Disciple of Thecla
5/23/13 at 12:15 PM 0 Comments

Iron Man 3

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Photo: Sam Howzit - Creative Commons

I'm sure that many fans of the movie have probably watched it by now. I watched the third Iron Man movie on the 9th. And I absolutely enjoyed it. The character of Tony Stark is amazingly realistic in depth and personality. Another thing that makes him really unique and intriguing as a character - Tony Stark is the only superhero who becomes a superhero precisely because he is a repentant sinner.

In my first review of the series, I analyzed the relationship between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. Every analysis (general statement applicable to all things) is based upon the facts available; when new facts appear, the analysis must change accordingly. The relationship between the two characters is not celibate as I had hoped. This is the very first story in which I do not get the specific thing I wanted but I still enjoy the story anyway. And I will talk about what I love in this movie.

In this third movie, the relationship between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts is not celibate as I had hoped. Instead, they appear to be a well-established married couple. There is nothing wrong with that.

"But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned." (1 Corinthians 7:28)

"So then he who gives in marriage does well, but he who does not give in marriage does better." (1 Corinthians 7:38)

And actually, their relationship and the portrayal of Tony Stark puts me in the awkward situation of saying that even though he is not celibate, this movie is the most chaste that the repentant Tony Stark has ever been in the entire series. Stark never once initiates any sexual interest that I have noticed in the movie except for a flashback scene where he was a sinner. So, this movie is the most chaste the audience will ever see him.

Any sex is subtly and lightly implied - never shown - in a way that adults would understand and also should not bother 7-12 year olds. Even so, this movie is rated PG-13, and the rating is suitable and proper. There was one scene with some scantily-clad women. It was a brief scene that bothered me because it seemed so irrelevant to the story and was perhaps the most irrelevant scene in the entire series. Fortunately, it was brief.

A part of what I love about the story and the series is that Tony Stark is the only superhero who becomes a superhero precisely because he is a repentant sinner. In the first movie, he was a sexist egotist who prided himself on the title "Merchant of Death." After a life-changing experience, he realizes the error of his ways and dedicates himself to fighting evil. Tony Stark is the most realistic and complex character I have ever seen in a superhero series; this movie continues the realism as he struggles to cope with his experience in the Avengers film.

Throughout the series, Tony Stark goes from sinner to someone attempting to understand what it means to be a moral and upright person. In the first movie, he started as an egotist. Although the first movie curbed his pride, his ego reemerged in the second movie. By the third movie, he is much more humble. In the first and second movies, he craved all the adoring fans and enjoyed being championed as a superhero. It was all a pride issue - not a pure desire to do good. In the third movie, this pride issue was gone; his attitude toward the fans was more like, "I'm trying to save the world from an evil terrorist; I'm too busy to have a fanbase, so please leave me alone."

Another part I liked about the movie is that the movie kept the level of violent content at pretty much the same level as the second movie. Nothing seemed explicit or overly-graphic; the violent content was a necessary minimum for what the movie required. There was plenty of action-violence, and it felt proper and suitable for what the movie required. I think I might have liked this portrayal better than the second movie... Probably because of Black Widow. Black Widow's battle scene in the second movie seemed too stylized and beautiful. Audiences need to cheer for the heroes to defeat the villains, but they should never cheer at how beautiful the violence is. This movie is better for not having Black Widow who would glorify the violence. Black Widow is completely absent from the movie. Absent! Yay!

Instead of increasing the violence, the movie increased the level of obstacles. Increasing the obstacles is a brilliant way to keep an action movie full of action without resorting to violence. The barrel-of-monkeys scene is one such obstacle, and any further explanation will be a spoiler. Another obstacle is that during the middle of the movie, Tony Stark had to work without his Iron Man suit. This scene also proves that it was his changed heart that made him a superhero. Stark always had his intellect and brains; however, his changed heart compelled him to use his talents for good rather than selfishness. And anyway, depriving him of his Iron Man suit led to more obstacles and different types of action so that nothing would become repetitive within the series.

The third movie begins with a flashback scene where the audience sees Tony Stark as he used to be before becoming Iron Man. Events from his sinful past eventually come back to haunt him and the people he loves. In the third movie, the audience really does see how far Tony Stark has come in the series. Stark learns the consequences of his sins; things that he never imagined. And the plot is a more unique lesson of "do not sin" than I would ever see in a Christian film, more fitting for an action movie.

I think this is a series that Christians should take note of - especially if you are in the entertainment industry - for the very reason that this is a successful series in which the character starts as a sinner and realistically grows and develops to discover what being a hero is all about. Entertainment says a lot about a culture and teaches people about a culture. Entertainment is perhaps one of the most integral parts of a culture that tells us what the morals and values are. Here, we have a superhero who becomes a superhero precisely because he is a repentant sinner. So, I think this is a movie that Christians in the entertainment industry should definitely take note of.

Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin, a role unique for him in more ways that one. Kingsley plays the role rather well; and the plot twisting concerning Mandarin makes me wonder if the character understands the difference between reality and delusion. I have not read the comics, but I did enjoy the movie's portrayal of the Mandarin.

Of course, the comic book and cartoon fans disagree entirely about the portrayal of Mandarin as this gif shows...

But actually, I think the cartoon Mandarin looks a lot like Badamon! Or maybe Suzunagi's dad? What do you think? Are the Mandarin and Badamon actually one and the same? I sense a crossover fanfiction coming!

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