‘Iron Man 3’


The superhero franchise that started it all for Marvel Studios is back with its third chapter. And after an extremely disappointing second chapter, it’s back with a new writer/director in the form of Shane Black. Star Robert Downey Jr. and Black worked together on the modern classic take on noir, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a film in which former Batman actor Val Kilmer won the Academy Award for Best Supporti– I’m sorry, I’m being told that he wasn’t even nominated, which some federal agency should investigate.

Where was I?

Oh right–Iron Man 3. It looks awesome. Iron Man faces off against Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin, who has seemingly been stripped of all Chinese associations so as not to offend the Chinese government and thus not lose access to the lucrative Chinese market.

Want to read Paul Montgomery’s spoiler free review of Iron Man 3? You can read it here!

Want to hear a podcast discussion about Iron Man 3? You’ll find it on Sunday!

Are you going to see Iron Man 3? Of course you are! So let’s talk about it!

If you haven’t seen the movie yet be forewarned – there be SPOILERS ahoy! So don’t scroll down any further if you are sensitive to that kind of thing.


  1. I think this might be my favorite Iron Man movie, but I’ve only watched it twice, so I need to watch it a couple more times for a more objective review

    • I agree!
      So disappointed to see so many negative reactions here, I thought you guys had taste 😛
      It was my second favorate Marvel film after The Avengers.
      Shane black did an excellent job, from the moment the Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang style voice over started I knew I was going to enjoy it.
      The dialogue is great, as our the music choices and the whole thing has such a sense of style that’s missing from most of the other Marvel/Disney films.
      The action was really competently directed too, it’s something most people don’t notice when it’s done well, you could always tell what was going on but it still managed to remain visceral, it straddled the line perfectly between boring and shaky-cam, unintelligible nonsense.
      As for people complaining Iron Man wasn’t in it much, where you not paying attention? Tony Stark IS Iron Man, that’s the point the film was trying to make.
      I love that we got to see the man being a hero on his own without all the high powered weaponry.
      In short I loved it, and hopefully the 7.9 on IMDb means the people I’ve seen on here are in the minority. (I know IMDb ratings are high when a film first comes out and they tend to settle down over time.)

  2. Disappointed in this movie. It was a huge let down. I like Shane black but this film was all over the place. With hardly any iron man at all. I hope mos doesn’t do the same or Thor.

  3. I’ll be interested to see how people here will react to the portrayal of the Mandarin in this move. I thought it was a great twist and Ben Kingsley does a great job, but I read one review that called the approach sacrilegious.

  4. I liked the movie but it wasnt great. it was a let down for sure. Not the the greatest start to the superhero summer but not as bad as iron man 2 either. The biggest thing that bugs me is the mandarin. that is a slap in the face for comics fans and I cant wait to hear your guys thoughts on sun! good action, it was funny(maybe too much comedy) and yeah tony stark wasnt iron man as much as I would have liked but what can ya do….6 or 7 outta 10.

    • I disagree, I thought this interpretation of Mandarin was great, as was Ben Kingsley’s performance. I don’t see how the twist is any different to Batman Begins

    • the difference is they made iron mans biggest bad guy a joke….im not a iron man comic book reader but if i was i would be even more upset. to mee thats like taking the joker and making him a fake and the bad guy is really the riddler. to just throw manderin away i cant believe he did it…..:(

      See that’s where you and I differ. All I care about is that the film itself is good, you could have a film that’s completely loyal to the source material, but if it’s not entertaining I won’t enjoy it.
      You have to remember the key part of the word adaption is adapt, which literally means “to change”.
      So if there was a Batman film with an interesting twist on the Joker mythos, like he’s an actor, or an alien or a figment of Batman’s imagination as long as it was a god film I would like it.
      In fact I personally like being surprised by films, which is very hard to do with a film based on existing material so when they manage it I think they should be applauded.

    • yeah we are gonna have to agree to disagree on this i think. i have no problem with some changes like joker wearing face pant instead of his skin being stained but as soon as it changes the character im out! and they changed the mandarin so much, took away the rings , the seriousness of him. they took away every except for the name. for me it really ruined the film almost. everything else i enjoyed but i cant believe they did that to mandarin. thats cutsy and in my opinion stupid. you shouldnt make iron mans main villian a joke. again im shocked is the only thing i can say just wow they did that? lol.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Iron Man’s main villain is himself.

    • -,- i was waiting for someone to say that lol….i was happy about the ending of the movie. i thought it wrapped up the 3 nicely.

    • The film’s take on the Mandarin is ok, but imagine all the possible themes that were thrown away by altering he nature of the character. The Mandarin was originally a Cold War villain like Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, Black Widow. Battles between Iron Man and his Communist adversaries were always symbolic of the struggle of democratic capitalism against totalitarian communism. That could have been updated. Americans now have a fear of a rising China. I suspect that the entire Western world feels that fear. A contemporary battle between Iron Man and Mandarin could have been about a clash of cultures, globalization, the rise of China as an economic power. But the movie would have been more philosophical, and would have had a different tone. Shane Black’s talent is for fast paced, clever dialogue and tight plotting.

    • @Invasionforce
      That’s all hypothetical, it COULD have had all that subtext doesn’t mean it WOULD have. In fact you admit Shane Black probably wouldn’t have gone for that tone anyway.
      And there’s plenty of philosophical themes they can explore with this character, in fact you already have the ethical issue at the end of how do you treat Trevor Slattery. Did he do anything wrong? He was just an actor playing a role completely naive to what it was being used for.
      There are just as many themes you can explore with this character than the comic book Mandarin, in fact I’d argue he’s MORE relevant to modern society and the way we need a hate figure, a face the news can use to blame certain events on.
      You’ve got to not get too caught up in the way the comics did things and accept the upsides of change when you move to a different medium.
      Arguably the Marvel movies are less serialized than the comics, so they can afford to throw away more characters, The Mandarian may never have come back anyway, and they couldn’t guarantee they would get Sir Ben Kingsley again.
      I’d rather they just tell go, entertaining, stand alone stories.

    • @kzap liek you said its an adaptation but the problem is they didnt even adapt him as far as im concern. they took the mandarins name and thats it -,- i love the idea of magic verses machine its a great opposite. but they didnt even use the rings or anything. i do give them credit they hid that scret well. through all the trailers and everytihng he looks like the threat. but still its just a slap in that face i think to comic fans. I am off to see it tonight and hoping to enjoy it more.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Adapt literally means “to change” as opposed to “copy and paste.”

      It’s only a slap in the face if you decide it is. It’s possible to be a dedicated comic fan and enjoy the choice.

    • All I could talk about going into the movie was The Mandarin. I’m sure my friends all heard enough of “I can’t wait for the rings!”, “The Mandarin is so kick ass!”, “The Mandarin Iron Man fight is gonna be so epic!” When the reveal happened I had a huge laugh. How could I be upset with this if it entertained me so much? I loved it! It was better to catch me so off guard and hit me in the face with humor. I agree with Paul you can be a dedicated comic fan and still enjoy the choice.

  5. I saw a sneak preview and I’ve been mulling it over in my head and at the end of the day I think the Mandarin turn doesn’t work. First and foremost, it’s out of nowhere. The man execute somebody on national tv (even though yes it is off-screen in the film but still it’s implied) and then he becomes this goofy actor guy? I didn’t buy it. I spent the rest of the movie waiting for that to be a trick. And it totally sucked me out of the movie for a little bit. It also doesn’t make sense when you realize that the terrorist group The Ten Rings were also the terrorists that kidnapped Tony in the first movie at the behest of Obadiah Stane. Does that mean that Stane was working with Aldrich? For Aldrich? And the overall plot of the movie is a little bit of a mess. There are beats that work and beats that don’t. I almost feel like there’s another half an hour of the movie sitting on the editing floor that explains a lot. I’m not going to be one of those people that say the Mandarin turn was sacrilegious, but it was a serious letdown. But all in all I still enjoyed the movie and am going to see it tomorrow, but I have some major issues with it, and being such a huge fan of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that really disappoints me.

    • Um, isn’t the guy the Mandarin ‘executed’ early in the film seen passed out on the sofa with some hookers?
      I’m sure that’s what I saw when Tony Stark goes to confront him. I thought it all made sense and wasn’t ‘The Ten Rings’ just an out-of-continuity nod to the character because they didn’t think they were going to use him?
      Either that or the villains set the Mandarin up to PRETEND to be connected to them, when he’s not really.

  6. Very disappointed in the movie. I give it 5/10, and that’s being generous. Downey brought the funny, but there was too much of it. When moments came when he had to switch from sarcasm to showing genuine emotion I was left confused and wondering “Is he still being sarcastic?” Right after something happens that should rip out his heart, he still finds time to trash talk his opponent in a cool and collected Stark-style monologue. Ridiculous. Plus, where was Iron Man? 90 minutes of the film was about Tony running around and trying desperately to overpower his enemies without his armor. WTF? This isn’t Sherlock Holmes 3, it’s Iron Man 3!!! Last but not least, the big reveal of who the Mandarin really iswas was done brilliantly by Ben Kinsley, but it left me feeling kinda hollow and thinking “Are you really going to brush away the legacy of the Mandarin’s reputation in the comics and replace it with this ridiculous explanation, Kevin Feige?”

