|Ten bucks says it has something to do with armor. Any takers?|
Maya: “Just like old times, huh?”
Tony Stark: “Oh, yeah. Zip ties. It’s a ball.”
|“A bit too tame for me these days, though.|
You should see what Pepper can do with a baker’s dozen satsumas and a car battery.”
Maya: “Extremis is practically stable….”
Tony Stark: “I’m telling you it isn’t!”
And the fact that AIM needed to make up a terrorist to cover up Extremis’s instability kind of proves his point.
Maya: “Then help me fix it.”
And she pulls out Tony’s nametag from all those years ago, showing what he wrote on the back: the formula that helped her stabilize Extremis enough to start human trials.
|Either that, or Tony was trying to drunkenly write down the Konami Code.|
Tony Stark: “I remember the night, not the morning.”
I don’t believe for one second that you actually remember that night, Tony. Another thing Tony doesn’t remember is exactly what the heck he wrote down all those years ago. What the one thing he does remember about the past is that Maya used to be a good person.
Tony Stark: “Get me outta here.”
But alas, it’s not that easy. Tony stays tied up, and Killian comes in to deliver some more villainous rambling.
Killian: “You know what my old man used to say to me?”
|"No, the other thing."|
|"You're losing your hair."|
|"No, that was my father."|
Tony, finally face-to-face with the swaggering douche that Killian has blossomed into during the past decade, naturally assumes that this display is because Killian’s still pissed off over Switzerland. The answer is ‘kind of.’ As Killian explains, when Tony Stark failed to meet him on the rooftop, he had some time to search his soul. After contemplating… other ideas.
Killian: “…I considered taking that one-step shortcut to the lobby. If you know what I mean.”
Tony Stark: “Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what happened to the first mouse.”
But on that rooftop, he realized how much of a nobody he was and epiphanated right on the spot.
Anonymity. Nobody comes after somebody that they don’t know exists.
Killian: “You simply rule from behind the scenes. Because the second you give evil a face, a bin Laden, a Gaddafi, a Mandarin, you hand the people a target.”
That’s…. brilliant. I mean, it’s an idea that’s been done to death in various forms before, but when you look back at the last two Iron Man films, Killian has a point.
Obadiah Stane’s downfall came when he said “It was me the whole time!” and proceeded to rampage through the streets in his warsuit. Justin Hammer almost had the right idea, but got it backwards by putting himself in the wrong role as the face, not the man behind the scenes. And Ivan Vanko made the same mistake that Obadiah did. Aldrich Killian is the first villain in the series to actually learn from the mistakes of others. Including himself.
The only weak link in the chain here was Trevor Slattery, who was more than willing to drop character and spill the beans. Still, he nailed the role.
Killian: “They say his Lear was the toast of Croydon. Wherever that is.”
It's not Aberdeen. I learned that from Doctor Who.
Killian: “Anyway, the point is… ever since that big dude with the hammer fell out of the sky… subtlety’s kinda had its day.”
Killian reveals the next step of his masterplan: giving Tony something to fight for. He brings up a hologram of Pepper Potts, having been injected with Extremis. Her body is still figuring out whether or not it should just up and explode. Killian hopes that maybe Tony will be suddenly motivated to work on stabilizing the formula. He gets in real close to Tony to try and persuade him further, with the Extremis glow glinting in his eye, but is suddenly stopped when Maya grows a conscience and points a deadly syringe at herself. After all, if she dies, then who will monitor Killian to keep him from exploding?
Nobody, since she simply shoots her dead.
Killian: “The good news is… a high-level position has just been vacated.”
And off he goes to talk to Savin about getting Rhodey out of the Iron Patriot armor. Saws seem to be doing nothing, so Killian decides to show of his Extremis abilities to try and melt through the darn thing to get it to open up. While things get a little heated for Rhodey, Killian tells Savin that he wants Pepper moved out to a new location.
Savin: “She’s still in Phase Two.”
|“Exactly. I want her as my trophy before her contract expires.|
I hear that Natalie Portman doesn’t want to come back after Phase Two.
I want to make sure Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t decide to join her.”
|“Damn, I’m missing Dora.”|
Ponytail Express: “832 miles.”
Man, this guy is wasted as a henchman.
