I won’t frame this post as a movie review. I won’t synopsize the plot or provide a detailed opinion on it as a movie. Instead, I’ll use watching the movie as the launching pad for a rant. Because rants are fun (for the writer). Unloading on a movie that disappoints and especially one that trades on the good reputation of an earlier installment feels like a noble action.
I’ll start out by saying I really enjoyed the original Iron Man movie. Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges and the supporting cast; Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow, provided plenty of entertaining content to this comedy/adventure movie. That movie was fun, exciting and highly entertaining.
Alternatively, Iron Man 3 is none of those things. It’s a complete waste of time. The plot is confusing and essentially meaningless. All of the characters are annoying and uncompelling. Even Downey’s Tony Stark is surprisingly uninteresting and poorly written. He is suffering from anxiety attacks based on his experiences in the Avengers movie that occurred before this film. He has several of them during the movie and they just seem so contrived and pathetic that it feels like really lazy writing. So, by the end of this movie, I’m feeling fairly unhappy with the time I’ve wasted watching this crapfest.
So, this is what you get with these movie franchises. The first one is probably very good. There’s good writing, good acting and an original idea. But two or even three sequels down the road you end up with a crappy director, hack writers and a much less talented supporting cast. And voila, an awful movie.
Now it doesn’t have to be this way. There have been movie series where the quality was more or less maintained. Downey, himself for instance, was in one such. His two Sherlock Holmes films were almost equally interesting and entertaining. But in general, Hollywood has an equation where sequels are a money-making strategy where quality is abandoned after installment one.
So, what’s my point? Well, there isn’t one. Except that I was so annoyed watching this movie that I wanted to carp and moan about my outraged sensibilities. Robert Downey Jr. is an amusing actor who can carry a picture to great effect if you give him a decent plot and some good lines to recite while he mugs for the camera. It would have been entirely possible to allow his character to carry this movie without any expensive supporting cast if they had only invested in an actual story!
And so, the takeaway is “caveat emptor.” Do your homework when it comes to sequels and make sure you don’t pay for a movie that is just a pale shadow of its predecessor. Luckily, I watched this for free on my cable service. But I did waste more than two hours of my, at this point, limited time left on this mortal coil.
And shame on you Robert Downey Jr. You’re better than that. Now go make the third Sherlock Holmes movie. And don’t let them phone it in!