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Film / Iron Man 3

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"A famous man once said, 'We create our own demons.'"

"You know who I am. You don't know where I am. And you'll never see me coming."
The Mandarin

Iron Man 3 is the 2013 sequel to Iron Man 2 and the seventh film in the Marvel Studios produced and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributed note  Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the first installment of its Phase 2. Directed by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) with a screenplay by himself and Drew Pearce, the film adapts elements of the "Extremis" story arc by Warren Ellis, the "Sentient Armor" arc by Joe Quesada, the "Five Nightmares" arc by Matt Fraction, and the origin story of the recurring Iron Man villain The Mandarin. Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films, serves as executive producer along with Kevin Feige.

When an enemy from the past targets that which industrialist Tony Stark holds most dear, he must rely on his ingenuity to protect those closest to him. Still haunted by the events from the Battle of Manhattan, he must confront challenges from not only this old adversary but from himself as well, and finally answer a question which has plagued him from the beginning: Is he the one who defines the Iron Man suit? Or is it the suit that defines him?

Stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Guy Pearce as Dr. Aldrich Killian, Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen, and James Badge Dale as Eric Savin.

Further, a collection of tie-ins were released, which includes:

While no additional films in the Iron Man franchise have been made, Tony Stark's story would continue in further Marvel Cinematic Universe films, beginning with Avengers: Age of Ultron, while the story of the Mandarin would be continued in the short All Hail the King and the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

You can watch the first and last trailer for the film on YouTube.

Iron Man 3 provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to C 
  • Absence of Evidence: Rhodes mentions after the first Mandarin broadcast that the baffling thing about the Mandarin "attacks" is that they never have found any bomb casings or explosives at any of the bombings, which is because the "bombs" are Extremis users who are unable to control their Power Incontinence.
  • Action Bomb:
    • The Extremis soldiers' Power Incontinence is used to turn them into living bombs.
    • Tony also activates the self destruct on some of his automated armors to take out Extremis users in the Final Battle. He traps Killian inside the Mark 42 when he orders JARVIS to light it up.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • Pepper and Tony have one in his workshop when he reveals his PTSD to her.
    • There's also Tony's visit to Happy in the hospital, where we can see his anger bubbling just under the surface. It comes boiling out in the next scene, outside the hospital.
    • While they're in hiding together, Maya opens up to Pepper on how she deviated from her noble goals in her desire to perfect Extremis.
  • Action Girl: Tony assembles the Mark XLII around Pepper in one scene, which she then uses to save Tony. Pepper also gets injected with Extremis later, allowing her to save Tony from the similarly super-powered Killian.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Tony has a Wing Chun dummy in his workshop and gives it a few strikes in passing. Robert Downey Jr. is a practitioner of Wing Chun in real life, and it's his fighting style of choice for Sherlock Holmes (2009).
    • Killian makes an offhand reference to stereotypical eccentric behavior by stage actors. Guy Pearce got his start as a stage actor.
    • Harley breaks a finger off of Tony's Mark 42 Armor. Tony's narration gets away from him a few times, not too unlike Harry's.
    • Very hard to notice, but William Sadler, who played President Ellis, at one point attempts to defend himself with a Secret Service Agent's Glock 17 from Eric Savin, Sadler himself had previously played Colonel Stuart in Die Hard 2, whose personal sidearm was a Glock 17 (which was notably at the time one of the first films to feature the gun). This is hence also not the first time for Sadler to appear in a sequel in a blockbuster action franchise that happened to be An Asskicking Christmas. There are even fights on a plane, at the end of which it gets blown up.
    • Eric Savin is played by James Badge Dale and Killian's plan involves using amputees as test subjects for the Extremis project, some of whom were military veterans. On 24, Dale played Jack Bauer's ex-military partner, and his appearance in season 3 ends with his hand getting chopped off.
  • Adam Westing: Ben Kingsley's role as a hammy Anglo actor playing an Ambiguously Brown villain is most likely a reference to his roles in Prince of Persia, The Dictator and Thunderbirds, among others. It's also likely poking fun at his background as a former Shakespearean actor who's appeared in some not-so-high art.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Aldrich Killian is much better looking here than in the comics.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the 616 comics, the Iron Patriot armor was worn by the villainous Norman Osborn. Now, it's the heroic War Machine's new paint job (although he went back to his original gray paintjob by his next appearance).
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the comics, Aldrich Killian felt guilty about creating Extremis and killed himself at the start of the story. In this movie, though, he's a straight-up bad guy with no remorse. In fact, he considers himself Tony's Arch-Enemy more than the actor he hired as a scapegoat, if his Badass Boast is anything to go by.
    • In the film, Eric Savin is Killian's right-hand man who also acts with no remorse. This contrasts with his comics character, an Anti-Hero known as Coldblood who never delved into outright villainy.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Advanced Idea Mechanics, the fearsome HYDRA science division responsible for creating MODOK, the Super-Adaptoid, and the Cosmic Cube, is casually namedropped as the front company of a villain who wasn't even affiliated with them in the comics.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Combines elements of the "Extremis" arc by Warren Ellis, the "Sentient Armor" arc by Joe Quesada, the Mandarin's origin story, more plot points from the "Armor Wars" arc, "The Five Nightmares" arc with Ezekiel Stane, and the "Civil War" story. The trick of all the Iron Man suits fighting at the same time was used in the New Avengers. And the storyline "Haunted", featuring an incognito Mandarin planning to unleash Extremis, while Tony's sanity is in question following a traumatic battle, a.k.a. Civil War.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Aldrich Killian was a minor character written out within the first few pages of the "Extremis" arc in the comics. This version makes him the main villain and the one behind the fake Mandarin.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: The Big Bad turns out to be Aldrich Killian, a vengeful scientist that Tony was massive dick to in the past. Lampshaded when Tony points out that one of the major themes of the movie is how we all create our own demons.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The A.I. loaded into the Iron Man Mark XLII responds to chip implants that read Tony's brainwaves. Even when he's asleep and having nightmares.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Killian launches a missile attack on Tony in the hero's Malibu home.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Pepper with Aldrich Killian.
  • Ambiguous Situation: At the end of the movie, Tony says he was able to prevent Pepper from exploding, but does she still have Extremis powers? Her following appearances in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War don't clarify the situation either.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The Mandarin is of indeterminate but apparently Middle-Eastern birth (played by the half-Indian Kingsley), further confused by his American South accent and Chinese name. This is in contrast to the Mandarin of the comics, who as his name implies is partly of Chinese descent. It proves less confusing when he turns out to just be a British actor hired by Killian to impersonate the Mandarin.
  • American Robot: Rhodes's War Machine gear has a new paintjob as Iron Patriot, meant to evoke the appearance of a certain star-spangled Avenger.
  • Animated Armor: The Mark XLII, which can operate even while separated from Tony through JARVIS reading chip implants in Tony's forearm. In the climax, all of Tony's remaining suits fly piloted by JARVIS to the rescue.
  • Anti-Climax: The Mark XLII flies in to save Tony, only to hit the side of a crane and fall apart. Subverted a minute later when Tony uses it to trap Killian, then tells JARVIS to blow it up.
    Tony: Whatever.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Mandarin finally makes his film debut as a Diabolical Mastermind out to destroy Tony. Except that he doesn't; the true Big Bad is Aldrich Killian, who is every bit as smart as Tony, but much more ruthlessly manipulative and clever enough to hide in anonymity. The real Mandarin has yet to appear on screen.
  • Arc Words:
    • "You know who I am."
    • "We create our own demons." May also be applicable to Avengers: Age of Ultron, given its premise.
    • "When is a bomb not a bomb?" "A bomb is not a bomb when it's a misfire."
  • Armor Is Useless: Extremis-enhanced soldiers cut through Tony's armors like butter, as their bare hands can generate heat of up to 3000 degrees Celsius.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In the middle of a panic attack, Tony's kid sidekick says "if you're a mechanic, why don't you build something?" Tony instantly calms down. What's interesting is that we actually see him testing Tony's PTSD earlier, pushing the limits of acceptable behavior a lot like Tony does.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Killian claims that Extremis works by reprogramming the repair center of the human brain to create a new type of body. There is no single repair center in the brain; the information of how to repair different organs and limbs is spread out across the entire body.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: When Tony is undergoing surgery to remove the shrapnel from his body for good, his upper body is lying completely uncovered. Normally a sterile sheet would be draped over every part of his body except the portion being operated on, but that would mean audiences wouldn't be able to see his face at all.
