LIH Editorial 05-05-2013: One Cultural Theory About Throwing Up!

5 May

Depending on your constitution; cultural controversy can either make consumption easier on your gastrointestinal organs or it can make what you’ve ingested return to your mouth faster than when it went down.

(Un) precedence, Contradiction, and herculean creative effort and collaboration can account for truly unexpected outcomes in art and commerce.  Here’s how this week’s Ironman 3 opening has been responded to in the press and on websites.

Disney/Marvel Iron Man 3 kicked off the summer movie season with $68.3M domestic gross from 4,253 theatres and what should be $165M-$170M from North America for the weekend. That puts it on a path to the #2 biggest Friday-Saturday-Sunday opening ever (now occupied by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 with $169.2 M). [1]”

Despite glowing consensual Rotten Tomatoes reviews [2] for Shane Black and Co.’s Ironmanone should be aware that Marvel’s soon to be runaway hit still makes many in Hollywood’s fan universe uneasy.  Believe it or not even comic book fans have expressed some reservations about the film.

After receiving less than stellar reviews for Ironman 2, Marvel Entertainment of course reinvested in the franchise due to The Avengers super success which character Tony Stark’s character was an integral part of. 

Though everyone continues to laud Downey Jr.’s performance as the central character, most have been most generous the exuberant narrative of screenwriters Drew Pearce and Shane Black.  You might remember Director Shane Black from his previous contributions to hits like contributions to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (2005), “The Last Boy Scout” (1991), and “Lethal Weapon 2” (1989) [3]. In terms of being prolific, even with a lagging one film per decade reputation. Black has never failed to imbue his projects with the kind of humor action flicks frequently lack.  It’s no surprise many audiences find him and his writing partner successful for much the same reason the director has been impactful in the past.

What’s at stake with this movie, billed in fandom as the first of Marvel’s phase 2 of its new distribution of its film franchises?  Ironman is the companies attempt to reassure fans that the studio is no fluke and as the Avengers popularity suggested Marvel still means entertainment big business.

As much chest thumping as were likely to see, Marvel does not exist in a vacuum. Warner/DC’s latest output the Dark Knight Rises was also a huge ratings winner in last year’s summer entertainment box office ratings wars also.  Though Ironman  already set off real world topical bells for references to real events, by drafting Tony Stark as a weapons developer this film the mandarin as a kind of Osama Bin Laden-esque terrorist significantly upping Stark’s performance requirements far over the previous films.

Though this may only proves that comic book movie fans actually are finely focused cinefiles (and are not just film nerds or groupies) it almost makes us wonder what professional critics are doing in the face of fan allegiance to these movies.  This is an excerpt from a review from Mark Julian at Comic book movie.com.

“…Character issues aside, the film asks you to forgive some pretty big plot holes and never truly gives answers to some of the questions it raises. The science and mechanics of Extremis are incredibly loose, what made some people spontaneously combust and others not? Why are the Extremis soldiers shown to be able to survive explosions and dismemberment in one scene and in the next, a repulsor blast finishes them off for good? And why would A.I.M. simply allow its test subjects to wander around America when there’s a risk of them randomly blowing up? Wouldn’t an outfit like A.I.M. have tighter control over something as incriminating as human experimentation – wouldn’t they outright dispose of them immediately after experimenting or at least detain them? Speaking of A.I.M., what was Aldrich Killian’s actual motivation? He wanted Extremis to improve his own physical condition, then to weaponize and sell it to the highest bidder? Okay, but that seems like it would be pretty easy to do without creating an international figurehead of terrorism that hijacks broadcast signals across the world to spread a message of terror. We’ve had quite a few Marvel films already were the U.S. government is looking to create scientifically enhanced soldiers; seems like they would just give Killian and A.I.M. a fat defense contract, the kind they were giving Tony in the first Iron Man film.

In terms of tone, of course this movie can’t match the spectacle of The Avengers but it should strive to achieve the same caliber of execution. Joss Whedon knew exactly what he wanted to achieve with The Avengers and thus the film we got in theaters WAS the director’s cut. Shane Black reportedly has a 3+-hr long director’s cut, that’s over 50 mins of footage left on the cutting room floor that he feels better explains his story. Another tonal issue is with the “Stark-speak”, the witty, egocentric, monologue-esque rants that prove that Tony Stark is just too-cool and can’t be bothered with all the petty concerns of the average person. Why are all the characters suddenly doing Stark-speak? Ok, Pepper lives with Tony and interacts with him on a regular basis so she’s probably accepted and adapted to Stark’s banter and style of communication. But when did Rhodey pick up that trait – or Killian, Maya, Harley, etc.? Instead of being overwhelmed by Stark they’re giving it right back to him in equal measure, that deflates a pretty exceptional aspect of the Tony Stark persona.“ Read more  

Wow.  One might think some critics might gain more from reading the criticism of entertainment blogs?  But obviously we’re not the first to come to this conclusion.  Rotten Tomatoes.com just opened it’s own Comics Command Center to field news and events deriving from this uniquely successful genre. Click here to view

Regardless of genre, ultimately when thoughtful people get to thinking about Hollywood productions we in the Cinefile world may all be winning.

* This weeks article schedule *

MondayMirror, Mirror by Little Bells

Tuesday--7pm/EST discussion

Wednesday– 4th article in our series “Female Directors Helming Tomorrow’s Feature Films” by Comic Relief

Thursday–7pm/EST discussion

Friday--follow up discussion

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Essential References:

[1] http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/

[2] http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/iron_man_3/

[3] http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000948/

[4] http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/GraphicCity/news/?a=78809

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2 Responses to “LIH Editorial 05-05-2013: One Cultural Theory About Throwing Up!”

  1. Open Book May 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM #

    CR- Given u are our go to guy on all comic book/film fanboy culture. Do u think fanboys would go see a Iron Man 4? Do u think IM3 should be the last one?

  2. Comic Relief May 8, 2013 at 4:29 AM #

    I could be wrong, but I think films are better when they are stand alone events so I don’t think any film deserves a sequel from the start. When I have seen IM3 I will be a better judge of the film’s sequel potential.

    I have read that many associated with the film neither want nor expect a sequel.

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