4. An Inflamed Pepper Potts Kicks Ass In Iron Man 3
For a superhero film based on a comic book, 2008's Iron Man was refreshingly topical and realistic. It was easy to believe in Robert Downey Jr.'s billionaire playboy and his amazing gizmos, and the evolution of the suit was handled so cleverly that it helped audiences buy into the silliness of the concept. The sequel ruined much of that with too much talking, a really stupid villain with electric whips, and not nearly enough Iron Man action. Some sites have declared Iron Man 3 to be the best film of the summer. I would suggest to them that they need to get out and see more movies. The second sequel improves on the abominable second film by upping the ante on Tony Stark while focusing the action around RDJ's considerable charisma and a sleuthing second act. While IM3 still lacks a lot of Iron Man action, it still contains enough to keep the film rumbling acceptably toward a third act showdown. Oh, that third act! In the third act, we see bad screenwriting (how can some of the Iron Man suit get out of the warehouse, but not all of it?) and some poorly staged and confusing action sequences. The real hero of the finale is not Iron Man, but rather the multiple Iron Man mock-ups remotely piloted by Jarvis. Much of the last half hinges on the silly plot device of Iron Man suit parts that can fly around and assemble themselves onto any human Stark chooses (which is pretty dumb by itself). But the worst part of the finale comes when the Mandarin injects Pepper Potts with the Extremis serum, transforming her into a flaming superhero. The first film used Gwyneth Paltrow's chilly demeanor to its advantage, adding an edge to her scenes with RDJ and creating a believable chemistry. However, Paltrow is not a believable action hero. It is tough enough to handle Paltow's snobbishness when she's doling out elitist life lessons in her misguided magazine GOOP, but watching her save Tony Stark with some terrible action moves (and assisted by some dodgy CG) is just too much to accept. Audiences definitely did not buy tickets to see Paltrow as an action hero, and the final result is laughable, abrupt, and dramatically inert.