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Headscratchers: Iron Man 3

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    Heat vs Suit 
  • How can the Extremis-enhanced people disable the suits by merely touching them? The fight with Thor establishes the suits capable of storing energy, and the heat should only affect the part it's touching instead of causing a total shutdown.
    • No, the fight with Thor only establishes that Tony's arc reactor is compatible with the lightning Thor is throwing around, not that they're capable of storing any and all kinds of energy.

    Extremis Clothing 

  • Does everybody wear fireproof clothing in the movie? Extremis-enhanced people can output enough heat to melt steel within seconds, yet they never damage their clothing doing that. An even stranger instance is near the end when Pepper falls into a raging inferno, and only loses one shoulder off her tank top as a result.
    • Maybe they're shopping at the same place where Bruce Banner gets those trousers that always manage to fit the Hulk as well? Indestructible clothing must be a booming growth industry in the Avengers universe.
    • Magic Pants. Killian is smart enough to wear and buy his mooks special clothing. Maybe he dressed Pepper up in some special clothes. wouldn't do to unwrap the present before Christmas morning.
    • Personally I'm going to call it an Acceptable Break from Reality, and cite a reason used by the author of One Piece: Wouldn't it kind of detract from the point of the story if there were a bunch of naked people running around? After all, there's only certain times where Naked People Are Funny...
    • Yes, Killian obviously had fireproof clothing made for all enhanciles... including Pepper. Not Acceptable Breaks from Reality so much as typical science-fiction (technology beyond our current capabilities). Maybe he bought it from Reed Richards.
    • Evidently the United States military already has access to materials resistant to 3000 degree heat, but they're only using it to make dogtags.
      • Those failures of Extremis didn't heat up and melt, they exploded. The dog tags didn't have time to melt before they were sent hurtling away as shrapnel.
    • It certainly only explains some cases, but I was also under the impression that Extremis heat is fairly localised. They can melt something with their hands just fine while just a little way up their arm, sleeves ain't smoldering.
      • So Convection Schmonvection?
      • That trope's gotten a little overplayed, people tend to refer to it as if just looking at something very hot ought to make you burst into flames.
  • Killian superheats the Iron Patriot's abdominal section, apparently nearly to the point of melting. Col. Rhodes' green polo shirt is unharmed. What did strike me as odd is that the Armor bears no sign of damage afterward; you'd think at the very least the paint job would be affected. And even if the metal plates survived unscathed, every part of the armor appears to have myriad tiny moving components that allow the Armor to adjust. You'd think those would be broken, but the armor still appears to work just fine.
    • Killian was just trying to heat up the suit enough for the fail-safes to kick Rhodes out. Which they did. He wasn't actually using anywhere near enough heat to damage the armor. The paint was probably scorched, but easily repaired.
      • Isn't that a case of Fridge Logic? If the suit was being subjected to external temperatures enough to damage it, how would it benefit the occupant to be ejected unprotected into that situation?
      • Tony notes that AIM was involved in the Iron Patriot upgrades. It's entirely possible that they installed that particular failsafe specifically in preparation for that plan.
      • If the suit was subjected to dangerously high temperatures and couldn't get away what's most likely happening is the suit is disabled and the pilot is trapped inside. Letting the pilot out means he can escape the danger.
    • Savin was concerned about damage to the suit, but he told Killian that he could repair it if necessary.
      • There's also the fact that they only needed the suit to fly. After they got Rhodes out, they weren't planning on fighting in it, so keeping it in combat condition wasn't a factor.

    Copies of Tony's Armor 

  • If Tony's taking the Crazy-Prepared approach in this film, why didn't he build spares of his existing armors? There should be like a half dozen Mk. 7 armors back at Stark Tower.
    • Maybe he does. It's possible that given the choice of "a bunch of outmoded Mk. 7's", why not use a whole army of Mk. 8 through Mk. 41? Of course, the "Clean Slate" protocol might see to it that his spare armors are no longer in working order.
      • 8 through 41 all seem to built for specialized uses, while 42 joins 1-7 as general purpose suits. 7 shouldn't be that outdated. If anything it's probably tougher than 42 given what we saw in Avengers.
    • Tony may be Crazy-Prepared, but he's also a mechanic who can never stop tinkering. He would never build an identical version of a suit because he would rather use the time to upgrade and make an even better one. Remember, the suit is a Perpetual Beta.
    • A technicality, but he wouldn't need to actually build any duplicate suits himself. In the first movie, the Mark 3 is built automatically after Tony finishes up the design and is out at that party. If he really wanted to, he could probably just have JARVIS stamp out a dozen backup copies of each working design, but being who he is, he doesn't.
  • In the climax fight scene, you see the rather large Iron Man suit Igor support a failing structural support. What happened to it (and the pylon it was supporting) when "Clean Slate" was put into effect?
    • Presumably JARVIS was smart enough not to blow that one up.

    New house? 

  • Where are Tony and Pepper going to live after the events of the movie? The house in Malibu has been destroyed and Tony can't even bear to hear the words "New York", where their penthouse apartment in Stark Tower is located. Even assuming that they have more houses (which is quite possible, considering them being billionaires and all) - when will Pepper notice the pattern and give up tempting fate by redecorating them? Every time she does (in The Avengers and Iron Man 3: The Prequel) it precedes Trash the Set by about five minutes. No points for guessing what will happen if they just get a new place... Looks to this Troper as if they've got a bit of a conundrum on their hands.
    • Assuming Robert Downey Jr agrees to come back, if only for more Avengers movies, I assume they'll move into Stark Tower. Sure he's going through PTSD with New York, but he can certainly work past that. The end of the film seems to imply he's over it, or at least getting over it.
    • They can also live wherever Pepper lived before moving in with Tony. Or they can buy a new house, Tony has enough money.
      • A deleted scene from the first movie has Tony throwing a wild house party in Dubai; he's probably got plenty of ginormous mansions scattered around the globe.
  • He's a multi-billionare. Surely even if he doesn't own other houses, the ability to, I don't know, build or buy a new one isn't that much of a stretch? I mean no one freaked out when Wayne Manor was destroyed at the end of Batman Begins or were scratching their heads as to where the penthouse in Dark Night came from.

    The Ten Rings 

  • Was Aldrich controlling the Ten Rings back in the events of Iron Man 1? What did he want a Jericho missile for?
    • No. The impression I got was that he was using them as a scapegoat for whenever one of his people exploded and while simultaneously creating a terrorist threat that would make governments more eager for his Extremis super soldiers. AIM had no affiliation or even interaction witch the original members. The organization itself if it still exists may not even be aware, as in real life Al Qaeda often has different cells and branches who did not communicate.
      • Ditto. It's quite possible that the original 10 Rings group was simply shut down, with all the terrorists killed or captured. Then Aldrich used the 10 Rings name for his new Mandarin plot. Why? Because (a) It's really spooky if a supposedly-defeated group comes "back to life" all of the sudden, (b) The authorities would probably waste plenty of time analyzing whatever intel they had on the original 10 Rings group, which is a total Red Herring at this point, and (c) The 10 Rings group is spooky to Tony, specifically, and Aldrich hates Tony.
    • Maybe. At the very end, he out-of-nowhere says that "I am the Mandarin! It was me, all along!", and he's got the dragon tattoos, martial arts skills, and personal vendetta against Stark. I'm guessing they left it vague, so that if this is really the end of the Iron Man series, Killian's death could bring closure to the whole Ten Rings plotline. Alternatively, if they do an Iron Man 4 and want to bring back the Ten Rings, they could have someone else turn out to be the mastermind (Maya refers to "the Master", even though she seems to know Trevor is a fake). If Killian really was "the Mandarin", it's possible he only funded the Ten Rings to cause general global chaos to create demand for his super-soldiers, and had very little to do with their daily operations; acquiring a Jericho may have been Raza's idea. Alternatively, Killian may have wanted to implicate Stark in the terrorist acts of the Ten Rings by having them use his weapons. Killian's Start of Darkness was in 1999, so if he's meant to be the "real" Mandarin that gives him 9 years to start and build up his own global terrorist network in time for the events of Iron Man 1.
    • As of All Hail The King, the Ten Rings was a entirely separate organization that Killian framed for his own plans. They had nothing to do with the events of IM 3, and Killian had nothing to do with the events of Iron Man. The real Ten Rings and the real Mandarin are out for revenge on Trevor Slattery and are very active.

    Tony using guns 

  • So, according to the Crowning Momentof Funny page (I haven't seen the trailers, minimal spoilers that way) Tony apparently doesn't know how to actually use a gun, as he makes a statement to Rhodey implying he thinks bullets are one size fits all. And yet in the first movie when the humvees are attacked and Tony gets captured, he wants the soldiers to give him a gun to try and help. In the extended/deleted scenes, he even picks up one from a fallen soldier and manages to get off a couple shots. I suppose it could be Obfuscating Stupidity, but I don't see why Tony would need to do that. So why the sudden lack of gun knowledge from Tony?
    • He can certainly ask for a gun and even be able to fire it successfully (that's not the hard part), but it doesn't mean he's been trained to use them or that he knows a lot about them. Also, once a scene has been deleted, it doesn't necessarily count as been official continuity.
      • And yet that scene has been included in the film every time I've seen it aired on TV... So it's ...not quite deleted anymore?
    • The entry was incorrect. Tony uses a gun to great effect earlier in the film. He only seems to not understand that all guns do not use the same magazines, he doesn't have any problems with aiming and shooting (albeit nowhere near the level of Rhodes who is an Airforce officer).
    • It actually works pretty well for the character. Given a gun, Tony is a fairly good shot and definitely has combat training. But he doesn't know how to maintain them and likely only trained by having someone who understands firearms (possibly Captain America) hand him a gun or lead him to a table with the firearm and a few spare magazines. So for Tony, reloading a gun or getting more ammo is as simple as asking for it.
    • That just seems to raise further questions to me... You'd think, if he was trained even a tiny bit by Cap or Rhodey or Happy or anyone else, those people would be responsible enough to teach him some of the most basic gun knowledge... and even if not, you'd think a former weapons designer and mechanical genius could figure out on his own that different guns have different bullets.
      • He does say at one point for Rhodey to give him the guns, and something like "he used to make these", so I'd bet that the STARK tech guns all had swappable ammo (what he's used to), and thus he assumes all guns do, even when they don't.
      • I don't think he ever implies he thinks "one size fits all" with guns. It seems he just assumed that the two guns they had with them used the same ammunition.
      • Exactly. It's baffling how many people make this mistake in real life. He's not exactly failing to use a gun, he just assumed that two very similar handguns were using the same cartridge.
      • Actually, both the Beretta 92FS Rhodey was using, and Tony's SIG-Sauer P 229 R, do indeed use the same 9x19mm cartridge. So the rounds would have been interchangeable, if Tony took them out of Rhodey's magazine and used them to refill his own. Might have been simple miscommunication between characters in the heat of the moment.
      • Guys, this is really simple. Even if the two guns use the same exact bullets, they use different magazines. Unloading individual bullets from one of Rhodey's magazines to refill Tony's would have been time consuming and left them sitting ducks. That's what they're talking about.
  • Tony implies that Stark Industries is (or was) the manufacturer of that gun and they should fit. Perhaps he simply didn't realize that his company didn't have a monopoly on the gun contracts, or that they may have switched over when Stark Industries decided to stop being a weapons manufacturer.
  • There is also a good chance that Tony was basically just being a smartass to cover up a heat-of-the-moment mistake. He needed another magazine and asked Rhodey for one without thinking about it too much, then upon realizing his mistake he kept going with it rather than apologize or admit to the mistake.