But Tony’s ready for some revenge, and vows to kill the destroyer of watches first. He attempts this by flicking his wrists like a fool.
|Sherlock and Sherlock. Huh. Didn't even realize that at first.|
Then this happens.
|It actually happens.|
Back in Tennessee, Harley unlocks the garage, allowing the larger parts of the armor to zoom off to Miami, as Tony manages to beat up a room full of henchmen with only a rocket boot, gauntlet, and a gun. Except for the last guy, who wisely surrenders.
Henchman: “Honestly, I hate working here; they are so weird.”
Funny words coming from the movie’s stunt coordinator.
The armor soon arrives, though significantly low on power, allowing Tony to spot the Iron Patriot taking off without Rhodey inside, but keeping him from following. Speaking of Rhodey, he meets back up with Tony outside the mansion and they team up to ambush Trevor Slattery. Trevor is his usual self, but they manage to get a bit of information out of him. Killian’s plan involves a big boat and the Vice President. Tony is placated by what little information they got, so he talks strategy with Rhodey as his facial injury switches sides.
|Seriously, editor, what the heck?|
- His daughter is missing a leg. He probably joined up with the Mandarin in exchange for an Extremis cure for her.
- He’s played by Miguel Ferrer. Miguel Ferrer is always a bad guy.
Onboard Air Force One, “Iron Patriot” uses his Extremis powers to lock some agents in a room before going after President Ellis with melee attacks, because he apparently doesn’t know how to use the repulsors. After securing the President, “Iron Patriot” (actually Savin in disguise) gets ready to take him elsewhere. When Iron Man arrives, Savin is out of the armor, and the President is gone. But there are plenty of innocent people still onboard. That little fact changes when Savin blows them out of the side of the plane. Iron Man quickly takes care of Savin with a repulsor to the chest, finally getting revenge on the man who put Happy in a coma. Then he takes care of the people falling out of the side of the plane.
Thirteen people. In freefall.
Tony’s solution? “Barrel of Monkeys.”
I was also fooled into thinking that Tony Stark had been in the armor the whole time. He is not.
|Or getting hit by a semi would have been the end of the movie.|
Back at Tony’s mansion, his cellar opens up, revealing a vast space under his armory. From deep within, lights come on.
Over with Killian and Pepper, she’s tied up and he’s being creepy. He admits that Pepper isn’t just here to coerce Tony into helping.
Killian: “You’re here as my… trophy.”
Because even after Extremis, he’s still that petty little dweeb.
But the time to be a creeper is over; the Iron Patriot armor arrives at Killian’s big ol’ boat and spits out the President. What boat, you ask? Well, as Killian explains, it’s the infamous Roxxon Norco, which spilled all that oil a while back. And now, it’s time for the President to pay.
President Ellis: “What do you want from me?”
Killian: “Uh, nothing, sir.”
He just wants the President dead so he can install the Vice President as his puppet. The Roxxon Norco thing is just an excuse for the Mandarin to teach another “lesson.” After the President is strung up, Tony and Rhodey sneak aboard the ship and run around while Killian supervises a camera angle test. For a former weapons manufacturer, Tony’s a little clueless as to what exactly Rhodey is telling him to do as they undergo heavy fire. And he uses up all his bullets, unaware that Rhodey’s magazines don’t fit his gun. Whoops. And to make things worse, the Extremis soldiers are coming. Thankfully, backup’s on its way. Lots of backup.
Remember how Tony’s latest armor was the Mark 42? Here comes the rest.
|God yes. That's the stuff.|
Tony Stark: “JARVIS, target Extremis heat signatures, disable with extreme prejudice.”
As the various armors start kicking butt, the boat starts a-rockin’. So Tony has the big armor named “Igor” steady the thing.
|Remember this. Tony Stark won't.|
|Good God, this scene is like armor porn.|
Tony, meanwhile, tries to lift some wreckage off of Pepper, but can’t do it without potentially letting it skewer her. So instead, he reaches for her through a gap in the rubble. So… I told a story in my Iron Man Recap about how my sister’s boyfriend and I lied to her about Pepper dying in the first film. Well, she was with us when we went to see Iron Man 3. And it was at this point that she whispered in my ear that if Pepper died, she was leaving me at the theatre. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous because I knew that Gwyneth Paltrow was hesitant to return to the franchise.
Making things worse for me, Aldrich Killian suddenly melts his hand through the floor to try and rip out Tony’s heart. But when he sits on Tony’s chest to gloat for a bit, Tony demonstrates exactly why this armor is called the Silver Centurion.
|So much for becoming Rodimus Prime, I guess.|
Killian: “A shame. I would have caught her.”