  • Artistic License – Military: When the two meet at Air Force One, the President salutes Iron Patriot, who returns it. As the President is also the Commander in Chief, Iron Patriot should be saluting first.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • At several points, Tony fires repulsor blasts or uses his repulsors to fly while only wearing parts of his armor. While we saw him fire low level repulsor bolts while testing the Mk. II and III in the first film, without the support of the full suit, this should damage his limbs.
    • Mild example with the "burning" part of the Extremis users. They can heat up their bodies to over 3,000 degrees Celsius, enough to reduce iron and steel to blazing-hot mush (whilst somehow keeping their clothes intact). Question is, where the heck does the energy needed to create such incredible heat come from? Does it come from their bodies?
    • The free-fall rescue scene plays loose with a few laws of physics:
      • The most obvious liberty (as with most examples of the trope) is the challenge of actually catching people far enough from the ground for Tony to safely decelerate — realistically speaking, managing to grab the last of thirteen people a mere 200 feet from the water probably wouldn't have allowed for as soft a landing as it's shown on film.
      • A related issue is the tidbit of Tony electrically shocking the people as they grab each other so they won't be able to let go, thus keeping everyone securely daisy-chained together. You can use electricity to get peoples' muscles seized up for them to hold on, but the issue here is that chaining everyone together in a free-fall would put tremendous weighted pressure on those at the top of the chain, which could still probably break bones or damage the rest of their arms. There's also the question on how exactly Tony manages to transmit the shock between people holding onto each other as there's the lack of a visibly closed circuit.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: Set in the lead-up to Christmas.
  • Ass Kicks You: A mechanical version. When Tony tests the Mk 42 suit, it goes less than smoothly. The assembly finally seems complete, but immediately after his Badass Boast ("I'm the best"), the butt-plate slams into place unexpectedly, at high speed, sending Tony flying and disassembling the suit.
  • Ascended Extra: Happy Hogan has a major role in the movie after having a cameo role in the first film and a secondary role in the second movie. In this movie, he gets critically injured at the end of the first act.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Tony has always been kind of dismissive towards Happy, but when Happy gets put in a coma thanks to a Mandarin attack, Tony declares war.
  • Badass Boast:
    • The Mandarin promises to tear down everything Tony has built.
      Mandarin: You know who I am. You don't know where I am. And you'll never see me coming.
    • Tony delivers one to the Mandarin via mobile phone.
      Tony: I'm not afraid of you. No politics here. Just good, old-fashioned revenge.
    • Tony's final thoughts before the credits.
      Tony: You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys. But one thing you can't take away? I am Iron Man.
    • Played for laughs during the Mk XLII testing sequence (see Ass Kicks You).
  • Badass in Distress: Both Tony and Rhodes are captured at different parts of the film.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Both Tony and Rhodes show they are capable of fighting supervillains without armor. In the case of Rhodes, that shouldn't be unexpected: he's a Colonel, after all.
    • Happy tries to invoke this but he doesn't put up much of a fight against Savin and is nearly killed after a Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... moment.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: All the buildup to fighting Killian is thrown out the window when Tony breaks into the Mandarin's hideout, skipping the middleman and going straight for the top. However, it's revealed "the Mandarin" is just an actor playing a fictional terrorist to keep the good guys distracted. Killian is the real Diabolical Mastermind and Big Bad.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Pepper, referring to being Extremis-enhanced, asks if she's going to be okay. Tony's response? "No. (Beat) You're in a relationship with me."
  • Batman in My Basement:
    • Or, more accurately, "Iron Man in my Garage". Notably, Tony's in and out over the course of, apparently, a single night.
    • There's also "Iron Man in my Van" when Tony hides in a news van that happens to owned by a guy who's a big fan of his.
  • Battle Butler: When Tony initiates the House Party Protocol, JARVIS takes control of the 30-odd suits all fighting. Meaning JARVIS is effectively acting as a One-A.I. Army.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Upon being captured, Rhodes tells Killian that he'll have to pry the War Machine armor off of his cold, dead body. Killian and his Extremis-wielding goons proceed to do just that by applying heat to the suit and threatening to cook him alive inside it if he doesn't vacate it voluntarily.
  • Beneath the Mask: Killian managed to rebuild himself, both physically and psychologically, into a good-looking, wealthy, confident ubermensch. In the scene where he admits Pepper is there as his trophy, the mask slips, and we briefly see the nervous, weak Stalker with a Crush he's always been.
  • Berserk Button: Tony reacts very poorly to his loved ones being hurt (and that includes loyal bodyguards and best friends). This one is a bit more dangerous than his others since it causes Tony to stop thinking rationally, making him prone to mistakes.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Subverted. At the beginning of the third film, it's not clear how much Killian is working with the Mandarin, but they clearly both have the same general "destroy Tony Stark" goal. In reality, while the Mandarin does exist (as revealed in All Hail the King), the one we see here is a fake, and Killian is behind the whole thing, using the fake Mandarin to cover-up his illegal experiments.
  • Big "NO!": Killian screams one when Tony uses the Mark 42 armor to trap him and blow him up (and is promptly shut up by the head piece sealing), and again just before an Extremis-enhanced Pepper detonates a missile in his face.
  • Biotech Is Better: In the climax the Extremis super soldiers rip several Iron Man suits to pieces. Killian is only killed by Extremis-enhanced Pepper wearing a gauntlet she ripped off one suit.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Poor Trevor Slattery. He is pretty much going to jail for life for actions he thought were not real and just publicity stunts (and in All Hail the King, he's apparently going to be taken to be executed by the real Mandarin, but at least gets the audience he wanted..
    • And also for Tony Stark himself, due to the fact that he's retiring from being Iron Man, and his Malibu home was destroyed, as well as all his armor suits.
  • Blessed with Suck: Extremis makes you virtually unkillable, but it also seems to make you a violently unstable drug addict and you might explode if you're not careful.
  • Blunt "Yes":
    Harley: So now you're just gonna leave me here, just like my dad?
    Tony: [beat] Yep.
  • Body Horror: Extremis, even if you survive it, doesn't look particularly pleasant to live with. And it's implied that even if you are stable, you still have some risk of eventually experiencing a Super-Power Meltdown.
  • Bond One-Liner: Tony says a couple of these.
    Tony: [upon killing Savin] Walk away from that, you son of a bitch.
  • Book Ends
    • The Incredible Hulk ends with a cameo from Tony Stark. This movie ends with a cameo from Bruce Banner.
    • The movie begins and ends with narration from Tony.
    • The first and third movies end with Tony saying, "I am Iron Man."
    • The film begins with fireworks in 1999 and ends with "fireworks" in 2013.
    • In the first movie, Pepper has Tony's first chest-mounted arc reactor mounted in a glass case with a brass plate reading "Proof that Tony Stark Has a Heart". At the end of the third movie, after having the arc reactor housing surgically removed from his chest, Tony gives Pepper a heart shaped pendant whose chain is made from the last fragments of shrapnel that were embedded near his heart. Proof that Pepper Potts has Tony Stark's heart.
  • Breather Episode: For the MCU. While all of the Phase 1 was about building up to Avengers, this film focuses mainly on Tony's arc and development before the following films begin leading to Age of Ultron.
  • Brick Joke: A small example, but when the false Mandarin comes out of the bathroom, he tells the two scantily-clad women in his bed they might want to wait a minute before going in there. Minutes later, at the end of the scene, Tony orders the women in there at gunpoint, and audiences can clearly hear their expressions of disgust.
  • Broken Faceplate: After the attack, Pepper finds and picks up an Iron Man helmet, which has been cracked in half.
  • Broken Pedestal: After being blown off by his idol Tony Stark, Killian becames disgruntled with him.
  • Brought Down to Badass:
    • Tony spends much of the film without his armor, or at least out of it, and is no less effective — remember, Tony Stark built a miniature arc reactor IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!
    • After being forced out of the Iron Patriot suit, Rhodey shows himself still effective as a soldier.
      Rhodes: No, no, no, don't open—open? Okay, here we go...
      [Rhodes jumps out and punches Savin in the face, then thrust-kicks him]
    • And then during Tony and Rhodey's two-man unarmored raid on the tanker, Rhodes proves himself capable of taking the Big Bad's men on with just a pistol until the armors show up. Then he learns that he can't simply pick up one of Tony's suits, so with nothing but that pistol he fights his way across the tanker and gets his own damn armor back (rescuing the President along the way).
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Happy probably shouldn't have picked a fight with Savin like that.
    • Tony giving his address to a terrorist without a plan behind it isn't much better.
  • Burning the Flag: One of the images the Mandarin uses in his announcements is of an effigy of President Ellis being set on fire with an American flag attached, and the Mandarin shooting the President's picture in the head.
  • Burning with Anger: What happens when you piss off someone upgraded with Extremis.
