Finally, a superhero that’s actually human (or, I ‘loved Iron Man 3’)

Posted: May 6, 2013 in Movies
Tags: , , , , ,

Iron Man 3 PosterThis is a spoiler free review. It’s not even a review, per se, but my thoughts about why I loved what they did with Tony’s character in Iron Man 3.

Because, you see, they made him human.

Okay, yes. He was already human. But that’s kind of not the point. He acted human, and I think that’s something a lot of superhero movies forget to take into consideration.

There are a lot of superheros out there that aren’t fully human, not like you or me at least. Superman. Spider-Man. The Hulk. Thor. Any of the X-Men. The Fantastic Four. And, of course, a lot of their opponents — Magneto, Venom, Loki, Thanos, etc. etc.

There are fewer superheroes that can be called human. Batman is obviously a huge one. Tony Stark is too.

I think the recent Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan did a great job of humanizing Bruce Wayne. Some of it was still a little out there, but you know what? It’s a superhero movie. It’s supposed to be.

But if you take a look at some of these other characters – the ones that are more human than, say, Superman – they sort of welcome their new powers with open arms, don’t they? Peter Parker decided to sew his own suit and run around catching bad guys. Someone like Rogue obviously struggled with discovering her power, but instead of being driven mad, she struck out on her own to try and survive away from the civilization that she knew would judge and persecute her.

Me? I’d probably go crazy if I realized I could shoot freaking spider webs out of my hands or suck the life force out of my boyfriend.

Not all superhero movies have the time to explore this theme, and that’s fine. I’m not complaining. I love these movies. But it’s nice to see a movie go down that road, make it a part of the storyline, and not have it detract from the awesomeness of the film.

So. Iron Man 3.

Tony Stark Iron Man 3

I loved it. I thought it had a little bit of everything – action, humor, emotion, sincerity, and a lot of Tony Stark. (Because you just can’t go wrong with Tony Stark.) And that’s about as much as I’ll say about the actual movie – just because I want to talk about something else in particular. If you want a real (spoiler-free) review, check out my friend’s over on Gamerscene or Mr. Sunday Movies (for a video review – also spoiler free). If you want a spoiler-heavy place to discuss the movie with fans, check out Hypable.

The absolute best thing about this movie is the way they portrayed Tony. He’s out of his suit quite a bit. He has to make due without his fancy gadgets at some point, and it makes him vulnerable. It also makes him scared.

Tony has to deal with anxiety attacks in this film. And after what happened in New York City in The Avengers, it should come as no surprise. But it was surprising, because Tony’s always been cool. He’s always been calm and cocky. And so many other superheroes face down the supernatural and keep going on with their lives. Captain America is a great example of this. Sure, he’s sort of super human, but he’s still very much a man of the ’40s. And yet he faced the Red Skull, became a capsicle for 70 years, and woke up to a completely new world in which there’s Norse gods and giant green men and aliens coming out of a wormhole in the sky?

It’s actually a wonder he didn’t just jump back in the ocean.

Tony dealt with it while it was happening. It’s not like he really had a choice. But once he got home? Once the adrenaline receded and he could relax? He was a changed person. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t stop building Iron Man suits. He couldn’t function in society. He had anxiety for the first time in his life, and – in my opinion – that made him an even better character.

It’s always been hard to relate to Tony. He was never really a true underdog, was he? He always had the money and the cars and the gadgets and the girls. You obviously feel sorry for him, and you like him, and you root for him, but he doesn’t exactly represent the masses, does he? Someone like Cap will always have more of an underdog origin story.

But in Iron Man 3Tony finally becomes a pleb. He’s finally one of us. He’s scared and vulnerable and he doesn’t have his suit to protect him every step of the way. He’s desperate, and I think that’s the first time he’s felt that way since he had to find a more permanent (and convenient) way to stay alive than hooking up a car battery to his heart. And even that didn’t last long. He went on living life in mostly the same way.

Iron Man 3 SnowUntil New York happened.

Now he’s different. He’s paranoid and he’s angry and he’s so, so scared. This is how a normal human being would react to everything Tony’s gone through, and it’s finally made Tony accessible to the rest of us.

Who knows if there’s going to be an Iron Man 4. Who knows where Tony is going to go from here after everything that’s happened in this movie, but whatever does happen, I hope he stays this way. I love the old Tony, but I love this one too, and the writers showed us that they can balance hilarious one-liners with heartfelt emotion.

If we get more of that in a sequel, I say bring it on.

Have you watched Iron Man 3 yet? What did you think? Do you like the changes that Tony went through, or do you prefer the old Tony? (Note that the comments may contain spoilers!)

  1. Tony Stark is probably my favorite of all the superheroes, although he’s human. I kind of saw that vulnerability from the beginning. I always felt like he was hiding behind the “Stark snark” (I just made that up, isn’t it cute, LOL). To find that he’s even MORE vulnerable in this movie just makes it more intriguing to me. Robert Downey, Jr. was never anyone I really cared much for, but he nailed Iron Man. Suddenly, he was one of my favorite actors, just because of these movies. I can’t WAIT to see this latest movie.

    • Karen Rought says:

      I think you’re right in that he did hide behind that snark. But at the same time, he was always dripping with confidence. He successfully hid all his worries away – until this movie. That’s when the anxiety really took over and you see Tony in a whole new light.

      RDJ wasn’t really in my radar before Iron Man and Sherlock, but I think he’s brilliant. Certainly one of my favorite actors now.

      I hope you love the film!

  2. ddog13 says:

    I agree with your point about him being human. That’s why I liked Iron Man, mainly. He was himself, a man with a big responsibility. You see that he has to choose between Pepper or his suits. Thanks for the link as well. 🙂

  3. Debra Kristi says:

    I love Iron Man. I am still undecided on how I feel about this movie. I loved Tony and how they really dug into his character. I don’t know, I just felt it went a little over the top for me. Maybe this is one of those movies I’ll like better the second time around. I felt this way about the Matrix and ended up LOVING it when I watched it the second time. It needed to sink it. Maybe I’m strange like that.

    • Karen Rought says:

      It WAS a little over the top. Closer to the supernatural than the scientific that this franchise is known for.

      And I’ve definitely had to watch some movies twice before I could figure out how I felt about them.

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