Blog #385: Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (And Summer Movie Reviews to Come)

Before I get to my review of Iron Man 3, anyone who has been reading my blogs for a while (all three of you…) have probably noticed that I haven’t done movie reviews in a long time.  I stopped doing reviews for two reasons.  First, it’s sometimes very hard to get myself motivated to review certain movies.  There were times when all I really had to say was, “that was cool.”  That doesn’t make for much of a review.  Second, most of my movie reviews got few to no hits.  So it didn’t seem worth it.

Having said that, I will be reviewing the “big” movies.  How do I define “big” movies you ask?  Well, here’s a list of what I will review in 2013:

Iron Man 3
Star Trek Into Darkness
Man of Steel
Pacific Rim
The Wolverine
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Ender’s Game
Thor: The Dark World
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

So, you can expect those reviews as the year goes on.  Now, on to Iron Man 3.


The summer certainly started off with a bang.  Iron Man 3 was the perfect follow up to the Avengers for many reasons, not the least of which has nothing to do with the armor.  This movie is very clearly about Tony Stark and not his shiny alter ego.

No Spoilers

Iron Man 3 was an amazing movie, delivering all the action and special effects that we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s movies.  The story was well conceived, taking the Extremis comic book story and rewriting it for the big screen.  The Mandarin is a great villain and the subject of one of the best twists in any Marvel movie to date.  Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow continue to be a fantastic on screen couple and gave tremendous performances.  Don Cheedle and Jon Favreau gave great supporting performances and Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley were tremendous villains.  It’s difficult to say much more without spoilers, but this movie is a must see.

As I usually do with the big Marvel movies, I’m going to try to decipher my notes and go through it scene by scene.


(As always, quotes may not be exact, I can only take notes so fast.)

“A wise man once said: we make our own demons.  Whatever happened to him?  I wish I knew, did he conquer them, what was he like, did he have armor like mine.  Anyway, bottom line: I said it, because he said it.  So, this all began a long time back, in 1999.” – Tony Stark

Even before we see the Paramount logo, we see several Iron Man armors in their alcoves and Tony voiceovers the above lines as the armors begin to explode.  This gives the impression that the movie will be told as a flashback with Tony narrating the whole way.  I don’t believe there were any other voiceovers like this until the end of the movie.  So it’s not really told like a flashback but technically it is.

The movie continues with a flashback (an actual flashback) to 1999.  In a pretty awesome move, they had this scene set on the same night that Tony met Ho Yinsen (the man who helped him build the first armor in the first movie some years after this night).  We also briefly meet a heart surgeon named Dr. Wu.

In an elevator, a limping Aldrich Killian tries to talk to Tony about his think tank, Advanced Idea Mechanics.  Tony tells Killian that he is very interested and to meet him on the roof.  Tony blows him off, as this is the old, Pre-Iron Man Tony.  So, we know AIM has been around a long time.  I like how Tony is inadvertently responsible for what AIM does (more on that later) but it seems an awful long time to have this organization around without them having done anything to make the world take notice of them.

We see Tony looking at Maya Hansen’s work on what will eventually become Extremis, though he obviously doesn’t know it at the time.  Happy inadvertently causes an Extremis plant to explode and runs into the bedroom and jumps on top of Tony.  It’s hilarious.

The next morning before Tony leaves her (remember, this is manwhore Tony) he leaves his nametag.  This is important later.

Next we see Tony in his lab working on the Mark 42 armor, a modular design that he can call to him remotely with chips implanted in his arms.  (Mark 42 of course means that there are 30-something armors unaccounted for.)  The parts of the armor, literally fly around with their own thrusters.  While he’s testing the armor, his robotic arm is filming the test while wearing a dunce cap.  It’s a great scene as the test doesn’t go so well, and it’s always funny when he’s yelling at his robot.

“Ladies, children, sheep… Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing.” – The Mandarin

The Mandarin is introduced when he breaks into electronic broadcasts with a message about bombings he’s committed, which includes the above quote.

In response to The Mandarin’s attacks, the president announces the rebranding of War Machine into Iron Patriot.

This Iron Patriot has nothing to do with the armor that was warn by Norman Osborn in the comics.  I don’t particularly have a problem with this.  Since it’s based on Iron Man’s armor when Osborn lead Hammer and the Avengers, there is no reason that Sony would use it in Spider-Man.  It just wouldn’t make any sense.  For the same reasons, Marvel has no need for the Iron Patriot as Norman Osborn can’t be used in the Marvel cinematic universe.  Also, if the US Government was going to design a mechanized super soldier and hope he could make the public feel safe under a threat like this, they would absolutely paint in red, white, and blue.  It makes perfect sense.

