Iron Man 3
Draws on what happened in The Avengers. Ben Kinglsey (Nizam in Prince of Persia, he appeared in The Last Legion and Schindler’s List. There is also a video of him singing “Shall We Dance” with Julie Andrews from The King and I) is added to the cast as Trevor Slattery. Miguel Ferrer (Assistant Director Granger from NCIS:LA; he sadly passed away in 2017) appears as the Vice President.
Tony voice-overs the opening of the film, stating “we create our own demons.” And with I’m Blue playing, we flashback to New Year’s Eve of 1999 in Bern, Switzerland. Tony, accompanied by a mullet-wearing Happy, had made a presentation and is thoroughly enjoying the after party, even bumping into Yensen (a callback to the first Iron Man movie). Then he comes across a pretty girl who asks questions about research. They move the party upstairs, though Tony is briefly approached by Aldrich Killian, who has a proposal for a think tank, named AIM. Tony is briefly intrigued, but moves on to going over the pretty girl’s research, which examines the healing center of the brain, and she calls the project Extremis. Extremis has explosive results. Getting so caught up in the research, Tony forgets to meet Killian.
Fast forward to the present, post Battle of New York world, Tony is working on more suits. The latest is the Mark 42, which is supposed to come to him piece by piece, guided by chips implanted in his arm. There are a few errors, but then Tony has been awake 72 hours. But the world doesn’t rest; the Ten Rings have reappeared and taken over the airways, with their leader, the Mandarin calling out Americans and warning “you’ll never see me coming.” The President immediately announces that Captain Rhodes will be handling the situation as the Iron Patriot. Tony has to meet his friend afterwards, but Rhodey is worried about Tony; he’s showing signs of PTSD, having panic attacks and flashbacks. Tony tries to laugh them off in public and flies off before he has to deal with it.
In the meantime, Pepper is still CEO of Stark Industries, with Happy as her chief of security, which he takes seriously. And he gets bad vibes from her meeting with Aldrich Killian and his bodyguard, and reports such to Tony. Pepper wisely turns down Killian’s proposal on Extremis, feeling it is too weaponizable. When she returns home, she finds Tony in his workshop and he’s trying to make this relationship work, admitting he’s a hot mess. He loves her and just wants to protect her; that’s why there’s multiple suits; he can’t live without her. Pepper gives him a chance, until he has nightmares in bed and unconsciously calls his suit to him, scaring Pepper.
Happy follows his hunch and follows the bodyguard, who’s doing some sort of deal. Happy pockets something, then gets in a fight with the guard until the other man heats up and explodes. Happy is gravely injured and Tony takes a place by his side, informing the nurse to ensure that everyone is wearing their security badge, something Happy is a stickler about. Oh, and Happy thinks Downton Abbey is romantic, so keep him playing. Tony is greeted by reporters outside the hospital [one of whom is Kim Holderness, who has a YouTube channel with her husband with funny skits now]. The Mandarin has already claimed the attack (and the videos are a bit terrifying). Tony has a response; he’s not afraid of the Mandarin and he’s coming for him, good old-fashioned revenge. He even gives the Mandarin his home address.
Once home, Tony has JARVIS compile a Mandarin database and examine the attacks associated with the terrorist. There are several bombs that have detonated, like the one at the Chinese Theatre with high heat, but no bomb parts found. Happy, in his last conscious moments, pointed to a clue for Tony and JARIVS finds a similar case in Tennessee. Until there is a woman at the door; Maya. Pepper, of course, wants to leave. Their discussion is interrupted by helicopters outside that shoot missiles into Tony’s home. Tony calls the suit, but has it cover Pepper, and in turn, she protects Tony, until he gets her to safety and calls the suit to him. Tony manages to take out the helicopters as the house crumbles around him and he drops into the water. He manages to shoot out of the water, but no one seems him. He passes out and wakes up as he crashes in Tennessee. The suit is low on power and JARVIS shuts off, so Tony drags the suit behind him until he finds a pay phone to leave Pepper a message. Then he finds a seemingly deserted shed. Turns out, not so deserted, it’s got a kid, Harley. Tony convinces Harley to help him (cause what kid is going to turn down the chance to help Iron Man?)
Meanwhile, Pepper talks to Maya about why she came to the house (she did get Tony’s message and knows he’s alive, but let’s the media say he’s presumed dead). Maya thinks her boss, Aldrich Killian, works for the Mandarin. When they find a hotel, Aldrich shows up and captures Pepper. Maya indeed works for Killian and yes, she went to Tony for help. She needs him to fix the glitch in Extremis.
