Chit chat is a dialogue between two or more of our contributors. It’s done online 99% of the time but you can imagine us discussing it over coffee. Or vodka, depending on the subject material.
Anika: Today we’re talking Iron Man 3. This conversation contains MANY SPOILERS for the film and franchise.
First, did you like it? How much? What grade might you give it?
Ali: I hate the grading system because… I just do. I always make up arbitraty numbers or letters. Like, I give Iron Man 3 a banana because it’s really good but it’s not my most favorite fruit.
Sara: I really, really enjoyed this movie. It exceeded my expectations and I spent such a long time after the movie ended remembering parts that made me happy or gasp out loud or really appreciate the genre that this movie is a part of. Iron Man was the first to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe and RDJ has shouldered a lot of weight since the beginning. He’s risen to the occasion and with Iron Man 3, he gave more depth to a Tony we all know well from the comics. I guess I give it an A- because I loved it, but there were weaknesses. And I am totally not as clever as Ali, forever sad about it.
Ali: Bananas aside, I agree with Sara. This installment gave Tony a LOT of depth. And I liked it for that.
Tony has a special room to display his issues.
Anika: I have to agree, this Tony Stark was my favourite Tony Stark other than the one that exists in my head … because he basically is the one that exists in my head. In every previous encounter, including Avengers, Pepper has been my favourite but in this one it was Tony. And it has a lot, if not everything, to do with his anxiety (you are not surprised) — what did you think of that arc?
Ali: I LOVED the panic attacks.
Sara: Tony was on top of the world at the beginning of the Avengers. He had the girl, the renewable energy source, the Iron Man suit, and a arc reactor that wasn’t turning his insides into sludge. He had nowhere to go but down. I really enjoyed his interactions with reality via the panic attacks.
Anika: Do you think that plotline reached a satisfactory conclusion?
Sara: Um, no. But I don’t think it was supposed to. I think that is best left up to Avengers 2, where Tony is going to have to make the concious decision to join up with the people that put him in the position of being lost in space. (I know nothing for sure, this is my guesstimation about what will happen in that movie)
Ali: I mean, it’s a bit tidy at the end because it’s a movie and it has to be. But I like that he’s having a panic attack on his way to fighting the bad guys. And I like that they show him learning to pull himself out of it.
Anika: I agree with both these points. (1) It has to be tied up for the movie but (2) the MCU is an ongoing drama . . . Just like the comic books it’s based on! Imagine that!
Ali: I like that while he’s having he first attack, he refuses to believe that’s what’s happening to him. I love Tony for his confidence and his brashness–he permantently has that youthful “I’m invincibleness”. And in this movie, he’s learning that that’s SO not the case anymore. It’s a very basic and very real lesson of growing up. And that’s really what Tony starts to do in this movie.
Anika: Which is interesting because it’s what he thought he was doing in the first movie but “coming of age” is a long journey.
Ali: It’s like Iron Man is “look at me being responsible and shit! I AM AN ADULT”, Iron Man 2 is “I AM AN ADULT YOU GUYS! I DRINK AND BLOW THINGS UP” and Avengers is “fine, I will work with you because I AM A GROWN UP NOW.” and then Iron Man 3 is “holy shit I’m an adult… this sucks.”
Sara: Yes. This movie was Tony in his late twenties.
Ali: Which I love because he should be well beyond that at this point!
Sara: I feel like Tony was in his “college years” for most of his life.
Anika: That’s what happens when you live without boundaries. Which is a great segue into Tony’s boundaries: Pepper and Rhodey. I want to start with Rhodey because I cannot say enough great things about him.
Ali: I love Rhodey. And I love Don Cheadle. But it’s like when Jim Henson passed away and the Muppets all sounded wrong.
Anika: I sort of felt that way in 2, but not here. Here he owned it.
Sara: What? Why?! I vastly prefer Don Cheadle to Terrence Howard!
Ali: I keep expecting Terrance Howard and Don Cheadle seems to be doig a psuedo impersonation of Howard and it’s weird to me.
Sara: I think Don Cheadle really pulled off the wry and dry comedy that is needed for the role of Rhodey. And the scene with Rhodey and Tony in the resteraunt was everything I ever wanted for a post-Avengers Tony.
Ali: That restuarant scene was perfect.
Anika: I don’t have a preference for Howard or Cheadle — I wasn’t really invested in the character in the first two films. Only in his relationship to Tony. But in this film, well, Rhodey Rox!