The next scene has Tony and Rhodey in a restaurant having a meal.  A young girl comes up and asks him to sign a drawing she did of Iron Man.  Rhodey mentions New York and Tony has a full on post traumatic stress disorder panic attack.  Before we started seeing previews, I never would have imagined that this was the direction the movie was taking, but it makes a lot of sense.  Look at the rest of the Avengers team.  Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Thor have all seen war on various scales.  Hulk is a special case.  Tony is essentially just a human being.  His battles have always been with men in metal suits, even if they have a whole bunch of suits, like in Iron Man 2.  That’s all very different from being in a war (to say nothing of the aliens).  This was a brilliant way to go with the character.

When Tony leaves the restaurant, we find he’s left his armor parked (for all intents and purposes) outside.  In the first two movies and Avengers Tony needed complex machinery to put his armor on and take it off (though we don’t know how he did either aboard the helicarrier).  Now the armor can open up and he can step right out or back into it.  This is very awesome and makes it much easier for him to put on and take off the armor going forward.

“Do you know what it was like when I would tell people what my job was? ‘I’m Iron Man’s bodyguard.’ They’d laugh in my face. Now you’re off with the Super Friends, I don’t know what’s going on with you anymore.  My grandmother lives in Manhattan, alright. She jumped out of a second story window last year because she saw a giant snake robot coming out of the sky!” – Happy Hogan

Next we cut to a scene with Happy and Pepper.  She’s taking a meeting with Aldrich Killian who is no longer limping.  Happy’s security chief instincts tell him there is something off about him.  While Pepper meets with Killian about Stark Industries helping him with Extremis, Happy is on the phone with Tony, but Tony is unconcerned.  Pepper turns Killian down and Happy decides to investigate Killian and his security guy, Savin.

Pepper heads home to meet Tony for dinner to find her Christmas present, a fifteen foot or so tall stuffed rabbit with enormous breasts, in the driveway, apparently it’s her Christmas present.  She goes inside to find Tony in the armor, or so she thinks.  After some witty banter and him refusing to take off the mask, she goes down to the workshop to find that Tony is remote controlling the new armor.  This is, I believe, the first time we’ve ever seen him remote control armor like that.

“I have to protect the one thing I can’t live without.  That’s you.” – Tony Stark

Tony and Pepper have a heart to heart.  He admits he can’t sleep, that nothing has been the same since New York and he’s worried that he can’t protect Pepper.  This is Tony at his most honest and vulnerable and Robert Downey, Jr. delivers each line perfectly.

The next scene is at night, Tony and Pepper are in bed and he’s having a nightmare.  Somehow, and they really aren’t clear how, he calls the armor in his sleep.  While Pepper is unhurt, it certainly shakes her up.

Next we see Happy following Savin to the Chinese Theater, where he gives a suitcase to a guy who looks like he needs a fix.  Happy bumps into the guy, knocking open the suitcase.  He picks up a small container, but before he can get away, he’s confronted by Savin.  The guy gets his fix of whatever was in the case and then explodes with a huge blast.  Happy is badly hurt as we watch Savin pick himself up after being blown up and begin to regenerate his half blown off foot as he walks away.  Before he passes out, Happy points toward the guy who blew up’s dog tags.

“The fortune cookie, traditionally noted to be a Chinese confectionery, is in fact an American creation.” – The Mandarin

The Mandarin takes credit for the bombing in another pirate broadcast.  Happy is unconscious in the hospital and badly hurt.  Tony is there with him, but when he leaves the hospital, he’s confronted by the press and challenges The Mandarin to a fight, going so far as to give out his address.

Tony starts investigating the bombing.  His reconstruction shows Happy pointing at the dog tags.  After some searching, he discovers similar heat patterns that were seen at the bombing at other locations in the USA.  One that has not been tied to The Mandarin was in Tennessee where a US serviceman apparently detonated a bomb.  Tony has Jarvis plot a flight plan to Tennessee.

Maya Hansen shows up at Tony’s house, just as he and Pepper are arguing over whether or not to leave.  They don’t get the chance as three helicopters show up and start firing missiles at the house.

As the house starts to exploded, Tony sends the armor to Pepper to protect her.  After the initial explosions, Pepper protects Tony from falling debris.  Pepper gets Maya out of the house and Tony calls the armor back to him.  He takes out two helicopters, one with a piano, before the house collapses into the sea taking Tony with it.

Tony is trapped under water, but Jarvis removes one of his gauntlets and has it pull him out from under the rubble, which is really cool, and Iron Man flies away.

“I think I need to sleep, sir.” – Jarvis
“Don’t leave me, buddy.” – Tony Stark

Tony crash lands in Tennessee, as that was the last flight plan Jarvis had prepared.  Tony is unhurt, but the armor is badly damaged and Jarvis goes offline.  Tony finds a phone and leaves Pepper a heartfelt message apologizing for everything.