  • Butt-Monkey: This film has the Mark XLII armor, which, because of its many technical difficulties (such as its tendencies to delay Tony's Transformation Sequence and to get hit by things and fall apart), comes off as a strange kind of comic relief character.
  • Call-Back: A number of events from the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films feature heavily in the plot of Iron Man 3.
    • Tony is suffering post-traumatic stress following his near-death experience at the end of The Avengers.
    • Tony and Pepper are now living together after becoming romantically involved at the end of Iron Man 2.
    • The Mandarin is styled as leader of the Ten Rings, the terrorist organization who kidnapped Tony at the beginning of Iron Man. Only to be subverted as he's just an actor hired by Killian to cover up the work of A.I.M.'s Extremis program.
    • Bruce Banner being at Tony's house in The Stinger, referencing him driving away with Tony at the end of The Avengers.
    • Killian realizes that they need a flair for the dramatic to get peoples' attention.
      Aldrich Killian: Anyway, the point is, ever since that big dude with the hammer fell out of the sky, subtlety's kinda had its day.
    • Tony is seen using a prototype version of calling his suit in The Avengers (the wrist cuffs). In this film, we see him expanding on the idea via implants.
    • In Iron Man, Ho Yinsen mentions while in captivity that he has met Tony before at a conference in Bern, Switzerland. Now we get to see it.
    • The entire second second act could be seen as a Call-Back to answer Captain America's question from The Avengers: "Take away the suit and what are you?"
  • Call-Forward: The film opens in 1999 at a conference in Bern, Switzerland, the place Ho Yinsen mentioned he had met Tony back in Iron Man and depicts Stark and Yinsen's first encounter.
  • The Cameo:
  • Canon Foreigner: Harley (the kid that Tony meets in Tennessee), President Ellis and Trevor Slattery (the actor posing as the Mandarin).
  • Captain Patriotic: Rhodey's redesigned "Iron Patriot" suit and identity is created by the government specifically to appeal to American patriotism. Bill Maher and Joan Rivers lambast it on their talk shows as for the Eagleland-ness it is.
  • The Cavalry: Tony summons his Iron Legion of 33 A.I.-controlled Iron Man suits in the Final Battle to save the day.
  • Ceiling Smash: Savin slams a secret service agent into the ceiling of Air Force One, then back down through a desk when he steals the Iron Patriot armor and attacks the president.
  • Celebrity Paradox: When Stark is signing an autograph for two kids, he points out that one of them looks like Ralphie Parker. The actor that played Ralphie, Peter Billingsley, also produced the first two Iron Man films and had a minor role in the first one (and later in Spider-Man: Far From Home).
  • Central Theme: Identity.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In The Avengers, Tony's flight through the Chitauri wormhole was nothing more than an exciting action climax, and his following brush with death was actually played for laughs (with Tony joking about shawarma immediately after he woke up). Unfortunately, this movie reveals that the whole ordeal in the wormhole actually gave him PTSD, and that he's struggled with anxiety attacks and night terrors ever since the battle in New York. Note that this is frighteningly realistic; PTSD can take a while to hit.
  • Chain of People: Or rather, Barrel of Monkeys as Tony calls it. When the Air Force One passengers and crew get sucked out of their damaged plane, Tony finds out his suit can only carry four of them. So he grabs them one by one, telling them to assume a skydiving position and uses electric currents to keep their hands held together. This allows him to slow down their fall so he can deposit them safely in the Biscayne Bay.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Tony isn't very comfortable remembering the fight for New York in The Avengers, and tries to shift topics at times due to some anxiety.
  • Character Development: As soon as Pepper calls Tony out on his behavior early on, Tony admits he has a problem, instead of avoiding the issue and hiding in a bottle.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The add-on to Tony's Malibu home, plus all his new armor.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Played according to the original definition when Tony walks into the bar and takes a long glance at the sheriff's gun. Brandt puts it into play soon thereafter
    • The "glitch" of Maya's plant.
    • Tony wearing the Mark XLII armor at the beginning of the movie. Note that in The Avengers he just started using the Mark VII.
    • The flashbang Tony gives Harley, who then uses it to escape Savin.
    • Chad Davis's dog tags, which Tony uses to defeat Brandt.
    • Tony's note to Maya in the opening contains an incomplete formula to perfecting Extremis.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Tony's narration of the prologue about him "creating demons" clearly refers to his snubbing of Killian. What one might miss, though, is that he's also referring to Maya Hansen, who he also blew off that night.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Tony is shown early on trying out the technology that allows him to remotely control an Iron Man suit as if he was actually in the suit, allowing him to fool Pepper into thinking he's lounging around the living room in his armor when he's actually downstairs working out. He uses it again in the final act to remotely pilot the suit to rescue survivors from Air Force One.
    • Tony pulling out an arm-mounted missile and blasting it to shoot down one of Savin's helicopter. Pepper does the same thing in the climax against Killian.
    • The Mark 42's ability to encase anyone Tony points at comes in handy at the end.
  • The Chew Toy:
    • If the Mk. 42 armor could be considered a character, then it is definitely this, getting beat up and bashed to hell in humorous ways throughout the movie.
    • Dummy the robot suffers both "emotional" and physical abuse. Fortunately, Tony saves it and drives away with it at the end of the movie.
  • Christmas Episode: Takes place during the season, but is otherwise subtle about it.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: The Extremis users can regenerate from most kinds of injuries, short of catastrophic destruction of their head or heart. Tony kills one of them by blasting his torso out with the Unibeam, and others are blown to bits by self-destructing armor suits and various other explosions in the final battle.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted more often than in past installments of the Marvel movie franchise.
    • The name Mandarin is used frequently. However, it's just being used by Trevor Slattery as part of his role; Aldrich Killian claims at the end that he is the true Mandarin, but All Hail the King reveals that even that was a lie.
    • Tony refers to himself as Iron Man quite a few times as do a few other characters.
    • Rhodes is given the name "Iron Patriot" as a morale boost, so the government and the media refer to him as such, even though he has no Secret Identity. Tony prefers "War Machine", and Rhodes eventually admits he does as well.
    • Played straight with Eric Savin and Jack Taggert, who in the comics are known respectively as Coldblood and Firepower.
  • Composite Character:
    • Aldrich Killian is a merger of his comic counterpart, Mallen (the Extremis-enhanced villain of Warren Ellis' original "Extremis" story), Ezekiel Stane, and modern incarnations of the Mandarin, to contrast with Trevor's fictional "Mandarin" being based on the classic Yellow Peril version of the character — though All Hail the King proves he was never the actual Mandarin at all.
    • The Extremis subjects who are used as living bombs have a lot in common with the bio-engineered bombs Ezekiel Stane designed in "The Five Nightmares", and a few superficial similarities to the comic villain Nitro (with the exception that they can't pull themselves back together after exploding like Nitro does).
    • The Iron Patriot in this adaptation is basically James Rhodes in Norman Osborn's suit.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Tony goes to Vizcaya Gardens to investigate the Mandarin. It's revealed that Killian's team rented it for Trevor to live, do drugs, and host escorts. Any Miami native can tell you that Vizcaya is in one of the city's most expensive neighborhoods and is a desirable location for weddings or other special occasions.
  • Continuity Nod: The film has a number of background references to previous events in the series.
    • The ring on the Mandarin's right pinky is the same ring Raza had on his right hand in Iron Man.
    • Tony still hates being handed things, as in The Avengers and Iron Man 2.
    • The "Dummy" robot is stuck on clean-up duty after a typical screw-up.
    • Tony's advice to a kid with daddy issues is awkwardly say "no need to be a pussy about it," nodding to his own daddy issues in Iron Man 2.
    • We actually see some people basing their "looks" on Tony at the end of Avengers, and we briefly meet one in this film.
    • The Roxxon Oil company previously showed up at the gas station in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Despite the Extremis subjects heating to high enough temperatures to melt steel, it only affects what they're directly touching and their clothes never catch fire. Until it's time to show off some badass tattoos.
  • Cool Garage: Tony's gift at the end of the movie to the kid who helps him.
  • Cool Shades: In some of the Mandarin's videos, he wears sunglasses that make him look like an eccentric warlord in the vein of Muammar Gaddafi. The poster of him reclining with them on looks a lot more hilarious after The Reveal, at which point it just looks like Trevor had too much fun the night before and was still a bit high or drunk when he came in to pose for the photo.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Aldrich Killian and his AIM company are the center of a conspiracy involving an actor impersonating a terrorist, the Vice President of the United States and army veterans augmented with a Super Serum, all so that he can manipulate both sides of The War on Terror.
