‘Iron Man 3’: Your Guide To The Bad Reviews

Iron Man 3 was hugely popular this weekend, bringing $175 million and crossing $600 million worldwide, meaning it’s already minting money for the Merry Marvel Marching Society. But despite generally positive reviews, there were a few angry critics in the mix.

So, bust out the repulsor ray: We’re going in. Spoilers will ensue although, come on: You’ve already seen it.

Too Many Villains

Let’s start with this one, because apparently movie villains are no longer allowed to have more than, like, two or three henchmen, at least if the bad reviews are to be believed. It’s true there are a lot of villains in this movie: Coldblood, The Mandarin, Aldrich Killian. But it actually avoids the “Too Many Villains” syndrome the reviews are complaining about, because they’re all part of the same organization.

What, it’s unbelievable that a bad guy doesn’t delegate? That he doesn’t believe in plausible deniability? It’s not that there are too many plot threads to follow, either; there’s just one plot thread. Seriously. It’s not a hard plot thread to follow, either; Shane Black didn’t set out to make Ironception. Are you really complaining that he didn’t make the movie stupid enough?

Too Soon!

I live in Boston. In fact, when the lockdown was happening I was about a mile and a half from where police believed they had one of the bombers cornered.

So honestly, it’s a bit offensive that several critics, quite a few of which were nowhere near Boston, complained about bad timing. Oh, your feelings are hurt? You think it’s too soon? Please, tell me more.

There are always going to be people who complain that movies refer to or seem to echo current events, saying it’s “too soon” or they find it personally offensive that real-world tragedy is used for “mere entertainment”. But here especially it’s galling; the critic I linked mentions the Aurora shootings because a dude blows up Graumann’s Chinese. By accident.

Bit of a stretch there, hoss.

There Are Too Many Suits Of Armor!

Oh, for-! Really? Really?! A movie that spends a fair chunk of its running time discussing the theme of whether Tony Stark is a separate man or defined by Iron Man, a theme that the movie literally communicates in the opening with a punch to Tony Stark’s nuts in the first five minutes, a movie that blows them all up in the end, a movie with repeated themes of hollowness and refuge in shells, you think there are too many suits?

Gee, it’s like the movie was trying to make a point or something!

It’s Too Much Like The Batman Movies!

This is, by far, the strangest complaint I’ve seen online.

It’s true there are actually a few surprising similarities, plot-wise. Tony Stark is torn down to build himself back up, which let’s be blunt isn’t a terribly original plotline; Superman II did it. A villain turns out to be a cat’s paw, which is a chestnut as well.

But that’s on paper. Tonally, unless I missed something, this is actually quite a bit more lighthearted. Although we could stand to see more of Batman telling a little kid to sack up.


Apparently we’re no longer supposed to enjoy an action movie because there was another action movie with the same character in it, like how we stopped enjoying Daredevil because there was an Elektra movie.

Wait, bad example.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not perfect by any means: The movie all but tells us Extremis is addictive before just kind of ditching that entire device, for example, and Maya Hansen turning all eeeeeeevil seems a bit forced. There’s also a tonal problem, in the sense that it wants to be grave and serious, and then Shane Black tends to undercut that with a joke. Often a brilliantly funny joke or one that twists audience perceptions, but still, it makes the movie uneven.

So, really, America’s critics, beat it for not being arty enough, and leave the obsessive nitpicking and whining to the nerds. It’s what we’re here for.