tek's rating:

Iron Man 3 (PG-13)
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Caution: Spoilers.

This is the third movie in the Iron Man franchise, following Iron Man 2 (and The Avengers). It begins with Tony Stark narrating an event from his past, in 1999. He met a scientist named Dr. Maya Hansen. He also met a guy named Aldrich Killian, who was starting a think tank called Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). I'd heard of AIM before, but I don't recall having heard of Killian or Hansen before (since I don't read enough comics). But anyway, Tony opted not to get involved with Killian, though it later turns out that Hansen did. And she'd developed this sort of biological regeneration technology called "Extremis" (and I know there's an animated movie with that title that I've been meaning to see, which is presumably based on the same comics arc that inspired this movie).

However, most of the movie takes place in the present, in the days leading up to Christmas. Tony's relationship with Pepper is suffering, because Tony is spending too much time on his hobby (which is, of course, designing and building new Iron Man suits; he's just finished Mark 42). And we see, throughout the movie, that Tony is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (because of something he went through in "The Avengers"). Meanwhile, there's a terrorist called the Mandarin who's been staging lots of bombings recently, though no bomb materials are found at the sites of his attacks. (The Mandarin also hacks television broadcasts to deliver messages to the world. He seems kind of like a more eloquent and philosophical version of Osama bin Laden, though there's an eventual twist to the movie that diverges from comics- as far as I know- and actually kinda reminds me of Batman Begins.) Anyway, Tony is goaded by the press (and by the fact that one of the Mandarin's attacks landed his friend and bodyguard, Happy, in intensive care) into issuing a foolhardy challenge to the Mandarin.

For reasons I don't want to get into, Tony eventually finds himself, unexpectedly, in Tennessee, with a badly damaged and energy-drained Mark 42. For reasons I also don't want to get into, he finds himself teaming up with a kid named Harley. I will say I liked the interaction between Tony and Harley... it was amusing and it had a bit of heart. But Tony eventually gets attacked by people who are very strong and practically invulnerable and who can generate some extremely hot temperatures. And stuff. Anyway, Tony eventually tracks the Mandarin's headquarters to Miami, and discovers that Killian is involved with him. And that the people who attacked him had gotten their powers from Hansen's extremis experiments. And Killian kidnaps Pepper. And he has plans that involve killing the President. Oh, and Rhodey, in his capacity as War Machine- now renamed the Iron Patriot- is also involved in the hunt for the Mandarin. (We also see that the Vice President is on Killian's side, though we only have a couple of seconds after learning this to assume he's just looking to take over the President's job, before seeing that he actually has a more sympathetic reason for doing what he's doing. But ultimately, nothing about the Vice President turns out to be of any great importance to the plot.)

Anyway... lots of stuff happens in the movie. And Tony spends an awful lot of time not in an iron man suit. But by the end of the movie... there is plenty of action, involving lots of suits. Of course, there's also plenty of humor and drama. And a fairly happy ending. (Before I saw this, I'd heard people say it seemed like it would be impossible for the franchise to continue, which made me wonder if Tony had died in the movie, or something. But he didn't. The end does seem like his exploits as Iron Man could be over... but personally, I don't think that seemed terribly probable.) Btw, I'm giving this movie an even four smileys, though I was thinking of giving it four and three quarters. I'm really not sure whether I liked this movie slightly more or slightly less than either the first or second movie, but all three of them rate at least four smileys, with any difference between them only a fraction of a point, so whatever.

There is, of course, a bonus scene after the closing credits. It's rather amusing, but doesn't tie into any forthcoming Marvel movies. It does feature a guest appearance by one of the other Avengers... though because I suck at remembering faces- and because he doesn't wear a costume- I had no idea who it was until I read it on Wikipedia.

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Phase One: Iron Man * The Incredible Hulk * Iron Man 2 * Thor * Captain America * The Avengers
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 * Thor: The Dark World * Captain America: The Winter Soldier * Guardians of the Galaxy * Avengers: Age of Ultron * Ant-Man
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War * Doctor Strange * Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 * Spider-Man: Homecoming * Thor: Ragnarok *
Black Panther * Avengers: Infinity War * Ant-Man and the Wasp * Captain Marvel * Avengers: Endgame * Spider-Man: Far from Home
Phase Four: Black Widow * Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings * Eternals * Spider-Man: No Way Home *
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness * Thor: Love and Thunder * Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Phase Five: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania * Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 * The Marvels
short films: Marvel One-Shots
TV: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. * Agent Carter * Inhumans * Cloak & Dagger
Netflix: Daredevil * Jessica Jones * Luke Cage * Iron Fist * The Defenders * The Punisher
Hulu: Runaways * Helstrom
Disney+ (P4): WandaVision * The Falcon and the Winter Soldier * Loki * What If...? * Hawkeye * Moon Knight * Ms. Marvel * I Am Groot *
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law * Werewolf by Night * Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Disney+ (P5): Secret Invasion * Loki s2 * Echo