Unfortunately, Iron Man 3 is the only Iron Man movie that I have not been able to see at the theater at the midnight release. Apparently in the States, Disney had a dispute with Regal and AMC Theaters about doing midnight releases. Something about not wanting to encourage kids to stay out late. Sure, it’s PG-13, but is that really their target audience? I don’t think so. My local Regal was doing showings at 9:30 and later added one at 10, but I had class until 7, which usually runs to 7:30 and I had no desire to rush and tried to eat and then get to the theater and fight for a seat by myself. So I went and saw it at 1:30pm on Friday. Plenty of room in the theater, no kids, no creepy guys dressed up like Iron Man (though I did wear my Iron Man t shirt . Unfortunately there was a whole row of bros, but they actually behaved during the movie. I feel, given the name of the website, I shouldn’t state this, but just as a reminder, if you have not seen the movie and do not want to know any spoilers, click away NOW, this will be your last chance.
So the movie starts out back in 1999 with Tony Stark before he ever became Iron Man. He is at a new years eve party with a research botanist Maya Hansen and his bodyguard Happy. As Maya and Tony are going up to continue the party in their room, Aldrich Killian, who appears disabled with long greasy hair and overall unattractive, squeezes into the elevator to talk to Tony and Maya about his new Think Tank Aim. Maya accepts a card and Tony pulls him aside and says that he will meet up him on the roof later and for him to wait for him. At this point, we know that Tony has no intention of going up there. This is pre-Iron Man when Tony Stark is still a bit of an egotistical, uncaring douchebag. He goes back to Maya’s room where she is showing him her research on tapping into the genetic or neural coding of living things in order to allow them to heal themselves. They move into the bedroom and Happy pokes at the plant and rips a few leaves off. It grows back but then the entire thing explodes. Maya says that this is a flaw in her research and she is working on fixing it. In the morning we see Tony leave a note for her, though we can’t see what it says and he leaves expecting to never see Maya again.
Back in the present, Tony is incessantly tinkering because he can’t sleep. We see him putting in implants that go with his latest suit, Mark 42, that allow him to call his armor to him. Unfortunately it still has a few kinks to work out with it and the parts are hitting him a little hard. Eventually the last part knocks him over and it all falls to pieces. From the very start here we start to see how much the events that took place in The Avengers have affected him and his emotional state. We really see it when it is having lunch with Colonel Rhodes. Some kids ask him to sign a drawing and he freaks out and runs to his armor (which he left at the curb like a parked car). Jarvis tells him that he is having a panic attack and he leaves. It’s here that Tony learns more about the attacks by The Mandarin, but Rhodes tells him to stay out of it.
Who wouldn’t want to come home to this?
In the last movie, Tony promoted Pepper to the CEO of Stark Industries, which is probably good given his current mental state. Pepper goes in to work and she is scheduled to meet with a very handsome client. The client turns out to be Aldrich and Happy calls Tony because he was worried he was going to try to flirt with Pepper, especially since he did not look the same as he did in 1999. Aldrich is there to ask for funding from Stark Industries for his Extremis technology. He shows it to Pepper as a way to visualize what is going on in the brain in real-time. Pepper is concerned that it could be weaponized and has to decline. After Pepper meets with Aldrich, she heads home for date night with Tony. He had bought her a giant stuffed rabbit (that had boobs, that old Tony isn’t completely gone) and she walks in to find Tony on the couch in the Iron Man suit. She tried to convince him to take it off, but when he refuses, she goes to find him downstairs working out. She gets mad but Tony admits that he is a “hot mess” after what happened in The Avengers. She gets him to come take a shower to take his mind off things and they go to bed. In the middle of the night Tony is having a nightmare about what happened in New York and Pepper tries to wake him. He apparently was able to call the suit in his sleep and it grabbed Pepper. He stopped it before anything else happened, but she got upset and went to sleep downstairs. I was kind of confused as to why this upset her so much. Perhaps that he had been tinkering with things so much, but I would have been more included to comfort Tony after the nightmare and try to figure out what was bothering him so much.
