Entertainment Magazine

Nitpicking Iron Man 3 – 5 More Things That Bothered Us

Posted on the 29 May 2013 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

Iron Man 3 is now the fifth highest-grossing film of all time.  Huzzah!  Let’s celebrate this accomplishment with some more mockery.

I like Iron Man 3.  A lot.  However, it is not without its flaws, as I argued in my review.  As a result, it does lend itself rather generously to the new Olympic sport of internet writers nitpicking big budget action movies.  For example, [Run for your life right now if you want to avoid any spoilers!] that last minute voice-over montage which cures Pepper of her extremis problem and Tony of his long-standing “holy crap!  Do you realize how close that shrapnel is to your heart?” problem is way too easy and out-of-nowhere.  Plus, Rebecca Hall’s character is regrettably undercooked and ill-served by a ratings-phobic tame death.  I detailed all of those and more in my article about the 8 things that bothered us about Iron Man 3.

However, as it turns out there are a couple of even more nitpick-y things I missed, and it took fellow WeMinoredInFilm writer Julianne Ramsey to point some of them out to me.  I should add the reminder that I actually really like Iron Man 3.  I just can’t resist nitpicking, though.


1) The Christmas Story Kid Sounded Like a Whispering Demon 


How could you mock that kid? He’s adorable…until he whispers in Tony’s ear at which point he sounds like the spawn of Satan.

Iron Man 3 director/co-screenwriter Shane Black was but one of many screenwriters responsible for the notorious 1993 flop Last Action Hero, which did a modern day Purple Rose of Cairo storyline with an annoying kid in for Mia Farrow and Arnold Schwarzenegger in for Jeff Daniels.  Perhaps the experience hardened Black to the prospect of mawkish kid characters in action movies because Iron Man 3 could be sold with a tagline of “You’ll Cry with Laughter as the Little Kids in the Movie Cry for Real After Tony Stark Makes Fun of Them.”  This is more apparent with the Justin Bieber haircut kid in the film’s middle section (more on him in a moment), but it is established very early when Stark greets a kid seeking his autograph with a mocking observation, “I loved you in A Christmas Story.”

Of course, the kid sneak-attack-whispers in Tony’s ear, “How did you get out of the wormhole?” in reference to the events at the end of The Avengers.  This is an important moment as it sets off a panic attack in Tony, and establishes the PTDS-like symptoms Tony will display throughout the course of the film in reaction to any reference to the The Avengers (more on that later).  However, because of the way in which we abruptly cut to a skewed-angle close-up of the kid as he whispers his line and the manner in which all ambient noise is briefly dropped in favor of only focusing upon the dialogue this scene is actually kind of creepy.  It is done to emphasize the line so as to make it clear that to which Tony is reacting, but the end result is a sequence in which one could argue the kid almost sounds as if he is a demon briefly visiting the film from some sort of adjacent horror movie.

2) The Bieber Haircut Kid is From the South, Right?  So, Where’s His Accent? 


I have a name, you know. And it is…Justin Bieber haircut kid. My parents were…very specific. Wait. They gave me a real name after all. It’s Ty Simpkins.

The Justin Bieber haircut kid is living in the Nashville area of Tennessee.  I am informed not just by film and television but also by WeMinoredInFilm writer Julianne, who is originally from Nashville, that the people of that town tend to speak with at least a southern drawl.  In fact, Travel & Leisure recently ranked Nashville has having the 4th most charming accent in America. The Justin Bieber kid?  No discernible trace of an accent.  Granted, we don’t know his story – actually, we ultimately know rather little about him other than his propensity for wining about his absentee father.  So, maybe he has traveled a lot and is not originally from Tennessee.  However, we have no indication that it is the case, ergo he should have some kind of accent.

3) New York, New York…Just Keep Saying It and You’ll Defeat Tony Stark


This better not stir up any feelings in me.

This is not so much a problem with the film as it is our pitch for a funny alternate ending to Iron Man 3: mentions of New York or the wormhole are to Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 as accusations of general cowardice are to Marty McFly in Back to the Future II and III.  Just as Marty consistently responds with a, “Nobody, but nobody calls me…” Tony responds with a panic attack.  However, the Back to the Future films argued this aversion to “what are you?  Chicken?” statements was an Achillee’s Heel for Marty whereas for Tony reacting to forced memories of The Avengers  is a method by which to chart his growth and illustrate his interior monologue.  However, what if the film had made it his Achillee’s Heel?