    • Yes! Too much humor! So much that it reduced the tension to nothing. It almost played like a parody, with the mark 42 failing ten times in several “funny” ways.
      Apart from that I enjoyed it a lot, but I was never a big Iron Man fan, so I am not that close to the character. If they had done what they did with Mandarin to Joker in a Batman movie, for example, I would’ve started a riot. And no, it isn’t like the Ra’s al Ghul twist, since that never played any version of him (decoy or real) for cheap laughs.

    • I’d like for everyone complaining about the Mandarin’s treatment in this film to name one memorable story featuring the character… The only one I can think of is Joe Casey’s Enter the Mandarin, which was all right, but hardly a classic.

      I’m a pretty massive Iron Man fan – I loved the cartoon as a kid, and bought nearly every book featuring the character for a while there. But even though he’s always been Iron Man’s arch-nemesis, there’s just not a whole lot to his character. His early appearances were rather racist, and everything creators have tried with him over the years hasn’t really stuck.

  7. I’m glad to see all the disappointment, because I thought I’d be in the minority, after all the praise this movie’s been getting. A lot of the humor fell flat, the action was largely boring, and that twist was utter poop. And some people dare say this is better than Avengers.

  8. This movie was really fun. The kinda fun that was missing from Iron Man 2.

  9. This movie was extremely disappointing. First of all, the Mandarin. I accept that Hollywood will use different interpretations of comic book characters, but I think what they did is kind of insulting. They totally played with fans’ expectations. You build up to him for two movies, cast a major actor in the role and then completely crap on the character. Could you imagine that happening with another character’s archenemy? “Wait, I’m not the Joker, I’m just some actor!” Ridiculous. The movie also had extremely poor writing and logic. I feel like I’ve always been in the minority for liking Iron Man 2, but I hope people will appreciate that movie more in light of this train wreck.

    • Iron man 2 IS far superior to 3, now that you mention it. In fact, I’m gonna watch it again right now to rid myself of the crushing depression I’ve been feeling ever since I walked out of Iron Man 3.

    • At least Iron Man 2 had a legit threat in Whiplash/Crimson Dynamo as they didn’t play that character off as a literal joke. Iron Man 3 was non-stop jokes from beginning to end, and in a movie dealing with suicide bombers and terrorists, it felt so fucking jarring. I wish they’d have left Mandarin out of this one if they weren’t even going to bother doing him correctly. An Asian guy with magical rings is too unbelievable in a world with alien Norse gods and teleporting robot space whales now?

      This was the worst of all the Marvel Studios movies by leaps and bounds. At least Thor 2 doesn’t look to be 90% Darcy jokes and 10% action/drama/adventure.

  10. I really enjoyed the film and thought The Mandarin twist was actually really smart. The Mandarin really is a stereotype as a villain and while I think the could have worked hard to make him a serious threat, I thought it was a smarter and bolder move to do what they did.

    The one thing that I was really disappointed by was Tony not taking the Extremis and re-working it. That seemed to be the natural progression with what happened to him in The Avengers and wanting to improve on himself. I’m not sure if it was implied that he had taken it, but I thought that was going to be a major plot point in the movie.

  11. This movie was a major letdown. too much RDJ being self indulgent. Dissapointing antagonists. 7/10

  12. I’m so disappointed. I didn’t like IM3. I thought it was boring and there wasn’t enough Iron Man. The villains weren’t interesting especially after the Mandarin twist. It really didn’t feel like a Marvel Studios movie =/
    I know I will be in the minority here but I think I had more fun with IM2 just because it felt like it belonged to the shared comic universe with Black Widow, Nick Fury etc. First one is still the best by a long shot.
    Even the extra scene, while fun, was a let down with all the fun reveals that could have happened.

    • You’re not in the minority.

    • Exactly, this is the first movie to start off your Phase 2 and you could just simply being in Fury and Stark could explain his plan on healing and maybe reworking Extremis to bolster the Avengers blah blah blah. Instead its some jokey thing with Banner falling asleep listening to this story. Weak. Loved Guy Pearce and his role and towards the end he almost redeemed the movie, villain wise for me. The trailers wanted us to think this was going to be grim and gritty and and it was for the first half right up to the comical Slattery reveal. I didnt HATE it…but, i didnt love it either. I give it a benefit of a doubt and give it a 6.5-7. Just thought there was a lot of wasted potential.

  13. I just got home from the theater, and my initial reaction is very positive. Despite a few serious holes that could’ve been explained with an extra line of exposition or two, the script was a lot tighter than IM2. Black seems to be able to rein in Downey’s tendency to over-improvise, and let it work when it works. The one-liners were constant, but there were many more hits than there were misses. Comedy has always been a huge component in these films, and with an actor like RDJ at your disposal, it’d be unwise not to continue that trend and bog the movie down with broodiness. That being said, I was surprised to see the lengths to which they took the panic attacks. It’s a bold move to give your hero that weakness, but with a character like Stark, it pays off brilliantly.

    These movies are spectacle. This isn’t Nolan’s Batman. And with that in mind, this movie closes the door with a hell of a bang. The action was executed terrifically. The battle on the ship was pure, pulsepounding entertainment. It was a thrill ride.

    I was really shocked by the feeling of finality in this one. I’m well aware of Downey’s ongoing contractual negotiations, and was prepared for this being a final chapter to the solo franchise, but it’s going to be really interesting to see how Whedon handles the changes implemented here, and to what capacity he’ll use Tony/Iron Man in Avengers 2. The nice thing is that with a character like Stark, there is no shortage of innovation. He’ll come up with something. And I must confess the final scene with him tossing the chest piece had a real impact on me. I’m happy that both the character and the actor are moving on. I want good things for both.

    My nitpicks are few. I confess I could’ve used Tony in the suit a bit more, but the technique of having him control the suits the way he did made for some really great moments. Killian’s second death was a bit of a question mark. A single line of exposition as to what kind of payload that silver dildo Pepper kicks at him was packing could’ve gone a long way in believability. The first death with the suit explosion was much cooler, but it was nice to see Pepper shine.

    The Mandarin thing doesn’t bother me. I consider myself a rational purist, but let’s get serious. The Mandarin is pretty low on the list of legendary villains, even by superhero comics standards. Hardcore Mandarin fans should’ve been prepared for a different approach from day one. I appreciate the attempt to pull the rug out from the fans, and I think was executed competently. I certainly didn’t find it insulting. These movies need to have some surprises, and I didn’t find it all that dissimilar from Ducard turning out to be Ra’s in Batman Begins.

    All in all, I’d give it a 4 out of 5. I’ll miss these characters, and this world. It was a great ride.

    Dummy lived. That’s all that matters.

    • Well said

    • What action do you speak of? All the action in the film was in the trailers. And what do you mean by this isn’t Nolan’s batman? This film was worse than the second one.

    • That’s your opinion. I’ve only seen it once, an hour ago, but at the moment I prefer this to Iron Man 2. I own IM2 and I’ve seen it many times. I enjoy it, but in my opinion this one had more going for it.

      It’s obvious we disagree, but I’ll address your reply. We saw glimpses of each major action sequence in the trailers. It’s no different than every single other action movie trailer in the last decade or more. Including, I’m sure, many movies you love. It’s impossible to absorb an entire sequence from a clip in a three minute trailer. If you honestly think that there wasn’t any action in this movie, you’ve gone where I can’t follow.

      All I meant by the Nolan Batman comment was that those films set a precedent for every superhero movie that followed it, and that’s not always a good way to look at it. I truly love all those films, but I think some people compare everything they see to Nolan’s approach. For some fans, if your movie isn’t dripping with brood and hyper realistic, it isn’t a serious approach to a comic film. I tend to view Iron Man 1 as having just as important an impact, and showing the flip side of that mentality. A superhero flick can be fun, funny, and light in tone and still be great. It’s apples and oranges.

    • I agree, a 4/5 is probably accurate, although I think I’m harsher on all the previous Mavel films than you and would give must of them a 3/5, except The Avengers which gets 5/5.
      I think people are just complaining because it wasn’t what they expected or wanted, perhaps it wasn’t true to the continuity of the comics, perhaps it didn’t have the armor in as much but that doesn’t make it bad.
      And unlike The Dark Knight Rises were most audiences are going to see the film for Batman, I think the general public go and see an Iron Man film (and The Avengers) for Robert Downey Jr.
      I thought giving Tony Stark more stuff to do outside of the armor was the BEST thing they could have done.
      It meant we weren’t left with mind numbing, CGI machines-bashing-each-other sequences which I thought was a floor of the previous two. We got action involving real people and an actual sense of threat because the lead character was venerable.