  • The Coup: Killian intends to assassinate President Ellis in order to allow the Vice President — who is in league with him — to take over.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Every piece of Tony's Mark 42 armor can fly on its own onto his body and operate independently. Over hundreds of miles too.note 
    • It's not pointed out explicitly, but Tony has secret accounts to secure significant funds even after going "off the grid", and he's clearly been training in martial arts (he's seen boxing in Iron Man 2, for what that's worth) and firearms.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The end titles are based around a Split Screen montage of shots from throughout the Iron Man film series.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Robert Downey Jr. as a snarky anti-hero? A casual, somewhat meta voiceover with a cameo from the character's best mate at the end? A Disney Death or two? Set at Christmas? Lots of Mood Whiplash? Nice to see you again, Shane Black.
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • Tony caused Killian's Start of Darkness by being a jerkass.
    • Slightly less directly, his jerkass behavior was also responsible for the abuses and failures of the Extremis program, since he blew Maya off just as quickly as soon as he'd gotten what he wanted from her. If he'd chosen to lend a little more help than a scribbled formula on a nametag, she might never have joined forces with Killian instead, and the whole mess could have been prevented.
    • Outright stated to be the moral of the story at the end, with Tony's "we create our own demons" statement.
  • Credits Gag: Tony nicknames a mook "Ponytail Express". His actor is credited as such.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: This is why Tony refuses to take Harley with him to find the Mandarin. For one, Harley has a family, and this mission is going to be dangerous. And for another, Tony works best with adults, not children. As thanks for Harley helping him, however, he tricks out Harley's garage and replaces the watch that the Mooks destroyed.
  • Curse Cut Short: "I don't wanna to be a dic..." (looks around) "...tator." Tony then tries to recover by calling Rhodey "Richard".

    Tropes D to L 
  • Damsel in Distress: Tony has to save Pepper a lot such as when Killian kidnaps her to use as leverage. The "helpless factor" is downplayed because she saves him back.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Rather, damsels and dudes of the honorable Air Force One crew. They're reacting the way anyone would to being tossed out of a plane: screaming at the top of their lungs. When Tony asks them to listen to him and they should start grabbing each other like monkeys in a barrel, they manage to listen as he grabs them and safely lowers them to the water.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ellen Brandt is an Extremis-powered soldier who partakes in undercover missions and isn't hesitant to use lethal force.
  • Darkest Hour: The aftermath of the attack on Tony's home. His home is in shambles, his original and most complete armors are destroyed, Tony's in the middle of nowhere, JARVIS is offline and Mark 42 is out of power. Best summed up by this line from the billionaire playboy.
    Tony: I just stole a poncho off a wooden Indian.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tony, of course, but also Killian quite a lot.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Maya Hansen survived in the original "Extremis" storyline from the comics. Here, Killian murders her when she gets rebellious. Coincidentally, comics Maya was killed by A.I.M. in a story-line released just before Iron Man 3 hit cinemas.
    • Jack Taggart, the very much alive Firepower in the comics, died in a "suicide bombing" in the film.
    • Likewise, Eric Savin is killed after the Mark 42 armor blows a hole through his chest.
  • Deathly Dies Irae: Dies Irae is heard as Happy is spying on one of the Mandarin's agents making a drop at the Chinese Theatre, right before there's a massive explosion that nearly kills him there.
  • Declaration of Protection: Tony says he's determined to protect "the one thing I can't live without" while addressing Pepper.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Harley unsuccessfully tries to manipulate Tony into staying by comparing Tony to Harley's disappeared father and then saying in a cute voice that he's cold.
  • Detachment Combat:
    • The Mark 42 is capable of breaking into individual pieces, each of which can fly on their own and attach onto someone (willingly or not) on the fly.
    • The Mark 41, "Bones", uses this as its primary method of attack, breaking into multiple parts to hit multiple enemies at once.
  • Determinator: Aside from Tony Stark, there's Aldrich Killian, who went from being a crippled but brilliant nobody to a wealthy and fit leader of a scientific company in at least ten years. This also applies to his Extremis powers where he manages to literally keep himself together even after suffering a powerful contact explosion.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Tony lampshades it when his much-needed suit is suddenly destroyed by a truck when crossing a highway: "That came out of nowhere."
  • Didn't Think This Through: After Tony prompts her Heel Realization, Maya threatens to kill herself with an Extremis overdose if Killian doesn't let Tony and Pepper go. She forgets that the whole reason they kidnapped Tony in the first place was that Maya had hit a dead end in her efforts to perfect Extremis and they needed Tony's genius to finish it. Maya isn't really that important to Killian's plans anymore, so he just shoots her himself and threatens Pepper's life to force Tony to cooperate.
  • Diner Brawl: Tony and Ellen Brandt face off in a diner after it had been closed for the evening. It ends with the whole place blowing up.
  • Dirty Old Man: Stan Lee's cameo invokes this trope; the skimpy beauty pageant contest scores a ten.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: "The Mandarin" is actually an eccentric actor who isn't actually a villain, just a desperate idiot who needed a paycheck. The true mastermind is Aldrich Killian, a government scientist with a grudge against Tony.
  • Disproportionate Retribution
    • Aldrich Killian's whole vendetta is because Stark blew him off once thirteen years ago. His real crime spree is more of a combined cover-up for the failures of AIM's Extremis technology and scam/racket to create demand for the super-soldiers AIM can supply. Tony's decision to investigate and openly oppose him brings him even more directly into the line of fire.
    • Tony himself, while captured, taunts a guard with this after the guard breaks his borrowed "deluxe Dora the Explorer" watch. "Just for that, I'm going to kill you first."
  • Disney Death: Pepper falls 200 feet to her apparent death, only to be fine, thanks to a handy-dandy dose of Extremis.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Mandarin videos.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock:
    • An aversion; when Ellen Brandt grabs a shotgun and racks the slide, a shell is visbly ejected. It's actually standard tactics to work the action of any gun you have just picked up, since you can't know if a round is chambered or not, so this isn't just for drama.
    • Played straight when Rhodes aims his guns at some laughing terror suspects, they all make a cocking sound. The suspects immediately shut up.
  • The Dragon: Eric Savin serves as Killian's second-in-command.
  • Driven to Suicide: Defied for Killian. He was about to jump off the roof after Tony screwed him over, but he instead took the act as a Start of Darkness.
  • Dunce Cap: "Dummy" is wearing a pointed white paper hat with "Dunce" on it while sweeping up Tony's lab. Tony says that Dummy "earned" it.
  • Dying Message: Tony is put on A.I.M.'s trail by seeing Happy trying to point to Taggart's dog tags.
  • Elite Mooks: The Extremis soldiers.
  • Embarrassing Password: WARMACHINEROX. Even the Ten Rings thugs Rhodey's holding at gunpoint chuckle at it (until he brandishes his weapon at them again).
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Tony's put Wi-Fi-esque implants into his body to control the Mk. 42, making him a cyborg. (Well, he already had the arc reactor to keep the shrapnel away from his heart, so more of a cyborg.)
  • Enigmatic Institute: A.I.M., Advanced Idea Mechanics. They term themselves a "think tank" and have projects running from renaming War Machine to the Iron Patriot to funding research into creating Extremis super soldiers.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Mandarin has several female Mooks in the ranks of his organization, and from many different races.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Tony is suffering from a bout of PTSD and wasn't sure what he was gonna do next, and then Harley gives this question:
    Harley: If you're a mechanic, why don't you build something?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Maya is working with Killian for pragmatic reasons. She wants to develop the formula and save lives, even if the ends don't justify the means. Maya protests getting Pepper hurt when she's kidnapped, however, doing all she can to make sure Killian doesn't hurt her, because Pepper is an innocent party. When Killian reveals he injected Pepper with the formula, Maya turns on him. This gets her killed.
  • Evil Counterpart: Killian is a brilliant and arrogant weapon designer like Tony Stark, who is attracted to Pepper and has experimented on his own body. However, he uses his creations for evil instead of atoning for past mistakes. Also in contrast, Killian was insecure and fragile, whereas Tony was just a jerk and so full of himself that he didn't notice his glaring problems.
    • Pepper compares A.I.M. weaponizing Extremis to Stark Industries' past arms dealing. However, while Stark Industries intended to end wars and protect people, and phased out of this once it became clear their weapons were being misused, A.I.M. planned to start a war using the flawed Extremis regardless of collateral damage so they could take over the U.S. military's weapons manufacturing for profit.
  • Evil Cripple: Killian, as well as some of the Extremis soldiers, all used to be crippled. They used Extremis to regrow their limbs.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Mandarin's melodramatic video packages.
    Mandarin: True story about fortune cookies — they look Chinese, they sound Chinese. But they're actually an American invention, which is why they're hollow, full of lies and leave a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Evil Is Petty: If becoming a terrorist because someone snubbed you at a New Year's Eve party isn't petty, nothing is.
