Iron Man 3 came out in 2013 and was the first film in Phase 2 of the MCU. While it overall received good reviews, the audience had mixed feelings about the Mandarin plot twist. I personally enjoyed it, of course, and it was nice to see anxiety and PTSD represented on the big screen to create more awareness of it. The continuing character growth of Tony Stark is always nice to see and we also get a view of his desire to have children as he somewhat takes Harley under his wing. We see Harley again in Endgame which means that Tony stayed in touch with him after this film.
We start out with Tony narrating a few things about the past and how things can come back around when you least expect them. At the end of the film he narrates again about his journey and a few other things, which is when we learn that he has been talking to Bruce Banner this entire time. Bruce, however, had fallen asleep because he’s “not that kind of Doctor,” so Tony starts over, in fact, he goes even further back this time. While it was somewhat portrayed as a joke, it does indicate that Tony is seeking help to deal with anxiety and PTSD that he suffered throughout the film. We see him suffer several panic attacks and moments of overwhelming stress, finding different ways to ground himself or work through it. Anxiety is difficult to deal with, and that fact that even Tony Stark has panic attacks makes him more human, or more relatable as a character. Through this, we learn that he is so much more than the suit. He buries himself in his “hobby” of building suits to hide away from his stress and anxiety, but as he works through it he learns that he can do so much without them. At the end of the film, he ceremoniously blows them all up to show Pepper that he is moving forward with his life, and that he is more than a man in a metal case.
Overall, the film was really good and had some great aspect to it alongside the acknowledgement of anxiety/PTSD. The Mandarin plot twist was actually an interesting twist, I thought, because it really shows how as long as society has a scapegoat for evil, they don’t pay attention to the real evil going on behind the curtain. The Mandarin is used to cover up the people who overheated and combusted with AIM’s formula. Though I do understand why people disliked the twist since the character plays a large role in the comics. The Iron Man movies seemingly always address a bigger issue in a way that goes over many peoples heads, and then they dislike the film because they didn’t understand the twist or the plot or something stupid. These films always look at something more in-depth, so giving them a rewatch can help you understand them better as it has me.
Some smaller details! We still have the original Marvel logo but this intro had the song “Blue” since we began in 1999. A bit later in the film, there is a Joan Rivers cameo as she mocks the Iron Patriot’s colors in her show. Something odd and maybe only I noticed was that Mark 42 seemingly has its own personality, indicating that it’s a sentient being. This may (or may not) be foreshadowing Ultron becoming a sentient in the film. Tony, as mentioned before, clearly wants kids and somewhat adopts Harley in this film in his own, weird way. Even though he jokes around, he clearly cares for the kid and wants him to grow with a father figure in his life. Finally, Pepper has a major badass moment at the end of the film when she kicks one of the suits and Killian’s ass! It was amazing.
Of course this film has some references to The Avengers, but there are some other smaller things worth noticing! There aren’t too many obvious easter-eggs for regular viewers, but it wouldn’t be a Marvel film without a few! First, we see Dr. Ho Yinsen try to talk to Tony at the party without success. Dr. Yinsen is the man who saves Tony’s life in the cave in the first Iron Man film. Second, in the fight when all of Tony’s suits have come to the rescue, we get the first sighting of the Hulk-buster armor, which later plays a large role in Ultron. Third, naturally we get another wonderful Stan Lee cameo as a judge in the beauty pageant. That is all there is for normal viewers, but if you’re a huge comic genius please leave a comment below with other things you’ve noticed!
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