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  • After ousting Terrence Howard from the franchise, Don Cheadle immediately steps into the part of Rhodey with one line: "It's me. I'm here. Get over it and move on." And he's been there ever since.
  • The trailer gave us a Breaking Speech from Whiplash delivered in Mickey Rourke's trademark rumble (with a Russian accent no less) describing how the Stark family is built on lies and thievery and how they will meet their fate. This is followed by him cutting a Formula One car in half with a single strike of his whips, then skipping down the track and slamming his whips into the pavement before cutting to a shot of him laughing. Just from the trailer it's clear Whiplash is gonna be a badass.
    Whiplash: You come from a family of thieves and butchers. And now, like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your own history. And you forget all the lives the Stark family has destroyed. There will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come.
    • From a trailer:
      If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in him. I just have to sit here and watch as the world consumes you.
    • It's countered by Tony's wonderful Shut Up, Hannibal!: "And where will you be watching all this from? Oh yeah, inside a jail cell. Bye. I'll send you some soap." It's recountered by Vanko by telling Tony that he knows Tony is going to die a painful death due to the Palladium Poisoning and he says it with a smile on his face.
  • There's Tony jumping out of the back of a plane, flying down into a building and... robots taking the armour off, revealing a tuxedo in front of a cheering audience. He has a high-kicking Iron Man-ettes chorus line!
  • Whiplash's escape from prison. He nonchalantly kills his fellow prisoner, arms a plastic explosive, kills a guard attempting to accost him, and walks away from his cell's explosion like it was all a walk in the park for him. Badass.
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    • It's also one for Justin Hammer who had organised the escape in the first place and especially impressive considering how incompetent he is in the rest of the movie.
  • The Senate hearing for Stark. From the beginning, he is unflappable and verbally serves the chair of the committee several times:
    Stark: I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on which state you're in. You can't have it.
    Senator Stern: Look, ah, I'm, um, no expert on-
    Stark: On prostitution? Of course not, you're a Senator, come on!
    • As the hearing continues and Stark's rival, Justin Hammer, tries to testify against him by showing evidence of other "Iron Man" suits being built, Stark effortlessly hacks into federal computers with a PDA and zooms satellite imagery in enough to show that these suits are nothing to worry about — including Hammer's own pathetic attempts. Stark then goes on to espouse how much of a hero he really is for having taken care of several threats as Iron Man and finishes it off with this bold statement:
      Stark: I have successfully privatized world peace! [gives V for Victory sign]
      • Cue the senator's response:
        Senator Stern: *BLEEP* you, mister Stark. *BLEEP* you, buddy!
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    • Thanks to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this is retroactively even more awesome, since Tony essentially trolled an agent of HYDRA!.
  • The briefcase suit. Seriously, the briefcase-Transformation Sequence has got to be one of the most salivating Technology Porn moments in the history of film. Can the suit really fit into it? Does the suit's weight difference between briefcase and suit make any sense? Does it make sense for him to go through a twenty-second-long Transformation Sequence while Ivan Vanko could easily give him a good smack with his whips? Who cares? It was so awesome that when it was revealed in one of the trailers, bloggers the world over had a nerdgasm and used that screenshot for their posts.
    • Let's give a hand to the SFX people for pulling off something that's been done for forty years in the comics but seemed impossible to do on film: make suitcase armor that looked realistic.
  • During the climax, Tony and Rhodey, fully armoured Back-to-Back Badasses, find themselves trapped in a "killbox" surrounded by armoured drones on all sides. What did they do? Tony unleashed Iron Man-fu, repulsor blasts all over, and finished them off with a 360 degree death blossom. War Machine let the hot lead fly, and his shoulder cannon fired behind him taking out multiple targets. The two of them lit up the screen and the audience let out a holy shiiit.
  • Lt. Col. James Rhodes finally shows us how he earned his stripes and why he is Tony's best friend: he hijacks Tony's Mark II suit while Tony is going on a ridiculous bender at his birthday party, walks upstairs to deliver a What the Hell, Hero? in full armor, and goes toe-to-toe with Tony in a brawl despite his suit not being as advanced and this being the first time he had ever stepped into it! It's awesome for two reasons: it was a well-deserved slap in the face to Tony, and it showed that when pushed to his wit's end, "Rhodey" is not someone to be trifled with and will have the balls to stand up to even Iron Man. Not to mention how this scene introduces the Chekhov's Gun that when repulsor blasts hit each other, things go very big boom.
    • Additionally, it's also a moment of awesome from Tony's point of view - despite being astonishingly drunk, he demonstrates that a) he's a remarkably capable fighter, b) he's mastered the Iron Man armour.
    • The scene crosses over with Awesome Music being set to an excellent mix by DJ AM that includes "Another One Bites The Dust", "It Takes Two" and "Robot Rock".
  • AC/DC only has two songs in the movie, but John Debney definitely earned his paycheck with the score!
  • Tony Stark has a problem: he is slowly dying from the arc reactor in his chest, powered by palladium — which is poisoning him. No suitable element exists as an alternative, and the technology to create an element that would be a suitable alternative doesn't exist, so what does Tony do? He invents the technology needed to create a brand new element to custom requirements, props it up with a replica of Captain America's shield, and makes the right element himself!
  • Happy Hogan. Just the Plucky Comic Relief, right? Sure, apart from the scene in Monaco where he drives a normal car on a F1 track, slaloming against the direction of the incoming race cars at top speed. Much of this is one-handed because Pepper is desperately trying to get the Mark V armor uncuffed from his arm, with the key in his pocket. Then he rams the car into Whiplash. Then, when Whiplash starts moving, he does it again. Awesome.