  • Evil Overlooker: The Mandarin, as seen in the poster above. Turns out he is not the real thing.
  • Evil Plan: The Mandarin wants to teach America several lessons such as hypocrisy and helplessness through terrorist attacks on American army bases and domestic interests. He's smoke and mirrors for Killian, who uses him to create a lock on military supply and demand.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: This version of the Mandarin has a deep bass voice. Trevor's actual voice is that of a crazy old Cockney fellow.
  • Exactly What I Meant to Say: JARVIS has just said that he "seem(s) to do quite well for a stretch and then at the end of the sentence [says] the wrong cranberry." So Tony is a little skeptical of his claim that the Mandarin is in Miami. But it's not an error for someplace more likely to be inhabited by terrorists; the Mandarin really is in Miami.
  • Exact Words:
    • Tony Stark told his machines to aim and kill all the people infected with Extremis unless Stark specifically points that there's an exception.
    • The Mandarin says he'll shoot the hostage on live TV if the President doesn't call him. He never says anything about not shooting the hostage if the President does call him. Also, The Mandarin says that the man will live if the President calls. The President calls, and the Mandarin pulls the trigger. The gun was a non-functional prop (because Trevor was not trusted with real firearms) and the "hostage" was an actor in on the performance, thus he does live.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Upon meeting Tony, Trevor apologizes for being shorter in person and not living up to his on-screen persona.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Extremis is essentially doing this to a biological system, gaining incredible powers at the risk of dangerous instability.
  • Expy: Red eyes? Check. Slicked back blond hair? Check. Volcanic Veins? Check. Evilutionary Biologist? Check. Man Behind the Man? Check. Give Aldrich Killian a pair of sunglasses, and he could pass for Albert Wesker.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: A Running Gag with Tony, most notably when he keeps counting down the moment when his armor will fly through the window and save him, only for nothing to happen. The two mooks guarding him are not impressed.
  • Fail Safe Failure: Rhodey gets ejected from Iron Patriot when Killian heats up the suit, even though he doesn't want it to.
  • False Flag Operation: What the Mandarin and his Ten Rings organization — at least the ones we see in this film — turn out to be. The real ones do exist, however, and presumably it was the real Ten Rings that we saw previously, but they won't be appearing on screen for a while.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: The Mandarin rounds off a list that includes bin Laden and Gadaffi.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Pepper in a sports bra and gym pants while being tortured and then dropped into a flaming abyss.
    • Ellen Brandt has her own moment when she's being injected with the Extremis formula: bare midriff, short shorts, and a missing arm being regrown.
  • Fanservice Extra:
    • The Mandarin's female perks.
    • Also the Christmas beauty pageant contestants.
  • Faux Shadow: The film is based on the Extremis storyline and features Tony mentally controlling parts of his armor. Despite this, he never gets injected with Extremis (which here is limited just to heat powers, as opposed to being a power roulette), and controls his armor via implants of his own design.
  • Fighting Back Is Wrong: Parodied and subverted. When Tony meets a kid who tells him about being bullied at school, Tony starts talking about the best way to deal with bullies... which turns out to be a nonlethal flashbang-like weapon that he gives the kid to defend himself with.
  • Final Battle: The Extremis goons and the A.I.-controlled Iron Man suits. Yes, all of them.
  • Fireworks of Love: Invoked when Tony self-destructs all his Iron Man suits to pursue a relationship with Pepper Potts. As the two of them embrace, the exploding suits in the sky around them look quite like a fireworks display.
  • First-Person Smartass: Tony's narration at the beginning and end of the film.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Tony and Pepper are squabbling about leaving town after he gave out his address to the Mandarin, while Maya Hansen nervously watches the TV.
      Maya Hansen: Do we need to worry about that?!
      [Tony and Pepper look up at the TV and see a missile heading for the house, which hits five seconds later]
    • As Pepper goes to answer a knock on their hotel room door, Maya looks nervous and almost guilty. She alerted Killian to their location in a bid to capture Pepper and lure out Tony.
  • Flawed Prototype:
    • The Mark 42 keeps having problems because it (and many of the other new suits) is still in the rough prototype stages. Because Stark made it very easy for the suit to come apart into individual modules, it spends a great deal of time doing just that, whether or not he wanted that to happen at the moment.
    • Many of Tony's armors count, as he rushes through each one to go onto the next design.
    • Extremis is successfully regrowing people's limbs back, with the mild side effect of turning them into unstable walking bombs.
  • Foil: Extremis is this to Tony Stark's Iron Man technology. The latter is Powered Armor of a modular design that can be fitted with a multitude of weapons while the former is an organic superhuman enhancement meant to heal injuries with its Required Secondary Powers serving as weapons.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Aldrich Killian wears an abnormally large number of rings for a non-married man.
    • When Tony starts analyzing The Mandarin's methods, he notes that the terrorist has a thing for theatrics. He has no idea that it's all theatrics.
    • Killian being the founder of A.I.M., a prominent group of villains in the comics.
    • After the Mandarin apparently executes a hostage in cold blood, his voice becomes wavery and he seems visibly shaken, cluing in the audience early that he isn't quite the terrorist he appears to be (the credits do show that the shooting was in fact staged).
    • If you look very closely, the Vice-President cringes and closes his eyes an instant before everyone else in the room reacts to the actual gunshot, and then underreacts compared to everyone else. Because he's in on it.
    • Earlier in the same scene, when the President actually does call the Mandarin, he stares blankly forward for a few seconds, like he doesn't know what to do. He's working off a script which presumes the President would not call, and now he is uncertain what to do.
    • The fortune cookie rant after the theatre bombing: "Look Chinese, sound Chinese, but they're actually an American creation, hollow, and full of lies." Trevor definitely resembles that remark. Also, as noted in the above point, even acting as though he just killed someone in cold blood appears to leave a bad taste in the mouth. Plus, the first thing we hear him say when out-of-character is essentially the same thing, about fortune cookies not being Chinese — only this time, it's way different.
    • When we see the studio where the Mandarin records his speeches, there's an obvious teleprompter with part of the Mandarin's next speech displaying. Why would the leader of a terrorist cell with a cult-like philosophy need to read a speech off a teleprompter to communicate to his people? Is it because he's just a face that reads off the scripts that someone else (Killian) writes for him? A careful observer will notice that the guns next to the Mandarin's throne are plastic replica weapons.
    • Killian explicitly tells everyone before the Mandarin starts recording not to make eye contact with him. Because doing so might induce Trevor into breaking character, which Killian cannot afford to have happen.
    • Pepper, in the Mark 42, saves Tony during the mansion attack. In the climax, Pepper, empowered by Extremis, saves Tony, finishing up by using the repulsor from one of the Legion suits.
    • The President wonders how the Mandarin got a number onto his smartphone. Given that the Vice-President was working with Killian, he probably did it.
    • On the merchandise side, one of the roleplay toys is a hand-mounted repulsor without a glove. Tony uses one of these during his Homeless Hero phase.
    • Similarly, the Marvel Legends figures released to tie-in with this movie has Iron Man and Iron Patriot as they appear in the movie, past versions of them both, War Machine, all the parts to build a comic-version Iron Monger and... Ultron.
    • When Maya shows up, Tony hopes there isn't a 12-year-old kid in her car. Maya snarks that he's 13. Which foreshadows Harley Keener... a young boy who Tony doesn't let tag along with him when things get dangerous, or get in the car.
    • Tony also asks Maya if she's the Mandarin. He's kidding, but... she doesn't answer. Because she's actually working with him.
    • Right before Savin (in the hijacked Iron Patriot suit) commences the attack on Air Force One, JARVIS makes mention of "cranes arriving" and "cellar doors being cleared up." A few minutes after saving the crew of AF1, Tony finally tells JARVIS to initiate the "House Party Protocol".
    • The climactic final battle, where Tony uses an army of fully automated Iron Man suits to defeat Killian, seems to foreshadow him creating an army of fully automated Ultron drones.
  • Framing Device: Tony's voice-overs were Tony telling the story to what turns out to be his psychiatrist (well, sort of).
    Bruce Banner: I'm not that kind of doctor.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The Slap Chop commercial before the second Mandarin broadcast.
    • When the Mandarin comes in for his broadcast, sharp-eyed viewers will realize that the weapons by his throne are actually plastic replicas that can't fire real bullets.note  He confirms this later to Tony.
