Directed by: Shane Black. I had to see this eventually, because I saw the first two and because, after a long period of self-denial, I have accepted the fact that these Marvel movies are just too damn satisfying to resist. (And also, I’ve been tasked with reviewing the upcoming Thor 2, and GOD FORBID there be some kind of continuity in-joke that I miss out on.) I just went back and re-read my posts for the first two films, and I think my opinions on this one are fairly consistent with those, because the film is fairly consistent with the other two. In some ways, I might say that this film is the best of the bunch. The first one was pretty good; the second was pretty bad. This one is pretty average, but it has Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley, and they are both just so damn satisfying to watch as bad guys. I don’t want to say they chew the scenery exactly, because the entire film is chewing its own scenery a bit, but it’s really great watching these two guys—who I know can act in real movies—blending in so well with the two-dimensional cartoonishness of the film. The political conservatism mixed with a backhanded leftist critique of that political conservatism that underpins these films is something I always meant to give a good look at but which I never did. As satisfying as it might be as an exercise in rebuilding my chops from my Critical Studies days (whatever that means), do I really want to spend that much time talking about fucking Iron Man movies? But then again, I always did love to shoot fish in a barrel, so maybe I’ll do that kind of critique one day. For now, I’ll save my words for the aforementioned upcoming review of Thor 2, which I wrote for a real publication but which, for this thing, will receive a much more drawn out, rambling, assessment of the current elevated status of superhero films and of the Marvel empire in particular. Until then, I will leave with an assertion that these Iron Man films are, despite everything I’ve said, a completely enjoyable franchise of films, as long as one assumes their pointlessness from the start. These are disposable movies, offering food for thought only for people who don’t want to think much about the films they watch. And yet, for myself, they offer some food for thought on the state of modern culture and the transmission of ideology on a popular scale…ahhhh I’ll save it.