    Tony's Audi 

  • Where did Tony get a nice Audi to drive to Miami after the fight scene in Tennessee, even though it's clear he has no resources there when he first arrived?
    • That was the car the AIM agents used. We see him taking the keys.
    • Speaking of resources though, did Harley lend him the funds for his big trip to the hardware store or did he happen to have some change in his pockets?
      • Tony had street clothes on when the mansion attack happened, so there's a good chance he still had his wallet/money clip/etc.
      • I assume that Tony had long since planned that he might need to suddenly drop out and play dead for a while, and had arranged for money to be stashed in various electronic accounts that he could get access to without people figuring out he was alive. Given his high-risk lifestyle, it makes sense.

    Giving Superpowers to Enemies 

  • So Killian injects Pepper, who by this point thoroughly hates him, with a virus that...has 50% chance of giving her awesome superpowers. Did he honestly not see the potential of that to go wrong? Why not just torture her by conventional means?
    • He'd gone crazy at this point, and mostly wanted to get back at Tony.
    • It's another Xanatos Gambit, like the Roxxon accountant. He can use her to "motivate" Tony, or lure him in if he escapes. And if she lives, hey, then he can do all sorts of things. She can heal, after all.
    • He also had her restrained during the whole procedure, with restraints probably designed to handle Extremis-augmented people. Not his fault the big battle ended up releasing her...
    • It's also pretty obvious that Killian doesn't see Pepper as a person, but as an object. This would be far from the first time a man has underestimated a woman because he can't think of her as a person.
      • Also bear in mind, from his perspective, what is the worst case scenario? She successfully assimilates the Extremis, and gains the usual power set. Which makes her. . . as powerful as any given one of his Extremis mooks. Of which he has a lot, all(?) of whom are better trained and skilled than her. And he himself is still notably more powerful. Pepper may have made the critical difference in the final battle, but that only mattered after he'd been worn down by fighting Tony and his Iron Legion.
    • I thought they wanted Tony to fix the whole "spontaneously combust" part of the deal. He's much more motivated to work on the problem if it helps Pepper.

    Pepper's Powers 

  • So, does Pepper keep her Extremis powers at the end of the movie? Stark says he "fixed" her, but that could just as easily mean stabilising them for future use as opposed to just removing them entirely.
    • He most likely got rid of it altogether. As we saw, Extremis is dangerous, and if something went wrong...
    • Possibly it's meant to be vague in case they want to use that plot thread in more movies.
    • Given that it's the most reliable way to keep her safe, she probably kept them. I hope she gets a custom suit of her own that uses the heat powers somehow.
    • Intentionally vague seems the best explanation at this point, short of Word of God. Though on the danger point, it is noteworthy that Stark mentions he's confident he could fix Extremis when the topic of fixing her first comes up.
    • Actually, since Tony injects himself with Extremis to survive the heart surgery to remove his shrapnel it's most likely that when he said he could 'fix' her. he meant the heating problem. That was why Maya wanted him on board after all, he gave her the equation to fix the problem in plant subjects more than a decade earlier while hungover, after a single night of reading.
      • Tony didn't actually inject himself, he just had an operation to remove the shrapnel; no mention of Extremis was made. The operation DID look a lot like the injection of Extremis the way it happened in the comics.

    Killing Maya 

  • How did Killian kill Maya? When she threatened to blow herself up, she made it obvious that she also had Extremis. Then Killian just shoots her. In the final battle, the Extremis soldiers were able to shake off the bullets which were fired at them. So how did it kill Maya?
    • Maybe it 'didn't' and she faked her own death. That or it was a type of 'silver bullet' he formulated that could kill Extremis users.
    • Um, you misheard her there dude. She never made it "obvious" she had Extremis - she was talking about what Killian would do without her being around to improve and refine the formula. It's never implied she shares the super powers, nor was she threatening to blow herself up - she was threatening to inject herself with a dosage that would prove instantly fatal, meaning Killian would lose her expertise. "Silver bullet" is a theory for something that never happened.
    • She wasn't. She didn't heal, remember? I wondered if she had the dose in the hotel, and saw that she still had the forehead cut and other injuries.
    • She had a vial of Extremis in her hand. She didn't actually have any of it in her blood. She threatened to inject herself, but Killian shot her before she managed to do that.
  • Where did the pistol that Killian used come from? It's never seen in either of his hands in the shots leading up to him using it, neither is there a holster where he could have kept it. Then it's suddenly in his hand when he raises his arm, with no prior indication of having drawn it from anywhere. As he's leaving the room, it's gone again.

    The Mandarin's Crimes 

  • If the events surrounding the Mandarin were to occur in real life - namely that he's an actor and not an actual mastermind - what sort of criminal charges would be applied to him? I'm genuinely curious as it's a funny kind of situation.
    • Collusion in a criminal conspiracy, I assume. Or working with Terrorists. If the accountant was, somehow, really killed, then manslaughter ("They told me it was blanks!"). He clearly knew AIM were bad guys, he just didn't care as long as he was kept knee-deep in drugs, booze, and women. Well, maybe not his knee in that last case.
    • If nothing else, they could just convict him on drug charges.
    • Terrorism, not just working with terrorists. By being their spokesperson he's delivering terroristic threats. Also considering the organization's actions against the US, including its military, it's possible he might be tried for treason.
      • Slattery is British, not American, so he couldn't be charged with treason unless he's a US citizen. He'd likely be extradited to the UK for trial, though.
    • At most, they could get him for conspiracy in connection with terrorism. Since he admits he had no idea there was any real violence involved, the Feds would probably be more amenable to a deal, and he does outright tell Rhodey that if they're arresting him there are some people he will "roll on" i.e. turn states evidence against, right away. He would probably be deported, and maybe face a short incarceration back in Britain, but would likely not be part of the main prosecution due to the info he'd be able to provide.

    Captain America 

  • Where's Captain America in all of this? The US are under attack by a powerful terrorist organisation, and they send only his metallic counterpart Iron Patriot? Although they will probably reference this in Cap's upcoming second movie...
    • Rhodey told Tony that the Mandarin is an American problem, not a superhero problem. The Avengers are not an American military asset that has to answer to the U.S. government (or any government, really). Remember how pissed Rhodey was when he found out that Tony took his Iron Man suit into an active war zone in Afghanistan? Imagine what would happen if Thor, Hulk, and the helicarrier showed up overseas and started tearing things up... Iron Patriot can be used internationally because Rhodey is a military officer and he does answer to the government.
      • The Avengers may not be a military asset but Captain America is. After all, his Captain title is earned from being a member of the U.S. Army. His powers came from an American super soldier project (may have been a German scientist, but it was funded by the U.S. Government.)
    • One could assume he's working with SHIELD on another operation that would render him unavailable to deal with the crisis in the U.S.
    • You might as well ask where Hawkeye and Black Widow, or why Tony doesn't call his bro Banner for some green help. Answer is, it's Iron Man movie, so yeah, he is on his own. And if you think it's not very logical, well you're right, but we have a trope called Story-Breaker Team-Up for a reason.
    • Also, at the start of the movie, Rhodey says that the US government is trying to look strong. The Mandarin is to them a conventional threat, so they're trying to solve it on their own, without involving SHIELD (note the Iron Patriot scheme for morale-boosting purposes). And most likely, as with the other movies, everyone's got their own problems to deal with - SHIELD possibly is still dealing with the fallout of the Chitauri attack on New York.
      • He notably states the Extremis stuff as being an "American problem" when talking it over with Tony. This probably means that President Ellis or other U.S. government officials probably told SHIELD not to get involved, since they've got their guy (Iron Patriot) on the case.
    • Black Widow and Cap are both tied up in the second movie (they're chasing a conspiracy in DC), Thor is off-planet, and if you pay attention, the movie takes place in a very, VERY tight timeframe, maybe a few days, and everybody thinks Tony is dead. Odds are pretty good they were still dredging the rubble for his corpse by the time he revealed himself.
    • Remember that, from a government viewpoint, SHIELD has not been trustworthy during the invasion, even if they ultimately save the day. Among the things I remember, Nick Fury violated direct orders to nuke New York, and let Thor go away with the Tesseract. I don't find it very unsurprising that the government refuses to seek the aid of SHIELD. Besides, they surely thought that Mandarin is just a lunatic, nowhere near an invasion of aliens or gods, and Rhodes alone should be enough to deal with him. As for the other heroes' viewpoint, the movie did not take place in a few days, it took place in a single day, the day before Christmas. So yes, they did not had the chance to be informed and join the action in time. Specially not Captain America: a 1940s guy like him, in his context and in the day before Christmas, would surely be in the cemetery, paying a visit to his long dead parents. And he surely left the futuristic gizmos (like the cell phone) at home, to be undisturbed, and did not had any TV nearby; and so nobody could find him nor he knew what was going on until it was all finished.
    • You would think, though, that at the very least one of the Avengers would hear about what was going on and contact Tony to see if he needed backup. Tony could be all, "It's cool, guys, I got this" but at least some acknowledgement that they were aware of the situation would be made clear. Then it could go back to being a solo Iron Man movie and we would all stop wondering. Hopefully this will exist in a deleted scene somewhere.
      • How would the Avengers call him? After he got to Tennessee he was pretty much unreachable, since it was a long time before he got Jarvis back online again (that's why he needed that news van). And at the end of the Avengers it's made clear that all the heroes dropped off government radar, so I doubt Tony has any of their contact info.
    • Tony Stark will not call the Avengers for help, not unless he has no other choice, and perhaps not even then. Remember: just say "New York", "Wormhole" or simply mention the alien invasion, and he goes bananas.
    • What's more, Cap would be pretty useless against Extremis soldiers. He's got very little chance against the low level ones on even terrain, much less Killian
      • That's a BIG YMMV... Tony without his suit is barely a Badass Normal, and he was still able to take out Brandt... Cap's got an indestructible shield and is an augmented supersoldier, so he wouldn't be anywhere near 'useless.'
      • IIRC, Brandt and Savin could killed Tony on numerous occasions, with Tony only surviving because they kept screwing around with him and letting him set up explosions/surpise attacks. Probably because they didn't see him as remotely being a threat out of his armor.
      • Not really the point, but yeah, the Extremis soldiers clutched the Idiot Ball pretty hard. Admittedly Cap wasn't handled well in The Avengers, but most writers seem to think he's not to be trifled with. He did personally beat up Satan and was the last hero standing against an Infinity Gauntlet wielding Thanos in the comics, after all.
      • Sure, but this isn't the comics. Cap's way tougher any ordinary human being, but he's just outclassed by Iron Man (even when Tony's in weaker suits like he built between this movie and Avengers) and villains on Tony's level of power. Cap has no business fighting people who can tear apart Iron Man suits with their bare hands, put out temperatures of 3000 degrees, and regenerate extreme wounds.
      • The Extremis Soldiers' main attack would be ineffective against Cap's indestructible shield; he was taking down Hydra soldiers with arguably even more powerful disintegrator beams, so they don't have that advantage. He's clever, quick and resourceful. He would be challenged, sure, but if an unarmored Tony can take down Extremis soldiers (regardless of their Idiot Ball), he certainly could, too.
      • Hydra soldiers can be shot and don't set you on fire when you punch them.
      • Yes, the shield would certainly let Cap survive for a long time. In the right scenario, Cap would do much better than Tony or Rhodey (sans armor). But in a straight up fight on even terrain, he just doesn't have the oomph to put down Extremis soldiers, particularly Killian. There's not much stopping an Extremis soldier from just ripping the shield out of his hands with their superior strength and incinerating him with their death touch. All they have to do is apply their powers in a reasonably intelligent fashion, (like they didn't against Tony and Rhodes) and any of them including Cap would die. There's only so much you can do against a much more powerful opponent. It's sort of like Cap vs. Loki. Sure, Cap can survive for a while and get in some good-looking (yet ineffective) shots, but he's simply outclassed, even by a Loki who's just toying with him. So, Cap showing up in this movie would be like sending Hawkeye up against Iron Monger. It just doesn't make any sense when you factor in their Power Levels
      • Even terrain? Power Levels? This debate has, in my opinion, grown a bit silly. Ultimately, if a movie were made that saw Cap fighting Extremis, of course he'd win because he's the hero with the Plot Armor. But, from a Watsonian perspective, why would he ever get into a fight on "even terrain" with regenerating supersoldiers? Why would he risk setting himself on fire by punching them? He'd show up prepared, being the master tactician that he is: hell, maybe he'd get killed, but that wouldn't stop him from confronting them. He's shown he's got no problem picking a fight with Physical Gods before, after all. Calling him "useless"- even if he couldn't win- is pretty closed-minded, inside-the-box-thinking if you ask me (I know you didn't). Nevertheless, the point of my tangent is this: the question of how he'd handle himself against Extremis Soldiers actually has nothing to do with the headscratcher itself, because even in the face of certain death, Cap certainly wouldn't be thinking, "These guys outclass me. I guess I'll sit this one out." No, if he had the opportunity to take on Extremis Soldiers, he wouldn't hesitate to do so. Therefore, whether or not he was actually able to fight them is irrelevant; he would not hesitate to do so. Therefore another answer is needed, and honestly, I agree with the people that said he was busy being in his own movie. And, of course, Superman Stays Out of Gotham.
      • I actually agree with you about Cap's attitude and willingness to intervene. All I meant to say was there's not any point in him showing up (from a storytelling standpoint) when you've got someone better suited to handle the threat. For the sake of drama, the writers had to tailor the threat to Tony, both physically and mentally. It is, IMO, obvious that a threat worthy of Iron Man would be too much for Cap to handle without a lot of plot contrivances. But as you say, the best answer is that he's too busy to help and doesn't know what's going on, since the movie takes place only over a couple of days.
    • The fact is, the full might of the Avengers is not needed for a threat on the life of the President of the United States. That's what the mundane Secret Service is for. There are well-established procedures for protecting the president from (apparently) non-superpowered threats, and historically, the assassination of a sitting president, while bad, has hardly thrown the country into chaos.
  • Why didn't Captain America volunteer to guard the president? While the majority of the plot takes place over a single day, the knowledge about the Mandarin Threat surely would have lasted weeks. And there's substantial time between when the Mandarin declares he's coming after the president and when the attack actually comes.
    • Since War Machine rode aboard Air Force One, it seems he was assigned to defend the President instead. Captain America may be awesome, but he's only invulnerable to bullets from one side, has no missiles, and can't fly.
  • I'm going throw this out there, but it's very possible that Mandarin plot wasn't a top priority for Shield. Let's face it Killian's smokescreen really wasn't something up there with alien invasion, Asgardian super weapon or Hydra threat level. Mandarin to he rest of the world was just another conventional terrorist that the US government was fully capable of stopping. Fury might have had Steve on different mission that he saw as bigger threat to the world at large. Killian's real plan, which probably would have caught Shield's eye, a army super soldiers Tony stopped him. Like everyone else said the whole movie takes places in two days.
  • While the Avengers may not call Tony, and Tony may not call the Avengers, Tony has no problem calling Pepper Potts who you'd think would give Fury a call after things escalated to that level. Even if SHIELD is willing to let America deal with the terrorist attacks, the point where those terrorists seemingly kill one of their biggest assets- Iron Man- should have been the Godzilla Threshold for them. And once Tony figured out that he was up against an army of superhuman soldiers who were trying to kill the President and take over the country, that should have been the Godzilla Threshold for him as well (and if not him, certainly for the more level-headed Rhodey). Especially since he knows his girlfriend is in mortal danger now as well.
  • In any case the real, Doylist, answer, is that Marvel were worried that this might be RDJ's last movie since his then-contract was up and because one of the criticisms of the previous movie was that it focused too much on setting up The Avengers. Both meta reasons for keeping the focus on Tony Stark alone...which obviously didn't work like they thought it would, since we are all wondering why SHIELD or at least one other Avenger aren't in this movie (Banner doesn't count).