  • From Bad to Worse: Tony is suffering from post-traumatic stress following the events of The Avengers and The Mandarin is attacking with bombs no-one can trace. Then Tony's house is blown up, he loses access to all of his resources, and Iron Patriot is hijacked by Killian's crew.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In 1999, Killian was just another nobody with bright ideas which he pitches to Tony in Switzerland in 1999. After being rejected, he decides to get revenge by gaining power and influence through terrorism and military contracts. Appropriately enough, Killian's plan hinges on him remaining a nobody in the eyes of the world, using the face of the Mandarin to cover up his actions.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Tony didn't want a 10-year-old sidekick, but he gets one. And it works.
    Harley: You're a mechanic, right? Why don't you just build something?
    Tony: Yeah. Okay. [kicks ass with a goddamn potato gun]
  • Gadgeteer Genius: When deprived of his armour, Tony slowly descends into a Heroic BSoD until an obnoxious kid points out, "You're a mechanic, why don't you build something?" One shopping trip later, he's Solid Snake with a spud gun.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Killian wants to use Extremis for military applications... once some issues get sorted out.
  • Genre Throwback: To late 80s / early 90s action movies. The climax, in which two Bash Brothers work together to rescue the President from an exploding oil rig, could have been lifted directly from such a movie - except this one has Powered Armor and superbeings involved.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: One of the effects of Extremis, crossed with Red Eyes, Take Warning.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The "House Party Protocol" is reserved for when there is no other option left because it involves a lot of firepower in one place with little precise control over what it hits.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Or a Good Name for an Autobiography...
    Tony: You walked right into this one. I've dated hotter chicks than you.
    Brandt: That all you got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?
    Tony: Sweetheart, that could be the title of my autobiography.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Killian combines this and his Extremis-granted reflexes, heat, and durability into a basic but effective fighting style.
  • Graceful in Their Element: The armor flies well, but is a little awkward when negotiating stairs.
  • Grand Finale: For the individual Iron Man films for the time being. Tony, however, will be back in the Avengers movies.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Rhodey's Iron Patriot armor is hijacked from him by an Extremis-powered Killian. In the climax, Rhodey goes and takes back his armor with his own two hands, saving the president's life at the same time.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Having armor that can have each piece fly to you? Awesome. Having the codpiece fly to you too fast and smack you in the crotch? Not awesome.
    • Take away Tony's armor and guess what he does.
  • Healing Factor: The objective of Extremis is to imbue this onto its subjects up to and including regrowing limbs. Extremis-powered agents invoke this to make themselves superhuman (along with being sentient nuclear reactors).
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Aldrich Killian of 2012. In 1999 he was a pimply, greasy-haired nerd with a limp.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tony has anxiety attacks every time someone mentions what happened in New York or the wormhole. Later, it's revealed that the fact he doesn't have the Iron Man suit makes him suffer from these attacks because he thinks without the suit, he would never survive.
  • Heroic Bystander:
    • Despite the fact that the Air Force One crew is falling and screaming helplessly, they listen when Iron Man explains his plan to do a "barrel of monkeys" routine, each grabbing the other. Some are a Determinator bunch, reaching to grab their coworkers after a few tries go wrong. Tony makes sure that they can swim and are bobbing safely in Biscayne Bay before trying to get help. Then a truck hits his suit.
    • Harley helps Tony fight off some Extremis soldiers, armed with a handful of Tony's weapons. Tony is impressed and thanks to him with a tricked-out garage.
  • Hidden Villain: Aldrich Killian.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Turns out turning Pepper into an Extremis was a bad idea for Killian as it not only saves Tony, but leads to his own death as well.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Whether it's JARVIS doing the best he can or Tony not really thinking it through, the armor army that shows up at the climax takes a very poor approach to attacking the Extremis-enhanced Mooks. They keep closing to near point-blank range where they can be shredded, instead of staying at long range and picking them off one-by-one. Even if the Extremis-Mooks can heal from a couple of Repulsor blasts, all the armors have to do is focus all their fire on one of them at a time, cut him/her to pieces (or at least overload their biological systems with so much damage they run out of bodily resources to draw on, as Killian seems to be by the end), then move on to the next.
  • Hookers and Blow: Trevor Slattery is fueled and quite happily controlled through this.
  • Hot Wind: Ellen Brandt experiences this when Tony meets her for the first time. Justified by the winter weather in Tennessee at the time.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: When Tony puts Pepper into the Mark 42 armor and tells her to get Maya and herself out of the house, she tries to blow out a plate glass window to escape through. Unfortunately, she can't get the hand-mounted repulsor to work — until it fires accidentally when she drops her hand to her side, and throws them both through the glass.
  • Hurting Hero: Tony, suffering from post-traumatic stress after the events of The Avengers.
  • Human Weapon: The purpose of Extremis; enhanciles are superhumanly strong, fast, resistant to damage, and can generate enough heat to melt steel. Killian is so powerful he can breathe fire. Unfortunately, three out of four people end up losing control of their powers and just explode. Human weapon can also mean human bomb.
    Tony: A bomb is not a bomb when it's a misfire. The stuff doesn't always work, right, pal?
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: One of Tony's triggers for a panic attack is "wormhole".
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Pepper thinks that Killian is holding her to force Tony's co-operation. He is, but Killian admits (rather shamefaced) that he has more primal motives as well.
  • I Have Your Wife: Killian tortures Pepper in front of Tony.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • The Mk. 42 isn't really ready for battle when Tony gets ambushed in his own home by a pack of helicopters. What does Tony do? Launch pianos at the helicopters and manually rip out his forearm mini-missiles, throw them, and give them a repulsor shot to detonate them.
    • He also blasts Ellen Brandt by setting a fire, opening an LNG gas line, and microwaving a set of dog tags to create a spark.
    • Then there is the time when he MacGyvers a bunch of stuff from the hardware store and builds a tranquilizer nailgun, a makeshift taser, a taser-glove, and Christmas-ornament flashbangs.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Extremis gives subjects Super Strength and a Healing Factor, but generates a massive amount of heat that can potentially turn the user into a living bomb.
  • In the Style of: The credits song, "Can You Dig It" is a '70s' style action series theme, complete with strings, bongo beats, horns, organs and tambourine.
  • It's Personal:
    • For Tony, it crosses the line when Happy is put in a coma.
    • For Killian... it always was.
  • Jerkass: Everyone who is subjected to the Extremis is a violent, sadistic, ax-crazy asshole with zero empathy, with the exception of Pepper, which is understandable in that she never fully completed the transformation. Whether this is the way they always were, a side-effect of the Extremis, or due to them being so addicted and afraid of going back to being handicapped that they'll do anything to stay in Killian's going graces, isn't explored. However, it also serves to make them all Asshole Victims when Tony decides to stop fucking around and start using lethal force.
    Tony: [after killing Eric by blasting a football-sized hole through his chest with the Unibeam] Walk away from that, you son-of-a-bitch.
  • Joke Name Tag: The film begins with Tony Stark at a party, with a name tag reading "You know who I am"
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The Mandarin appears to shoot an oil company accountant on live TV, even after the president complies with his demands, just to prove how evil he is. Fortunately, it was staged.
    • The Big Bad injects Pepper with Extremis. The process is very painful, possibly deadly, and there's no real reason to do it other than to add hurt to Tony.
    • Killian shoots Maya in front of Tony.
  • Kid Sidekick: While in Tennesee, Tony picks up a kid named Harley, who serves to annoy Tony and aggravate his PTSD. Harley also saves Tony's life, helps fix his suit, and helps him break through the PTSD.
  • Killed Off for Real: Maya Hansen, courtesy of Aldrich Killian.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • One mook realizes that laying down his life for a bunch of weirdos with superpowers isn't worth it.
      Guard: Honestly, I hate working here; they are so weird. [takes out magazine and runs]
    • Rhodes jumps out of the overheating Iron Patriot suit and proceeds to drop-kick Savin. Then Killian shoots a stream of fire at him from his mouth. Rhodey evades, but he is immediately aware that he can't win that fight.
      Rhodes: You can breathe fire?! Okay... [stands down and gets knocked out]
  • Large Ham: The Mandarin. Or at least Trevor is, considering that he's played by Ben Kingsley in his "let's gobble up scenery" mode. Killian, on the other hand, is considerably calmer aside from the Evil Gloating at the climax.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When Rhodes and Tony are talking in the diner, Rhodes has to revise his language when he realizes kids are approaching.
    Rhodes: I don't want to sound like a dic...tator.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The banter between Tony Stark and former Iron Man series director Jon Favreau's character Happy Hogan.
      Happy Hogan: Don't talk to me like that. You're not my boss. I don't work for you anymore.
    • The Stinger opens with a line where Tony thanks the person he's been telling the story to for sticking around — applicable both to Bruce Banner, the person he was literally telling the events of the movie to, and the audience, who would have stayed through the entire credits and likely all three movies.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: By the third movie, Tony has firmly established his reputation as a great hero. His fame and legendary status are acknowledged several times.