Tony investigates the explosion site in Tennessee, though Harley pesters him with questions about the Avengers and New York and causes Tony to have another panic attack. Tony visits the victim mom, assuring her that her son was innocent, until another woman tries to arrest him. He battles her; she’s another one that will glow, as well as Killian’s bodyguard. He tires to take Harley prisoner, but Harley uses Tony’s bully defense sparkler to get away. Tony’s got the information he wanted and instructs Harley to guard the Iron Man suit. Tony realizes that AIM, Killian’s company is behind this, with the Extremis program, and calls Rhodey. Rhodey’s a little busy, being Iron Patriot all over the Middle East, looking for the Mandarin, who put out another video, threatening to execute a man. Even though the President called, the Mandarin still shot him (we don’t actually see that part). Iron Patriot is taken down in one of the buildings he’s investigating.
This causes Tony to have another panic attack, and luckily, JARVIS is running enough to help him out, with some assistance from Harley. JARVIS’s system is showing the Mandarin’s messages originating in Miami. Harley suggests that Tony builds something, since he’s a mechanic. So Tony showcases his genius again in making an arsenal out of what he can find at a hardware store (recalling that “box of scraps” comment from the first movie). He enters the compound in Miami and finds the set of the Mandarin videos. And that the Mandarin is actually just an actor hired to play a role. And yes, Killian was behind it; a custom-made terror threat. The bodyguard enters and captures Tony. Tony sees Maya again, who reveals that Tony had jotted down an equation all those years ago and hence why she thought Tony could help. But Tony doesn’t remember the equation and tries to appeal to Maya. Killian enters and credits Tony with creating him; leaving him on the roof in Switzerland made him desperate and he decided to rule from behind. He gave evil a face and a target in creating the Mandarin. He’s planning on opening the Iron Patriot suit and he will own the war on terror, creating supply and demand. Oh, and he’s given Pepper Extremis. Maya threatens to kill herself to protect her work; Killian shoots her anyway.
The clock is ticking. Tony calls the suit to him (which is hilariously delayed), but he still takes out the guards and makes his way back through the compound (one guard easily gives up; he’s had enough weird) to find Rhodey. They have to find the President, who is now on Air Force One with someone he thinks is Iron Patriot. Iron Man arrives in time to rescue the people falling from the plane [pretty cool]. Then he’s hit by a truck; it’s not actually Tony in the suit, he’s controlling it from a distance. They continue to make their way to the shipping yard where Killian is staging the murder of the President. Rhodey is no slouch in sneaking on and taking out guards, with Tony backing him out. Then Tony’s other suits arrive, all controlled by JARVIS and the action really begins. Tony uses this as a chance to find Pepper, who is trapped. He almost has her, then she falls into a fire. Rhodey, in the meantime, rescues the President. Tony goes after Killian, switching suits as he needs to (because Tony cannot go against Killian as Extremis in just his human form; the suits come in handy and he can take on more dangerous enemies). Killian mocks Tony, that Killian was trying to improve Pepper. Tony retorts that no, he didn’t deserve her, and she was already perfect. Tony gets Killian in one of the suits and blows it up. It does not stop Killian, though he admits to the Mandarin plot. Just as Killian is about to deal the final blow, Pepper to the rescue! She knocks Killian out, then takes on the suit and blows up Killian. Her comment at the end? “That was really violent.” Now she’s the hot mess. Tony quips, it’s still debatable; she’s in a relationship with him. He promises to fix her; he almost had it while he was drunk years ago, and this is what he does, he fixes things. He then has JARVIS blow all the suits.
The story wraps up with Rhodey arresting the Vice President, who was in on the kidnapping of the President since his daughter would have benefitted from Extremis. Tony got Pepper sorted out, then has surgery to finally remove the shrapnel from his chest and remove the arc reactor. And Happy wakes up and Harley gets an updated lab. Tony theorizes that his armor and tools can be taken away, but no one can take away the fact that “I am Iron Man.” And this is all revealed to be Tony talking to Bruce (who fell asleep).
This is not my favorite Marvel movie, or Iron Man movie; there’s just too many things going on at the same time. However, I do like seeing more of Tony Stary, rather than just an Iron Man suit. While the suit is helpful, he’s no slouch outside of it. There are a few things that I don’t get why the character had to do; like why did Tony have to destroy all of his suits? He just proved how helpful they are and he doesn’t have to be in them all the time. And while I think it’s great that Tony no longer has the shrapnel in his chest, I was a bit sad to see the arc reactor just thrown in the ocean. And kind of missed seeing the other Avengers. I get that these are their individual movies again, but some crossover would have been nice. For instance, when Pepper is standing in the ruined mansion, alone. No one came to check on her? Or attempt to find Tony?
Up Next: We circle around to Thor: Dark World