  14. Can’t really understand the negativity about this movie! It had plenty of action, classic Tony Stark, great special affects, and yes a great story. It was spectacular in IMAX. The crowd in my theatre loved it!!

  15. I thought it was a very fun and enjoyable movie. My audience definitely loved it too. My only complaint is to the cavalier attitude the heroes had towards killing, in this movie. Tony doesn’t take a single drink, but he sure does kill a whole lot of people. Disney was cool with that but not booze, it seems.
    Otherwise, good movie. Lots of great action, lots of funny moments. Ben Kingsley was hysterical! Loved him in it. The air rescue scene was breathtaking. All in all a very good experience of a movie. Makes me more excited to see Thor 2 now.

    • “Disney was cool with that but not booze”
      That’s the same double standard all western mainstream media has had for a long while.
      Just look at television you can have a character murder someone but you can’t show nudity or say the word “fuck”, even though those last two are far more common place and less morally repulsive. More people complain about gay sex scenes than implied rape.
      Even though I liked the film, perhaps more than you, I don’t see how it would make you more excited for Thor 2, it’s got completely different writers and directors.
      It’s great you’re excited for that film but keep in mind they only real link is the studio. It would be like getting excited for the next issue of Spider-Man because you loved Hawkeye and they’re both published by Marvel, the quality of one does not directly effect the other.

    • Why am I excited for Thor 2 after seeing Iron Man 3? Because these movies are all connected and are all leading up to the same “event” (in this case an Avengers Movie).

    • @JokersNuts
      Sure but only loosely, they’re written and produced pretty independently, Iron Man 2 was connected to Captain America that didn’t stop it sucking or the latter being good.
      I think my comic book analogy holds up, Hawkeye is connected to Spider-Man, they’re both in the same universe, they may even cross over at some point, that doesn’t mean because one is good the other will be too.
      I’m not saying you shouldn’t be excited for Thor 2, you have the right to be excited about whatever you want, I’m just warning you that the quality of this film isn’t a prediction of the quality of that film.

    • what possibly would lead you to believe that anything related to Iron Man 3 connects to Thor? They gave us nothing to think that. Really, it almost leads you believe that it doesnt even seem to move anything forward to Avengers 2. Thats dropping the ball.

    • @Troy: Marvel said from the very beginning of “Phase 2” that all the individual hero movies would be self contained and not just be build-ups for Avengers 2. They were pretty open about that from before Iron Man 3 even started filming so I’m not sure how that is “dropping the ball.”

  16. I had a good time with this movie. I liked MacGuyver Tony and Kid (I’d watch that show) I liked that we got more believable action buddy moments with Stark and Rhodey, I loved the Die Hardisms…and I liked Guy Pearce Bond Villaining it up.
    The Mandarin fake-out was totally ok by me…I could feel the movie going that way with all the set up they were giving to Pearce, and Kingsley had fun.
    The only thing that bugs me that was pointed out in the negative comments is the unexplained connection between the Mandarin/Killian and the Ten Rings organization from the first film. Could have been just a cut line connecting them to A.I.M. , but it would have been nice if that was made clear.

  17. I think too many people are judging this movie based on their own expectations rather than it’s own merits – what it isn’t rather than it is. I like how it subverted expectations, especially with the Mandarin.

    I also liked that a big superhero movie could genuinely surprise me, when did that last happen?

    As for the fact that Tony’s not in suit much, well, I’d rather see Tony larking about than some CG robot man for most of the movie. He’s a very entertaining fellow.

    • Exactly, you’ve said what I’ve been trying to far more succinctly. People on this site usually have great taste, so it’s sad to see so many people hating on a good film just because it wasn’t what they expected.
      There’s no doubt in my mind it’s better than the previous two, anyone who prefers the second is simply nuts.

  18. Caught the movie last night with 3 other people. Three of us really liked, thought it was a funny, entertaining conclusion to a solid superhero series. Our other buddy thought it was too all over the place, pretty much hated it, reaffirmed his opinion of Shane Black from previous movies. Fittingly, I’d give the movie a 3/4 overall.

    **Not plot but humor spoiler**

    I got my biggest laugh out of the scene where Tony’s escaped from being captured and the last henchman says something like “I quit, I hate working here, these people are weird!” In a movie where people are constantly glowing red, melting stuff, or exploding, I thought that was a great one-liner bringing the movie back to reality.

  19. I for one loved the twist with the Mandarin. I’ve never liked him in the books, he never seemed a good fit for Tony as a archenemy. His alien rings are weird and would’ve felt out of place in this movie. And without them or any real power a fight between Iron Man and the Mandarin would’ve been over in about 10 seconds.

  20. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but from what I’m reading here, it sounds like the “Mandarin twist” is the perfect way to introduce The Mandarin in Iron Man 4…..the real Mandarin I mean .

    Here it seems we have a bad guy subverting the reputation of an organization, that Tony has history and bad blood with (The Ten Rings organization is inferred inthe first 2 films and explicitly stated in the novel adaptions so they are a canon part of the movie universe).

    It seems this is very public, so once this conflict resolves, you have a perfect opening for the person Kingsly is impersonating to a) seek revenge and b) reclaim his reputation and honor.

    I’m looking forward to how this setup plays on the screen and hope I’m right for a possible #4

  21. Was it ever explained why he was called the Mandarin? I can’t remember if ever it was…

    • When Tony was in his workshop looking into the bombings and the Mandarin’s profile as gathered by the FBI, CIA and SHIELD intercepts, he was kind of mumbling to himself about the significance of the name and the theatricality.

  22. The opinions on this movie seem to differ quite a bit, especially on the Mandarin part. But I have to say I had a much bigger problem with the Avengers tie ins. I think the mandarin story worked pretty well but the whole anxiety issue seemed to be only in the movie to remind people of the Avengers. especially because they seemed to be resolved without any major difficulties and where never really used in any major way to advance the plot or Tony’s journey as a character. I watched the first two movies again last week and I have to say the thing that bothered me the most about the second one was also the “tie ins” (I mean, Fury doesn’t really have any purpose).

    Another huge problem I had with the movie was the relation between Pepper and Tony. In the first two movies Pepper was still very opposed to Tony’s recklessness and concerned for his and also her life and the danger he poses for both (think of all her screaming in the Monaco scene in 2). In this movie however, she doesn’t seem to have any problems with the dangers involved in living with Iron Man. Even though in this movie he really puts her in danger by basically inviting the mandarin to his house. Endangering Pepper in such a way seemed extremely over the top, even for Tony (I mean think of all the stuff Pepper has to go through later). And it was never a topic again.

    The movie wasn’t bad over all and I think as a deconstruction of Tony and the whole “villain” idea it worked pretty well, but these things really bothered me.

  23. The only good part about this movie was RETRO shoulder pads ironman suit!

  24. So I just got back and I liked it. I need to see it again (which I will tomorrow) to decide how much I liked it, the whole Mandarin thing threw me for a loop because it’s not what I was expecting going in to the movie, but I think I liked how it was done and think it worked. So yeah, going to see it again tomorrow knowing what to expect so I’ll have a better idea of how I feel about it then.

    • Liked it even better seeing it for a second time. This is probably my 4th favorite of the Marvel movies; Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America are better in my opinion.

  25. I really enjoyed this movie. But I can’t rate it till I see it for a second time. (Will be tomorrow) I have to sit alone and really think about this movie now. 😉

  26. Really enjoyed this movie. The Mandarin twist was a nice surprise (which is not easy in this day and age).
    I liked the whole Matt Helm vibe this movie had going. A good start to the Summer movies.

  27. I think a lot in the Geek community, of which I am one, are not liking this because it didn’t give you the Mandarin you were hoping for, but look at all the other great stuff you got! I even liked the kid, I love how harsh Tony got with him, “Yeah dads do that, so what.” I loved we got to see Tony in a ton of armors, I love that they had Pepper in the film kicking a little ass, I loved the attention to detail and continuity that was in the opening scene (notice anyone important?) I loved the watch. We even got to see RJD act a little bit with his PTSD. This was a really fun great movie.

    • I also loved seeing Pepper kick some ass! Before this film, I always found Tony and Pepper’s relationship a little creepy. Too much of a power imbalance, and like she is mothering him all the time. But now that she’s got some power too, and also seeing their interactions in this film (much more as equals, and she’s much more powerful, not his assistant at all), I really like their relationship.

      And it’s just so awesome that she has Extremis powers now (and her adorable “That was violent!”. Another expectation out of the film that was subverted – we expect Tony to get Extremis, but she ends up with it instead, and she even saves Tony from the bad guy at the end. I loved it! And Tony loved it too!