  • Leno Device: Continuing from the previous two films, both Bill Maher and Joan Rivers with the Fashion Police crew cameo as themselves on their shows, this time commenting on the look of the Iron Patriot. They're even full-blown scenes in the DVD.
  • Lighter and Softer: While there is so much danger enhanced by Tony being unable to don his armor for most of the movie, the film doesn't try to hide that it's set in a World of Snark, and it's even more comedic than the predecessor.
  • Loony Fan: Gary the news cameraman, who styles his goatee the same as Tony Stark, apologizes to Tony Stark for not having put any product in his hair that day to make it look more like Tony Stark's, and has a tattoo of Tony Stark based on a doll of Tony Stark that he'd made, which Tony Stark thinks looks more like a Hispanic Scott Baio.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The Vice President is working with Killian in the hopes of using Extremis to cure his daughter's disability.
  • Love Triangle: Aldrich Killian shows interest in Pepper, who's with Tony.

    Tropes M to R 
  • MacGyvering: Stranded, isolated, hunted, out of power and stuck in the middle of nowhere, Tony still manages to jerry-rig weapons for himself.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Gunships disguised as news helicopters launch a salvo of missiles on Tony's home in Malibu.
  • Made of Explodium: The oil barrels at the Roxxon oil tankers explode very easily.
  • Magic Pants:
    • Extremis users can generate enough heat to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter, but their clothes are apparently made of some amazing material that will never melt or burn.
    • This is especially prevalent in the final battle, when Killian is running so hot that his skin is transparent, yet only loses his shirt to unrelated damage.
    • When Pepper falls into a large fire, her clothing remains intact.
    • This is also true of their hair.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: The Mandarin, purportedly a dreaded terrorist mastermind, turns out to be a washed-up British actor hamming up the Fu Manchu for coke and girls.
    • subverted though, as revealed in All Hail the King; The Mandarin is very real, and very upset about the identity theft.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Aldrich Killian has been preparing for this role for years, ever since Tony snubbed him. His ego means it's pretty clear from the start that he's behind some of the things happening to Tony. In fact, he's the real Big Bad behind all of the things that happen to Tony and assumes the mantle of the Mandarin at the climax (though he's actually not the real one). The apparent Mandarin is just an actor he hired.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: A variation with the Mandarin, who is implied in the movie itself to be an Invented Individual, but All Hail the King establishes that Killian got the idea from a real Mandarin — who is not impressed about having his identity stolen.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • The final line of the film: "I am Iron Man."
    • Earlier Tony admits to Pepper, "I'm a piping hot mess." Toward the end, after Pepper takes out Killian while under the influence of Extremis:
      Pepper: Who's the hot mess now?
      Tony: Still debatable.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • A Mandarin was the name for an ancient Chinese "advisor to the King". As "the power behind the throne", this makes the name sort of fitting for Killian, even though he turns out in All Hail the King to have merely stolen it from the real Mandarin. He was likely aware of the meaning behind the name and decided that it suited him well.
    • The Extremis-enhanced Brandt with her heat-based powers and name evokes the image of being branded by a heated iron.
  • Mission Control: Much like an actual deployed fighter jet, Iron Patriot has a dedicated support staff feeding him intel and keeping him up to speed. They're not heard from during the extended period that he goes AWOL, nor when someone else is in the suit.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: Subdued because it wasn't actually that long ago (as of 2013 — given a few decades, it'll truly become this), but the first scene is set in 1999, where Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" is the background music of choice.
  • Monumental Damage: The courtyard of Grauman's Chinese Theater is destroyed early in the film.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • A fun flashback to Tony's happy-go-lucky party days takes a sudden sad turn when we learn that Yinsen is one of the guests.
    • Another is when Maya shows up at Tony's house. Maya is standing around while Tony and Pepper argue like an old married couple (including about the giant stuffed bunny), when:
      Maya: Uh, guys? Guys? GUYS!? Should we be worried about THAT?! [a missile hits the house seconds later]
    • Just when you think that Pepper has died, sad music starts playing and Tony looks devastated. Then his suit comes apart in a comedic fashion.
  • Morality Pet: Harley, the boy who helps Tony repair and recharge his armor after he crash-lands in Tennessee, serves as Tony's moral compass.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: The bright yellow radiation suit outfits Advanced Idea Mechanics sport in the comics are nowhere to be seen.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Roxxon Oil company is a long-time institution of the comics universe, most notable for its involvement in the creation of various incarnations of Deathlock.
    • At one point when Happy and Pepper are discussing security procedures at Stark Industries, he addresses someone offscreen as "Bambi", the first name of Tony's most famous secretary in the comics, Mrs. Arbogast. A few seconds later, we see a brief glimpse of a woman approximately where "Bambi" would have been, and she looks like a young (early 30s at most) version of Mrs. A.
    • The circular basement complete with a series of armors is nearly identical to Tony's base from Iron Man: The Animated Series.
    • The Mark XXXVIII "Igor" Armor is based off the comic's second Hulkbuster armor.
    • The Mark XXXIII "Silver Centurion" Armor is inspired by the 1980s Silver Centurion Armor.
    • The Mark XV "Sneak" Armor is inspired by the modern comic's Stealth Armor.
    • The black Mark XVI "Nightclub" Armor is inspired by the 1980s Stealth Armor.
    • Pepper briefly dons the Iron Man suit, referencing her stints as the armored superhero "Rescue" in the comics as well as the few times she wore the suit for one reason or another.
    • Killian has a tattoo on his chest of Fin Fang Foom, a dragon that belonged to the alien race that created the Mandarin's rings in the comics.
    • Tony starts the final battle in the Silver Centurion suit, then goes into a red-and-gold number, and when that gets wrecked switches to basic War Machine-ish gray. He's basically re-enacting twenty years of the armor's development over the course of five minutes of fighting.
    • The little nifty flick-out one-shot repulsor used by Tony to attack Savin is based on the Repulsor Gun used by Tony in Ultimate Iron Man: Armour Wars (another Warren Ellis work).
    • The movie's version of the Extremis Enhancile combines elements of the Extremis Enhancile from the "Extremis" Arc, along with elements from "The Five Nightmares" arc.
    • In the comics, the Iron Patriot armor was worn by the villainous Norman Osborn. Now, it's the heroic War Machine's new paint job. In Ultimate comics, Iron Man is also using the code name of Iron Patriot and using a specially designed and painted Iron Patriot suit, to help rally Americans back under one banner after their country went to pot following the destruction of Washington D.C. Its use for Killian's purposes may be a nod to its use by a major villain in the comics.
    • Multiple for Warren Ellis' "Extremis" arc;
      • Dr. Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian are key characters.
      • The POTUS is named Matthew "Ellis".
      • Savin takes a Uni-beam through his chest at contact range.
      • Killian breathes fire. Though that last one is admitted in-universe to be ridiculous, and it's never mentioned again. It was one of the key powers of the original Extremis enhancile along with superhuman speed, which was also removed for the movie.
    • The more gold-inclined armor of the Mark XLII is potentially a reference to the original Iron Man suit from the '60s, which was painted exclusively in gold.
    • Happy says that people laughed at him when he told them he was Iron Man's bodyguard. In the comics, the cover story for Iron Man was, for a long while, that he was an employee of Tony Stark, usually his bodyguard. Also, the comics Hogan dies after being put in a coma protecting Tony, much like this Happy was put into a coma and almost killed investigating Savin.
    • Tony couldn't spare one armor from his Iron Legion for Rhodey because none of them were calibrated for Rhodey's brainwaves; in the comics, Rhodey ended up going insane from using Iron Man armor that had specifically been calibrated for Tony.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers and posters gave the impression it was much Darker and Edgier. Despite reaching Darkest Hour moments, it's the most comedic of all installments, being as lighthearted and snarky as Iron Man 2 if not more so.
    • The Mandarin's lines from the trailers, "Mr. Stark, I'm going to offer a choice. Do you want an empty life or do you want a meaningful death?" and "Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing." never come up in the film itself.
    • Likewise, Tony's narration in the first trailer is cobbled together from many different speeches he gives.
    • The first trailer makes it seem like Tony's armor rebels and begins trying to kill him, as various versions have done in the comics. It doesn't, and the featured scene of it acting on its own was him subconsciously controlling it while he was having a nightmare.
    • Tony never says "Ohh boy" when trying to choose who to save of the falling passengers of Air Force One, likely because instead he saves them all.
