Ladies, gentlemen, people who identify as neither of those things, it’s my pleasure to announce that Shelley Kandola’s hiatus has come to an end. Single-Malt movies is back with a vengeance. While you were all out having tea parties and raving about Downton Abbey, she was…well, she was working her ass off at college. But now she’s back, and fiercer than ever. I’ll let Ludacris say the rest.
If anyone knows how to make a comeback from an alcohol-induced hiatus, it’s Robert Downey Jr. He had an Oscar nomination for 1992’s Chaplin, but then ended up in a handful of movies of questionable quality at a time when big production companies didn’t want to hire him. Granted, there were some gems in there like Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Charlie Bartlett, but there were also movies like Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. It wasn’t until he landed Iron Man in 2008 that his career began to sky rocket once again. Congratulations, Robert Downey Jr.; I can drink to that!
Iron Man Mark XLII
- 6 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1 oz. silver tequila
- splash of lime juice
- splash of grenadine
- old fashioned glass
- shot glass
Balance a shot glass in the center of an old fashioned glass. Fill the outer cavity with grapefruit juice and color with grenadine. Pour an ounce of tequila into the center shot glass. Add a splash of lime juice to give the drink a cloudier/glowy look. Inspired by The Drunken Moogle. Enjoy!
Plot: The Mandarin, one of Iron Man’s most well-known enemies, has surfaced, inducing nation-wide terror on the USA. Tony Stark is so hurt by this that he challenges The Mandarin on live television, announcing his home address to the world. As expected, the villain strikes back, shooting down Tony Stark in his own home after a brutal struggle. Somehow, Tony Stark survives and wakes up in snowy Tennessee, because it’s Christmas. After some searching, Tony realizes that there may be a lot more to The Mandarin than he realized.
First, if you’re a Shane Black fan, you’ll find some nice treats in this movie. This is the second project between Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr., the first being Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005. I immediately noticed two similarities between the films: first, a Christmas movie coming out not at all on Christmas. To be honest, this was a little disorienting. Why are they singing Christmas carols? Oh, right, it’s Christmas in this movie. More likable was the narration that framed the movie. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starts out with some serious fourth-wall-breaking as Robert Downey Jr. takes you back in time to some remote event in the past where everything began. Only in this case, Tony Stark is telling Bruce Banner the entire story, who seems to be bored by it. According to a lot of people, this story was a good story worth telling. Almost everyone I know who has seen the movie has liked it. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite share those sentiments, so let’s talk about alcohol before I get into the rest of the review.
It may not have worked out as cleanly, but the point of this drink is to resemble Iron Man’s chest piece. I called it Mark XLII because wow that’s what model he’s up to in this movie. To be honest, the extreme fruitiness isn’t something I’d ever expect to find in a drink associated with someone as manly as Tony Stark, but I guess red alcohols only come in fruit form. That said, this drink has a nice kick. It’s a lot smoother and easier to down than a tequila shot, but the grapefruit, tequila, and lime all make it sharp enough to be interesting. Drinking from a floating shot glass isn’t as awkward as you’d think either.
Unfortunately, there are a handful of things that I simply did not like about this movie, but I can’t explain them to you without giving away major plot points, so, SPOILERS from here on. Let’s talk about the villain. The Mandarin is well-known as one of Iron Man’s biggest foes — his archenemy, in fact. The Mandarin has his power from the Ten Rings, which is alluded to in Iron Man (2008). If this is to be the final installment of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man movies, it would’ve made sense to come full circle and end the films with the Ten Rings terrorist organization again.
Somehow, this was not the case in Iron Man 3. The Mandarin was in fact portrayed in the film, but he was not at all as powerful as he was supposed to be. He wasn’t even connected to the Ten Rings terrorist organization. How is this possible? SPOILER He’s an actor. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) hired Ben Kingsley’s character to pretend to be a world-class terrorist leader (at which he did a pretty fantastic job). I know Shane Black has a thing for twists, but this went a little too far. It also mirrors the “it’s not a terrorist, it’s a crazy rich businessman!” villain twist of the first film.
Our villain instead is Killian, who’s discovered with the help of Maya (Rebecca Hall) a way of strengthening humans that turns them into regenerative fire-breathing bombs. What? Well, in Shane Black’s defense, that’s still one hell of a formidable opponent. So formidable, in fact, that Tony Stark needs to use all 42 of his Iron Man suits (which are bain-powered now, btw) to take out Killian’s army. Despite being a superhero movie, the extreme level of ridiculousness made everything seem a bit too contrived.
Crazy plot twists and Iron Man inconsistencies aside, this has some solid acting. Ben Kinglsey made a very convincing British alcoholic pretending to be a terrorist. His Mandarin character almost commanded a Bane-like sense of respect. Sigh. If only it were real. Guy Pearce is probably the best thing about this movie. He transformed from a neglected nerdy scientist trying to get Stark’s attention at a conference/New Year’s party in 1995 to a suave, intelligent villain. It was very fun having him on screen. Even Tony Stark had some character development, as he ultimately decided to get the surgery to remove the mini arc reactor from his chest. I feel like that’s a good of a sign as any that Robert Downey Jr. is retiring as Iron Man, right? The third film ends as the first does though, with Tony Stark telling us, “I am Iron Man.”
If you’re still looking for a reason to see Iron Man 3, I give you the opening song.