “Doctor?” and he immediately turned around like he responds to that name all the time. We also crossed paths with a pretty excellent 4th Doctor as we were walking in. Wish I’d gotten a picture of him but alas.

Keeping with the sci-fi, we ran into this guy pulling a CMDR William Riker.

Zeke was a little confused by this Jedi. Either that or he was super jealous of his epic lightsaber.

This is not the child you’re looking for. Move along.

Barbie Fett?

But the winner of the “Best Comic Con Costume Ever Award” goes to this chick. Yes, that’s a chick.

That’s it for costumes. Here’s a look at the fun stuff I accumulated. Iron Man fingerless gloves hand-crocheted by Bobbie Bomber and sold by Geeky Mamas.  A pink-skeleton-Sailer Jack-with bomb t-shirt that was on sale. My previously mentioned metal art. And a stuffed Thor (not included in the picture is the pretty awesome Thor print that came with the stuffed godlet).

Every convention I go to I seek out my favorite nerdy t-shirt. This time it was won by this one. Hands down.

And on that note, I hope y’all have a Happy Thor’s Day!