  28. Very cool movie. Not as good as the first, but a LOT better than part 2. I dug the whole Post-Avengers-Stress-Disorder angle; it made me remember my favorite part about this character: He’s smart & super-rich, but at the end of the day, he’s still just a dude who gets mixed up in fights with gods, aliens, monsters and super-beings. Stark is the easiest of the Big-Guns to identify with, and that gives the Iron Man films an angle that’s missing in Thor & Captain America.

    The Mandarin thing actually threw me for a big loop. I kept expecting him to say “Surprise. I was only PRETENDING to be an old dude pretending to be a super-villain.”

    Thumbs-up for the post-credit scene as well. The way it tied back to the very beginning of the movie was a nice touch.

  29. I get the sense that this is the discussion the higher-ups had about the Mandarin:

    Person 1: So it’s the third movie. We have to get the Mandarin in there. Have we figured out how to work that?
    Person 2: Nope. No matter what, he’s still a cartoon character. He’s Fu Manchu with Green Lantern rings and Jackie Chan superpowers. He’s too damn out there to put on screen.
    Person 1: Well we gotta get him in there. How do we make a cartoon character work?
    Person 3 (throws up arms): Why don’t we just make him a fake? Would that work?

    And then it did. At least I think it did.

  30. Ehh, the first half of the movie was good…everything else just weighed the film down.

    The comedic parts largely have to do with Tony Stark’s armor completely failing him or a cheesy one-liner Shane Black pulled from his old Lethal Weapon days. Stark shoots more guns in this movie than anything else and SHIELD has absolutely no presence in the film, which makes no sense if this is supposed to be connected to the rest of the cinematic universe. They attacked Stark’s home on US soil, surely someone at SHIELD would be concerned about an Avengers team member…right? Apparently not.

    From a comic book readers standpoint, I like the movie even less. The differences between comic book characters and their cinematic counterparts has always been interesting to me so long as that character isnt a complete trap-door. I’m obviously talking about Mandarin and how his character was/is essentially treated as a comic book character that’s “too silly” for movies. If this patsy was a Life Model Decoy at the end, I would’ve been MUCH happier, because then we’d learn that Mandarin is being his old evil mastermind self and that this movie IS actually tied into all the fictional crazyness we’ve seen in the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe to date. Instead he’s a drunk living in Miami with a green-screen team. The movie feels extremely buddy-cop when they get to the mansion in Miami and that doesnt let up until the ending credits.

    I like that something was done with Pepper Potts to kind of hint at her bad ass Rescue days, it’s just sad that they also turned her into this heat-generating immortal that actually doesnt need to wear any armor at all.

    “Sorry, the suits are molded to my shape”
    Yet Pepper Potts comfortably puts it on several times in the movie? Okay.

    • 1. Pepper wears the full suit once, and can’t operate the repulsors properly, so the suits being molded to Tony’s shape still works. She’s thinner than he is, and with the box RDJ stands on when they’re together, they’re more or less the same height. In the second movie, Black Widow implies that Tony has the suits coded to allow Rhodey access, it’s entirely possible that he allows Pepper the same access. It’s certainly not unbelievable.

      2. Tony says he’ll figure out the antidote to the Extremis injection. And when Tony Stark says he’s gonna fix something, it gets fixed. So Pepper is not a heat-generating immortal.

      3. The Mandarin is not a drunk living in a mansion in Miami. Aldrich Killian is the Mandarin. He still commits all the crimes Mandarin boasts about. It’s just a different guy. It’s definitely a vastly different approach to the character from the comics, but the character’s actions and motivations in the film remain the same. It’s just misdirection.

      4. They blatantly state that S.H.I.E.L.D. is looking into the bombings. Tony’s house is also crawling with men in suits after it blows up, so it’s plausible that some of those guys are S.H.I.E.L.D. They do have a presence in the film, however small. The creative team intentionally made it so the world thought Tony Stark was dead for half the movie to answer the inevitable question of “Why aren’t the Avengers helping him?” Personally, I was happy to have one film without Sam Jackson’s involvement. The shoehorned attempts at “connecting” Iron Man 2 to the rest of the films did nothing but drag it down.

      What else ya got?

    • I believe Tony straight up says he fixed Pepper at the end of the movie, right?

    • @WheelHands

      1. Stark specifically tells Rhodey that he cannot wear any of the Ironman suits in the final climax. Pepper Potts is a woman….they kind of have breasts and their bodies are shaped differently…you cant just fit a woman’s body in a man’s frame just because she’s “thinner” unless you fully plan on having her boobs and part of her butt shredded off. This is really over-speculation on my part but I found it to be a funny little oversight. They just didnt want Rhodey to get a suit and save the president quickly, instead he swings around Indiana Jones4 style to pad the scene.

      2. (@cubman987 too) Yeah that must’ve happened too quickly for me to catch it, I’m guessing it was only told through dialogue because I didnt actually see them remove anything but the piece of shrapnel from Stark’s heart.

      3. Personally, I think Aldrich Killian is the movie interpretation of Fin Fang Foom. He has the dragon tattoos and even breaths fire at one point. At the very moment Killian reveals himself to be the Mandarin, he gets slapped upside the head…I think this was to insinuate that while Killian is the real movie bad guy, he’s not the Moriarty we’re looking for. Though I heard that the director already pegged Killian as the real Mandarin, I’m thinking that’s a director trying to mis-direct his audience til Ironman4 comes around. Killing Mandarin off in the span of one movie would suck.

      4.Their presence is mostly in one or two lines of dialogue so there is no physical presence of them anywhere, especially when compared to any other movie in the MCU. After the missile attack there are people in suits but from what I remember they just had regular government-issued badges. The “Tony Stark is dead” bit was way underplayed *because* there was no SHIELD involvement, A simple scene of A SHIELD-branded agent stating this to Pott’s before she puts on the helmet and discovers Tony’s message would’ve helped drive that home. Sam Jackson isnt the entirety of SHIELD, Agent Coulson and Maria Hill are a perfect example of other SHIELD agents. It could’ve been the guy from Avengers that was playing Galaga for all I care…either way the Army had more presence in this film than the ginormous defense agency with “Hazard Intervention” in their name.

    • 1. I’m aware that Paltrow is a woman. But she’s not really packing much more than RDJ in the T&A department. The invention of the bra is like real life CGI. I’m pretty sure you let those bad boys outta the house, they droop like wet socks. It’s not unbelievable that she could fit in the suit. I know Tony told Rhodey the suits at the end were coded to him, but the reason Rhodey asked him for a suit in the first place was because Rhodey could operate all the previous Marks. It’s entirely plausible that Mks 8-41 were only coded for Tony. The glove Pepper blows Killian away with at the end is from the exploded Mark 42, which she already wore in the film. It’s also the most segmented of all the suits, so it’s not crazy to think that it can adjust for T&A, if Tony allowed her access. Which he obviously did. But you’re right, we’re reaching. Let’s call this one a draw.

      2. Aldrich Killian is The Mandarin. I find it funny that you’re more open to the possibility of him being Fing Fang Foom than accepting that he is The Mandarin. I don’t even wanna think of the backlash from comic fans if that happened. It would be the Galactus Cloud all over again. It’s unlikely that we’ll see an Iron Man 4 with Downey and Black’s involvement, and even if we do, do you honestly think they’ll muddy the Mandarin waters even more by making him another character just to pander to some whining fanboys? No. They’ll move on. Aldrich Killian is The Mandarin.

      3. Sure, there could’ve been some SHIELD involvement. Especially with a national crisis happening. But did there need to be? People bitch about the shared universe of the films whenever it doesn’t behave exactly like they want it to. You don’t see SHIELD show up in the books every time shit goes down. You just assume they’re looking into it. It’s not neccessary to show them every single time. They’d be in every issue of every book. I’ve heard that the first cut of the film was over an hour longer, so maybe in that cut you would get that one Hill or Fury scene that would’ve made the movie enjoyable or believable for you. Or maybe the filmmakers just assumed their audience was smart enough to let it go and not let it ruin their enjoyment of the already 2.5 hour long movie.

    • A draw? lol, it’s just opinionated commentary. A draw would suggest there could be a winner or loser.

      …Did you just say RDJ has boobs or that Paltrow has none? Either way it’s friggin’ weird :p

      2. I’m merely suggesting that directors tend to mis-direct their audience (even in-between movies) and it would really be a shame if Ironman’s archenemy ends up being a weak, forgettable, one-and-done troll attempt. Killian breathed fire out of his mouth so it isnt that hard to think that it was hinting at Fin Fang Foom, especially with the dragon tattoos all over his chest. I would wait before jumping to the conclusion that Mandarin is done with in the movie universe or that this all wont get retconned for the chance at a better (and hopefully more imaginative) story.

      3. ” You don’t see SHIELD show up in the books every time shit goes down.” Have you read Ironman before? He is much more involved with SHIELD as any of the other Marvel characters. He even ran it at one point. It isnt about believable or enjoyable, it’s about consistency. If it’s a shared universe then maybe it should start sharing instead of taking a scene from Avengers and using it only to capture interest and produce a plot-point that is completely washed away by the words “just build something” from a little kid. If only the entire 4th act could’ve been washed away by a one-liner…they were definitely trying their hardest.