Outside of Tony’s relationship trouble, Happy follows the Aldrich’s suspicious bodyguard, Savin, to the Chinese Theater. He sees him give a case to a anxious looking military guy. Happy bumps into him to try and determine what is going on, but Savin catches him and attacks him. The military guy inhales something from the case and he essentially starts to boil from the inside out and explodes like a bomb. Both Happy and Savin are badly injured, but Savin gets up and walks away as his body heals itself. The effects of him healing himself as he walks away like nothing happened makes him seem all the more creepy. The Mandarin claims this as one of his attacks and at this point we think he is still planning the attacks, but using people as the bomb. Happy is of course taken to the hospital but is in a coma. Tony visits him, but when he is leaving the press swarm him to ask what Iron Man is going to do about The Mandarin and this is where he gets very serious. Tony offers a personal threat to The Mandarin saying that he is already dead and gives out his home address and says to come and get him.
Back at home, he uses Jarvis to walk through the scene of the explosion. He realizes that Happy is pointing and looking at something and he finds the dog tags of the guy that blew up. Tony is able to put the pieces together to realize that the bomb was a person and uses the heat signature of the explosion to find other explosions. One of the signatures he finds was not claimed by The Mandarin and he tells Javis to plan a flight route to Tennessee so they can go check it out. Just then the door bell rings and Tony yells at Jarvis for not having the high security protocol in place. He goes up to answer it in his Iron Man suit and finds a very nervous Maya at the door. Maya comes in, but Pepper is packing up some bags and says that they are leaving because Tony gave out their address. You would expect that Pepper would be upset that an ex-fling of Tony’s is in the house, but they actually have some playful banter over the matter, which was funny. But that leads to Tony and Pepper arguing over the fact that they are not leaving when Maya points out that there is a missile headed for the house. During the slow motion explosion scene, Tony uses his new tech to put the suite on Pepper in order to protect her. She takes advantage of the suit and uses it to protect Tony and to get Maya out of the house. Tony cannot find a way out of the house as it is starting to go crashing into the ocean and calls the suit back to him before going down with the house. He gets trapped as parts of the house are sinking, but frees himself just in time. This scene for me was both heartbreaking and amusing. First, we see the cases with the original Iron Man suits explode due to the missiles, but we also see items from the house, like his expensive cars as well as the charred boob bunny, sinking into the ocean.
Tony and Harley
During his escape, Tony passes out and wakes up from the low power warning as he is zooming across Tennessee and ends up crashing. He drags his suit behind him until he comes across a shed near a house that he decides to set up in to get warm and repair the suit. It’s here we meet the coolest side character in the movie, Harley. Harley is a kid around 10 years old that uses the shed as his place to tinker and play with this, probably much how Tony got his start. He is not freaked out by Tony, who tells him he’s a mechanic, and the suit and Tony convinces him to help him out by giving him something he can use on the kid that bullies him at school.
They go into town to get some things to work on the suite with and they come across the bombing site that Jeeves had found. There is a small crater and five shadows from the victims that were killed. If the guy who was said to have used a bomb had actually used a bomb, he would have had a shadow too. He goes to find the supposed bombers mother and she gives him a file on her son. For me, this part was a little confusing because it was clear Tony had not talked to her, but he was playing along like he had and expected the file. It all makes more sense when the woman that the mother was supposed to meet comes in and tries to arrest Tony. Being a small town, the local cops int he bar intervene and all hell breaks lose. The woman starts using her power to burn the cops with her hands as well as shooting them. Tony nabs the file and the dog tags from the mother and runs out. He gets the woman into another empty restraunt and tosses the dog tags in the microwave and rips a gas line, causing the building to explode. Thinking that he has escaped, he runs into Savin who has nabbed Harley. Harley uses the item that Tony gave him and Tony uses a small pulse he had rigged up to kill Savin (but at this point we know better than to think that he’s dead).
