Image source: Marvel.
My unhealthy levels of fanboyism aside, I still like to believe I can critically assess a movie despite the Downey factor. When I went to the advance screening of Iron Man 3 Thursday night, I expected Downey's performance to be entertaining, because I don't think he's been physically capable of anything else since at least 2007. But I also braced myself for the idea that the rest of the movie might not quite live up to its predecessors, not to mention The Avengers. I also knew that the movie was inspired by the Extremis storyline from the comics, which was a good arc, but certainly not my favourite. (I'm still waiting for some studio to greenlight a Superior Spider-Man movie.)
Thankfully, I was entirely wrong to doubt the movie, and completely blown away as a result. Of course, however, not everyone felt this way. One negative review that particularly caught my attention was that of Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. Dargis approaches the review from a perspective very different from that of, say, the late Roger Ebert. Rather than giving advice on whether or not the average viewer might enjoy the movie, she uses it as a springboard to launch a scholarly critique of Hollywood's entire contemporary approach to the War on Terror. I wish to respond to her criticisms of Iron Man 3, and perhaps even defend the Hollywood blockbuster as an art form in the process.
But first: If you have not already seen the movie, go see it right now. Don't wait a single minute more. And certainly do not read the rest of this post, because from here on out, spoilers will be legion.