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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Iron Man 3 can be found here.
Still suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the events in The Avengers (2012), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) deals with his insomnia by spending his sleepless nights designing new prototypes of the Mark-42 Iron Man suit. The suits come in handy when the mysterious Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a villainous terrorist, steals TV broadcast time, threatens the United States as well as President Ellis (William Sadler), stages a devastating attack on the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, and sends Tony's Malibu mansion tumbling into the ocean. When Tony and Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) finally track down the Mandarin, Tony discovers that an event from 1999 is also connected to the present terrorist attacks. .
Iron Man 3 is the third movie in the Iron Man film series, preceded by Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010). The character of Iron Man is based on a comic book of the same name created by Marvel Comics editor Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. Iron Man first appeared in issue #39 of Tales of Suspense (March 1963). The story for Iron Man 3 was based on "Extremis", a six-issue story arc from the comic book series Iron Man (vol. 4), published in issues 1 through 6, in 2005 and 2006, by Marvel comics. The screenplay for Iron Man 3 was written by American filmmaker Shane Black (who also directed) and British screenwriter Drew Pearce.
The reason for this is not directly referenced in the film and is left to the viewer's interpretation. It has been noted that the star in the center of the shield has been replaced with an "A", the symbol for anarchy. Kevin Feige has said that the Mandarin uses "symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end." A popular theory is that he is attempting to twist the ideals the shield represents. This fits in with the speech that he gives in the film: "Ladies, children, sheep... Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing."
The complex design of the Mark 42 made for some unique properties: Each piece of independent armor had to have its own power supply to utilize the repulsor/anti-gravity flight capacity and each piece had to be able to independently and cooperatively know where it needed to be and in what order it needed to arrive to make the suit viable upon receipt: this means they were all capable of managing their own power resources. Each unit is capable of functioning independent of any other pieces (see Tony's unconventional one hand, one foot aerial ballet of destruction) and thus they are likely not able to be easily recharged unless the suit is in one piece. The Mark 42 did not seem to be as physically strong as some of the other designs, possibly because of its very modular nature. Since the suit was designed to fit people other than Stark himself—we see Pepper using it quite well—it makes sense to have the suit function without a direct link to the Arc reactor in Tony's chest. It also makes sense to allow the suit to be recharged on ordinary electricity in the event Stark is not around (as it proved to be a useful feature). Recharging on ordinary electricity was a feature of the comic version of Iron Man from the very first designs. His suits were designed to absorb solar energy constantly, absorb some electromagnetic energy from his enemies or to be powered directly from land-based power supplies. He could even link his armor to land based power supplies to augment his strength briefly.
After Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), whose Extremis powers allowed her to survive the fall, kills Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), Tony orders JARVIS to destroy the Iron Man suits as proof that he's going to spend more time with Pepper and less time in his lab. The next day, Vice President Rodriquez (Miguel Ferrer) and Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) are arrested. In a voiceover, Tony explains that he was able to cure Pepper and to undergo surgery to remove the shrapnel embedded near his heart. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) awakes from his coma, and Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) comes home from school to find his garage laboratory rebuilt, replete with a brand new potato gun. In the final scene, Tony tosses his old chest arc reactor off the cliff where his mansion used to stand. "My armor?", he asks.
It was never a distraction or a hobby. It was a cocoon. And now I'm a changed man. You can take away my house...all my tricks and toys. One thing you can't take away: I am Iron Man.
Yes: Tony Stark can be seen lying on a sofa in a doctor's office. It is revealed that the voice over in the beginning was the start of a movie-length flashback: Stark has told the entire story to his friend Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), wanting to get it off his chest, even though Banner isn't exactly a doctor of psychology and had nodded off.
Blame sexism and corporate meddling. Originally, Hall was going to be the Mandarin! They would still have Trevor Slattery but with the reveal that Maya Hansen was actually the mastermind behind the plot. But word came down to director Shane Black and the writers that they had to change this. Iron Man 3, like most superhero movies, was going to have an associated toy line and there were corporate fears that a female toy wouldn't sell well. So Hall's role was downgraded to what we saw in the movie and, since they didn't have a great way to resolve her character arc, they just killed her out of nowhere.
He can be seen at the Miss Chattanooga pageant as one of the judges. He is briefly shown on a video monitor holding up a white sign with his critique of one of the contestants.
"Something To Fight For" by Joseph Trapanese
The future of the Iron Man series is uncertain. There are rumors that Downey Jr wants to retire the character, meaning that an Iron Man 4 would be out of the picture; but this may change in the future, depending on the commercial results of the next movies. In the meantime, Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man character can be seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and in Captain America: Civil War (2016).
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