What if the villain, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), caught wind of this and utilized it strategically throughout the film?  Imagine the comedic possibilities of Tony flying in his Iron Man armor only to be rendered limp and falling helplessly to the ground because Killian yells out at him, “New York, New York, New York” before landing the killshot with a hearty, “WORMHOLE!”  Or maybe when Tony and Killian are facing each other on that bridge at the end after Tony has failed to capture Pepper and Killian offers general bad guy commentary on how he would saved Pepper.  Right as Tony charges at him Killian could have  just yelled, “New York!” forcing Tony to fall to the ground in a panic attack.

Of course, this is only funny if: you ignore our proposing to make key word-induced panic attacks a punch line, and ignore that within the existing film Tony appears to be cured of his panic attacks before he even makes it to “The Mandarin”’s mansion.

4) Still a Dick Move to Put a Lonely, Crippled man on a Roof on New Year’s Eve


Screw you, Tony. This is definitely going to stir up feelings in me, you big jerk!

In the film’s opening flashback scene, Tony senses Killian is about to disrupt his romantic conquest of the not-yet-evil Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall).  So, he sends him to the roof of the building with a promise to meet him up there momentarily, a promise he has no intention of fulfilling. As a general reminder, Tony is doing this to a man whom he knows requires a cane to get around.

Dick move, Tony Stark!

We later learn this moment is the catalyst for practically the entirety of Killian’s evil villain plot.  One can see why Killian was so bitter about Tony Stark, his statements to the contrary notwithstanding.  Of course, Killian does eventually try to kill Tony multiple times, and takes Pepper Potts as his trophy, a trophy which he experiments upon.  So, what Tony did was a definite dick move.  What Killian did, though?  Completely disproportionate response.

The film really attempts to make no apology for Tony’s actions because it doesn’t really need to – the flashback predates Tony’s encounter in the first Iron Man in which he created the suit and became a better person.  So, we already know and accept that he was not so great prior to that.  As such, this is not an error on the film’s part.  However, what he did was still dickish, and we didn’t want that to go unnoticed.

5) Barrel of Monkeys – How Can They Hear Tony Stark in the Air?


What do you mean you can’t hear a word I’m saying?  We’re pretty screwed if you can’t.

At the end of Crank [you can stream the ending via YouTube], Jason Stratham’s character is falling to the ground after having been dropped out of a helicopter.  He has enough time during this descent to call his girlfriend on his cell phone and leave her a “goodbye/”you’re the greatest, baby” message.  Of course, if you’ve ever talked to someone who is walking outside in the wind you’ll know that something as mundane as that makes conversation next to impossible (or at the very least incredibly annoying).  How on Earth could someone be able to hear anything you are saying if you are talking while falling through the air from a great distance?  Funny I should say that because Crank 2 jokes that all Stratham’s girlfriend heard on her answering machine was nothing but wind thus meaning his goodbye speech went unheard.

Maybe Iron Man 4 will have a similar joke explaining what it is the people falling from Air Force One actually heard when Tony, through his armor, was speaking to them during his rescue effort.  This is a moment you simply have to go with, but when Tony is saving everyone via his barrel-of-monkeys method we the audience hear his expository dialogue explaining what it is he is attempting.  However, you can’t help but kind of wonder if the people he is saving could actually hear anything he was saying, or simply saw his outstretched hand and reached for it.  It’s not always been entirely clear how well understood anyone is from underneath their armor in the Iron Man films, but I can imagine this might be explained away (outside of “It’s an action movie.  Why are you even asking about this?”) by Tony possibly having something in his mask which amplifies his speech outside the armor thus allowing himself to be easily heard by others.

And with this we might be scraping the bottom of the barrel (see what I did there?) for Iron Man 3 jokes.  However, the prospect of Killian using mentions of New York as a Tony Stark diffusing-bomb has struck as at the site as so funny for so long we had to share it.  If you have anything to add you know the drill – the comments section be your’s to use, abuse, and never call again.

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