David Edelstein on the surprisingly good time that is Iron Man 3:
Iron Man 3 conquers the curse of the 3 in a novel way: It pretty much takes Iron Man out of the equation. He’s in there, obviously — people would tear down the theater if he weren’t. But Robert Downey, Jr.’s billionaire industrialist Tony Stark doesn’t spend much time in that computer-generated Iron Man suit, which means fewer cut-ins of Downey’s little head inside reacting to battles that we know — no matter how much we want to believe — have no human component whatsoever.
The excellent idea of director Shane Black, who co-wrote the script with Drew Pearce, is to kick Stark out of his comfort zone. Instead of throwing money at every problem, Stark has to function as a lone gumshoe, think like a garage-mechanic, and, when necessary, jury-rig something crude — or, as we like to say nowadays, MacGyver it.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures
I am significantly more interested in this movie having read some reviews than I was when I had only seen the God-awful trailers.
But let’s sex this up with some more numbers. In 2003, 455 films were released, 275 of those were independent, 180 were studio films. Last year 677 films were released, so you’re not imagining things—there are a lot of movies that open every weekend. 549 of those were independent, 128 were studio films. So, a 100% increase in independent films, and a 28% drop in studio films, and yet, ten years ago: studio market share 69%, last year 76%. You’ve got fewer studio movies now taking up a bigger piece of the pie and you’ve got twice as many independent films scrambling for a smaller piece of the pie. That’s hard. That’s really hard.
Speaking of meetings, the meetings have gotten pretty weird. There are fewer and fewer executives who are in the business because they love movies. There are fewer and fewer executives that know movies. So it can become a very strange situation. I mean, I know how to drive a car, but I wouldn’t presume to sit in a meeting with an engineer and tell him how to build one, which is what you feel like when you’re in these meetings. You’ve got people who don’t know movies, don’t watch movies for pleasure, deciding what movie you’re going to be allowed to make. That’s one reason studio movies aren’t better than they are, and that’s one reason that cinema, as I’m defining it, is shrinking.
Two things I somehow only learned just now: