In My Humble Opinion: The Iron Man franchise made The Avengers possible. I’m not a huge fanboy or anything like that, but do enjoy the movies. Iron Man was on the other day and it got me thinking that without the success of that movie, The Avengers would never have happened. Now Iron Man 3 is coming out this Friday and I for one am hyped to see it. What do you all think? Below is the plot summary, if you don’t like spoilers…stop reading now. if you do like spoilers make sure to follow me and the blog as I post spoilers from time to time…enjoy!
In a flashback, Tony Stark recalls a New Years Eve party in 1999 with scientist Maya Hansen, inventor of Extremis, an experimental regenerative treatment intended to allow its users to recover from crippling injuries. They are approached by crippled scientist Aldrich Killian, who offers them a place in his company Advanced Idea Mechanics, but Stark arrogantly rebuffs him.
In the present day, some time after The Avengers, Stark’s experiences during that film are causing him great anxiety, and he has built several Iron Man suits, creating friction with his girlfriend Pepper Potts. Global tensions also run high in the wake a string of bombings by terrorist the Mandarin, which have left intelligence agencies bewildered by their lack of forensic evidence. When Stark Industries security chief Happy Hogan is caught in one such attack, Stark overcomes his stupor and issues a televised threat to the Mandarin, who responds by destroying Tony’s home with helicopter gunships. Pepper and Maya, who had come to warn Tony, survive the attack. Tony then finds himself in rural Tennessee after his artificial intelligence JARVIS follows a flight plan from Tony’s investigation into the Mandarin. Tony’s experimental armor lacks sufficient power to return to California, and the world believes him dead.
Teaming with Harley, a precocious 10-year-old boy, Tony investigates the remains of a local explosion bearing the hallmarks of a Mandarin attack. He discovers the “bombings” were triggered by soldiers who had been subjected to Maya’s Extremis virus, which in its still-imperfect state causes certain subjects to explosively reject it. After veterans started growing unstable and exploding, their deaths were used to cover up Extremis’ flaws by manufacturing a terrorist plot. Tony witnesses Extremis firsthand when Mandarin agents Ellen Brandt and Eric Savin attack him.
With Harley’s help, Tony traces the Mandarin to Miami and infiltrates his headquarters using a variety of home-made weapons. Inside he discovers the Mandarin is actually a British actor named Trevor Slattery, who is oblivious to the acts the Mandarin has carried out. The Mandarin is a creation of Killian, who appropriated Maya’s Extremis research as a cure for his own disability and expanded the program to include injured war veterans. Killian reveals he is the true Mandarin and has kidnapped Pepper and subjected her to Extremis, intending to infuse her with superhuman abilities and turn her against Tony as leverage to gain Tony’s aid in fixing Extremis’s flaws.
Killian has also manipulated American intelligence agencies regarding the Mandarin’s location, luring James Rhodes — the former War Machine, now rebranded as the Iron Patriot — into a trap to steal the armor. Tony escapes his captivity and reunites with James, discovering that Killian intends to attack President Ellis aboard Air Force One. Remotely controlling his Iron Man armor, Tony saves the surviving passengers and crew but cannot stop Killian from abducting Ellis. They trace Killian to an impounded oil drilling platform where Killian intends to kill Ellis on live television. The Vice President will become a puppet leader, following Killian’s orders in exchange for Extremis to cure a little girl’s disability.
On the platform, Tony goes to save Pepper, and James saves the President. Tony summons each of his Iron Man suits, controlled remotely by JARVIS, to provide air support. James secures the President and leads him to safety, while Tony discovers Pepper has survived the Extremis procedure. However, before he can save her, a rig collapses around them and she falls to her apparent death. Tony is forced into confronting Killian and traps him in an Iron Man suit that self-destructs, but fails to kill him. Pepper, whose Extremis powers allowed her to survive her fall, intervenes and finishes Killian once and for all.
After the battle, Tony orders JARVIS to destroy each Iron Man suit remotely, as a sign of his intention to devote more time to Pepper. The Vice President and Slattery are arrested. Pepper undergoes surgery to remove Extremis, and Tony to remove the shrapnel embedded near his heart. He pitches his obsolete chest arc reactor into the sea, musing he will always be Iron Man, even without his armor.
In a post-credits scene, it is revealed that Stark has been recounting his experiences to Dr. Bruce Banner, who awakens, having fallen asleep at the beginning of Tony’s story.
In My Humble Opinion: Marvel better hurry up and take advantage of the new-found love everyone seems to have for the Incredible Hulk. I know they’ve greenlit a new movie with the Hulk and Ruffalo has signed a 6 movie deal, but frankly, it’s not coming soon enough. I understand the box office numbers for Captain America and Thor may prove that they are safer bets when it comes to creating a franchise (see news for sequels below). However, with the new Avengers movie that just came out….who didn’t leave the theatre saying, “Well, the Hulk was the best part.” Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark / Iron Man was a close second but Mark Ruffalo has brought a new spin to the character Bruce Banner / Hulk. He doesn’t play it with the intensity and cold stare that Eric Bana and Edward Norton did (though Norton did try to bring some humor to the role). Instead he plays it with a bumbling, buffoonish attitude that, if portrayed by a less capable actor may not have worked, but Ruffalo pulls it off. With Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor getting sequels of their own and talk of a stand alone Ant Man movie…I’m hoping that Marvel takes advantage of the momentum that Hulk has seemed to build. If it doesn’t, I might get angry…and you won’t like me when I’m angry.