“Dad left to get scratchers.  I guess he won, because that was six years ago.” – Harley Keener
“That happens, dads leave, no need to be a pussy about it, here’s what I need…” – Tony Stark

Tony drags the armor through the snow to a garage where he meets a kid named Harley with bully issues and whose father abandoned him and his mother.  Harley shows him a newspaper saying that Tony died when the house was destroyed.  Tony gives the kid a flare from the suit, which he says is non harmful, to deal with his bully and has him get some of what he needs to repair the suit.

We cut to pepper who is standing in front of the remains of the house in California.  She’s holding one of the Iron Man helmets that has been badly damaged.  It makes a noise, so she puts it on and get the message Tony left for her.

In a car with Maya Hansen, Pepper finds out that Maya’s boss Killian is working with The Mandarin.  We cut to Killian helping the Mandarin send another hate broadcast and we finally know that the villains are connected.  Sometime later, Killian captures Pepper and we learn that he and Hansen are in it together.  Not sure exactly when this occurs.  I couldn’t find it in my notes.

Tony and Harley visit the site of the Bombing in Tennessee.  Harley keeps mentioning New York and Tony has a full on panic attack.

Tony goes to a bar where Harley says the dead soldier’s mother can be found.  When he gets there he finds her waiting for someone with a file on her son.  A woman named Brandt arrives claiming to be with Homeland Security, but the local sheriff presses her about what she’s doing there and we find that she is one of the extremis soldiers.

“Is that all you’ve got?  A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?” – Brandt
“Sweetheart, that could be the name of my autobiography!” – Tony Stark

After Tony dispatches Brandt, Savin shows up with Harley as a hostage.  Harley uses the flare that Tony gave him to get away from Savin.  Tony uses a repulsor he took from the suit to blast him, knocking him out.

Tony then retrieves the soldier’s file and steals a car.

The Mandarin broadcasts a message saying that he will kill an accountant from the Roxxon corporation if the President does not call him.  The president calls, but instead of answering the call, The Mandarin shoots the accountant anyway.

Tony is in the car looking over the file, which has MIA written on the top in big letters.  Then he turns it over and realizes that it says AIM and the ink just bled through.  Tony calls Rhodey.  AIM did work on his armor, so he wants Rhodey’s credentials for logging into AIM.  In the AIM system, Tony finds confirmation that Extremis was created by AIM and that they are working with the Mandarin.

Killian captures Pepper and we find out that Hansen is working with him and wants Tony to help her fix the problems with Extremis.

Rhodey falls into a trap set by AIM and is captured by Killian.  Rhodey doesn’t get to do all that much in this movie, or any of them, really.  I would give anything to have a War Machine solo movie.

Tony calls Harley to and finds that the armor is still malfunctioning, but Jarvis tells Tony that The Mandarin’s broadcasts are coming from Miami.  Tony has another panic attack and Harley tells him to build something.

Tony goes to a hardware store, buys a bunch of stuff, and then puts together some high tech gadgets.  He breaks into the compound where The Mandarin is and the big twist is revealed.  The Mandarin is a doped up British actor obsessed with soccer who was hired to play the part of the Mandarin, nothing more.  Aldrich Killian is the real villain behind the whole thing.

This was an awesome twist, and one I never saw coming.  I understand why a lot of people are disappointed with the headliner of Iron Man’s rogue’s gallery being turned into comic relief, but lets face it.  The Mandarin isn’t that great a villain anyway.

Tony is captured and confronted by Killian.  Maya Hansen asks Tony to help her perfect Extremis and reveals that he wrote equations on the back of the name tag he left the night they spent together, which helped her get Extremis to the point it’s at, functional, but imperfect.

Killian show Tony video of him infecting Pepper with Extremis.  Hansen turns on Killian, but he kills her.

Killian forces Rhodey out of the suit.  Meanwhile, the Mark 42 armor arrives and Tony escapes.  Savin takes the Iron Patriot armor and leaves to meet up with Air Force One, while Killian takes Pepper with him to the shipyard where he plans to kill the President.

In a hilarious scene, Tony keeps taunting his two guards, knowing that the armor is repaired and is on the way.  Only a few parts show up at first, but eventually the whol armor arrives.

Okay, how the hell did Savin use the armor that Tony configured for Rhodey?  No one but Tony and Rhodey should have bee able to use that armor.  I’m not going to lose any sleep over this, but I would really like a canonical explanation of that.

Tony and Rhodey meet up and force “The Mandarin” to tell them where Killian went.  Rhodey calls the Vice President to tell him that the President is in trouble, that’s he not controlling Iron Patriot.  The Vice President tells no one, and we see his daughter, who is an amputee.  He’s in it with Killian.

Iron Patriot boards Air Force One, so Tony goes after Air Force One with the Mark 42 armor.