Tony takes Savin’s car and sends Harley back home to keep an eye on the suit and work on fixing it. He takes off, while looking a the file from the bombers mother. He is on the phone with Jarvis and Harley who determine that the broadcasts from The Mandarin are coming from Miami. He asks if the suit is ready yet, but when Harley says that it’s not he has to pull over because he is having another panic attack. What is Tony Stark without the Iron Man suit? The kid is able to calm him down with one simple question, “Well you’re a mechanic right? Why don’t you build something?” Off to the hardware store he goes where he buys a ton of seemingly random stuff and assembles it into various gagets and bombs in a hotel room. I really loved this part because it really gets to the core of who Tony is and that the suit is just a part of him. Once in Miami, Tony uses his new toys to get past all the security and quickly finds The Mandarin. For a turn that I did not expect, The Mandarin is not really a terrorist, he is a silly British actor named Trevor. He finds out that Aldrich is really the bad guy, but Savin comes in and knocks Tony out and captures in. The funniest scene in the movie for me is when Savin asks Trevor why he didn’t push the panic button and he says “Well, I panicked then I handled it.” I can totally see myself using that line at some point.
Oh yeah, this movie isn’t just about Tony Stark, we have some side characters that need to be involved too! After watching her house be destroyed and sink into the ocean as well as crews go over the house, it still isn’t clear if Pepper thinks that Tony is dead or not. She takes Maya to get a safe place so they can talk. Maya tells Pepper about her research and how she thinks that Aldrich is working with The Mandarin. Her guise was working, but Aldrich became in patient and bursts in so they can take Pepper in attempts to get Tony to help with the Extremis technology. Back in the secret lair Aldrich tells Tony he has Pepper and has started her on the Extremis procedure. It’s here we learn that the Extremis technology is what’s been causing people to blow up and it’s not on purpose, it’s an inate flaw in the science. Maya tries to get him to help because she couldn’t figure out the note he left all those years ago, but that it must be the answer. Trying to play to her true nature, Tony reminds her that she isn’t like Aldrich. She has a change of heart and threatens to kill herself because she feels Aldrich cannot continue without her help. His ego is too big, perhaps a side of Extremis, and shoots her and leaves Tony with two guards as he goes off on the last piece of his evil plot.
We also learned at Rhodes had gotten captured while inside the Iron Patriot suit and they eventually force him out, but he comes out fighting. Unfortunately he is outnumbered and Savin takes the Iron Patriot suit. While Rhodes is escaping from where he is being held, Tony is trying to as well. The alarm on his Dora watch goes off and the guards are not able to make it stop. He says they’ll be sorry very soon and keeps making the motions for his armor while the guards taunt him. Finally a hand and foot show up and Tony is able to blast away a small onslaught of bad guys. The last guy that shows up, Tony simply points his palm blaster and a gun at him and he drops his gun and says he doesn’t like his job anyways and that these guys are doing weird shit and runs away. He’s wondering where the rest of his suit is when it cuts back to Tennessee where the rest of the parts are trapped in Harley’s shed, which he promptly frees.
Once outside, Tony sees the Iron Patriot suit going after Aldrich’s plan and he calls to see if it was really Rhodes. They meet up, still at the Miami machine to go and harass Trevor for information. The Iron Man suit is still not completely functional, so they take Trevor’s speedboat to go after Aldrich. While Tony is trying to charge the suit, Rhodes calls the Vice President to warn him about the attack on the president. The Vice President seems considered but when a guard asks if he is okay, he says everything is fine and goes back to celbrating what appears to be a birthday for his handicap daugther, showing that he is also in with Aldrich. We cut to seeing the president gettign on Air Force One just as the Iron Patriot suit lands and gets on the plane as well. Iron Man shows up just after Savin stuffed the president in the Iron Patriot armor and sent him to Aldrich (apparently Savin can reprogram the suit to do whatever he wants). Iron Man blasts Savin through the heart and kills him for good, bu tonly after Savin blew a hole in the plane which sucked out all the passengers. He goes after them to save them all which I found to be a cool scene. He has to get the panicked people who are falling to work together and grab on to teach other because he cannot carry them all. He drops them in the ocean and flies off over a highway where he gets hit by a truck, which makes the suit fall apart to reveal Tony was not actually in it (Thank god, I remember thinking “Oh come on!”, thinking Tony had been killed in a stupid way).
