Iron Man 3

Lisa and I saw Iron Man 3 over the holiday weekend. Some quick (and mildly spoilery) thoughts:

* It was a lot of fun—much better than Iron Man 2—and a good end to the series, assuming, as both he and Gwyneth Paltrow have been hinting, that this is Robert Downey Jr.’s last non-Avengers turn in the suit.

* Obviously Marvel is going to want to continue to mint money make sequels, but RDJ is so integral to the character of Tony Stark that I don’t think swapping in another actor would work. Better they have him hand the suit off to someone else. The obvious choice would be Rhodey Rhodes, and if I’m not more enthusiastic about that idea, it’s only because the character as written so far has been pretty much Generic Black Sidekick. Don Cheadle’s great, though (if you haven’t seen House of Lies yet, do), and if they give him an actual backstory to work with, a War Machine/Iron Patriot movie could work.

* Pepper in the suit—and later, as the girl who was on fire—was a nice bit. (Did she get to keep her regenerative powers at the end, or did Tony “cure” her? The film seemed unclear about that.) Like a lot of geeks who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, I am predisposed to want to see women in power armor, so the idea of a Rescue spin-off intrigues me, but I don’t know if Gwyneth or the money people would really go for that. (What I’d really like to see is Jenette Goldstein in power armor, but good luck pitching that movie: “She’s a fiftysomething ex-Marine who runs a custom bra shop in L.A. and designs military hardware as a hobby…”)

* I wish they’d done more with Rebecca Hall’s character, Maya Hansen. She struck me as more of a plot device than a person, and her last-minute change of heart seemed like a contrivance—a pointless one, since it accomplished nothing.

* Nice finesse on the Mandarin, though.