On Air Force One, Savin puts the President inside the Iron Patriot armor and sends him off to meet up with Killian.  Tony kills Savin, but a bomb blows a hole in the side of Air Force One and thirteen people are sucked out of the plane.

In an absolutely amazing aerial rescue, Tony catches them all dropping them gently into the bay below.  As he flies off to go after Killian, he’s hit by a truck, and you realize that Tony wasn’t in the Armor.  He’s still with Rhodey on a boat heading to the shipyard remote controlling the armor.

Tony tells Jarvis to institute the “House Party Protocol.”  We cut to California where the vault under Tony’s destroyed house starts to open and the armors start to take off.  (Or they may start to take off later, my notes are unclear.)

The Iron Patriot armor brings the President to Killian at the shipyard where he will die on a Roxxon oil tanker.  “The Mandarin” will, claim that his death is in retaliation for a million gallons of oil spilled off the coast of Florida, after which none of the executives at the company were convicted of any crime.  This is nothing more than an excuse to kill him so the Vice President can become President under Killian’s control.

Tony and Rhodey (with out any armor) go to dock.  They end up confronted by Extremis soldiers.  Fortunately, all of Tony’s armors arrive, which is a phenomenal affects scene.  Tony orders Jarvis to lock onto and attack Extremis heat signatures and the battle ensues.
Tony jumps into one of the armors and goes after Pepper, while another armor picks up Rhodey and takes him to rescue the President.

Tony tries to rescue Pepper.  She becomes trapped under some rubble.  Killian shows up and Tony cuts off his arm.  As it regenerates, Tony realizes that they are in an awful lot of trouble.

When the room they are in collapses, Tony and Pepper get separated.  Tony keeps trying to get into armor, but every time he tries one of the Extremis soldiers interferes.

Rhodey manages to rescue the President, who is chained up inside the Iron Patriot armor.  Rhodey gets the armor back.  As is his duty, he takes off with the President to get him to safety.

Without armor, Tony tries to save pepper, but he can’t get to her and she falls into the flames below.  Now, anyone who has actually been paying attention should be pretty confident that this is not going to kill anyone with Extremis.  It feels like this needed a little work.  Since it’s never plausible that Pepper is going to die, it loses a lot of tension.  It’s not terrible, but I think they needed to better define what Extremis could and couldn’t do and frame her “death” so it wasn’t obvious she didn’t die.

Tony goes after Killian, but is unable to get a full suit of armor.  The Mark 42 armor shows up, but is still not operating properly and promptly falls apart.  As a last ditch effort, Tony sends the Mark 42 armor onto Killian and tells Jarvis to self destruct the armor.

Tony manages to get partial armor, and finds out that Killian is still not dead.  Tony is outmatched, when out of nowhere, Pepper comes to his rescue using her Extremis powers.

Killian’s not dead.  He attacks, and Pepper knocks him out.

“Oh my god.  That was really violent.” – Pepper Potts

As Pepper is infected with Extremis, one of the armors attacks her.  Tony can’t stop it in time, but she destroys it and finally kills Killian.

“Am I gonna be okay?” – Pepper Potts
“No.  You’re in a relation ship with me.” – Tony Stark

Tony initiates the Clean Slate Protocol and the armors begin to explode in midair.  This seems a little unnecessary to me.  The end of the movie, as we’ll get to in a minute, leaves little doubt that Tony will build more armor.  Still it was a cool scene to see all the armors exploding in the air as they fly around the dock.

We then go back to Tony doing voiceovers telling us that he was able to remove Extremis from Pepper and the heart surgeon we met at the beginning of the movie, Dr. Wu removes the shrapnel from Tony’s near Tony’s heat so he no longer has the arc reactor implant.  Happy finally wakes up.  Harley comes home to find that Tony has set him up with all the gadgets he could want.

“I am Iron Man.” – Tony Stark

The last scene has Tony going to the site of his old house and throwing the old arc reactor from his chest into the water.  He gets back into his car, and before he drives away, he voiceovers the above quote.  As he pulls away, his car is pulling a trailer with the robot from his workshop having been rescued from the water.  I was really hoping for that.  It wouldn’t have felt right if he’d left that robot underwater.

The credits start to roll, and at the end, we get one final scene with Tony finishing telling his story to Bruce Banner.

“I’m sorry, did I disturb your selective napping?” – Tony Stark
“I’m sorry, I’m not that kind of doctor.  It’s not my department.” – Bruce Banner
“Your training?” – Tony Stark
“My temperament.” – Bruce Banner

I am so glad they got Bruce Banner in, even if just for the after credits scene.  Since it is unlikely we’ll see Hulk before Avengers 2, this was the logical place to at least get him in for one scene.

Thanks for reading!

About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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