    Chitauri weapons worse than Extremis? 

  • Does it makes sense that the Chitauri weapons (based on Asgardian/alien/Thanos tech) did little damage to Iron Man, yet the Extremis powered villains (human tech) can tear trough the armors like butter?
    • Not all alien tech is created equal, neither is all human tech. The Chitauri weapons that didn't do much damage to the Mark 7 were seemingly the equivalent of infantry weapons ( not that he actually didn't like taking too many hits from the speeder cannons ). Extremis, by contrast, is a fairly powerful form of superhuman enhancement. I suspect that the Extremis soldiers would have done damn good against the Chitauri infantry themselves ( though I suspect they would have ultimately lost, from overwhelming fire if nothing else ).
    • It's been implied that newer suits were kind of rushed during construction. Tony was building really just to have something to distract him from his PTSD and wasn't sleeping much. Even the Mark 42 itself seems to be less efficient than the Mark 7 in many ways.
      • This makes sense, if you think about it. The Mark 42 was designed to assemble itself from individual self-flying components, and was Tony's latest experiment. I suspect in order to make the components independent and self-flying, he had to make tradeoffs. Like durability, power, and weapons loadout. All told, probably not actually worthwhile.
      • Indeed. Tony still had a lot of kinks to iron out of the Mk.42 before it could be fully serviceable, which he simply had no time to do. Odds are, the 43 will have the strengths of the 7 and the 42 with neither weakness.
    • Something further to consider: all armor, no matter what it defends against, has a melting point. The Extremis villains are using heat attacks. Furthermore, the armors in the final battle are all hollow and a few of them are modular like the Mark 42, which means that they'll have lower structural integrity, since they don't have Tony's body giving them extra mass to absorb blows.
    • Yes, it makes sense, for the same reason that a .22 bullet from a pistol fired into the center of a suit of modern body armor will be stopped but a .50 round from a Browning will splatter the man wearing it. It's not just a matter of Technology Levels, its a matter of what the weapon is designed to do. Enough energy applied to a target can overwhelm it, whether or not that energy is a spiffy laser beam or a boulder tumbling down a hill.

    Killing Extremis Soldiers 

  • When Pepper kills Killian at the end of the final battle... why does he stay dead? What's so different about being exploded this time compared to self-destructing inside the Iron Man armour which he walked away from?
    • He's clearly getting more and more damaged each time he takes one of those explosions. Presumably that one was enough to finish him off.
    • Maybe he lived? Or maybe he was a double, because there were two of him, because the severed arm grew into a whole new person? Maybe he used his Matter Re-arranger Ring to protect himself but fake his death? Maybe Maya is really The Mandarin and she disintegrated him to make everyone feel complacent? Also, as we see after Clean Slate, those self destruct mechanisms aren't fantastically powerful.
      • Either that or there's a difference between the "self-destruct" protocol and the "clean slate" protacol.
    • Like we saw with Savin, there's a marked difference in Extremis users' ability to heal from external damage (the self-destruct) and internal damage (exploded with a missile from inside). It seems likely that Pepper kicked the missile into Killian's chest cavity while he was still recovering and scattered his parts.
      • Very likely, though there might also be an element of 'running out of power.' Just because Extremis enhancees can regenerate doesn't mean they can do continuously indefinitely. That said, I agree with the above poster who suggests that Killian may not have been killed. Its entirely possible he was just lastingly incapacitated.
  • What i would like to know is how Extremis seems to be fully capable of repairing a hole in someones brain but apparently a hole in their chest is just too much for it.
    • Presumably Extremis is carried through blood. No heartbeat, no Extremis, no healing. A person without a brain can survive brain dead for a couple minutes to days, a person with no heartbeat at all is dead for good.

    Scars, Tattoos, and Extremis 

  • Killian's dragon tattoos seem appropriate, but why don't they heal away? It seems odd that someone can regrow limbs but be stuck with a little bit of surface scarring.
    • Tats are just ink injected into the skin. There's nothing to heal. Or maybe he found some way to work around Extremis so his really cool tats wouldn't be erased. I'm more interested in why Brandt's scars didn't heal. Or did she have those before the upgrade?
      • This troper wondered about Brandt too; if they had been pre-existing, that shouldn't have made a difference, as the missing limbs were also pre-existing, so it's clearly not a case of the Extremis taking a 'snapshot' of the individual before the treatment. At a guess, the scar was from her being next to another subject exploding while she was being treated, as we saw in the video Tony accessed from the news van.
      • The impression I got from watching the film (and I don't know if there's any In-Universe evidence to support it, it may just be a WMG) is that, as Extremis is tied into your brain, you have to have some sort of act of will, even on a subconscious level, to heal. Killian's tattoos and Brandt's scars didn't go away because their owners liked them and didn't want them to. Other injuries, obviously, were immediately wished away. Again, just a guess.
      • They say Extremis basically allows you access to the blueprint of your genetic structure. So in essence, it's yours to revise as you see fit; Which... Makes Killian slightly unimaginative in terms of all the Extremis-enhanced soldiers having the exact same skill set, really, when feasibly you could make them do anything. But in that sense, Killian basically revised his own appearance so he looked largely the same, only better looking and more healthy. The Extremis-enhanced soldiers we see all regrow their limbs back, which was presumably a bargaining chip for taking part, but perhaps Brandt just never considered to revise the scars.
      • I don't think its "lack of creativity" so much as "immature technology." While in theory, the 'brain slot' is probably the underlying physiological basis of all superpowers, in practice, Killian and Hansen don't understand it and/or the nanite technology enough yet to trigger arbitrary superpowers. Remember, the heat-related effects started off as an undesired side effect of trying to induce regeneration. The fact that they got them controlled enough to be a useful power probably wasn't because they wanted to induce them, so much as they couldn't get rid of the thermal side effects, so might as well try to control and exploit them.
    • Is it possible he had the tattoos before he took his 90's Cool Dude update?

    Live Brain Feed 

  • When Killian shows off the live feed of his brain, why does it only light up when he's pinched? Surely, just from standing, talking, heart beating, etc... it should be constantly extremely active and lighting up everywhere. It's not like a pinch, even from Gwyneth Paltrow, should register so dramatically when nothing else in his brain does.
    • Current brain scanning technology (FMR Is and the like) tends to use activity like that as a baseline, only registering significant changes from that state. Otherwise there would be far too much going on in any brain scan to determine anything useful.
    • There's no obvious in universe reason, the simulation is simply more poetic than scientifically accurate. A pinch wouldn't activate his entire primary somatosensory cortex either (which is a real thing, shaped and located as the movie suggests) and, even if we could watch specifically the signals related to the pinch, would involve activation in a lot of areas.
    • Killian planned that demonstration in advance. I bet he just set the display software to exaggerate the visibility of pain signals, so it would look more impressive to Pepper. You wouldn't want to stand there for 10 minutes and be like "Ok, see that little bit of light there? No, not that one, the other one...". Killian is all about presentation.
  • On a similar note, a big deal is made of the "empty slot" in the brain that whatever they use to create Extremis is placed within. Killian shows Pepper the empty slot on the brain-hologram. Since the hologram's apparently a "live-feed" of Killian's brain, and Killian has been using Extremis for some time now, wouldn't the empty slot be filled by Extremis?
    • Presumably, Killian just fudged that bit. Pasted it over with readings from an earlier brain scan, before he started using Extremis.

    Recruiting a Drug Addict 

  • Was it not a huge, huge risk for Killian to recruit Slattery? The latter is obviously a drug addict, alcoholic, and an idiot to boot. What if he broke character during a live broadcast? What if he laughed? What if he threw up or shit himself? What if he decided to ad-lib because he was high? What if he died of an OD? What if he figured out what was going on and had a crisis of conscience, then revealed it on live TV? To use a Real Life example not intended as a Take That, there's a reason Robert Downey, Jr. was uninsurable for so many years: hiring drug addicts is very risky and dangerous. Surely someone as clever as Killian would have realized all the things that could go horribly, horribly wrong with Slattery that could have, at best, severely undermined the fearsome aura he was trying to create around the Mandarin, and, at worst, brought down his entire organization (as Slattery did, in fact, end up helping to do.)
    • Also, there's a huge chance someone might have recognized Trevor, given that the Mandarin's speeches are being broadcast globally and are big news. Even if the guy was an obscure stage actor, he still would have interacted with a lot of people (other actors, producers, stagehands, etc.) who could have seen him on TV and recognized him.
    • Well, The Mandarin is literally "the role of a lifetime". It's a major commitment, not something that you can just give to any actor (they would essentially have to give up their personal life for the foreseeable future). Trevor was skilled enough to play the part credibly, yet compromised enough that Killian could control him and keep him compliant with hookers and drugs. And there are plenty of actors who are able to successfully conceal their many personal issues while the cameras are rolling ("the show must go on" and all that). That doesn't address why Killian wasn't worried someone might recognize Trevor, though.
      • He says he got plastic surgery as part of the deal.
      • That and "hey this guy blowing up military bases and sowing fear in one of the most powerful countries on earth looks a bit like one of our actors" doesn't strike me as something too many people would focus on beyond initial conspiracy theorists.
      • Sounds like Clark Kenting. We know that is more realistic than it seems at first glance.
    • The editing on the broadcasts would suggest to me that they aren't actually broadcast live, just staged to seem as if they are — if he threw up or otherwise gave an unsatisfactory performance, they could force him to do another take. As to why he's not recognized — he's a stage actor, for one, a big deal in certain circles but hardly high-profile. Slap a costume on him and a pretty gnarly beard and hairstyle, completely alter his accent and delivery, and remove him from that theater setting and he's unrecognizable.
    • The one where the president called the phone was probably live, while all the others were not. By that point, Trevor had proven he was capable of handling himself without mistakes and screwups.
    • Note that at the end of that scene, the Mandarin's voice gets a bit shakey; even for him thinking it's all fake, that scene was difficult for him to manage live.
    • "HEY NOT IN THE FACE!" Despite his shortcomings Trevor was at the end of the day an "actor" so it lends to the idea that when it's go time he'll have a game face on.

    JARVIS's coding 

  • Where exactly is JARVIS's coding located physically? He starts out as the AI of Stark's smart house, but here the house is destroyed and he still keeps functioning just fine. I though that maybe it's a distributed system, running in the house computer and any Iron Man armors available, but we never see any change in JARVIS's capabilities when the available computing power goes up or down, and neither do we see any problems arising from the time it takes to transfer data between different computers. There is no indication of portions of the AI acting independently when cut off from each other. The most sensible solution I can figure out is that Stark keeps JARVIS's core programming on some kind of chip which he slots to the armor he's mostly using at the moment.
    • If JARVIS had any offsite backups or worked via distributed computing, the entire second act could've been avoided - Stark could just ring up a backup/another site and get JARVIS to send him another suit. From that, we can assume that JARVIS's AI was located directly in Stark's house, and he was forced to upload himself directly into the Mark 42 armor's systems to survive the house's destruction. And JARVIS does act oddly after the house is destroyed, since he can't or is unable to change the suit's flightplan (he says "I think I'm malfunctioning" or something to that effect), so either the suit's specs can't fully run JARVIS along with the suit's other systems, or there was data corruption resulting from damage to the suit/an incomplete copy of JARVIS copied over.
    • JARVIS clearly has backups, because we know he's installed in Stark Tower and likely in other places Tony is a lot. I read his coding dying as a result of a) losing his main system in Malibu, and b) the suit not working properly. Even if JARVIS were perfectly fine in Stark Tower, he wouldn't be able to talk to Tony because the suit - his only connection to him - was out of battery, banged up, and waterlogged.

    Maya referring to the Master 

  • Why does Maya refer to "The Master" when talking to Killian? It seems she already knows "the Mandarin" is a scam, since Killian talks about it freely in front of her later on. Was she being sarcastic, or are they setting up, say, Peter Dinklage to appear as MODOK in Iron Man 4?
    • Uh, no. One assumes she continues to refer to him that way in case someone might be listening in.
    • Well, there's some speculation that they may be leaving it open for another movie passed Avengers 2. Then again, MODOK wasn't the original leader of AIM, he was something they made later on and took over.
      • Yeah, the Master could refer to someone above Killian, if they wanted to set up a villain for a sequel: a real Mandarin, Thanos, MOD Ok. Thanos was referred to as "Master Lord" by his minions when they were conducting operations on Earth in his first appearance. But I'm just Wild Mass Guessing here.
      • While leaving things open is certainly possible, I think its most likely because not everyone in the organization knows the truth.
      • Also possible it's referring to the Vice President.
    • It could be an in-joke amongst them all to refer to Trevor as if he truly were the Mandarin where they derive humor from the irony of the reality of who the Mandarin truly is.
    • I figured that she called him "The Master" because that's just what they call him. Killian gave him the codename "Master" when he was first recruited and that's just the name that everybody uses. And it's good security practice too, in case SHIELD ever manages to intercept their communications.

    Mark III versus tanks, Mark 42 versus choppers 

  • So the Mark III can shrug off an (admittedly indirect) hit from a sidewinder missile and tank an exploding bus at extremely low power, but all the suits including Marks VI & VII get blown up by the helicopter missiles? I'm no expert on explosives; how big of a difference are we talking here? Particularly when the Mark VI and VII are supposed to be even tougher than the Mark III, or at least as tough.
    • Sidewinder missiles aren't actually that powerful, because aircraft tend to be extremely fragile so high speed shrapnel is sufficient to down one. However, air to ground missiles like Hellfires (which the helicopters would presumably be using) pack a much bigger punch since they're specifically designed to take out tanks and fortified structures.
    • The suits all blew up one after another, with very similar-looking explosions and a consistent delay of a second or two in between them. I assumed they were self-destructing as part of a "stronghold-breached" protocol, to prevent the Iron Man tech from falling into enemy hands. The remaining suits were protected in the underground bunker, so they didn't self-destruct.
      • I didn't think of this at the time, but I agree. They certainly looked much more like the later self-destructs than any kind of incoming missile blast.
      • If so why didn't he put those old suits protected in the underground bunker as well?
      • Misdirection. Those other suits were secret. Someone destroys the joint, sees the wreckage, and assumes they've gotten all the suits. I'm pretty sure no one but Rhodey knew about the Iron Legion.
      • There's also the possibility that the bunker was just full. There were a lot of suits down there...
    • OP here. So, I watched the movie with the commentary on. Apparently in the original script, Tony ordered Jarvis to destroy Marks I-VII, but during the editing process, director Shane Black figured the Mandarin should be the one to take away Tony's suits and that it was thematically inappropriate for Tony to take charge during the attack, so I guess the self-destruct theory is out, and the headscratcher still stands. I guess it's just that the armors can't withstand those heavy missiles? It still seems a little inconsistent with the previous films, particularly Iron Man I, where he was shrugging off tank shells and other large explosions without a scratch. Makes me wonder how the choppers would have done against Loki or Thor.
    • Just because they removed Tony explicitly ordering the suits destroyed doesn't mean he didn't do it. Thematically, the Mandarin destroyed the suits. He attacked the mansion, which led to their destruction.
    • To hail back to previous headscratchers regarding the ease of destruction of suits or suit components, there seems to be a distinct increase in structural capability in a suit when there is a person inside the suit. So having no one inside the suits possibly lead to the relative ease of their destruction by the rockets that hit them.

    Airforce One Security 

  • Even in the insanity of the post Avengers MCU, is Airforce One really so relaxed that they don't check the identity of the man in the Iron Patriot armor (especially after not hearing from him for a long time). All it takes is asking him to open the mask before getting in the plane.
    • They had no reason to think otherwise. Chalk it up to complacency.
    • There's only one Iron Patriot suit and only Rhodes wears it
    • At least in the comics, the suits are calibrated to the user's brainwaves. There's probably some kind of security measure that prevents anyone but Rhodes from activating the suit, so security assumed that it had to be him inside it. Since AIM was responsible for upgrading and redesigning the armor, they probably added Killian as an authorized user.
    • It's a headscratcher for sure. To let him on without verifying his identity assumes that no one could make a knockoff Iron Patriot armor, nor could anyone remotely override siad armor. Both of those happened in Iron Man 2.
    • He seems to arrive just before the plane takes off, so maybe they were in a hurry and didn't do all the normal security stuff. Besides, the suit probably transmits all sorts of wireless authentication codes (which supposedly can't be faked), and has all sorts of things to make sure only Rhodey can wear the suit (which supposedly can't be bypassed). Don't forget that the Vice President is working for the bad guys. He probably proposed the security measures that Killian is bypassing, and specifically included loopholes (that no one else would notice) so that Killian's plan would work.
    • Likely if they had asked to see his face, Savin would have just killed them all present on the spot, minus perhaps those hiding in the plane
    • I think a matter of complacency kinda covers it. Combine that with the fact that he did not make any kind of overt aggressive moves and simply followed them onto the plane, I am guessing they figured it was "all good" and just left with the Iron Patriot in tow.
    • There was still no reason to allow Rhodes to continue wearing his suit on Air Force One (aside from the fact that it would kill the plot). Even if a fiercely loyal and fully armed combat soldier were taken on board they would still remove all of his weaponry so he could relax. Rhodes had just flown back from Paskistan. They should have found it odd he wanted to keep his armor on and not use the restroom, etc.

    Pleading innocent 

  • How did the fake? Mandarin get away with saying he was innocent? Didn't he shoot that Roxxon exec, in front of a live camera? the feed was live so they couldn't have done any instant CGI and the people watching it SAW him shoot him. While the movie audience just got a Discretion Shot.
    • It's possible the Roxxon exec was in on it, considering Killian was set up in a Roxxon-owned ship. If Killian could turn the Vice President, he could turn a Corrupt Corporate Executive. Also, who said the Mandarin got away with it? He was clearly shown being arrested at the end of the film.
    • Who says only the movie audience got a Discretion Shot? Much of the Mandarin's footage switched perspective. The first few broadcasts, we saw as if we were people of that universe.
    • During the credits, they show a bunch of scenes from the movie for each character. During Ben Kingsley's sequence, they briefly show the accountant getting back up again after being "shot". So, presumably that was faked too.
      • Wait, which scene is this? All this troper remembers is the scene where Stark raids Killian's place, and he sees a monitor showing the Roxxon guy laying (presumably) dead.
      • During the montage of scenes in the credits, a very brief clip shows the aftermath of the "gunshot" scene, and the "dead" accountant indeed gets back up. Recall that Trevor himself stated that the organization did not trust him with real firearms.
    • There's no indication he got away innocent. We see him being arrested at the end, just like the Vice-President. He was clearly telling a desperate lie when he tried to tell Tony he didn't know people were really being hurt.
    • He is probably getting a benign sentence in any case by cutting a deal with the authorities; when confronted by Tony, he quickly states that he's rolling on.
    • According to a trailer of the Marvel short with Thor The Dark World Tervor wound up in prison, with the short being an interview with him (and will probably bring up the charges he's accused of).

    Flying modules 

  • Why didn't Tony test the flying armor modules with the Mark 8-41 armors built with the tech but only now with Mark 42?
    • All of the suits from the 7 on had the "can opener" feature. The 42 was the first one where he had the idea for the suit to be able to assemble itself in pieces, and was clearly kind of glitchy.
      • But didn't one or two of the legion armors split apart to attack the extremist mooks?
      • Just means this wasn't the first time he experimented with armor modules. I only recall seeing one suit break into pieces, though. For all we know, it was the Mark 41, and the key difference between it and the 42 was that it was designed to fly and assemble itself from pieces, whereas the 42 was designed to assemble itself *around* Tony.
      • You're correct; the one that split was the "Bones" armor, which was Mk. 41. Presumably it was the testbed for the more complicated 42.

    Happy 
  • How did Happy survive a 3000 degree explosion even if he hid behind a metal cart?
    • The cart helped, but he also realized what was about to happen and ran, quickly enough to get outside the lethal blast radius. It wasn't 3000 degrees over where he was.

     Killian and Rhodes 
  • After Killian successfully breaths fire and gets the Iron Patriot armor to open, we see Rhodes fight some of Killian's men. Later we come back to Rhodes lying on the floor alone and unharmed. What happened? We know James Badge Dale took the Iron Patriot armor, but why did no on think to kill or at least trap the man who no knew all of their plans. It's as if the bad guys simply disappear between scenes.
    • There's a clear shot of him getting smacked against the wall and knocked out. Presumably these mooks function like most mooks and assume unconsciousness is the same as capture.
    • Rhodes didn't have his armor, they didn't know that Tony had escaped yet, and they were getting ready for endgame. They probably didn't think anybody could stop them by that point.

     From Tennessee to Miami 

  • Tony is imprisoned in Killian's house, he calls for his armor and waits about ten minutes for it to show up. We know some of the armor is delayed further because it's locked in the garage. But hold up, that's a lot of distance to cover in no time flat. How could the armor possible arrive so quickly?
    • The watch alarm was set to warn Tony that the armor was incoming, and must have been set in advance. Rather than calling it from the house, he estimated when the repairs would be complete, added the travel time, and set the timer accordingly. When we see Harley open the garage, it's a flashback; it doesn't imply that the armor made it to Miami five seconds later.
    • The scene with Harley opening the door was put in to explain why the armor didn't appear right on cue. Tony didn't miscalculate the time, he merely forgot to take into consideration that a kid might forget to leave the shed door open.

     Retrieving the file 

  • How does Tony end up in Tennessee on the same night that Extremis agents come for the file? If Killian has such an elaborate plan in place, wouldn't he have taken care of the loose ends long before the operation began? On top of all this, the odds of Tony arriving at the bar at the same minute as the extremis agent seems astronomically unlikely.
    • I get the feeling that the Extremis agent/Killian knew Tony wasn't dead. It's very possible that he'd been tailed most of his time in Tennessee, and getting the file from the military mom at the same time was less planned and more "kill two birds with one stone".
    • This, pretty much. Neither the fake Homeland agent nor Stavin were surprised to see Tony there; hell, Stavin actually grinned and waved at Tony when he saw him.
    • I don't think they considered it a loose end until Taggart exploded at the Chinese Theater. Until that point, nobody had made the connection between the kid in Tennessee and the Mandarin's bombings, so when Taggart blew up so publicly they had to cover up the related incident.

     The AWOL 101st Iron Man Division? 

  • Where were the battalions of soldiers wearing mass produced powered armor the government should've had by now considering their access to the War Machine suit? Stane was able to get the Iron Monger suit functional from some scraps seemingly overnight!
    • They can't duplicate the miniaturized ARC reactor. Only two people in the world possessed the technical skill. One of them is dead, and the other isn't sharing.
    • Stane got the Iron Monger suit functional because he stole one of the only two Arc Reactors in existence. The technology for most of the Iron Man suits is in US hands, but they don't have the expertise to recreate the Arc Reactor, which is literally running on reverse-engineered Asgardian Magitek that only Tony Stark knows how to create. Remember how in the first movie that the best Stark Industries engineers and scientists pretty much admitted that the science to miniaturize an Arc Reactor didn't even exist yet? Hell, even SHIELD at this timeframe is stuck trying to reverse-engineer the scraps of the Destroyer to get something more viable than the Arc Reactor.
    • Aside from the power limitations, it is worth noting that War Machine's suit wasn't the one Rhodey took in the second movie, but one Tony specifically made for him (as shown by the prequel comic and implied by design differences). I'm betting that while Tony has giving Rhoedy his new armor, Pepper was in the other room having their lawyers explain the terms of the lease to the Department of Defense: It's Col. Rhodes' suit, it's not to be duplicated, etc.
      • Or alternatively, the Pentagon decided they'd rather whatever cooperation Stark is willing to give them, and one reasonably top line armor; than a bunch of inferior knockoffs, one probably-useless armor from the reverse engineering process, and Stark disinclined to even talk to them again.
    • Also to be considered is what happenend the last time someone tried mass-produced suits for the military. Sure, that was a company headed by an idiot and undermined by a villain, but imagine the PR. Besides, Tony would likely try and stop any attempts at reverse-engineering any armor technology that he learns of, that'd basically be breaking his "no more weapons" policy.

    PTSD Dissonance/Inconsistent Psychological Realism 

  • Three months held prisoner in a cave by terrorists, and Tony's fine. Nearly dying in his battle with Stane, and he's still fine. Nearly dying in battle against the Chitauri, and he goes to pieces. How does that work?
    • The problem with the New York thing was not that he was about to die, but the things surrounding all of it. A terrorist band is threatening, but still something down to earth. But... gods? aliens? other dimensions? that's too much for just a man inside a fancy thin can (more or less his words).
    • There's also a big difference with potentially dying by drifting off aimlessly while trapped in a space wormhole than being blown up by an angry business rival with an armored suit of his own.
    • Tony was also pretty shaken after Afghanistan, and his experiences there caused him to rethink his whole business model and his then-current persona/life choices. The Chitauri battle, the possibly-mindfucking wormhole experiences, and the sheer scale of destruction in New York might have had a part to play in why he only starts explicitly having anxiety attacks/flashbacks in this movie, but the brain is a strange thing, and it doesn't necessarily fixate on the aspects of a traumatic experience in order of severity or what rationally would be the biggest parts of the crisis. It also seems like part of his issues are being treated like a cool slam-bang hero after New York, especially by kids who think what he did was exciting and adventurous rather than dangerous and personally distressing.
    • Another change is who was primarily in danger. The terrorists of the first movie threatened him, not his friends. Plus, he didn't feel like he had any family at that time (as he told Yinsen). Stane and the villain of Iron Man 2 were again mainly targeting Tony. At the end of Iron Man 2 is when he finally accepts and acknowledges the fact that he's in love with Pepper. Then comes the Avengers. Not only is he way out of his depth dealing with aliens and Norse gods, but they're out to destroy or enslave his entire planet and everyone he loves. When he is heading towards the wormhole, expecting to die slowly and alone in outer space, his last act is to call the woman he loves (and fail to reach her). Finally, we get to Iron Man 3. Tony has been suffering PTSD, unable to sleep, and desperately building suit after suit because "I have to protect the one thing I can't live without"—Pepper. Tony can deal with threats to himself. Heck, he spends a lot of time being a threat to himself with reckless and/or self-destructive behavior. What he can't handle is threats to the people he loves.
    • Tony was clearly very shaken by Phil Coulson's supposed death as well... although he saw plenty of death in Afghanistan, none of those that died there were particular close to Tony. Perhaps losing someone considered to be a friend made him feel more vulnerable than he ever had before as well.
    • You have to factor in the cumulative effect that the repetitive life or death situations are causing. Also, as was said before, the mind is a weird thing. I've heard stories of guys that had no problems for years crawling through aircraft fuel cells suddenly getting claustrophobic. This troper has sat through numerous movies, concerts, and plays; but I once had an attack build up throughout a play and bolted through an thick crowd and made it downstairs and outside before my friends even got to the doorway leading out the balcony area.
      • This troper can absolutely second this. PTSD and anxiety attacks aren't just linear, purely logical, straightforward experiences.
    • This article written by Dr. Travis Langley, a psychology professor, analyzes Tony's PTSD and offers a possible explanation for why it's taken until events of New York to occur.
    Langley: Whereas coping with the attack and abduction by terrorists in his origin story required Tony Stark to muster his determination to survive, protecting New York from a nuclear weapon in The Avengers meant accepting his own demise in a way he had never done before.
    • Too, he's not confirmed to really have PTSD. The suit diagnoses him as having had an anxiety attack. That could just be delayed response to the stress of the events of the Avengers (waaay outside Tony's realm of experience) plus no sleep for days plus all the concentration involved in building all those suits, and then add the Mandarin's attacks onto it where it seems like he might be drawn into things all over again. Unlike all the other members of the Avengers, actual, in-the-thick-of-it, large scale combat is not something Tony has ever done, so he has no coping mechanisms. Bruce is the only other member who's not a trained killer, and he has his own cathartic way to deal with stress.

    Why Do It Now? 
  • So at the end, Tony is seen getting the operation done to remove the remaining shrapnel in his heart (and getting rid of his need for his chest reactor. Why did he wait until now to do it? Something besides "because then there is no movie."
    • Because the operation of Pepper to fix the Extremis thing gave him the knowledge needed for his own case?
    • I got the impression from the final scenes that they're just tying up a lot of loose ends in case Robert Downey Jr doesn't come back, so Tony has Earned His Happy Ending, so to speak.
    • I was under the impression that his reasoning for having the shrapnel removied now was the same reasoning he had for blowing up all of his suits. He finally realized he had been hiding behind them — In the case of the arc reactor it was a kind of security blanket that had saved his life in the cave, and had been his first step in becoming Iron Man. He even says in the end, something to the effect of "I realized, even without the arc reactor, or the suits I am Iron Man." I also kind of disagree with the OP about it being "because then there is no movie." for the same reason I've disagreed with all the other people I've talked to who hated the fact that he got rid of it... Just because he no longer has an arc reactor in his chest doesn't mean he's no longer Iron Man. Hell, in the mainstream Marvel Universe, he had his heart fixed years ago. And it's not as if Rhodes also has an arc reactor in his chest. The suits can and have used their own self-contained power sources. And based on the fact that Tony has to recharge the Mark 42, it doesn't even look like, at the current time, any of Tony's armors past Mark 7 run off of his arc reactor... which actually makes sense, considering if a suit fully drains the reactor's power, it can no longer run the electromagnet, and the shrapnel inches closer to Tony's heart, all because he didn't want to pop a battery into his armor's chest.
      • The magnet runs just fine off of only a small amount of the reactor's power. 42 wasn't charging because it's a prototype that was damaged in the attack. Maybe Tony hadn't installed the reactor in it yet.
    • I agree with what was said directly above me, and also want to add this. The script called for him to destroy it all because Robert Downey Jr. signed on for only 3-4 movies with the original contract, and they aren't sure if he'll renew it and keep playing Ironman. If he does end up coming back for an Ironman 4, they've already got a nice general idea for a plot: Tony has had a little bit of time living his normal life with Pepper, happily thinking he can just stop being a hero at the drop of a hat. Cue the next movie's villain showing up and giving Tony a brutal wake-up call to the fact that all those people out there wanting to kill him won't go away just because he's tired of playing games. Tony will then have to dust off the schematics so he can build another arc reactor and suit, and take up his role of Ironman once again.
    • Psychological growth. He's had Epiphany Therapy, talked it all over with some friends, and might even have had actual therapy offscreen. He no longer needs fancy toys as a security blanket. Iron Man isn't the armor, or the Unobtainium Magitek that powers it; as he demonstrated by being a Gadgeteer Genius in this movie, Tony Stark is Iron Man. He can now place enough trust in a surgeon to go under a knife, and doesn't need a dangerous piece of high-tech gadgetry inside his body to feel complete.
    • There's also the fact that there are two versions of the movie, the regular version and the one cut for Chinese audiences, and the latter is the more-complete version of the movie. In it, there is some focus on a Chinese doctor - one we meet in the regular version at the very beginning of the movie in 1999 - who does experimental heart-surgery. In the Chinese version of the movie, there is a portion of the surgery scene where someone asks the doctor about the risks of him doing this type of surgery that no one has done/survived before. So there was, in theory, a surgery that could have helped Tony beforehand, but up until now there wasn't enough research done or data available to make sure Tony could survive it, at which point he'd live longer trying to deal with the arc reactor - he knows when he'll day, which is days or weeks away - rather than try a surgery, which would most likely have killed him on the table.
    • Well, think about it: if he had the reactor moved before, he would still have a gaping hole in his chest from where it was. But now he has access to the Extremis formula, so they could use that to heal him after surgery.
  • Don't forget that during the second film Tony was GOING TO DIE from arc reactor poisoning. If he could have had it removed back then he would have. Something has to have happened between then and now that would make surviving the operation possible, and that something looks to be Extremis based tech. That or the doctor in the Chinese-only version showing up to operate.

    Veterans Screw America! 
  • So Killian's team of soldiers are made up of American War veterans. Veterans who fought and got horribly maimed fighting for America. Yet all he has to do is offer them their limbs back and they are willing to commit horrible terrorist attacks on civilians and help KILL the President?! How does this make any sense? One or two might make sense, but there are literally dozens of them!
    • Remember the track record of superhuman enhancement in the setting. Unless you have a strong moral center and are well balanced psychologically, there are almost always mental side effects, with you going either evil or insane to some degree. And desperate, probably bitter people? Are unlikely to avoid those side effects. Combine that with filtering ( anyone not ruthless and grateful enough to do Killian's bidding probably got dissected ), and I can entirely buy Killian putting together a loyal, ruthless army.
    • Judging by Tony's conclusion from his examination of previous Mandarin attacks and of the crime scene where Happy was injured, there are no other connections with the military outside of Taggart and Davis. There's no indication that Brandt and the other enhanciles are veterans who lost their limbs in combat; there are other ways to lose limbs. We only meet one veteran (Taggart) who was willing to do who-knows-what in exchange for Extremis. Davis seems to have been killed specifically because, according to his wife, "he wanted no part of it."
    • Who said they were all veterans? Only a few of them were military veterans. Most of the Extremis troops were likely mercenaries or other people Killian either recruited or brainwashed. Besides, veterans actually are a fertile ground for recruitment of disenfranchised or bitter military-trained personnel; there have been countless stories of wounded veterans who have come home from overseas who ended up slipping through the system or not getting the support or money they needed to deal with their injuries. Some of these soldiers would no doubt be very enraged by their treatment and become bitter and angry enough to be vulnerable to Killian's recruitment.
      • Not to mention that with the kind of resources Killian had, it would be trivial to sift through personnel files to deliberately find sociopathic or borderline personalities.
    • Also remember that it's strongly implied that Extremis is an addictive substance. When Savin delivers several doses to Taggart, he continually warns him not to overdose. As we can see from chronic drug users, it's very easy to manipulate people who are hooked on a substance you control.

    I Can't Plan For Helicopters 
  • Tony calls out the Mandarin on live television for a fight and even flat out tells where he lives. And he doesn't do a SINGLE thing to prepare for the attack? He's not just unprepared, he's flat out surprised! This isn't nitpicking, it literally makes no sense because Tony has proven he can make plans like crazy ahead of time and even on the fly. And yet when he actively makes threats, he doesn't even have any method of automatic defense? This stands in complete contrast when he can just have Jarvis control all this surplus Iron Man suits automatically. It basically says that if he was attacked in the middle of the night asleep, he'd be dead. This is especially in contrast when Pepper directly states they should leave and he convinces her to stay! He doesn't even at least warn her to leave by herself until the attack is over? Tony can be insensitive, but he is NOT supposed to be this stupid.
    • Two possible explinations for that. 1: He really thought the Mandarin was such a coward that the most he'd do is send another Extremis warrior/bomb to Tony's house, and that's if he even had the balls to react. So a full blown attack really did catch Tony off-guard. 2: This is the one I think was most likely. He knew the Mandarin would retaliate, he just didn't expect it to be within a couple HOURS of being threatened. As someone else pointed out, the events of the movie span roughly a day or two right before Christmas. So let's say Tony gives his very pubic threat to the Mandarin at around noon-ish or a couple hours after. The helicopters show up on his doorstep as the sun is going down on the same day. Given how short the days are in December, this means it's only been roughly 4-6 hours since Tony issued his threat. He told Pepper to stay because he didn't think that the Mandarin would react that fast, and they would have at least some time (because at this point the Mandrin was thought to be located somewhere in the Middle East aka the other side of the planet, so even an instant reaction would need to account for travel distance) to batten down the hatches. This also gives way to some Fridge Brilliance when we take into account that the REAL Mandarin, Killian, is both operating out of Florida (a lot shorter travel time) and a guy who has it out for Tony. Killian has a chance to strike out when Tony basically declared "Come at me bro!" with the added bonus that everyone else will blame the ficticious Mandarin for the attack. He probably couldn't resist such a sweet opportunity. As for the other suits controlled by Jarvis? It's possible that Operation House Party was something he recently came up with in response to the Mandarin, and it took Jarvis a while to compile all that code or upload the program to each and every suit. It was ready to go by the time of the climax, but not during the helicopter strike.
    • Actually, Tony really can be that stupid. Remember that he's been running without sleep for three days by that point and that he's not had much sleep prior. And besides, look at the threat that Tony thought he was up against: a charismatic yet cowardly terrorist based out of Pakistan who has no personal beef with Tony himself and whose primary means of attack was high tech suicide bombers. This isn't the kind of enemy who would show up within hours of a challenge, let alone the kind of enemy who would show up with three attack helicopters inside US airspace. No one would expect a terrorist organization to employ attack helicopters, let alone be able to get them airborne and attacking Tony's house within a matter of hours of a challenge being issued within the borders of the enemy's country. The attack catches him completely off guard because the attack is one that is completely outside of the Mandarin's established tactics, methodology, and resources.
    • Also, remember that one of Tony Stark's biggest weaknesses is his pride. He doesn't like to admit he's made mistakes or has weaknesses, and believes that he's invincible with his Iron Man armors.
      • Yeah, well he would have been invincible as far as the copters are concerned had he been wearing anything but the uber glitchy mark 42. Really, the mooks were just lucky Tony didn't simply dust off his mark 7 beforehand.
      • Which makes you wonder why Killian would risk it if he's seen footage of Tony in New York. The Mark VII would be like an Extremis soldier's worst nightmare, barring a gamma-powered or Asgardian enemy which they wouldn't even be fighting according to their doctrine of relative anonymity.
      • I don't know that there was really any risk for Killian; best case scenario, he kills Stark and Pepper; worst case, he's out a few Mooks and a couple of helicopters, and still lets Iron Man know that he's not screwing around... Even if the attack had been completely foiled, there would have been nothing to indicate it was Killian and not the fictitious Mandarin.
    • The attack starts with a missile, and then come the helicopters. I wouldn't be surprised if Tony really did have some sort of missile defense for his house, but Killian just used a special missile that couldn't be detected somehow. He has a personal vendetta against Tony, after all, so he may have planned specifically to beat the house's security. And let's say that first missile took out whatever defenses the house had, allowing the helicopters to close in.

    Jumper Cables Trump Arc Reactor 
  • It's established that the suit Tony tries to repair after the attack on his house has no power. But it's been established time and again that the suits are powered by the Arc Reactor in his chest. So why doesn't he use that? Even if you just say it has it's own battery of power so it can be used autonomously like the other suits, his Arc Reactor would still be able to serve as backup. But no! He instead uses jumper cables!
    • See Fridge Brilliance for this film — the arc reactor can only be used to power a suit while Tony's wearing it.
    • So why wasn't he just wearing it so he could recharge it? And don't all of his suits come with built in arc reactors?
    • It depends on whether the arc reactor is analogous to a charger or a battery. If it's the actual power source, it doesn't charge the suit, it actually powers it. remove it, and it has to rely on another power source — the back-up power that needs to be charged from a conventional source.
    • Three things: One, the suit definitely can't be powered just by Tony's reactor directly, else it couldn't run around without him inside. Two, I'm pretty sure the suits have had independent power since as early as the Mark 2, at least there don't seem to be any direct connections, plugs or something, between the armor and Tony's reactor, given that he can wear normal clothes inside it. Three, the Mark 42 might need or have some (small) source or reserve of power in each of its components, the way they can all fly around and assemble themselves independently.
    • The Official tie-in comic reveals that the Iron Man armor's charged by Stark Tower's solar panels now. Damage to the suit probably disabled that function. Especially since the Mark 42 was pretty much JUST finished at the start of Iron Man 3, and the systems were a little shoddy.

    Unnecessary File 
  • What was the point of the file Tony was getting from Tennessee? He doesn't actually learn anything new from it And learns everything else from just tracing the broadcast and being told what's going on. Even the bombing that happened there, he got all he needed to know just from examining the explosion site. So ultimately, the file was pointless. And in turn, makes a huge chunk of the movie unnecessary.
    • The file is what causes him to realize that AIM is linked to the explosions. Once he knows that, he's able to call Rhodey, get his AIM login, access AIM's systems and find the video files on the Extremis test subjects.
    • It confirmed the link he suspected between the military dog tags he found at the crime scene and the explosion that was ruled a murder-suicide by a young veteran.

    Just Out For A Spin? 
  • What was the point of Tony only remote controlling the suit when he saved the people from Air Force One? The movie never explains why he did it or for what reason. It was just something that occurred.
    • Rhodes says, "We can either save the President, or save Pepper — we can't do both." Actually, they can because, thanks to the remote-controlled suit, Tony can be in two places at once. He uses the suit to save the President (although he only ends up saving 13 other people instead) while he and Rhodes continue to drive the boat to where Killian's gone with Pepper.

     Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Iron Man 
  • Just how fast, exactly, does Iron Man fly? I ask because I found the scene where he blasts from the remains of his home in LA to Tennessee a bit confusing. When he meets the kid (Harley), Tony is handed a newspaper informing him of his own supposed death: if there's already a circulating copy of that paper, that seems to hint a time lapse of at least a few hours (if it was written, printed and sold almost immediately after the authorities discover what happened)... Now, it could also be much longer, except we cut back to Pepper, who hasn't even left the wreckage while Tony is gallivanting about small-town Tennessee. So, my question is, what exactly is the timeline on this? How quickly does Iron Man move?
    • According to the special features on the Iron Man Blu-ray, the Mark III was able to fly at 1500 mph, or just over Mach 2. Whether that's the top speed or cruising speed is another discussion. The Mark VI was noted to have a much higher output from the Arc Reactor, and seemed to be faster, at least visibly. The same goes for the Mark 7. The Mark 42, on the other hand, was a prototype that needed to be charged up just so that it could fly in the first place. It's likely not as fast as the more well designed suits.
    • Keep in mind that not all of the time between taking off from his house and meeting Harley was flight time. After he crash-landed, he had to walk an undefined distance dragging the suit behind him before he broke into Harley's garage. That would eat up a chunk of those hours to get the paper out.
    • And the reason Pepper is still at the wrecked house after all that time is probably in case they somehow pull Tony out of the rubble.
    • What do you mean? An African Iron Man or a European Iron Man?

     Regarding Rhodey 
  • Okay, so where exactly does Rhodey head off to after rescuing President Ellis? Secondly, what became of his Iron Patriot armor? I presume it wasn't one of the armors that got blown up as part of "Operation: Clean Slate", so what happens to it anyway? Does he decide to keep it or go back to being War Machine?
    • We'll have to wait for another movie to clear this up completely, but presumably, as he's still employed by the government, Rhodes is off for a hefty debriefing and probably a few medals. He will probably keep the armor and keep superheroing with it, perhaps even taking over as Iron Man in future films if Robert Downey, Jr. does not want to return.
    • Rhodey would of course take the President to the nearest military base to make sure he's safe. I also doubt Tony would have included War Machine in "Clean Slate" since that suit technically does not belong to him.
      • It wouldn't be the first time War Machine continued to operate, while Iron Man temporarily retired (or was comatose, like in Dark Reign). Heck once or twice Rhodes even totally took over and started calling himself Iron Man. Probably the same thing here.

     Talking to JARVIS 
  • I feel like I may have missed something at the end when Tony loses his earpiece and can't talk to JARVIS to tell him not to attack the Extremis-enhanced Pepper. I don't recall seeing Tony pick up the earpiece, yet moments after he can't talk to JARVIS in this situation, he can tell JARVIS to enact the Clean Slate protocol. So, did I miss something, and if not, why the sudden re-contact?
    • The earpiece did not fall into a lava pit or anything, it just fell a pair of meters away. Which is a problem if there is an armour heading to Pepper right now, but it isn't so hard to retrieve in a pair of extra second. In fact, that's so trivial that even if they shot that part, it would be likely among the unneeded stuff that the production removes from a film to keep it in a reasonable time length.
    • I thought he rushed over and picked it up when he realized it had fallen out. I seem to remember Tony repeating the command to ignore her Extremis signature, and the suits didn't try attacking her again. There was a lot of time talking between defeating Killian and enacting Operation: Clean Slate.
    • You did miss something. He scrambled over and picked up the earpiece, which was on the ground a few meters away.

     Hulk 
  • Ok, Captain America, I get. He's working for shield, he's got stuff to do, him and Widow are busy with the Winter Soldier thing. Thor's off in Asgard doing his god thing. But what about Bruce? I mean, the guy works for/with Tony. And we're not getting another Hulk movie until after Avengers 2. There's no reason for him not to be here, especially considering he stops by in the stinger to chat.
    • You're really wondering why everyone (including Bruce) is reluctant to unleash the Hulk anywhere?
    • While they could conceivably have unleashed him against the Extremis mooks, by the time they knew there were superpowers involved, Tony was cut off from the majority of his resources and couldn't just call up Bruce and ask for help. You might throw the Hulk at a bunch of superpowered villains on a derelict oil tanker, but you're not going to use him against what appeared to be some vanilla terrorist. It goes back to Tony and Rhodey discussing at the beginning why the US didn't even want Iron Man involved. The Mandarin was a threat, but he didn't appear to be a supervillain.
      • About that last point, I can barely imagine the PR disaster practically waiting to happen when someone realize that the US of A didn't want to bring in the heavy artillery that SHIELD and Stark are against the Mandarin. I mean, Rhodes outright states its pretty much a matter of Uncle Sam proudly thumpping his chest by not calling either Fury or Stark. I'm sure anyone dead in the meantime and reduced to a shadow incrusted in a wall will be happy to learn how America stood on his own during this crisis, even though a super genius was almost begging to help.
      • Just a sidenote, but I just saw Hulk doing what he did to Loki to Killian.
    • Bruce is also almost certainly in New York at the Stark Tower where there's a dozen floors of pure R&D labs, not Miami, where all the action is taking place. Even if Tony called him the moment they knew about the President, Bruce would need to hop on a plane to Miami immediately and likely never get there in time.
    • Who says Bruce is working with Tony full-time? He's got his own life, and I'm sure he's still pretty reluctant about letting the government know where he is. Tony probably dropped him off at a train station after the end of The Avengers and the next time Bruce was in town he dropped in on Tony to see what was up. For all we know the post-credits scene takes place a couple years later.
    • Bruce would have been most helpful when it came to treating/purging/stabilizing Extremis—and as suggested on Fridge, he probably did help with that (some time between the end of the movie and the stinger).
    • Let's not forget the entire basis of Tony and Bruce's friendship was that Tony treated Bruce like a normal guy instead of a ticking timebomb waiting to Hulk out. All things considered, Tony calling up Bruce just to have him go green and beat some dudes up might have felt like a breach of trust. It's more in tune with their established relationship just to have them sitting around, chilling out and chatting.
    • Not at all. Steve Rogers was also pretty accepting of Bruce as a human ("Only part I care about", he said.) Tony, however, did treat Bruce like an equal, but was encouraging him to let the Hulk out voluntarily. He was also the one certain that Bruce would return to help at New York, and Bruce didn't seem offended at all when Tony told him to "suit up". Tony asking Bruce to hulk out probably would have been accepted by Bruce just fine if he could see Hulk was needed at this moment.
      • Ah, but remember that one of the things that happened because Tony treated Bruce like an equal and someone who was in control was that Bruce pointed out "I don't get a suit of armor... I'm exposed. Like a nerve." Let's say Tony did think of calling Bruce in to smash stuff as the Hulk... but then discarded it because he was sincerely worried that Extremis soldiers might actually be able to hurt the Hulk. Sure, the Hulk is ridiculously tough and resistant to damage... but so are the Iron Man suits, and Extremis could damage those. He might have been sincerely worried that Killian would go all Temple of Doom on the Hulk, and thus considered it a fight best left to people who were protected by suits of metal.
      • Extremis soldiers only damaged Tony's rapidly prototyped suits, and Killian was the only one powerful enough to do it quickly. I suspect their performance against the battle-proven Mark VI or VII would be much less impressive. And while Iron Man (in previous films at least) is extremely tough, the Hulk is physically on another level. He survived a barrage from about 20 Chitauri flyers, while Tony in the Mark VII went out of his way to avoid getting hit by even one. Frankly, if Tony didn't have PTSD, and did have a spare Mark VII he could've wiped the floor with any of the Extremis soldiers, Killian included. Frankly, I can't see Extremis being a big threat to any of the Avengers heavy hitters when they're in peak condition, which Tony certainly is not in this film.

     Mandarin's Plan *spoilers* 
The reveal leaves behind a few questions.
  • When Slattery makes his broadcast to the president, he arrives at the set in a motorcade. We later learn that he broadcasts from his own bedroom, and he's been in the house on a drug haze the whole time. Where was he coming from, in full costume and makeup no less?
    • He's allowed to leave the compound, as evidenced by the fact that he was given a speedboat. Presumably, he was just out, and got dressed in the car on the way.
    • They were putting on a show for the majority of Ten Rings' members who are *not* in on The Reveal.
  • What was Killian's original plan with Stark? He shows up at Stark HQ to try to convince Pepper to work on Extremis (presumably to get Tony's help to fix it), but then tries to murder Stark the next day. When that fails, he switches back to trying to recruit Stark by kidnapping Pepper. Does he actually need Stark or not?
    • Killian didn't think he needed Stark, Maya did. Killian just wanted revenge on Tony; if it turns out he could use him first, then great. And then Maya tries to kill herself, Killian shoots her first, and suddenly Tony is more important (but still not invaluable).

    Extremis survival rate 

  • So how come some people die from Extremis right away, some die later on, and others don't die from it but are able to control it?
    • Extremis seems to be very similar in concept to an illegal drug; ie, addictive, unregulated, and poorly understood even by the people that make it. Therefore it stands to reason that, like heroin, some people can just handle it better than others (for genetic reasons, or whatever). Some people do heroin their whole lives and seem fine; some OD the first time they try it. Also like other drugs, dosage must be a factor, as we see the man who blows up in Hollywood taking a second (over?)dose of Extremis. The other guy that blew up, in Tennessee, was going to blow the whistle, so he was probably deliberately murdered by Killian. They just hadn't nailed down the science yet, or figured out the proper dosage and were just guessing, hence all the disasters.

    The Accountant 

  • Did the accountant really get killed?
    • As noted before, the accountant didn't get killed by Trevor, and is even seen recovering and getting up as if never shot during the credits sequence. (right before Ben Kingsley's credit pops up)

     The Iron President 
  • We see the president strung up over some oil barrels while wearing the Iron Patriot. When I first saw it, I assumed the Iron Patriot was disabled, but Rhodey takes it and uses it just fine (in fact, they use the hand jets to free him). So, why didn't the president just free himself? Moreover, why would they keep the president captive inside a fully functional suit of mobile armor? That should be the opposite of being held captive.
    • The armor is configured specifically to Rhodey (at least in the comics). I guess it worked for The Dragon though, so nevermind. Even ignoring that though, he has no idea how to use it. And we don't know exactly how the suit works. Maybe it has a sort of on/off switch.
      • Notice how the Dragon only once uses any of the Iron Patriot's armaments, and that appears to be by accident—using the suit in any real fashion probably takes either some training or tinkering, or in any case isn't something you can just do. Also, Tony points out that the Iron Patriot refit was done by AIM—i.e., the group the Dragon was working with. They probably put in a back door for the Dragon to use the armor if one was needed.
      • His use of the repulsor as a weapon is definitely accidental. He looks at his hand afterwards in a did I just do that? way. It's kind of cute, really.
    • The weirdest part for me was that the president took a couple steps once he got down, so obviously it was working. I could've accepted that it was "turned off" and been fine with it (the hand repulsor had to be activated manually from the outside, the president couldn't fire it). But to even take a step in the thing would be impossible if it's not assisting him.
      • There could be a "basic mode", separate from the main "on" mode. It would mainly be used for testing the suit, in situations where you don't want to fire any weapons.
    • I see no reason why the president would have any idea how to operate the Iron Patriot suit. It's some seriously complicated machinery and he's just been kidnapped and told he's going to be publicly executed, so he's likely not even thinking clearly. Also, even if he did figure something out and get loose, initially he was surrounded by armed and Extremis-augmented soldiers who he probably couldn't fight off.
    • Both Savin and Pepper had some difficulty working the suits. Each one fires the repulsors completely by accident. Probably why Savin sticks to punching out and shooting the presidential aides on Air Force One with a handgun.

     The Iron Patriot's Support Staff 
  • When Rhodey was out, he got a call from the Iron Patriot Support Staff. Presumably this means (just like a real life deployed fighter) he has command that supports him and is presumably in contact with him. And yet... he goes AWOL for a few hours, then gets waved onto Air Force One without anyone so much as going expecting a debriefing. The entire POINT of Rhodey getting armor was an Iron Man that the government could control, rather than just one that does what he wants (which Rhodey did).
    • Two options. 1, Killian somehow managed to bluff the gov't while IP was hors de combat (we already know he has sophisticated media tech), or with an explanation as to why he broke contact, possibly involving an extended firefight that "Rhodes" would fully debrief them on after he finished escorting the President. 2. It was a bluff. Had something gone wrong, Savin was perfectly capable of killing everyone and kidnapping the President the old-fashioned way.

     And... why is he the Mandarin? 
  • Given his dragon tattoos... was Killian just really into East Asian stuff? It was odd enough when we were supposed to think the Mandarin was in vaguely middle-eastern guy who spoke like a Southern Baptist, but then we find out Killian was The Mandarin. Which was weird... and then we see he's rocking some dragon tattoos as well, so it doesn't seem like a moniker pulled from nowhere.

    No One recognizing Tony 
  • How is that nobody in the town recognized Tony? Even the kid didn't until he noticed the armor.
    • Tony only really talked to Harley and the mother of the deceased soldier, who seemed depressed and probably didn't care who Tony was, even if she recognized him. He also wasn't drawing a whole lot of attention to himself. Some people might have just assumed he was a guy who looked like Tony Stark, rather than "Hey, that's Tony Stark in the flesh (sans armor)!"
    • Well yeah, that's the thing - Tony's famous but most people would recognise the armor rather than the man, especially when post-Avengers saw a lot of people styling themselves with his beard/hair. Someone who's a big fan of the person and armor would have clocked him, and does indeed do that later on.
    • It's pretty much a proven phenomena that, well, people don't pay attention to their surroundings all that much, and that even a celebrity can pass unseen so long as people aren't actively looking for him or her. No one in the town is actually looking for Tony Stark to show up out of the blue, so no one's really going to recognize him even if they talk to him face-to-face unless they're someone like Gary who is a huge fan and who is quite familiar with his facial features and mannerisms. Even a huge fan might miss them if they're not actively looking for them or don't have a reason to focus on a particular face. Gary most likely would have missed Tony completely if he just passed him on the street as part of a crowd.
      • Exactly. There's enough instances of real-life celebrities losing lookalike contests for themselves that this is entirely within the realm of reason.

    The Mandarin's Videos 
  • So, given particular things we learn about the Mandarin or rather, Trevor, what of the authenticity of some of the footage seen in his terrorist videos? In particular, the bits with the Mandarin meeting with militants who cheer him on as a leader and a scene where the same militants are seen shooting a picture and burning an effigy of the President. Were those staged as well? It's highly doubtful they'd let a drugged-up actor hang around actual terrorists who might kill him for looking at them funny.
    • Probably All faked with some stock footage thrown in for realism. Considering the set up in the movie Trevor probably never left the US after being hired, as nothing seen couldn't be replicated by a sound stage and enough attention to detail.
      • Further to the above he makes a point of mentioning "computer magic" when talking it over with Stark.
    • All of it was green screens and actors. All the outdoor appearances were on sets with exterior effects added later. All the "terrorists" were actors in costume.