    • Check it out. We managed to whittle four points of disagreement down to two. I dunno about you, but I call that progress.

      Look, you make some valid observations. Obviously, I think a few of your points are debatable. One or two boil down to personal preference and opinion, and that’s never debatable. I maintain that your beef with the Mandarin twist and SHIELD’s level of involvement stem from an inability or an unwillingness to separate the comics from the movies, and at what point you personally feel the two should come together. But there isn’t a single person among us who isn’t guilty of that.

      I can only speak for myself, and I feel that this franchise has earned the right to a bit of creative license.

    • @smo5000 Maybe Rhodey could have worn MK42 but as we all know, it hadn’t arrived. From what I saw, MK42 is the only suit Pepper wore… If the movie logic is what is the primary concern with regard to Rhodey not getting a suit the explanation that makes the most sense to me is that MK42 was capable of being worn by others but there was no evidence the other suits were capable of that same thing.

  31. So the kid Tony get’s help from. Could that be Nova? Nova from the new Marvel NOW comics.

    • The funny thing is i was thinking along the same lines. I was more thinking of the kid as Peter Quill/Star Lord. Saying his dad took off and star lord’s dad leaving him behind. Figured he could be hyper aged or something to fit being Chris Pratt aged in Guardians and can reflect back to his inspiration of helping Tony and Tony helping him. A stretch i know but that is where my imagination took me.

    • The Kid’s vague story could actually fit both the new Nova and the new Starlord origins pretty easily if they want to reuse that actor/character.

    • I really like that Starlord idea, if there was some way for the ages to sync up. A future Nova would be more plausible (and Nova is high on my cosmic wish list for post-Guardians . . .)

  32. As the Mandarin story was revealed ( a clever and surprising twist) I found that I could only think of one thing. The Sopranos episode. Sir Ben Kingsley! Sir Ben!

    (movie as a whole was weak as a follow up to Avengers, weak as an action movie, but pretty funny)

  33. I thought the flick was fun, RDJ was entertaining as always. Someone ahead of me on this tread hit a major nail on the head for me. The humor mixed into terrorism and bombings was pretty fucking jarring. I was getting whiplash from snickering at RDJ and then wondering if the movie was scaring the shit out of my son. And, the one hole in the plot for me…and maybe I’m being dense here…but what the hell was Killians plan? What did he hope to gain from all this mess? He wanted Tony to work for him? I don’t know…I just drove home from the theater and I can’t pin down the “who benefits and why”….

    • *Spoilers*
      Well they wanted Tony because he was the only person smart enough to fix the flaw with Extremis. He was also going to execute the President, blame the Mandarin, and then the Vice President would have taken over as President with Killian pulling the strings from behind the scenes in exchange for them fixing the Vice President’s daughter or granddaughter, whichever she was.

    • I get the VP stepping in and all, I just wanted a little clearer endgame. Would Killian provide extremis “soldiers”, or just provide terrorist threats so the big defense corps could rake in contracts? I felt dopey trying to remember what Killians goal was.

      And I really don’t remember Killian saying anything like “hey Tony fix Extermis for me”. Though I think the female “botanist” scientist had that idea.

    • Killian wanted power, plain and simple. He even made a comment that it wasn’t about money. He was going to be in control of the world’s most dangerous terrorist and in control of the most powerful world leader. I think you can make the connections that he would sell Extremis to the government or something but ultimately he would be the most powerful man in the world if his plan worked out.

      Yeah Maya flat out said they wanted him to fix it and then Killian, who was there listening, came in and showed Tony that he had captured Pepper, in an attempt to force him to do it.

    • I didn’t think of this ’til just now, but, yeah, Killian’s motives were never really defined beyond superviliany . . .

  34. I thought this was such a disappointment. Everyone hates Iron Man 2 but boy did I find this to be such a hollowed out version of what THAT movie was. It felt like we were just going through the motions and cutting/pasting to make it a typical action movie.

    This tried WAY to hard to be funny and while Downey Jr. made it entertaining it was clear he was trying to save some pretty iffy material. One thing that bugged me about the humor was how it’s played when it should be more series in tone with the movie. Like, Pepper may have just died at the end of the movie and yet we’re still quipping and having visual gags? That seems inappropriate, especially how Stark doesn’t seem to be as upset about Pepper possibly dying as he should be.

    The twist with The Mandarin, while clever, felt really out of place. They might have well got Russell Brand to play him because that’s what it seem how Kingsley was playing it. Again it’s kinda funny but considering how many people died in the visual of this man is feels very inappropriate. People are comparing it on how they did the twist with Bane in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ but I thought that movie did a much better, serious twist on the big bad than this.

    Again I just felt this was trotting the same ground and everyone was going through the motions. Downey Jr. and Paltrow are always amazing together in this but it just doesn’t feel the same…At least the fighting and the various suits were cool to look at. Which also makes me believe this was more heavily influenced by Disney for marketing cause it almost turned into a Burger King ad.

    Paul’s 3/5 score or a C- is what I would give this.

    • Who is comparing this to Bane in Rises?

      And how was this a Burger King ad?

    • @Wheelhands:

      1) I’ve seen loads of places (AV Club, Comic Book Resources, etc) where fans were comparing the twist of Bane in DKR to that of Mandarin. In that their role in the movie is actually diminished once we learn their true purpose. While Bane’s role is actually handled well, I thought the twist on The Mandarin was cheap and shouldn’t have played for laughs.

      2) The moment all of the suits come in to save the day is where it felt like an ad for children. I have no doubt a ton of places, toy stores or fast food places, have collectibles for children to purchase after the movie. I know it’s in character for Tony to have many suits with practical purposes but in this movie it felt like an after thought. Like, if he had all of these suits at his disposal why did it take in the ENTIRE movie to get them ready? We could have activated them the moment he landed in Tennessee.

      (The obvious rebuttal to that 2nd answer is that ‘there would be no movie then’. But if the film can’t have a great explanation then that’s a serious issue in the writing.)

    • 1. But Bane’s purpose remains the same throughout the film. His goals and actions don’t change, we just learn that he’s working with Talia. If anything, Talia would be a better comparison since she is not Miranda Tate. But even that’s not quite the same thing. Bane is Bane. Aldrich Killian is The Mandarin. Trevor Slattery is not The Mandarin. The Ra’s/Ducard sitch is a more apt comparison, because Ken Wantanabe’s character is just the face of Ra’s, just like Slattery is the public face of Mandarin. I’m not saying you’re at fault, I just think it’s a pretty dumb parallel to draw. It’s a reach.

      2. He couldn’t have activated them the moment he landed in Tennessee, because Jarvis was offline. Every blockbuster/tentpole movie has product placement. It’s kinda weird to be bothered by marketing and merchandising in this day and age. How can you ask a studio not to try and milk it for every cent they can? James Bond drinking a Heineken in bed after fucking the latest island hottie doesn’t make me want a Heineken, it makes me wanna fuck an island hottie. Tony Stark wanting a BK burger in Iron Man 1 after being in a cave for three months doesn’t make me want a BK burger, it makes me think what I would want after being in a cave for three months. Sponsors are just part of the deal. Ya just gotta roll with it and enjoy the movie.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      TNC, I think you’re confusing the Dark Knight Rises Bane twist with the Batman Begins Ra’s Al Ghul twist. That’s the comparison people are actually making.

    • @Paul: I might be, but I was seeing those comparisons with Bane too. But the Ra’s comparison makes a bit more sense now that I think about it…

  35. As someone of Asian descent, I’ve always hated the Asian caricature the Mandarin and so many Asian characters in comics turn out to be. So I was slightly dreading the depiction of the Mandarin a mainstream movie. I just want to say that I’m really pleased with how it turns out and I honestly don’t care that some comic fans are feeling upset about the change. The Mandarin is based off a racist stereotype, no matter how modern or updated the current version is. If they changed the Mandarin to something like the movie version in the comics, there would be at least one happy Asian-American comic fan in this world.

    • Mandarin is not a racist stereotype. He’s half chinese and half british so I dont see how being half british is stereotypical. Also, stereotypes dont tend to contain the discovery of 10 magic rings off of a spaceship that was piloted by alien-dragons.

      If he’s a racist stereotype then so is Ra’s Al Ghul, Mother Russia, or any comic book character ever created. I’m tired of people misunderstanding a character and just spouting off about racial stereotypes that only exist in their head.

    • The Mandarin is one of the clearest examples of a racist stereotype in comics. Just because his mother was British doesn’t mean that he isn’t a caricature. All you have to do is type in “The Mandarin Fu Manchu” into Google and find dozens of article talking about how the Mandarin is a racist caricature.

