Focus on Tony Stark works when little else does in ‘Iron Man 3’

It's hard to look people in the eye who paid theater prices to watch the 'Iron Man' movies.

It’s hard to look people in the eye who paid theater prices to watch ‘Iron Man 3.’

One of my biggest complaints about the first season of The Blacklist was the hairstyle sported by Lizzy, federal agent and main character of the show.

I know, seems petty. And generally, I have a lack of concern about fashion. When I choose what to wear for the day, it comes down to two questions: 1) “Is it clean?”, and 2) “Have I worn it in the past five days?”. So for me to not only be criticizing a Hollywood fashion choice, but to also be so consistently distracted by it, was unusual and quite annoying. But that entire first season of The Blacklist, I was unable to take Lizzie’s character seriously because anytime guns were fired, I expected to see bullets bounce off her helmet hair. I’ve enjoyed season two quite a bit, and I think part of that is I’m not blinded by Lizzie’s do.

I thought of that as I watched Iron Man 3. When scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) appears asking Tony Stark to join his think tank, I kept expecting to see the a cartoonishly large, empty box in the background sporting the type “Stereotypical Nerdy Science Guy Hair and Glasses Kit by Acme” on the side (“I give it a thumbs up,” Wile E. Coyote). Then when Aldrich shows up again years later, this man who is secretly a global terrorist ends up coming off more as a some douche who really thinks wearing Axe body spray will actually result in large-breasted, smiley woman coming at you in waves like the Uruk-hai attacking Helm’s Deep. Plus, I instantly knew he was, at very least, in league with the Mandarin. You don’t undergo that sort of change unless you’re evil, like “I sing along with Katy Perry’s Fireworks while clubbing baby seals” evil.

That’s the legacy of Iron Man 3, for me: Just too much annoying bullshit. The big reveal, that The Mandarin is an actor, not an actual villain, doesn’t feel all that big. The Iron Man suits all fighting the bad guys in the climactic battle was pretty boring. Not once did I think Pepper was actually dead. And so it goes.

It’s frustrating. Iron Man might be the most fun of any of the Avengers, and when director/co-writer Shane Black focused on the new Tony Stark – still a bit of a self-involved cad, but with some heart and now a nervous condition – that worked. It was the super hero stuff that just wasn’t up to snuff. Disappointing.

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