May 3, 2013, - 4:20 pm

Weekend Box Office: Iron Man 3, Arthur Newman

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing all that great and new at the movies, this weekend:


* “Iron Man 3“: I did not like this movie and found it incredibly boring, especially for something with so much action and such a big budget. The movie was blah and didn’t have a tight script. A lot of it didn’t even make sense (such as how they can remove Tony Stark’s power source in this movie, when in the other “Iron Man” movies it was deemed impossible). It was a yawner with zero plot or story to speak of.

But if you can call it a plot, it’s the fantasy of every Ron Paulistinian/Muslim/9/11 Truther/anti-American conspiracy theorist. . . and it’s absolutely ridiculous. To wit, an evil defense contractor (played by Guy Pearce) wants to get lots of government defense contracts (and take revenge on Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.)). So, he invents a fake terrorist and pays an actor to play “The Mandarin,” who is a Bin Laden-esque character (and is played by Ben Kingsley) and pretend that he is behind the terrorist attacks and explosions around the world that the evil defense contractor is actually perpetrating. The Mandarin makes Bin-Laden-style videos threatening America and Iron Man. Tony Stark has to stop him and then finds out who is really behind the plot. Uh-huh, just like they say on the Arab Street: Bin Laden didn’t do 9/11. It was the evil CIA, Mossad, and defense contractors seeking to gin up biz. By the way, I understand from real comic book fans that The Mandarin is nothing like this and is a real villain in the comic books.

Also, there’s a woman from Tony’s past who is working for the defense contractor. Oh, and the “Not Even Most Beautiful Women in the Room,” Gwyneth Paltrow, makes her annoying re-entrance as Tony Stark’s girlfriend. Who cares? I didn’t.

The movie is long, boring, and a waste of time. Since it’s the first big blockbuster of the summer movie-going season, it doesn’t portend well for the future movie offerings in the next few months. This movie was crap. But I’m sure it’ll make gazillions anyway. There’s no accounting for bad taste in America.

Also, if you’re gonna make a movie about superheroes, which you know will be attended by lots of kids, why put in dirty dialogue, like, “I need to wet my bead [or beet? I couldn’t tell], if ya know what I mean”? That’s uttered by Tony Stark to another character to tell him he’s about to have sex. Uggh. In a superhero movie? Really?

One last thing: Don’t bother wasting your time sitting through the ending credits, which are longer than ever, and seem to include the names of every single person living in India and every single Asian animator and special effects dude. The “stinger” at the end of the movie isn’t that great and not worth it. Just sayin’.

I didn’t like “Iron Man 2” (read my review), but this makes that look like the epitome of awesomeness. The general rule lives on: sequels suck. The first “Iron Man” movie (read my review) is still the best one by far. This movie is standard “Suckerville 101 for the Masses.” Skip it, and you miss nothing.

I love superhero movies. But not this. Let the Iron Man fanboy hate mail begin.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Arthur Newman“: This indiefilm is showing mostly at arthouse theaters and wasn’t screened for Detroit-area movie critics. After seeing it on my own, I know why. It was long, slow, boring, and pointless. A recently-fired divorced father (Colin Firth) of a teen son fakes his own death, assumes a new identity, and escapes for a new life as a golf pro in Indiana. On his way there, he meets a homeless, drunken hooker (Emily Blunt) and tries to save her from herself. Soon, she joins him on his trip, and they break into other people’s houses for the purposes of putting on their clothes and having sex.

What’s the point of abandoning your son who needs you for the fantasy life you want but won’t end up having anyway? And breaking into people’s houses to have sex? Really? I hate how movies glorify this bad behavior as “finding yourself.” It ain’t. And I really didn’t like either of these characters. This flick was a time bandit kinda movie. It robbed me of ten bucks and nearly two hours of my life I’ll never get back. My life would be just as fine had I not wasted part of it on this movie.

I was intrigued by the description of this movie: faking your death to escape to a new life. I thought it would be a suspenseful thriller. But, sadly, this wasn’t that movie. Not even close.