Sara: I love how, like Cap, his patriotism and some what old school brand of heroism comes off as sincere and admirable, rather than douchey and two dimensional.
Sara: He’s a perfect foil for the flashy and grandstanding rebel that is Tony and it’s why he works so well in this movie. This narrative was about Tony falling to pieces and needing something to hold onto. Rhodey (and Pepper) is that stability. He is steadfast and true and so very necessary to Tony’s development.
Anika: Now Pepper.
Ali: PEPPER FREAKING POTTS
Sara: Bless GP, that woman is flaw-free.
Ali: At the end? With the fire ninja stuff? She’s just the best ever.
Sara: My precious, kickass Pepperpot.
Anika: Y’all know I love Pepper. Pepper has been my girl since the first movie. But…
Ali: I love how at the start of the movie Tony’s all “I have to protect you because I can’t lose you.” And Pepper’s freaking Pepper. She’s capable and can take care of herself AND Tony. And I love, love, LOVE that they let her save him, in a very physical way, not once but TWICE.
Sara: “Got you.” I think that broke me so many times.
Ali: She is the very opposite of a damsel in distress.
Anika: But but but…. she was already. She was that in the first movie. In both the first and second films she literally runs INTO distress to save the day. Everybody loves kickass fire ninja hardcore Pepper and I’m over here all SHE WAS ALREADY PERFECT.
Sara: That’s the thing. Whether she’s in 4 inch Louboutins or overheating in spandex and sports bras, Pepper has always been HBIC. Because, so unlike Tony, she knows that her emotions (her worries, her grasp of reality) are not something to be avoided or buried. They are there to make you strong and that’s why she’s always been a HBIC and she’s always been Tony’s rock, even while she is tearing up or teetoring over the edge of some building. Pepper Potts is a woman that won’t let anything stop her from doing what needs to be done.
Ali: She was and she did. But I think with the other movies, it’s not as apparent to Tony.
Anika: I disagree, in the first she’s the one he counts on and in the second he gives her his company.
Ali: Like she’s saving the day and putting herself in danger, but she’s helping Tony. In this movie, she’s saving Tony.
Sara: Physically, maybe. But I think Pepper is a huge reason why Tony hasn’t expired in a pool of his own vomit. Or why he got up in the morning and did real people things. Pepper has been saving Tony ever since he met her.
Anika: I do love the ‘Got you’ scene but I didn’t love the end as much. “That was really violent” was maybe my favourite line reading in the whole movie but it WAS really violent which felt kinda off.
Sara: It was terrifying.
Anika: Though it may be all tied up in my general dislike of Killian as a villain. For me, the scene plays better in the rewrite in my head…
Ali: Did anyone notice his dragon tattoos? I was totally distracted by them.
Anika: Yeah, they popped out at the end there. I guess because he’s the real Mandarin??
Sara: Ooooooh, I didn’t get that from before.
This is the best image of the tattoos I could find. To make up for it Caroline sent me Guy Pearce unbuttoned with tiger cubs.
Ali: Like, were they there the whole time? Why don’t they blend in with the general fireness of his skin? Do you think he got them when he was still all pimply? Or did he get them because he got all bad ass?
Sara: I’d guess the latter.
Ali: I think he got them right after the roof-top incident. “I’ll show you Tony Stark! Look at my bad-ass dragons!”
Anika: Ahahaha, that is my headcanon now.
Anika: So, how strong did you find the villains? Killian, Maya, “Mandarin”?
Ali: I loved the twist with the Mandarin. I thought it was brilliant. Well, I thought Ben Kingsley as Trevor was brilliant.
Anika: I started to suspect something when they were discussing “the Master” but I really enjoyed that, yes.
Sara: This is just the most brillant of analyses and everyone needs to read this at some point. It says anything I want to say about it.
Ali: I was kinda bummed Maya ended up being Team Bad Guy.
Anika: That’s in my rewrite-the-ending too! There is no reason for her to be dead. And she cared about Tony AND Pepper. I wanted and expected her to come back for the final battle.
Ali: I mean, she wasn’t a bad guy-bad guy. And I can see how she ended up there. But still. I had a sad. I think her getting killed goes back to the “really violent” thing. Killian is REALLY violent. Just insanely so. So I guess that went into establishing that?
Anika: I didn’t get Killian. Or I wanted him to be better I guess. I think the drama was that even Killian 2.0 was not a good enough foil for Tony Stark… But I wish that was more explicit or they played with it more or Tony realized it?