    Repulsors without arc reactor 
  • So, when Tony is captured by Killian, he calls his armor and, at first, only gets parts of it (one hand, one foot). He then fires repulsor rays from those parts. How can he do that if there is nothing connecting them to the arc reactor, which should be the source of their power.
    • Since those parts can fly without being connected to the arc reactor, they presumably have a built-in power source.
      • It should also be noted that the Iron Legion armors were also self-sustaining and didn't need the arc reactor for a power source, so it's likely Tony was learning to create armors that didn't need the arc reactor.
      • The armors have had individual arc reactors since Iron Man 2. Rhodey and the Air Force major actually pull the Mark II's reactor out just before they weaponize it. Presumably, Tony didn't want a repeat of his fight with Stane and prepared against that possibility by giving each armor a power source. The Iron Legion probably has reactors built into them.

    Timeline question 
  • So do we ever find out when this movie takes place in relation to the Avengers? I remember reading that a newspaper in the movie gave the date as being 2013 and obviously it's Christmas time. I thought that the Avengers was supposed to take place in 2011 or 2012, since Iron Man 2, Thor and The Incredible Hulk all took place at roughly the same time, 6 months after the first Iron Man movie, which was in 2009 or 2010.
    • The opening is New Years Eve 1999, and if I'm not mistaken the next title card is 13 years later. That would put it around Christmas time 2012.
    • Newspaper says 23rd December 2013, so it's actually Christmas 2013

    What's Wrong With the Mark VII? 
  • What's the advantage of having every piece of the armor fly to you individually when the Mark VII was able to do that all in one piece? Presumably the VII's compact mode would be more aerodynamic, be able to hold more fuel, and not have to deal with the problem of "only a few pieces came, better wait for the others" because it'd bring them all at the same time.
    • The Mark VII seems to be better designed than Marks 8-42 in practically every way. As was noted earlier on the page, JARVIS points out that Tony's throwing these things together with no testing and little sleep. He's not really making improvements, so much as he is trying to find relief from his anxiety by building new armors. The Mark VII is still Tony's best all around armor, which is why he used it in the beginning of the movie.
    • So maybe 42 wasn't meant to be the pinnacle of his research? Just another experiment before play time got cut short. I guess that makes sense, though if he were meaning to still rely on Mark VII primarily, then he should have summoned that one at his house rather than 42.
      • Considering the Mk.VII is a "Finished Product" and likely would have been part of his "Iron Man" life, I'd reckon he would put it in the Tower, with the rest of the Avengers.
      • But it's right there in the Malibu house's armory. We see it get blown up. We also see it's the suit he used to fly to the restaurant to chat with Rhodey.
      • For all we know, the Mk.VII Tony used at the Battle of New York was just the one he had in New York, while the one in Malibu was a backup that he used primarily. As for why Tony didn't summon the Mk.VII he had at his home, the Mk.VII was designed to deploy and assemble itself around someone wearing the bracelets, which Tony was very-obviously not wearing. The 42 was made to be able to assemble and function in individual pieces for just such an emergency. The problem was that the Mk.42 was still in the prototype stages, making it ill-suited to handle the helicopter attack, and Tony had no way to summon his spare Mk.VII because of Jarvis being cutoff from Stark Tower(due to the main servers being destroyed in the Malibu attack and Jarvis uploading himself into the 42) and offline for a long period of time. That or the incredible distance from New York to California just made it impractical.
      • It doesn't make sense that Tony would leave one of his suits lying around in New York. That risks it being stolen and reverse-engineered, and Tony is paranoid about his suits.
      • Tony's not that paranoid. He apparently left his first 5 armors in Malibu during the Avengers. Plus, Tony likely has security measures built into each suit since the Mark V, like the Clean Slate protocol. It's not inconceivable that all his old armors have been updated with enough security (self-destruct, biometric encoding, etc.) to leave them across the country without fear of theft. He could have copies of all his suits at Stark Tower.
      • He wasn't paranoid during The Avengers because he didn't have PTSD yet, nor the Mandarin coming after him.
      • Tony's been afraid of people stealing his suits since before Iron Man 2. The special features from said film note that Tony designed the Mark V so that it requires biometric identification for someone wearing it, otherwise it locks down and seals them inside. No one can ever steal his suits by hopping in them unless Tony wants them to (like Rhodes and Pepper) and he's rigged everything else to blow up. He's paranoid, but he's also extremely well prepared for people trying to steal his suits.
      • Except when he meets Rhodey in the beginning of the movie, he leaves his Mark VII on the street, wide-open like someone would park their motorcycle. It's already open and waiting when he walks out to enter it and fly off. The previous troper mentioned his biometric id/lockdown protocol, so he now only seems worried about people reverse engineering the suit, not stealing it, as that has been addressed. It's unlikely someone can reverse engineer it while he sits in a diner. Side note, the suit may have been in his sight the whole time he was in the restaurant.
      • As was discussed above under "I can't plan for helicopters," Tony was not expecting to be attacked within a couple of hours of issuing his challenge, so he wasn't wearing the Mark VII's bracelets. When he was attacked, his first thought was to protect Pepper. As a result, the Mark VII either self-destructed or was destroyed by the attack choppers before he could use it.

    What Happened to the President? 
  • After Cl. Rhodes rescues the President and flies away, Tony activates the Clean Slate protocol, and the film takes care to show that EVERY Iron Man armor explodes. Neither Rhodes or the President are ever seen again. Anyone else wondering if Tony didn't accidentally blow them up?
    • The War Machine/Iron Patriot armor doesn't belong to Tony anymore and has no bearing on his involvement with building suits, so there'd be no reason for him to plug the Clean Slate protocol in it. Plus, Jarvis would know better than to blow up Rhodey and the President.
      • Jarvis didn't know better than to shoot at Pepper Potts, Tony's love interest. If he couldn't distinguish the one person Tony probably cares about more than Rhodey as a non-target, he probably couldn't have selectively excluded Warmachine (excuse me - Iron Patriot) from the Clean Slate protocol. More likely, Warmachine was never equipped for Clean Slate, Jarvis didn't have the authority to initiate Warmachine's self-destruct, or there's simply a blanket exclusion on self-destructing suits with living operators unless Tony Stark specifically orders it.
    • We do see Rhodes at the end, though, standing with Pepper in the scene where Tony's getting surgery. The Clean Slate protocol clearly didn't call for blowing up armor actively in use with people in them.

    No more suits 

  • What's going to happen when the Avengers come calling again and find out that Tony's blown all his suits to kingdom come? Sure, he could probably build a new one, presuming that he still has fabrication facilities at the Avengers tower in New York, but that still means he's going to have a suit that's still in alpha, beta testing at the best when he flies into battle.
    • Not remotely. Just because he blew up the physical suits doesn't mean all the data on those suits is gone. He could easily have all the plans, designs, and a fabrication facility at his tower in New York, and in fact it's extremely likely he does. It took less than a day for Jarvis to put together the Mk. III the first time he made the suits, remember. At most he's out of action for a couple days after he starts putting everything back together again, and even then, odds are extremely low that the threat is something that Tony's armored suit can handle and the super soldier, the invincible green rage monster and the lightning-spewing god can't.
    • "Alpha, beta testing at the best" would describe the Mk. VII, which we all remember was his most effective suit. He doesn't do much in the way of testing.
      • According to the Iron Man 3 game he had the Mark I-VII Mark 42, and a few Iron Legion suits rebuilt to deal with the threat of the game, though that might not be canon to the films universe. At any rate he'll have a new suit in Avengers 2 anyway (and would have even if they weren't destroyed, as every movie he gets at least one new suit.)
      • And this is either true, or he built a new suit anyway as Agents of SHIELD and Captain America 2 mention that Iron Man is still active.

    I'll leave him zip tied to a bed with two inept guards 

  • So Killian has a small Army of Extremis super-powered henchmen at his disposal, a nearly unlimited fortune, and access to high technology. And he leaves Tony Stark, friggin' Iron Man, zip tied to a bed frame guarded with two non-powered guards? That's the highest security he could muster?
    • If it wasn't for the Mk. 42 being able to home in on Tony—something Killian simply did not know about—that would have been exactly enough to keep Tony Stark confined indefinitely.
    • It's Boring, but Practical. You want to keep Stark away from high technology best you can. As far as Killian's concerned, Stark is a technical genius with some great toys. He's not a Badass Normal, a Super Soldier, or anything. He's nothing without his tech. And that's a simple but effective way to restrain him. His Extremis soldiers were necessary elsewhere, after all. Why waste them guarding a neutered threat?
    • From what Killian knows, Tony assaulted his mansion with nothing more than a nailgun and a glove worn taser. Creative, but it's not something dozen of men in guns who are watching him would be worried about. Likely Killian thought that all of Tony's armors had been destroyed, because if he still had a suit he would have used it instead of homemade gadgets.

    Killian's deception is full of holes 
  • Trevor says he didn't know the bombings weren't real but he clearly has a TV in his room. Wouldn't he have seen the bombings on the news?
    • Who said he watched the news?
    • The news TV channels are blocked. The sports and porn TV channels are not. He does not seem the type of guys who would make questions about that... or even to notice that the news channels are blocked.
  • The Stinger shows the fake Roxxon accountant getting up and walking away, implying he's just an actor too. Wouldn't Roxxon quickly figure out that they had no accountant by that name?
    • Who said the accountant was fake? He could have been a real accountant who was in on the whole thing.

    Extremis vs Mark 42? 
  • Why didn't Killian just cut right through any components of the Mark 42 armor at any point while it was gradually assembling on him? He had no problem immediately slicing through all the other armors—from the outside, no less. The most powerful Extremis user cutting through inside of a suit (especially a suit that is barely hanging on by a thread) should be a piece of cake.
    • He needs to actually apply pressure against what he's burning to cut through it. The armor is affixed to his body, and he needs to burn it through contact since he can't apply much pressure to it. Killian didn't have enough time to burn through the armor before it blew up around him.

    What if the bad guys have won? 
  • Would Killian have killed Trevor after his job is done? I don't see him keeping him around or letting him go. Trevor was living in a big house full of women and drugs, but wasn't he worried that he would be killed when he is no longer needed?
    • Moot point, but anyway, Trevor didn't think any of what he was doing was real. And, you know, drugs, so he wasn't exactly thinking with a clear head.

    Was there any point in Killian getting the vice-president in his pocket? 
The government has been trying re-create super soldier ever since Captain America was a success. There was an alien invasion. I doubt the US government wouldn't buy Extremis considering what happened in New York (they expressed interest in the Iron Man armors, so I imagine they would be interested in anything that can give people powers). The exploding soldiers already scared the US to the point where I think they would have at least watched a finished Extremist project to see if it is what they want. To my knowledge Killian never mentioned the president turned him away in the past. All in all this part of his plot seemed unnecessary in making money or getting back at Tony. Feels like its here to try to elevate Killian as a bigger villain than he actually was.
  • No matter how much they want super soldiers, at the end of the day Killian was breaking the law in several serious ways and there is no way the US government would work with him under normal circumstances, hence getting the Vice President onside so he could bypass the blocks. But the whole point at the end of the day is to control the demand for his product. By getting the VP in his pocket he 100% guarantees that the US will be buying Extremis.
    • Killian mentions to Pepper that there's a Presidential ban on "immoral biotech research," which is not surprising considering the psychological effects on super soldiers in the MCU. Unless your name is Steve Rogers, you're going to be drunk on superpower essentially. The Red Skull, Banner, Blonsky...... all those guys have caused tremendous destruction through trying to replicate Cap's success. The MCU US government probably figures they're better off using high-tech soldiers like the Falcon and the Iron Patriot rather than risk a bunch of super soldiers going insane and turning on them.

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