Watch the trailer . . .

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23 Responses

Iron man’s always been about a super hero saving us from a military industrial complex maniac that’s dragging us into an Orwellian future.
All the Orwellian double speak seems to be coming out of the guys destroying the military and investing in drones these days so I’m not a fan.
Plus Robert Downey Jr as a smug cokehead is miscast as the super hero type despite his acting chops.
This isn’t a criticism of the movie it’s just the reason I won’t bother watching sequel number 3.

Frankz on May 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I can’t believe that burnt-lips-from-glass-pipe-sucking, drug-addled, overrated Morton (Robert) Downey Jr. is still working, let alone popular with the masses. I couldn’t sit still through 60 seconds of the first “Iron Man” because of him.

DS_ROCKS! on May 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I grew up on Marvel and DC comics. Tony Stark was injured in Vietnam, taken prisoner by the Communists, and was forced to build weapons. Instead he created Iron Man and escaped with the help and sacrifice of a fellow prisoner. The Mandarin was one of his earliest enemies. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan and wanted to rule the world. The Mandarin wielded ten power rings that he discovered in a wrecked alien ship. The Mandarin in the current movie bears no resemblance to the comic book character. I can only imagine what Marvel artist Jack Kirby – a patriot – would have thought of modern comics.

Pete on May 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Thanks for posting your review. And thanks for your dialogue note for kids.

Jeff on May 3, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I’m with DS_Rocks! What he said was perfect!

Even Guy Pearce will NOT make me see that movie. Gwyneth Paltrow just makes the seal that much more unbreakable.

If I was a masochist, I’d see “Arthur Newman”. I know I would be just as or even more annoyed than DS. I learned my lesson with “Tiny Furniture”. Oh, and Colin Firth is like a bread sandwich to me. Not gonna let that boredom ensue.

In reading DS’ review it made me think the film was an apt metaphor for lacking adults in 2013. Juvenile, slutty, not caring about their kids but all narcissism all the time. Don’t need to see a bread sandwich in a crap film with an actress that screams through all her films (I can’t bare Blunt for that reason…and I have only tolerated her in trailers I think…she is always screaming!!) when I can step outside my door and see that lowest common denominator type of person where ever my eyes fall. Not gonna happen.

Skunky on May 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I confused Emily Blunt with Emma Stone. But I bet there is not much difference…

    Skunky on May 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

This explains a lot!!
I’ve read that this movie has already grossed over $200 million overseas.
With a plot that makes America look bad its no wonder why its a big hit in countries that hate us.
Thanks Hollywood, keep spreading the “hate America” fever.
We have a President that is already doing that, we don’t need Hollywood helping make it worst.

Steve G. on May 3, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Steve you know that the Obamanation and Hollyweird have a slobbering love affair going. Anything these guys can do to make the USA look bad they will do.

    Ken b on May 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I saw “Iron Man 3” today even though I hated “Iron Man 2.” I personally have a lot of criticisms of Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, the populist-pacifist themes in this series, Tony Stark’s fake cynicism, the tendency of Marvel comics to pander to teen narcissism, etc. Also, I’m aware that the third of a movie series is usually the worst. I didn’t consider the long running time of the film a plus.

Within a couple of minutes watching the film, though, I was charmed by Guy Pearce as a long-haired, buck-toothed genius nerd (he was terrific all the way through). After another few minutes, I was completely won over. The vague subtext throughout the film might have been a mishmash of contradictory values and ideology, but the movie was well-written, well-produced, well-acted and well-scored and as entertainment, I liked it.

Incidentally, I also liked “The Avengers” which Debbie described as a mess last year.

Debbie’s point–about the Bin Laden lookalike being satire of those of us who take terrorism seriously–was fairly made, but another way to view that part of the plot was simply as part of the ridiculous, outlandish humor that ran through the whole film, and that’s the way I took it.