      Here are two examples of such articles:



      Even Shane Black, the director of this film, says he’s a racist caricature. And yes, there are aspects of those characters that you mention that are slightly or even very racist. Comics has a long history of terrible historical standards, such as misogyny, racism, and outright ignorance. I love comics, but I think it’s foolish to ignore those kinds of things in our hobby’s history.

    • The Mandarin is an example of the “yellow peril” literary character, which is a well-known stereotype. Yes, his heritage includes being “half” British, but his moniker is The Mandarin, not The English or The Bureaucrat (depending on how you interpret the meaning of mandarin). In either case, it is clearly in reference to his Chinese heritage.

      He is a villain who is a master of martial arts and “chi” control. The fact that he has the magic rings is just a factor of his being a character in a Marvel comic where supernatural powers are par for the course. I do not accept the idea that a character cannot represent some sort of stereotype as long as there are sci-fi or other fictional elements included.

      You are correct, over the years there have been many examples of comic book characters that rely on ethnic stereotypes. You are also correct that stereotypes only exist in peoples heads–that is precisely the problem.

      Shane Black made very clear that he saw the Mandarin character, as he existed in Marvel comics, as “a racist caricature.” That seems to have been the point of having the false “actor” Mandarin being someone of (middle) eastern ethnicity, because it plays on people’s expectations of what a terrorist is, expectations that are based on stereotypes.

    • @eekim1988: I appear to have inadvertently repeated some of your points. Maybe your comment was being held for moderation (due to inclusion of a couple links?) because I don’t think it was actually there when I replied.

    • I TOTALLY AGREE with your views on the Mandarin. I was really nervous going into the movie because the Mandarin was in it, and he’s pretty terrible in the comics. This is the best possible thing they could have done with the character – they completely deconstructed him, subtly showing that he is a racist caricature, and an invention of the West, a mishmash of Western fears. Loved it.

    • @Master Destructo: Don’t worry about it. You definitely said things in a better manner than I did. Thanks for the reply!

    • “Stereotypes only exist in peoples heads–that is precisely the problem.”

      Shane Black portrayed the character how he wanted to and that’s fine, but just because a director considers him a racist caricature does not make it law where hither forth it shall always be fact. Also, one look at Shane Black’s writing for Lethal Weapon4 would clearly show he’s being a hypocrite here. Wah Sing Ku and the asian criminal underground isnt a negative caricature for the exact same reasons? Pure bias. Or is it because there arent mystical powers and magical rings in that movie?

      Look at those links eekim1988 provided. If that’s to be followed then frankly you dont read fictional literature or watch TV/movies because then *everything* becomes a racist caricature. Ra’s Al Ghul follows the exact same caricature of Fu Manchu. Hell, Fu Manchu was one of the characters to give birth to the evil mastermind/archenemy persona. Is Moriarty then a negative caricature of whatever culture he happens to be modeled after?

      Stereotype fanatics are all the same. They see something that doesnt exist, couple it with their lack of knowledge, then they run with it.


    • Well, we apparently agree that stereotypes are prejudices that people concoct in their *heads* based on fear and ignorance and not on reality. Perhaps we can also agree that “stereotype fanatics” is a label that is made-up with no basis in reality, specifically made-up by you.

      But seriously, you are not really saying that the very concept of “stereotype” is not valid are you? If so, I’m not sure what to say to you. It’s like having to convince a grown-ass man that the Earth is round. It just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

      I’m sorry that you see us, including the person who directed Iron Man 3 featuring the Mandarin, as lacking knowledge of Iron Man and the Mandarin. Thank you for linking an article that concurs that the Mandarin is a racist stereotype, documents the ways that Marvel has attempted to blunt this over the years, and points out that these attempts sometimes failed. The article also notes the necessity of Black’s decision since “the fact remains that a robed, mustached Chinese villain would come off as an uncomfortable historical reminder of the marginalization of Chinese people.”

      As to the other knowledge you dropped on us:

      1. Shane Black is a hypocrite. OK, maybe he is, who knows? But that is not the issue here. Even if you were to successfully lay out an argument why he is a hypocrite, it would have no bearing on whether or not the Mandarin represents a stereotype.

      2. There are also villains (Moriarty) who are white, so that makes characterizations like Dr. Fu Manchu acceptable. Regardless of what your specific ethnicity is (I have no idea), this logic falls under the “white privilege” fallacy, the idea that experiences (or here, literary representations) of members of powerful majority groups equate to those of a minority group who have been historically oppressed by the majority. They do not.

      3. If the Mandarin is a stereotype, then Ra’s is a stereotype, then all comic book, film, TV, and literary characters are stereotypes. The gap in that logic is so wide, I’m not gonna waste anyone’s time here.

      Dude, clearly we have an ideological disagreement, and I’m going to let you have the last word if you like, because I know there’s no convincing you, and the points you are making just seem tautological to me. So feel free to refer to me as a fanatic, sheep, an imbiber of Kool-Aid, constructor of straw men, or as one lacking basic reading comprehension skills. Or just go with the nuclear option and trigger Godwin’s Law. I’m out, and will leave it to others if they want to give this debate a go.

      I know I probably should have ignored your comment in the first place, but I just find the lack of empathy this whole racism denial argument demonstrates to be really sad. Especially since your comment was targeted at someone sincerely expressing an opinion relevant to him on a very personal level. Empathy is something people pick up early in life, unfortunately not something that can be imparted in a website comment.

  36. This movie was okay, it was funny and had a good amount of action but i could not help but notice…
    1) The Iron Patriot was barely used and his role in the movie didn’t make any sense, when tony is apparently killed his Best friend in the world doesn’t really seem to care too much. In part one Rhodey seemed to hell bent on finding him in this movie it wasn’t clear what Iron Patriot was doing in this movie. Also how messed up is it that that little kid had more screen time than than James Rhodes? The kid was cool but there seemed to me to be room in the story to showcase the Iron Patriot more.

    2) the Mandarin was so disappointing, the decision by the creative side to use him the way they did just felt so wrong. It was kind of a cheap twist i would have liked it better if they would have just created a new character and used him instead of just taking a big poop on the Mandarin character. I can’t figure out how, the Marvel Creative Team (Bendis, Quesada Ect.) would approve this frankly insulting use of a legitimate villain. They reduced the character to a joke and have committed it to a film that will last forever its weird.

    • I don’t think fans should expect Rhodey to play a major part, or even to show up in every Iron Man movie. There are often many issues between his appearances in Iron Man comics.

  37. This is easily my favorite Marvel movie next to The Avengers. I really appreciated how different it felt from the other two Iron Man movies. I think instead of playing it safe and following a more conventional structure they went with something much more clever and original. At times it feels more like a Bourne movie than an Iron Man movie and it gives you a whole new side to Tony that we’ve never seen.

    I think people are disappointed not because the movie was bad but because they wanted/expected a different movie. I think you could have made a different version of this film that would have also been good but would have been more typical and safe as opposed to the movie we got which is really interesting and challenging.

  38. I appreciated and enjoyed the theme that “take away the suit of armor and what are you?” and the stress of Avengers playing with Tonys pysche. He is a guy that believes he knows everything or can at least figure out everything. Avengers threw Tonys belief system right out the window. It was totally believable and cool that he would be a mental wreck after that.

    • That was my favorite aspect of the script. All too often crazy things happen in one movie and they are never mentioned in the sequel. This was a great example of cause and effect for Tony

  39. I fell in love with this movie as soon as “Blue” started playing over the Marvel Studios logo. This is the best of the three “Iron Man” movies by far and also the best stand-alone Marvel movie in general. I was really curious about how they’d pull off The Mandarin (who is both kind of silly and kind of racist) so I loved “the twist” and the overall anarchic, iconoclastic tone. I’ve been a fan of Shane Black since he was telling dirty jokes in “Predator” and his cynical fingerprints are all over this movie.

    • I need to see it one more time in 2D but i think i might be with you on all of your statements. This might be tied with Iron Man 1 as my favorite standalone marvel studios movie

  40. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Chinese influence on this film. I understand there was a substantially different cut released in China, and you could see the Chinese actors that would have had larger roles in the Chinese edit. Right at the beginning we are introduced briefly to a Chinese business man who is snubbed by Stark, and two Chinese Extremis guys appear at the end on the film. I wonder if we’ll see the Chinese scenes as extras on the DVD release?

    Of course, with Disney/Marvel wanting to exploit the growing cash cow that is China, there’s no way they could have presented the potentially inflammatory comics’ version of the Mandarin.

  41. My biggest gripe about this movie is, AIM has no MODOK or bee keeper suits, what the fuck?

  42. I think this movie was much more clever and less politically conservative than the first two, and for those things, I really appreciate it.

