’Iron Man 3 syndrome’
What does the Batmobile attack on Axis Chemicals in Batman (1989) have in common with Iron Man’s rescue of the passengers of a stricken private jet in Iron Man 3 (2013), and Luke Skywalker’s showdown with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo in The Last Jedi (2017)?
Well, they’re all deliriously exciting, iconic scenes — that fall flat on their faces moments later when audiences realise they’ve been tricked. If the hero never places himself in jeopardy then it’s just empty spectacle.
The sequences need not be altered in any way to have Bruce Wayne be driving the Batmobile, or for Tony Stark to be wearing the Iron Man suit, or for the real Luke Skywalker to actually be on Crait, risking his neck.
In each case the filmmaker made a choice: trickery instead of emotional investment. Gags over heart.
I hate this trope. I always feel cheated by the film not entertained, and it forever tarnishes the film in my memory.
My biggest complaint with The Last Jedi is that at almost every turn Johnson does choose the cheap trick over heart and character. Luke tosses his father’s lightsaber aside for laughs; Virtual-Luke ‘comedically’ brushes dust off his shoulder; Virtual-Luke ‘defeats’ Ben Solo using a very Loki-like trick.
Um, Luke actually goes to confront Ben Solo, and face his demons… you know, the way the the real Luke Skywalker always did in real Star Wars films. This stuff isn’t that hard.