Review: Iron Man 3 / Iron Man- Extremis

By Johnny Apocalypse
Bschin2188@aol.com

Iron Man flies again!So there I was, leaving the theatre after watching Iron Man 3. An aura of excitement and awe coursed through me: I was thrilled, and kept thinking one vital fact over and over again.

"Thank god that was better than Iron Man 2!"

That is truly the only thing that mattered about seeing this movie. It didn't have to be better Iron Man one, or even equal to it. It didn't need Gwyneth Paltrow to disrobe in every scene (although there would be benefits to that as well). I just needed to be better than Iron Man 2.

And I'm not even saying that Iron Man 2 was terrible. It wasn't very good. In fact, it was bordering on being bad at times. But compared to the first film, it was a huge, huge letdown. The only scene I truly loved was when Mickey Rourke attacked Tony Stark on the race track. Otherwise, not a great movie.

While Iron Man 3 may not be as good as the first in the series (I consider Iron Man to be one of the best superhero movies made thus far), it has some excellent moments, as well as some very intricate and expertly-filmed action scenes. Here, Tony Stark's arrogance is trimmed down, his relationship with James Rhodes (War Machine) is expanded on, and he has to face the fact that even Pepper Potts may not be around him forever. Combined with an interesting villain and a very unique threat to humanity, this movie is easily one of the best I've seen in a while.

There are two main drawbacks to the movie, though. First, there's a bit less action than the first two. Not a hell of a lot less, but it's definitely noticeable. And while they fill the missing action with some very good character development, it still feels like something is missing.

The other drawback I can't just spoil, since it's a big plot twist. Let's just say that a character isn't everything they're supposed to be. They play the scene up for huge laughs, though. So it's not a complete loss.

After seeing the movie and being quite pleased with it, I poked around on the internet and found that it was largely based upon an Iron Man graphic novel called "Extremis". I decided that I had the extra cash to spare and snagged a copy.

Extremis has some excellent things going for it- firstly, it was written by renowned comic scribe Warren Ellis, and drawn by equally renowned artist Adi Granov. It's easy to see why these gentlemen are so well known in the industry- they're great at what they do. Ellis not only came up with an excellent storyline, but updated Iron Man's origin to a more modern setting (it was originally the Vietnam War, I believe, now it's the Gulf War) and made Tony Stark a little more of an every-man. Not much more, but it's noticeable.

And Granov did what he always does. Made incredibly detailed artwork. This was the first time I'd seen any of his work, but I was blown away. His attention to detail is stunning, and his style is amazingly lifelike. My first thoughts upon seeing some of his work was that he had effectively painted a series of oil canvasses instead of drawing for a comic book.

The plot of the comic and Iron Man 3 are the same, although the specific story lines differ. A group of medical tech create a virus they call "extremis". It's function is to effectively "hack" the brain's repair center (where the brain realizes that the body is injured and starts up the healing process). From there the virus tells the brain how the body should be repaired. This generally includes making one stronger, faster, and able to breathe fire.

An old acquaintance of Tony Stark's shows up to let him know she needs his help. She was one of the scientists who created the virus, and she's just discovered that someone has stolen a sample and given it to some white-power terrorists. So Tony does what any billionaire would do- hop in his metallic super-suit and start kicking some ass.

Now that's generally where the real similarities end. In the film, Pepper Potts is kidnapped by the extremists. In the book, she's completely absent. She doesn't even seem to exist in the "Extremis" continuity. In the film, The Mandarin is involved. In the book, no mention of him. The list can go on.

But the movie isn't so much an adaptation of the comic as it is "inspired by" certain parts of it. More than anything, they make interesting companion pieces. And now that I've read my first Iron Man comic, I think I'll definitely have to look into some more of them.

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