Badass Pepper Potts
Back on the boat, Tony and Rhodes arrive at the oil rig where Aldrich is with his gang of Extremis goons. Rhodes mentions how he would apprciate some backup, since the Iron Man suit is gone, and Tony itiations the house party protocol with Jarvis. Back at the ruins of the house, the basement opens up (much to the surprise of the poor construction guys trying to clean the place up) and out come all of his suits. I was thrilled because (even though I knew better from the trailer) it was still nice to see that all of the suits had not been destroyed. When the suits finally show up, Rhodes asked for one, but Tony says they are only coded to him and takes a suit to go off and find Pepper. He attempts to save her, but Aldrich, as this ridiculous molten man, interrupts. The fighting causes the carrier to shift, and Pepper falls to her (presumed) death. I did not believe she was dead (they were injecting her with Extremis), but I kind of expected Tony to give up and let Aldrich smack him around a little, but Tony decides to fight. Aldrich is clearly more powerful and skilled, but the prodigal son (the newest suit) returns and he puts the suit on Aldrich and tells Jarvis to blow it. Yey Tony wins! Well… except for Pepper being dead and such. Right? Nah, we know better than that by now. Aldrich slowly approaches Tony, determined to kill him, when out of no where Pepper, in all of her badass-ness, shows up and hits him out of the park with some debris. One of the remaining suits sees Pepper, and since she has the Extremis heat signature, goes after her, but she quickly takes it down. She uses the arm of the suit to blast away Aldrich for good. When she stops, she turns to Tony and says “Wow, that was really violent…”. She is terrified of hurting or burning Tony and especially worried that she will never be the same, but Tony promises to fix her.
The last few scenes leave a bit to be desired and are, in a way, confusing. Tony is able to fix Pepper, though they say how or what became of the Extremis technology. He also decides to have his arc reactor removed. I was quite concerned about him removing the reactor because it is such a part of him and an iconic part of the Iron Man that I know and love (remember, haven’t read the comics or anything else, so I don’t know if he ever does this in those). I also had the impression that it was impossible to remove the shrapnel in his heart. After it’s removed, he chucks it in the ocean with the rest of his house and makes a point to say that you can take away his suits and his toys, but you cannot take away the fact that he is Iron Man. So many questions still remained for me, would Iron Man be back without his arc reactor? Will he make more suits? At the very end, after the extra scene in which Tony is talking to Dr. Banner about his emotional issues after New York (not the best after credit scene in my opinion) there is text that says “Iron Man WILL return”.
Thinking back over the movie, I really felt that I should have made the connection to Maya and Aldrich much sooner than we did. We were shown her work for a purpose at the beginning, but it didn’t really click until Aldrich came in to capture Pepper. I suppose the rest of the movie was so engaging that it kept my mind off it and prevented me from making that leap. I did really like that Rhodes and Pepper were included in the movie much more than others. Rhodes is just a cool guy and while Tony likes him, it’s clear he does not want a sidekick. Tony said that all of his suits are coded to him, but we know he can put the Mark 42 on other people, so that may just be an excuse. Also, while I do not care for Gwyneth Paltrow, I do love Pepper Potts and she totally kicked ass in this morning. I loved seeing her in the Iron Man suite at the beginning, especially when she couldn’t get it to work right. However, the effects of the Extremis plus the Iron Man suit at the end was a killer combination. I would have loved to see her as a full on superman, but I think that being in situations like Tony was in The Avengers would be even harder on her. I am not sure she would be able to handle it. I could see her trying and end up becoming a supervillain that Tony would have to fight, that would be a very interesting story.
My favorite thing about the movie overall though is how they tied in The Avengers. I have seen other people say that this was the perfect movie to come after it and I agree. I really didn’t expect there to be much tie in, but it was great to see the vulnerability that Tony was dealing with. Really though, how does a normal person deal with something like that? Tony doesn’t really have super powers per se, not like the Hulk or Thor. It’s definitely a side of superheroes that we don’t really get to see.
Overall, I loved it. The bad guys were not my favorite and seemed a little strained at times, but how Tony deals with everything, even when he doesn’t have his fully functional awesome suit is great. I loved Pepper and Rhodes. And Harley? That kid is just awesome. Plus I love how Tony decked out his tinkering shed. I loved how they bantered and how, even though Tony acted like he doesn’t like kids, he connects with Harley. I think he probably seems some of himself in him. The ending did leave a little left to be desired and I was really worried when he was getting the arc reactor removed, but Iron Man WILL return and I cannot wait. I give it 8 Iron Man helmets out of 10.