Burke on May 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

My wife and I decided to start making our own movies since Hollywood sucks.

That’s all I’m gonna say.

Jack on May 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I grew up in an era where you either read Marvel or DC and there was no one who did any sort of cross over. I loaded my wagon with coke and pepsi bottles and made that haul down to the 7/11 to barter for my copies of Daredevil, Avengers, Xmen (Spiderman was for littler kids) and was a true believer of Marvel in every sense of the word. I felt Marvel got it right to at long last bring Iron Man’s true nemises “The Mandarin” into the scene. However as the movie neared and all this nonsense talk about custom making it for the Chinese market I felt the words “sell out” creeping up my spine. Still willing to give it a chance I actually enjoyed Ben Kingsley’s early take playing “The Manderin” showed his menacing approach via videos and I looked for his further development as a true villian as the movie progressed. However the moment when “The Mandarin” turns out to be a clown, Marvel turned their back on it’s true fans, like taking Dr Doom and having him singing in the rain with an umbrella or having the Red Skull playing a pinball machine and acting like Arthur Fonzerelli. It’s sacrreligious and a disgrace from Disney/Marvel who are out of touch with us grown up comic book lovers and regardless of all else, once you betray your original fan base you are history. This is perhaps the worst Superhero movie (worse than Iron Man 2) ever, and abandons it’s true fans at the expense of those who come on as band wagon jumpers or are 21st century movie goers of this genre. “Howard the Duck” was more truthful to the source material than Iron Man 3. Only Stan Lee could write a classic origin story and only Frank Miller could spin the best stories out of them – true than and true now. Shame on Marvel.

Fred on May 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hi Debbie – I’ve heard the expression ‘wet my beak’ and it’s always in the context of having a drink. Never heard it with a sexual connotation – but I was fairly innocent until late in life.

Nir Leiu on May 4, 2013 at 2:23 am

As in politics, follow the money, Marvel got a lot of the budget from China. The Chinese version of this film is even longer and dumber, it has added scenes with chinese actor cameos to make the money suppliers for it’s bloated budget happy. This would also explain how the bad guy they hinted at since the first Iron-Man movie is suddenly not really the Mandarin. Kinda like how the bad guys in the new Red Dawn were filmed as chinese but when the chinese bought the movie company we were suddenly invaded by the North Koreans.

They know enough sheep will go pay to see it, pay more for 3D and IMAX so why put in any effort, they took his power source out in the first movie and he fought a stolen bigger version of his design. In the second version he fought a bunch of stolen duplicate robots (stealing Death blossom from the Last Starfighter). In all the movies he is fighting Lex Luthor, oh wait that was Superman, fighting the corrupt businessmen in every movie is the target film maker bad guy. Just wave a flag at some point and you bring in the rubes.

ender on May 4, 2013 at 2:27 am

Well it is amusing how the industry brings back it’s strayed flock to be big attractions if they sign away their soiled souls. He certainly did stray, like most do. Now he’s doing swell doing their bidding. Like his characters in Sherlock Holmes, but that has even been over done for the cinema.

samurai on May 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

Amazing that they don’t use the original comic book characters and stories. The era between the late 60s and mid 80s was the best. Using those stories would be perfect for an actor like Downey who has had personal issues. The Marvel writers specialized in humanizing the heroes by weaving their personal failings into the stories. Missed opportunity.

Larry Wooden on May 4, 2013 at 11:12 am

I didn’t see the last Iron Man movie. I was looking forward to the new Star Trek – Into Darkness movie, until I found out who the villain is. The new Superman movie – Man of Steel – looks interesting but appears to follow the wandering super hero until he is needed plot that Batman Begins followed.

Concerned Citizen on May 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Bleh, guess I’ll wait until next week.

jake49 on May 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for the warning, Deb. I liked the first Iron Man, hated Iron Man 2 (it was just abysmal) and now I’ll skip this one. Just as I thought, it would have that leftist, PC tint; that evil military corporation theme. The first one had that left-wing, self-righteous, anti-weapons attitude but the story-telling was structured well and Downey (though I can’t stand his politics) did a good job.