Filled with pure rage, Tony runs at Killian, only to fake him out with a slide so he can slip into Nightclub and proceed to kick some butt. When Killian overpowers him, he simply ejects and slips into Shot Gun to continue the fight. In the ensuing scuffle, Killian’s shirt ends up burning away, revealing his tattoos of Fin Fang Foom, an alien dragon from the comics.
|Finally, his transformation into a Mortal Kombat character is complete.|
|Well, any landing you can walk away from, right?|
|But it doesn't.|
|That’s one hot Pepper.|
Pepper: “Oh my God…. That was really violent.”
You know, for somebody who spent two movies as a damsel in distress....
She kicks butt.
With the villain defeated, all that’s left is for Tony and Pepper to make up. And after Tony vows to find a way to save Pepper from Extremis, he makes the ultimate romantic gesture he’s capable of: proving that Pepper Potts is the most important thing in his life.
JARVIS: “The Clean Slate protocol, sir?”
Tony Stark: “Screw it, it’s Christmas. Yes.”
Above their heads, Tony’s armors fly up and explode in a spectacular display of fireworks. Except, presumably, for Igor, seeing as how that particular armor is now an integral part of the Roxxon Norco’s support structure.
Tony’s voiceover sums up all that he’s learned about how mistakes and compromises add up over time as the loose ends get tied up. The Vice President and Trevor Slattery are arrested. Pepper gets “sorted out,” according to the voice over. And Tony gets that shrapnel out of his heart with the help of an electromagnet and a subplot that wasn’t present in most cuts of the movie.
So let me summarize the important parts of this odd situation.
China has a lot of people. Ergo, a lot of people with money to spend on movies. The second-largest theatre-going public in the world, actually. So basically, Dr. Wu, who was briefly seen in the film’s opening, got a few superfluous scenes along with his assistant, played by Chinese national treasure Fan Bingbing. Basically, Dr. Wu calls Tony, JARVIS answers, and Dr. Wu says that Tony has China’s support. Not to mention the actual commercial before the film which asks what Tony Stark uses to “revitalize his energy.” The answer, apparently, is Gu Li Duo, a Chinese milk drink.
Chinese audiences were not impressed with the blatant pandering that added nothing to the movie, meaning that this particular tactic to appeal to Chinese audiences has yet to be tried again.
|Marvel has since moved on to hugging, by the look of things.|
|Yeah. Bit of an elephant in the room.|
At the moment, Tony and Pepper are together on the balcony while Happy Hogan awakens to watch Downton Abbey. And in Tennessee, Harley returns home to find a tricked-out lab waiting for him. With a brand-new Dora watch.
Sometime later, Tony Stark returns to his demolished house to toss his Arc Reactor into the ocean. But… perhaps he isn’t quite finished with his armor, despite admitting in voiceover that he was using it as a cocoon. He picks up a screwdriver and sets off with his robots, ready to start his next project.
|Which I’m sure can only end well….|
And the credits roll, showing clips from all three movies in spectacular grand finale fashion.
|And for some reason, the title looks like it belongs in a 1970’s kung fu movie.|
- He was talking to the other Science Bro, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).
- Bruce fell asleep during the Switzerland bit.
Bruce Banner: “I’m sorry, I’m not that kind of Doctor. I’m not a therapist. It’s not my training. I-I don’t have the…”
Tony Stark: “So? What, time?”
Bruce Banner: “Temperament.”
Tony Stark: “You know, now that I think about it… Ohhh, God, my original wound. 1983, alright?”
Bruce Banner: “Yes.”
Tony Stark: “Fourteen years old, I still have a nanny? That was weird.”
And so, the film….
|"I was supposed to be in this scene."|
But hey, the post-credits scene we got (which was suggested by Robert Downey, Jr.) marks Mark Ruffalo’s reign as the longest-running live action Bruce Banner since Bill Bixby. And it’s also the first post-credits scene that doesn’t hint at anything to come. But before we can look at what’s to come, we need to take one final examination of Iron Man 3. But before I can even do that, I need to take one final look at the Mandarin. Once and for all. Though I know there will still be those who disagree with me. Hey, feel free. As ever, I’d love to hear your opinion.
So let’s look at the twist we neverrrrrrrrrrrrrr saw coming.