Sara: Charisma is a poor substitute for genius and that is what Killian tried to pull over on everyone.
Ali: I’m kind of glad he wasn’t that great a foil. Because I think we got to see and appreciate more of Tony’s struggle with Tony. I think if they developed Killian and Mandarin more it would have competed too much.
Anika: I don’t think I want more development, I just thought the themes that I was drawn to were too vague? So I don’t know if they were intentional? Which usually doesn’t bother me, but it does here.
Sara: I agree. I kept waiting for a bigger plot or bigger bad, I guess. As it was, I never understood what Killian was getting at.
Anika: Yeah, what was he even trying to do?
Ali: He was evil and trying to take over the world, duh.
No one can grasp my evil plan.
Anika: I must assume the VP plot is on the cutting room floor somewhere because it was super random. Also, unrelated, why did this movie come out in May and not for Christmas?
Sara: To sell the DVD for Christmas?
Ali: Ha! I was thinking the same thing – with all the holiday stuff.
Sara: Yeah, Aldrich even kind of rhymes with the Grinch. If I were more clever, I would rewrite the song with appropriate and funny lyrics. But, alas.
Ali: Look, every bad guy can’t be Loki.
Anika: Hey, I’d settle for Justin Hammer.
Sara: Marvel villians aren’t good enough for me.
Anika: There are two more supporting characters to discuss, Happy and Harley. Aside: Everyone in this movie has a crazy name.
From the junior novelization.
Sara: It’s hilarious to me that with Jon Favereau’s demotion from director also had Happy demoted to even less screentime.
Anika: He had more to do though.
Ali: I was gonna say, Happy actually did stuff in this one!
Anika: He was pretty lovable.
Sara: Happy is always lovable and Tony described him as his best friend. Adorbs and totally insulting to Rhodey. Just what Tony strives in life to do.
Anika: And I liked the kid. I liked that Tony basically treated him like one of his robots, which really is more affection than he affords the average person.
Ali: Ha! He did! The kid took the place of the robot!
Harley is the Tin Dog.
Sara: I loved that comic relief. So needed!
Ali: I love how genius that kid was.
Anika: I liked how normal the town was, too. Like it wasn’t dumbed down or full of freaks just because it was small town Tennessee instead of New York or Malibu. I think the crux of it is I really loved all the details in this movie, but the big picture not as much.
How about we wrap up with favourite moments?
Ali: Pepper and Maya being all serious talking about life and real stuff. I saw it and I was like OMG BECHDEL TEST!
Ali: I was so excited!
Sara: It’s sad how excited we get because it almost never happens.
Ali: I think that’s why I was so upset she ended up being a villain because she had this really great moment with Pepper.
Anika: I am convinced she had a change of heart because of Pepper.
Sara: Her death was just so stupid.
Ali: Joss Whedon TOTES would have killed her.
Sara: Yeah, but in a better way!
Ali: I think Maya was totally honest and real in that conversation. She wasn’t just trying to manipulate Pepper.
Anika: Right! And Pepper surprised her by understanding. And then she sees Killian hurting Pepper and using her… it’s not faith in Tony that changes her mind, it’s Pepper.
Near death experiences change a person.
Anika: Also, I ship it.
Sara: Lol, of course.
Anika: I think the rest of her story was cut too. But she can come back. I will start a petition to put her in an Avengers film.
Sara: Where do I sign?
Anika: Other favourite moments:
Ali: Ummmmmmm……giant bunny?
Sara: Barrel of Monkeys.
Ali: Good one! Puppy dog eyes not working?
Anika: When Tony had empty armor walking around and Pepper did not bat one eyelash. She didn’t even look at it.
Ali: Ooh! Ohh! Trevor and the stinky bathroom!
Sara: I was so distracted by Pepper’s abs and Rhodey’s arms for the entirety of that last scene.
Anika: Tony going back for DUM-E. I could cry.
Ali: SCIENCE BROS and the after-credit scene!!!!
Pepper whacks Killian with the pipe.
Tony: I got nothing.
Pepper engages Killian in a debate… “Why are you DOING this? This isn’t YOU?”
He starts to monologue about his cray idea that anonymity is power and he can be anything and anyone even Tony Stark!
Pepper: You’re nothing like Tony Stark. You chose to be nothing.
Tony: Come on, Pep, he’s not worth our time.
Killian goes in for the kill on retreating Tony and Pepper.
Maya appears and blasts him out of the sky.
Pepper: That was really –
Tony: Hot, yes.
Maya Hansen for Avengers 2!