  • Happy Hogan himself taking down one of Hammer's guards after a long struggle.
  • Whiplash has another one. We last see him without his shoes, pillows, and parrot and there are two big guards keeping an eye on him until Hammer returns from the expo so they can re-negotiate their contract. Next we see him, there's blood on his hands, he's typing away to start up the movie's climax, and those guards are, shall we say, tied up? Genius Bruiser indeed.
    • Also, before they cut away, the burd has been put in a bag. When they come back, the burd is on Vanko's shoulder again.
  • Tony was trying to irritate Agent Coulson, who had been sent to make sure he didn't leave the premises. Coulson grins and replies that he'd tase Tony and then watch Super Nanny while our hero twitches and drools on the ground.
  • The smarmy senator that Tony has been using as a verbal chew toy for the entire movie finally getting his moment at the end of the film, as he pins the medal on Tony... a little too enthusiastically.
  • Black Widow unleashed in all her glory. During the climax, Black Widow enters Hammer's head office to get to Vanko. She goes through the assembled security like a hot knife through butter, with a mix of martial arts, smoke bombs, taser mines and street fighting. The fact she finishes the last guard with a casual spray of mace and an annoyed look on her face makes it one badass Moment of Awesome.
  • Somebody attempts to hit her while her back is turned, and without looking she beats him with ONE MOVE. Then she does it again with a can of mace.
  • One random little kid standing up to a rampaging robot with his toy Iron Man repulsor. Whether he thought it would work or he was trying to scare it off is irrelevant; that kid has a pair of brass ones. Tony dropping in, shooting the Hammeroid, and going "Nice work, kid!" to the kid before leaving was just the icing on the cake. Whoever that kid is, that has to have been the best night of his life.
    • Note that this kid probably prevented the deaths of dozens. That Hammeroid was going on a rampage trying to bring down Tony, and probably would have caused massive collateral damage. However, it is clearly shown that the Hammeroid can't tell if the kid is Tony or not, and freezes up.
    • Turns out it wasn't a random little kid. Word of God reveals that it was actually a young Peter Parker. Just goes to show even at the age of 7 or 8 without powers Peter was a hero.
  • In Vanko's first attack, how does Iron Man defeat him? By wrapping himself in one of Vanko's whips, which are visibly scarring and damaging the armor he's wearing, and then dragging himself closer so Vanko can't escape, and then punching his lights out, followed by ripping out the suit's arc reactor. When it comes to showing how impossibly tough the Iron Man suits are, there's nothing better than literally wrapping a car-slicing electrified heat-whip around yourself to take down the bad guy.
  • As Vanko slowly walks down the race track in his jumpsuit and turns it on, the exoskeleton burns his shirt into ribbons.
  • Tony and Pepper's conversation when Natasha arrives:
    Tony: I want one.
    Pepper: No.
  • Mickey Rourke turned D-List Villain 'Whiplash' into such a remarkable badass, he makes even a simple request into a memorable line:
  • A weapons expert fed Sam Rockwell all his lines about the different weapons Hammer is supposed to outfit the Mark II with, and with a lesser actor, they might have sounded wooden or rote, but Rockwell sounds every bit the weapons manufacturer magnate he's supposed to be. Even if every line is bullshit, and Hammer is just faking it, judging from his lack of awareness of safety and features for the weapons, it's still impressive.
  • It was all a bunch of bluster and hot air and existed mostly as a setup for its hilarious failure, but taken in and of itself out of context, Hammer's description of the "Ex-Wife" mini-bunker-buster is pretty awesome.
    These are the Cubans, baby. This is the Cohibas, the Montecristos. This is a kinetic-kill, side-winder vehicle with a secondary cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst. It's capable of busting a bunker under the bunker you just busted. If it were any smarter, it'd write a book, a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon. It would read it to you. This is my Eiffel Tower. This is my Rachmaninoff's Third. My Pieta. It's completely elegant, it's bafflingly beautiful, and it's capable of reducing the population of any standing structure to zero. I call it "The Ex-Wife."
    • In the tie-in prequel comic to Iron Man 3, we see "The Ex-Wife" work... and it works very well as Rhodey found out.
    • Genius Bonus on Hammer's sales pitch speech. Two things he says gives away just how full of crap he is, and how much intelligence he truly possesses. First, he rattles off the full chemical name, then follows it up with the letter abbreviation of the same name. He is just quoting a spec sheet. Second, Ulysses was written in crayon. James Joyce's eyes were failing him, and he used crayon so he could see his writing better.
  • While there is a dark undertone to it from what the audience knows will happen, out-of-context, the debut of the Hammeroids and War Machine was pretty damn cool. The fact that each Hammeroid for each branch of the service is introduced with each service's individual theme... Say what you will about the guy, but Hammer knows how to present a product.
  • In a small moment, overshadowed by Natalie's (Natasha) introduction, Tony and Happy are sparring in the gym. Tony takes his focus off of Happy for a moment to discuss something with Pepper. Happy takes the moment to tell Tony "Never take your eye off your opponent", and Tony turns right around and pounds Happy right into the corner. Suitless doesn't necessarily mean defenseless.
    • Doubles as a meta moment too, as Robert Downey Jr. had been studying Wing Chun.
    • Followed up by Happy trying the same thing on Natalie and getting caught in a hurricanrana armbar for his trouble.
    • This proves an awesome moment for Pepper, because even before Natalie's reveal as Black Widow, she's seen what Natalie can do; yet she was willing to confront her over her part of suggesting Tony's drunken rampage of a party. Had Rhodey and Tony's fight not spilled into the room they were arguing in, there woulda been two sets of fist fights.

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