    Things I particularly loved:

    – Subverting the racist caricature of the Mandarin (seriously, absolutely brilliant!)
    – Pepper gets Extremis instead of Tony! And she wears the suit at one point!
    – It passes the Bechdel test
    – So many hilarious one-liners
    – Good depiction of Tony dealing with PTSD
    – His interactions with the kid, Harley – Tony was such a sarcastic dick to him and I loved it
    – Rhodey kicks some ass and has lots of funny banter with Tony
    – It was a Christmas movie for some reason! (And now I have a new favourite Christmas movie)
    – Albert from Twin Peaks was in it (Miguel Ferrer)
    – The part with Gary was hilarious
    – The post-credits sequence was great

    I need to see it again before I proclaim that it’s the best of the three. But the more I think about it, the more I realize I really, really liked it.

  43. I see what you guys are saying about Mandarin, but I honestly would rather they just not used him than do what they did. I got to that scene was was just massively insulted. Especially after the past decade where we’ve seen so many great re-imaginings of old, weak characters. Hell, I’ve heard there’s a good Vibe out right now. To just dismiss the character displays a lack of imagination.

    Especially after Avengers handed them an easy origin for the guy. During the Chitauri invasion a damaged ship crashes onto a dude, partially fusing with his spine in a ring-like pattern. Now he has powers. AIM scientists combing the wreckage for salvage come across him and take him in. Done. And now imagine this factoring into the story of Tony’s anxiety – he literally gets to fight a piece of something that has so screwed him up, to face it down and beat it.

    It bugged me that Rhodey went down without a fight. That could have been really cool. After all, at that point in the movie we hadn’t seen a suit fight an Extremis soldier. Instead his arm gets hot and he falls over.

    A lot of the humor was clearly attempting to imitate the Avengers humor – dramatic scene, then something silly to undercut it. But it did so without any understanding of why those scenes work. When Hulk sucker-punches Thor, it’s great and hilarious because that was the conclusion of unfinished business between them. It was a character moment as much as it was a gag. Iron Man 3 was a lot of guys slipping on banana peels.

    I mostly liked how they handled Extremis, though they became common and weak there at the end because of course they have to or they would have won.

    • Also why did the guy with the miniature arc reactor in his chest walk around for twenty minutes with a car battery plugged into himself?

    • For whatever reason that suit was not powered by the arc reactor, which is why it could go on other people and still work. Not sure if it’s just because it was still a prototype or what, but it was not really explained why it wasn’t powered or even charged by the arc reactor, which is one of the few minor flaws I had this movie.

    • Actually I guess none of the suits are actually powered by it anymore since they work by remote, but you would think he would have left the ability to use his arc reactor to charge or power it…I dunno, maybe that part got damaged or it was because it was still a prototype. I’ll go with one of those.

    • I completely agree Flakbait, way too many inconsistencies and lack of imagination.

      It’s simple, they didnt connect the suits to the arc reactor because they knew they wouldnt have a story and Stark is meant to remove it in the end. So his original suits disappeared and all of a sudden he had 42 different suits at different prototype stages. Because why not.

    • Do guys watch the movies? Rhode was able to fly his suit without a power source in his chest in Iron Man 2 and 3, obviously the suits have independent power sources. The suits are connected to arc reactors- just not the power reactor that Tony uses to keep his heart safe. Why would he endanger his life by powering the suit and the magnet?

    • I don’t get this argument about them just “throwing away” the mandarin character. Wasn’t this an awesome re-imagining of the mandarin? Using this technology as magic? Deceiving everyone to obtain ultimate power? It’s quite different from the comics…BUT no more different than DKRises’ Bane to comic book Bane!

    • Clearly you and I have different definitions of the word “awesome”. DK Bane was a re-imagining? Is not comic book Bane a big strong guy who’s also smart and outwitted Batman and then kicked his ass? Was he not also from a prison? There are differences, sure, but at his core it’s the same thing.

      I’m just hoping Shane Black wanders onto the set of Captain America and says, “You know what would be awesome guys? Have Sebastian Stan just play himself and be really confused that everyone is calling him Bucky!” What an awesome re-imagining that would be!

  44. Overall it was a great flick, but (as others have already debated here) I would’ve loved to see Tony re-work Extremis for himself and how it turns out for him in Ellis’ story arc.

  45. Is it just me, or Was the guy who played the President, did he play the President in X-Men 2 too?

  46. So uh….This apparently almost happened. And it sounds AWFUL.

    “Sex Tape subplot cut from Iron Man 3”


    Overall, I thought the movie was pretty good. Better than IM2, but nowhere near as good as the original IM. I was fine with the Mandarin twist, I was fine with the PTSD, I was fine with the “hero’s journey” featuring more of Tony out of the suit than in. But I thought the following things really hurt the movie:
    -Harley was an unnecessary character and did nothing for the overall plot or feel of the film. Totally unnecessary. I don’t buy him being smart enough to work on the armor while Tony is out galavanting.
    -The extreme heat powers of the Extremis subjects was dumb. They can get hot enough, from the inside, to melt metal, but it doesn’t do any damage to them? I can handle them being able to regenerate and be a bit stronger and more resilient than a normal human, but they were seriously overpowered. Then, they are dispatched with not much difficulty in the final battle.
    -Killian breathing fire. WTF? STUPID.
    -Giving Pepper Extremis was unnecessary. And I still don’t understand how she took out Killian. Tony made armor go onto him and self-destruct, but that was not enough to destroy him. But Pepper swoops in and does a slap-shot with what looked like a large bullet and that can destroy him?
    -Charging the armor with a car battery? Dumb.
    -War Machine was nothing more than a plot device to get a bad guy on Air Force One. Don Cheadle was woefully underused.
    -Maya Hansen’s switch in character after she revealed she was on Killian’s side was poorly done. Maybe it was the writing. She went from someone trying to get Tony involved to help to a gloating bad guy who would have twirled her mustache if she had one.
    -The plot was all over the place.
    -Destroying all the armor was for what reason again?

    It was OK, but too many holes. Definitely not what I think will be the best/biggest movie of the summer.

  48. Sooooooooooooo… Just saw it last night. Overall I enjoyed it, but to me, it had huge problems and, as many mentionned, big slaps to fanboys.

    – The Mandarin… WTF!?
    – The Extremis virus giving everybody heat powers à la Matt Fraction run was okay at best but still… Alrdritch Killian should have been replaced by Ezekiel Stane in my opinion. Now the vendetta would have been more personal.
    – A.I.M. was sooooo underused it was barely a joke.
    – I’m all into characterization and all, but an Iron Man movie where we barely see Iron Man or when we do, he gets his ass handled to him on a silver plate was just… I dunno, disappointing. Especially after the confidence and cockyness in Iron Man 1, 2 and the Avengers now he’s just… Lame?
    – Pepper getting the Extremis virus in the end and just zapping Killian where an implosion didn’t kill him seconds before was a huge WTF moment and anti-climactic.
    – Was Killian a reference to Fin Fang Foom with the dragon tattoos and the fire-breathing!? If so, it was totally FUBAR for no apparent reason. And also a huge let down. He kept mentionning a Master but reveals that… he is the Mandarin!? So, who the fuck is the Master, then!? Was he working for someone else, or did I miss something or was it simply not explained in this movie!?

    So yeah… I enjoyed the movie, but it was far from being my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe favorite. I hope that Phase 2 in general will be better than IM3!

    • He was calling the mandarin the master

    • As for AIM being underused, I’m assuming this was merely to establish their presence in the cinematic universe, so that other creators are free to exploit them more in the future (kinda like HYDRA in Captain America) . . .

  49. The fire breathing was weird but hey, it was from the comics if I remember correctly. And it was weird in the comics too.

  50. OK, just saw the film last night and was a little disappointed. Parts of it worked for me and I enjoyed the film overall, but I wasn’t as swept up in it as I had been with the previous two. (Yes, I liked Iron Man 2). I did like Tony suffering from PTS and the acknowledgment that something has happened since the last Iron Man film. For the most part, I feel that the film balanced well between solo film and larger universe. Yeah, at least one scene with a SHIELD agent would have been nice, but it wasn’t a major concern.

    Giving Pepper Extremis was a nice twist — having Tony do an quick “fix” on it was kinda lame.

    The twist with the Mandarin worked, I thought, within the film, but still left a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, the character may have been created as a stereotype, but that does not mean that he could not have been reconceived as something more well-rounded. Personally, I think that they should have simply dropped The Mandarin and created a new character who fit better the whole terrorism vibe anyway. The comparison to Batman Begins doesn’t work for me, because when you learned who Ra’s was it was still someone who felt connected to the traditional character.

    I also did not like how they gutted most of the themes and politics out of the original Extremis story. Maya’s character was also stronger, i felt, in the comics (though Rebecca Hall did well with what she had).

    Finally, I was never quite clear on how all of sudden, all of these suits could operate independently and en masse.

    Despite these complaints, I did enjoy the film. I didn’t mind the long stretch without the armor. The stuff with the kid in Tennessee worked much better than I would have thought. Also, I liked the post -credit explanation of who all this narration was addressed to in the first place . . .

