The time of the second Avengers movie is upon us. The first Avengers was an unprecedented film. It was historic in how it brought multiple movie franchises together in one team up film. And most importantly, it was a satisfying film that appeased almost every fan. Our excitement for the film inspired three blogs to join together (much like the Avengers) and do a countdown. Well, with the Age of Ultron almost here, the bloggers return for a new countdown.
Iron Man Three was the first film of what Marvel dubbed "Phase 2." It's appropriate that he gets the first post-Avengers solo film and kicks off this phase since it was his character that started Phase 1. As it happens, Iron Man will also be in the first film of Phase 3, Captain America: Civil War. Now, coming off the high that was Avengers, it had to be a daunting task to come up with a movie that was appropriately raising the stakes, yet toning things down for a solo character film.
This movie has gotten a lot of grief from some fans. A good portion of it stems from the fact it follows Avengers. Some of it due to the fact that the plot is a combination of the plot from Incredibles and the previous Iron Man films. And most of it due to big-time Marvel fans being mad about how The Mandarin was handled. (This is somewhat resolved in a Marvel One-Shot bonus feature short. While I enjoyed the short, I don't believe it was necessary in the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe [MCU].)
The major ties to films from before were the following:
Yinsen returns in a flashback cameo at the beginning of the film.
Tony suffers from PTSD after the "Battle of New York" and there are multiple references to that.
Rhodey references the "super friends" and indicates a style change for how he operates now.
Bruce Banner is at the very end of the movie in a quick cameo.
And finally, the "Ten Rings" graphic and Killian proclaiming he's the Mandarin, he was always the Mandarin, indicating he might have been behind events of the first movie.
As for what clues this movie gives to Tony's future in the MCU, the primary observation I have is Tony's intense desire to make things safe, particularly for Pepper. While things are never quite in his control, he wants to control things so that his world is the way he wants it. He's a mechanic, always fixing the world around him. Perhaps he eventually fixes something that wasn't really broken and that leads to Ultron's creation.
We do know that Paul Bettany, voice of JARVIS, will be playing the Vision in Avengers 2. We see the nascent version of that here in the form of 35 suits/robots controlled by this AI. It's easy to see how JARVIS will become JAR-VISION as an extension of that.
As a side note, this movie lands two actors who were previously up for super hero movie roles. Ben Kingley was cast as The Vulture in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 before it died. And Guy Pearce has floated as a rumor for a couple different movies, most notably Daredevil that instead went to Ben Affleck. And awesome to see that William Sadler is the MCU U.S. President.
"Looking back at my contribution to CT’s Iron Man review from our first Avengers Countdown (three years ago???), it’s funny how far my comic nerdery has progressed. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about some sort of Marvel or Avengers film, and I read a lot more comics these days. But I won’t lie about Iron Man 3: it’s not my favorite Avengers film. Stark spends a big chunk of the film without his armor and there’s a kid sidekick of sorts, which is hardly ever a good thing. I do appreciate that RDJ and writer/director Shane Black were trying to do something a little different from the first two Iron Man flicks. Plus, that plane rescue scene is just awesome and Stark’s army of Iron Man suits is a joy to behold. Iron Man 3 is notable in that it’s the first post-The Avengers film, which must have been daunting. The filmmakers really wanted to build on the success of The Avengers, however, so they boosted the Iron Man 3 budget considerably to try to accomplish this. I’d say it largely worked. It was also nice to see that the film contained callbacks to The Avengers (Stark suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the New York battle) and seemed to hint at Avengers relationships and films ahead with the revelation that Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk was visiting Stark (if not living with him in New York’s Stark/Avengers Tower) in the customary post credits scene. All in all, Iron Man 3 was an excellent addition to the Marvel universe." Robert