Darkhill on May 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I also did like the first Iron Man. And just seen the 3rd today. Didn’t care for it that much. Best scene was when the Iron Man suits came in like a flock of birds. Anyway, at one time I thought Downey had a change in his view of life. He leaned toward the right , then when he was at a Hussain obama fundraiser , what a downer. Too PC, the Tennessee connection really was worthless. The movie was not put together as well as it could be. The “language” was unnecessary ! Are there any movies out there nowdays that have real men as heros that are real men, and don’t have to have a female to be a “tough guy” as a backup. Men, in movies have been given roles that are too wimpy and sensetive. And women are in roles that are too manly and aggressive. While Paltrow is a pretty woman, not the most beautiful in the world by any means. She is a empty head in the real world. Where is the John Waynes, Charleton Hestons, and Jimmy Stewarts ?

William on May 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Thanks for the reviews Debbie. Like you I’ve loved comic books since I was a kid. I’ve also loved comic books movies since seeing Christopher Reeve and believing a man could fly back in 78. That being said I liked Iron Man and didn’t bother seeing IMII in the theathers. This one looks like a passable affair due to the fact that Paltrow is still an annoying wretch. I hear that Downey Jr is getting tired of playing Stark/Ironman. That is kinda sad in a way because with his history and Starks history in the comic book he’s played the role to a tee. I’ll wait until Arthur Newman comes out on network tv in a couple of years if ever. I can’t wait for your review of Man of Steel Debbie. Hopefully this Superman movie will help the fanchise recover from the lackluster Superman Returns.

Ken b on May 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Don’t know how Superman will turn out. We’ll see. But you do know DC has made him renounce his American citizenship. He anounced he is a citizen of the world. That happened last year, I, think is right. He now …”fights for truth(?),justice(?) and the un-American way”.

    William on May 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I have some more thoughts about The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 and what sort of satire he might represent.

In the film, Ben Kingsly plays a character who resembles Osama bin Laden. He (The Mandarin in the film) makes all kinds of pronouncements and threats against America and seems to be behind various terrorist action. Then it turns out that he’s been created as a fraudulent bogeyman and isn’t the real problem after all. If this is satire, I feel it’s satire against Obama and the Democrats who, once bin Laden was killed, ran on a platform that they (namely, America as represented by the Democrats) had “won” the war on terror. They had the pretense going that bin Laden WAS the complete and total embodiment of all global evil, representing all the dangers of Islamoterrorism in one man, and that once bin Laden disappeared, we could forget all about fanatical Muslims forever. In other words, ding dong the witch is dead, so no more headaches or worries.

In using bin Laden and his death as a prop in this way (analogous to the way The Mandarin is used in this picture), I assumed Democrats were doing this for the sake of political expediency to hide the fact that they were actually just naïve pacifists; by focusing attention on bin Laden who’d just been killed, Democrats could pretend to be great warriors while in actuality they wanted nothing more than to ignore world events so that they could concentrate on building and cementing the power of unions and the welfare machinery in our own country. It upset me to see the Democrats using bin Laden this way, and it disgusted me to see that liberals along with low-information voters fall for this prop that the Democrats had invented.

The real truth, it turns out, is more sinister: Obama didn’t use bin Laden (and his death) merely as a prop to hide his and the Democrats’ pacificsm; he used him to misdirect the public about his real aim in the Middle East and in fact all around the world. In fact, he’s actively supporting Al-Qaeda in its quest to grab power everywhere. The recent Boston bombing is just the tip a tsunami that Obama has been actively encouraging through his presidency.

It’s too bad that the American public didn’t understand the way bin Laden was being cynically used as a kind of Mandarin prop before this last election.

Burke on May 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I agree the movie was bad but I love Guy Pearce!

Alyssa Smith on May 7, 2013 at 12:07 am

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