    Still, not one of my favorite Marvel films. I’d give it 3 out of five for enjoyment, but a 2 for substance. Hoping Thor 2 will be better . . .

  51. As I scroll through the various comments on this thread, I feel a profound sense of disappointment. I understand that many comic readers just want beat-em-up action and “fan-service” comic book continuity nods. I do. I just didn’t realize that so many of the ifanbase fell into that group.

    The majority of the complaints I see stem from continuity differences rather than any issue with the film as a film. This signals a very clear line in the sand between “nerd rage” and actual criticism about the film.

    I liked the film quite a bit, and I didn’t care about the continuity changes. What’s that you say? Not a true comics fan am I? Not an Iron Man fan either? My word! My heavens! Such harsh, inaccurate words.

    I am 29 years old and buy comics every week. I have been “into” comics since Archie put out its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, 85? 86? I have read Iron Man fairly consistently since the mid-90s, I started with the Heroes Reborn and, despite that, kept on throughout today. I’ve even tracked down backissues and read those! Armor Wars? Demon in a Bottle? Michelinie? I could probably out-trivia most people on this site. Does that mean my opinion matters more than yours? No, not at all. Does this mean I am more of a “comic fan” than you? Maybe, but not necessarily. What it means is that I am objectively a comic book fan who is intimately familiar with and has respect for the source material. I probably like the Mandarin comic book character more than most. I probably know more about the Mandarin comic book character than most. I also probably own and have read more comics featuring the Mandarin than most. Perhaps this explanation is unnecessary, but I want people who disagree with my acceptance of Iron Man 3 to know I have the “credentials” to have an “informed” opinion about the character.

    I *do* care about continuity changes, if I feel they serve little purpose or are simply poorly executed. The whole Catwoman movie upset me because it seemed like DC said, “hey, people have heard the name Catwoman. Let’s make a movie called that. Hmmm we need to get rid of the Batman angle. Let’s keep the name and toss the rest.”

    I love the Mandarin and his 10 alien rings that each do something different. I can totally geek out on that. Did you know that he found those rings in a crashed spaceship that belonged to a race of dragon-like creatures? Someone above suggested that Killian was Fin Fang Foom, which is funny because Fin Fang Foom is an alien from that same race. In other words he is tangentially connected/responsible for the Mandarin’s creation. Why didn’t anyone else find the rings? Oh, well the spaceship crashed in a part of China called “The Valley of the Spirits” that is “forbidden” by local folklore. Mandarin didn’t simply find rings that could fit his non-30 foot tall personage though. He found the alien power core and reverse engineered the rings over the course of a few years.

    Now, does all that sound like it could be simply told in a film? No, I didn’t think so. And that was only an explanation of where the Mandarin got his powers, not why he wanted them, where he came from, and what he did with them. In addition to being a potentially culturally offensive/stereotypical villain, the Mandarin is also far too complex of a character to work in a standalone film. Yes, *if* they had known how the first one would do, and *if* they had expanded a bit on the “ten rings” bits in the first one and proceeded to then somehow portray Whiplash as having a mysterious backer with “strange” technology, then they *may* have been able to portray the Mandarin in the 3rd film.

    Honestly, I am glad they treated the Mandarin like they did because it worked. I can’t imagine how a “faithful” adaptation would have. Speaking of faithful adaptation though, I would like to point out that the Mandarin, in the comics, is a genius megalomaniac with extensive scientific ability and acumen. His motivation is that his parents were wealthy, but by the time he reached adulthood, his family fortune was gone. He was evicted and dishonored. He turned to that Valley as a last hope for power and revenge on the world. Now, while this doesn’t exactly parallel Killian’s path in the film, it does maintain some very broad similarities. Scientific genius who isn’t respected by his peers who, at his lowest point, manages to find something extraordinary that grants him the ability to build a (corporate) empire and gives him superpowers. I think Killian made a fairly faithful Mandarin in terms of his characterization as opposed to his power and cultural origins.

    To compare it to Batman Begins is fair because Ra’s Al Ghul is a nigh immortal Middle Eastern man who discovered the secret to immortality via the Lazarus pits and over centuries built up an entire society dedicated to serving his will of winnowing down the planet’s population to a more manageable and environmentally stable size. How much of that did Batman Begins get in the movie? Oh okay, he is the head of a society that serves him. What else? Oh, wait, nothing? Ohhhh right a nod to him being “immortal” because he always has a “stand-in” that is easily replaceable to avoid becoming a target himself. Hmmm sounds a bit like Killian, and Ducard/Al Ghul’s facial hair was similar to the comics like Killian’s dragon tattoos. Lazarus pits are as important to Ra’s Al Ghul as the 10 Rings are to the Mandarin. They were also both white guys who used foreign (or foreign seeming) stand-ins to throw people off their true identities, as opposed to being foreign themselves. So yes, the comparison does work a teensy-tiny bit.

    I know this is all my own “nerd rage”/”my opinion is superior” drivel, but I don’t. I think everyone’s opinions are justified. I simply wish that people would stop having these knee-jerk overreactions before actually taking the time to think about how different the film actually *is* from the source material. Are you really mad at their portrayal of the Mandarin? Or are you mad that once again a film made a significant change to the source material, otherwise known as disliking when Hollywood “plays with our toys” incorrectly?

    • ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      That’s one helluva comment.

      About the whole mandarin working/not working argument, to me it just seems like if you’re not able to use a backstory for the Mandarin that pleases the “fanboys” why use him at all? Its not like average joe care one way or another about the Mandarin, his backstory or even if his even used.

      Oh, and btw I’ve never read any Iron Man and to me the movie was just ok. There’s a lot of plot holes and to me Killian was a weak boring villain.

  52. Saw Iron Man 3 today.


    Fairly disappointed with it. It lost all the panache and fun of the first two movies and replaced it with an over wrought story filled with blatant merchandising and disappointingly inaccurate villains.

    The big reveal with the Mandarin was a slap in the face to every one who has read the actual comics. That’s Tony Stark’s arch-nemesis! This is like the Joker or Lex Luthor saying, “Sorry about everything. I’m just an actor!” Freaking bullsh*t. I do not understand why Hollywood would do such a thing. It was completely jarring and ruined an hour and a half spent building the Mandarin up as a truly scary SOB. Plus, they’ve been hyping the Mandarin from the first movie, leaving lots of Easter eggs around, hinting at the idea that the Mandarin has been there in the background from day one.

    Also, who decided this movie should be a freakin’ comedy? In fact there was so much comedy, that it ruined the romance between Tony and Pepper. You could never tell if Stark was being comedic or switching gears to being romantic. And when Pepper “dies” Stark isn’t that affected. He still has quippy one liners to throw at Killian.

    Additionally, since when was Tony Stark a-ok with killing people? He outright murdered a bunch of people in this film. That’s not the Iron Man I know, nor the one who has been built up across this movie franchise.

    I also found the plot to be a giant mess. If Tony had, what, 30 Iron Man Suits sitting around in his underground Bunker – all of which had an AI capable of piloting the suits any where in the world – then why on Earth did he spend so much time with out his armor? I can understand not wanting to blow his “I’m dead” cover but after the Extremis soldiers attacked him in Tennessee, why on earth did he even bother to fix his latest suit? He had, like, 30 more sitting around collecting dust! So moronic!

    And what was up with those anxiety attacks? They had zero relevance to the plot and weren’t really resolved in a unique or interesting manner. It felt like their only purpose was to remind everyone that Avengers happened and to pad out the film.

    While we’re on the topic, why the heck wasn’t Nick Fury in this movie? He’s the head of SHIELD, an organization founded to protect the USA from evil. I’m pretty sure a terrorist sending suicide bombers onto American soil would, you know, pique his interest. Where the heck was he – and SHIELD for that matter – in all of this. They would have been far more relevant to the plot than Warmachine.

    Heck, why was Warmachine even in this? Rhodey was completely unnecessary. Why the change to Iron Patriot? That is a legacy term that comes with A LOT of baggage. It could have been so much cooler to save that name for another Iron Man movie where someone tries to replace Tony and Warmachine… They wouldn’t even need Osborn for that movie…

    Also, very sad that AIM Agents didn’t have their iconic bee keeper outfits. Even one hanging up in the background would have been a nice nod to the comics.

    One of the only things I liked about this film was the kid. He is obviously tying into something else in the movie universe. My hope is that he either becomes or is related to Starlord or Nova, thus making the decent chunk of time the film invested with the kid pay off down the road.

    This movie was not what I was expecting, not what I wanted and by far the worst Avengers Tie-In flick made to date.

    • ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

      Wasn’t Jarvis the one guiding the suits? And he was out the first half. And all of the suits were trapped beneath lots of rubble.
      Didn’t Tony kill people right from the start in the first movie?

    • you’re right @ochsavidare When Tony and Rhodey are on the speedboat Jarvis tells Tony that the cranes have moved all of the rubble so the House Party protocol is ready to go