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Byron Shire
March 4, 2021

No Irony and nothing to Marvel

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On and on it dragged… I wondered what might come first: the shattering of my eardrums or the dislocation of my jaw through yawning. I’ve learnt not to refer to graphic novels as cartoons. They are now a highly regarded artistic genre (I blame Roy Lichtenstein) and even if, like me, you think that the form attained its apogee with Donald and Goofy, and only the slow kids (nearly always boys) kept reading them into adulthood, just look at how Marvel and the makers of super-hero movies are laughing all the way to the bank.

The real pity of these CGI saturated thrashathons is that a gifted actor such as Robert Downey Jr can arrive at work, ponce around in front of a green-screen and pocket more money than is spent on hospitals in half a dozen African nations. The bad guy here is initially presented as an Osama bin Laden type (Ben Kingsley), but he is only a front because, as pontificated by Tony Stark (Downey Jr), jihadists are merely demons created in our own minds (an idea that might be a tough sell in Boston at the moment).

The real villain, the threat to civilisation, is Guy Pearce. As Aldrich Killian he has held a festering grudge since an egotistical young Stark brushed him when he tried to present him with a new invention. Among other specky things, the invention allows people to grow new limbs when the others are lopped off, but if it goes wrong it can turn you into lava. Whatever – after Stark’s Malibu mansion has been reduced to rubble, things are looking pretty crook for the US and its Commander in Chief. Fortunately for the free world, Stark is inspired by an intensely irritating young boy to scream headlong into the ‘bang’, ‘crash’, ‘kapow’ finale.

The only intrigue came at the end, when Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Stark spoke intimately – except that their eyes were not meeting. I wondered whether the scene had been shot without their being there together.

 


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