    • There's the set-up that Aldrich Killian has a bigger role than expected and that he, not Ben Kingsley's character, is the true Big Bad. The trailers consistently built up Kingsley's character as the Arch-Enemy.
    • In the trailer, Rhodey suggests that Tony calls for backup. In the film proper, it's Tony himself who actually says it, as a rhetorical question.
    • The conversation between Tony, Pepper and Maya in the living room of the Malibu mansion was Played for Laughs in the trailer, but is delivered more seriously in the film itself, where it takes place in the middle of an argument between Tony and Pepper. In particular, Pepper's line "This is normal in our house, yes!" is said much more angrily in the film proper than in the trailer.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Killian can breathe fire... unexpectedly. Immediately lampshaded by Rhodes, and even indirectly shocking to Killian's own right-hand man.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In the opening of the film, Tony outright admits that he's partly responsible for the events that take place during it.
      Tony: We all make our own demons.
    • If Tony hadn't brushed Killian off, and if he hadn't only left Maya with a partial formula after sleeping with her, the entire situation could have been avoided, because neither of them started out as villains. They only wanted to help people.
      Tony: You start with something pure, something exciting. Then come the mistakes. The compromises.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Mandarin has the name of an imperial Chinese official, a samurai-style haircut, a Middle Eastern-looking beard, brown skin, wears East Asian clothing, wields modern weapons, and talks like a Baptist preacher. Apparently, his tactics are a mishmash of Chinese Art of War, South American guerillas, and Middle-Eastern terrorism, essentially being a hybrid of all of America's enemies in modern history. This is because, as an actor, he's taking cues from various movies.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The Mandarin as played by Trevor Slattery is a combination of Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon and Osama bin Laden (with the long beard).
    • Slattery himself seems to be channelling Russell Brand.
  • No Conservation of Energy: The Extremis regeneration works even when the body doesn't have any obvious source of mass to replace destroyed tissue, let alone possess the required amount of energy to do so and release such an immense amount of heat that can melt metal. Extremis users are never seen eating piles of food or taking in some kind of fuel to sustain them.
  • Not His Sled: The apparent Mandarin's true identity is different from the comics.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: See Curse Cut Short, above.
  • Not in the Face!:
    • Almost directly quoted by Tony in Florida, as the pieces of the MK XLII fly to him; the last one is the face plate, which he catches in midair rather than letting it slam into place, paraphrasing this trope at the same time.
    • Trevor Slattery, when Tony Stark points a gun at his face:
      Trevor: Don't hurt the face, I'm an actor!
  • Not Quite Dead: Killian survives a full body contact explosion from the Mark XLII and is disfigured and pissed at Tony.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor:
    • While she is a scientist, Maya is referred to as a botanist, due to her work being using plants to experiment on. She doesn't mind the term being used, mainly because her actual job is quite a mouthful: a biological DNA coder running a team of 40 out of a privately-funded think-tank.
    • Invoked word-for-word in The Stinger. Bruce Banner is not a therapist.
  • Obligatory Joke: Tony's "cheesy one-liner" during his fight with Brandt.
    Tony: You walked right into this one. I've dated hotter chicks than you.
  • Obliviously Evil:
    • Trevor Slattery had no idea that people were actually in danger when he was doing his portrayal of the Mandarin.
      Trevor: I never thought people have been hurt. He lied to me.
    • Tony even refers to Trevor as "Lawrence Oblivier" at one point.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: When Tony pulls the magazine from his pistol on the oil rig, it is clearly an airsoft gun magazine.
  • Official Couple: Tony and Pepper, albeit with a few arguments here and there.
    Tony: I'm in a committed relationship.
  • Older Than They Look: Maya never says her age, but unless she is supposed to be a Teen Genius in the 1999 flashback, she has to be at least five to six years older than Rebecca Hall (Hall was born in May of 1982, and would have been 17 at the time of the 1999 flashback scene; and was 30 years old at the time of filming for the movie).
  • Only Sane Man: The A.I.M. guard that Tony spares sees himself this way. He's the only one scared of the man with the MAC-10 and the repulsor glove, and has seen enough movies (like Machete, which almost certainly inspired that scene) to know what'd happen if he kept shooting.
    Guard: [surrendering] Honestly, I hate working here. They are so weird.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Tony is completely shocked he of all people had an anxiety attack.
    • Pepper gets a similar moment later on — Tony Stark actually apologized? And admitted he had a problem? Something is really wrong here...
  • Out of the Inferno: Several Extremis Enhanciles demonstrate it: when you can voluntarily generate heat of over 3000 degrees and instantly heal yourself as you go, walking through an ordinary open gasoline fire is a minor feat.
  • Palette Swap: Several of the armors in the "Iron Legion" are recolors of each other, or of suits that appeared in previous Iron Man movies and Avengers.
  • Le Parkour: Tony has picked up some of this, using it to help him move around the shipyard in the final battle scene. It's a rather useful skill for someone who's picked up martial arts, to make use of.
  • People Puppets: A mild version. Tony's "Barrel of Monkeys" plan involves electrifying the hands of all 13 falling people so their grips are tight enough to form an unbreakable chain. For all purposes, it worked.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Killian and, on a lesser scale, Extremis soldiers can do a lot of damage to a town.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite being annoyed by Harley, he and Tony have some heartwarming moments.
  • Playing with Fire: People upgraded with Extremis can generate enough heat to melt metal. One of them can breathe fire.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: It isn't immediately clear for the movie watcher, but as soon as someone says he has created a group named "Advanced Idea Mechanics", any comic book reader (or someone who has seen the Avengers animated series) will realize that's the bad guy.
  • Power Glows: Extremis superpowers cause users to glow red, lighting up their skeleton and internal organs. At lower power levels, it can look like Volcanic Veins.
  • Power Incontinence: Zig-Zagged. Some Extremis users lose control of their powers due to incompatible genes and/or a willpower deficiency and explode (with their deaths then being explained as Mandarin attacks). Others can control their powers with no such risk.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Mandarin. Yellow Peril wouldn't fly, especially with Chinese investors, so Kingsley is cast as an Ambiguously Brown bad guy with Just a Stupid Accent, and a little twist in his back-story. Namely, he's actually not the Mandarin at all. This wound up backfiring; while most fans didn't mind the initial Race Lift, more than a few felt insulted at the twist and the attempt to make Aldrich Killian the real Mandarin. Whether or not All Hail the King was made to placate them, it has left the door open for a more traditional Mandarin to appear later. As such, the Mandarin will be the Big Bad in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings where he will joust against Marvel's greatest Asian superhero, Shang-Chi, and thus neatly avoid any Yellow Peril implications
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • Right when the Iron Legion provide some much-needed backup on the Roxxon Norco, Tony has this to say:
      Tony: What are you waiting for? It's Christmas. Take 'em to church.
    • When the Mark XLI takes out multiple Extremis soldiers:
      JARVIS: Gentlemen.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "JARVIS, do me a favor and blow Mark 42."
  • President Evil: The Vice-President gave Killian the info he needed to kill the President in exchange for using Extremis to regenerate the lost leg of the Vice-President's crippled daughter.
  • Product Placement:
    • Several scenes prominently feature the logos of Sun Microsystems and Oracle, who use Iron Man in their online marketing. The new computer Tony buys for Harley has a Verizon FiOS screensaver, and there are the usual Audis that have appeared throughout the film series. Other products also appear.
    • The Chinese cut of the film prominently features the drink Gu Li Duo in scenes exclusive to Chinese theatres. This is made more blatant when said cut even opens with a short advertisement proclaiming Gu Li Duo as the drink that Iron Man "relies on to revitalize his energy".
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Tony continues upgrading the already formidable Iron Man armor out of fear his enemies will target his loved ones. Later in the film, Killian's forces do just that, destroying the hero's home in the process.
    • To a lesser extent, Happy gets a bad vibe from Killian and Savin right from the beginning, which isn't a lot given his reputation as head of security and his suspicion that Killian might be moving in on Pepper, but he is quickly vindicated. Unfortunately, he falls into a coma before he can relay what he learns to Tony.
  • Pun: Lampshaded.
    Tony: [to Ellen Brandt] You walked right into this one — I've dated hotter chicks than you!
  • Punch-Clock Villain:
    • At least one of the Mandarin's henchmen:
      Henchman: Honestly, I hate working here. These people are so weird.
    • Trevor Slattery, who's merely posing as the sinister Mandarin just so he can have a cushy life, courtesy of Killian.
  • Punch Parry: Once during Tony's fight with Killian, this happens, the force sending Tony backward while it visibly breaks the other guy's wrist, least until Extremis quickly healed it.
  • Quit Your Whining: Tony's response when Harley whines about his father walking out years ago? "Dads leave; no need to be a pussy about it."
  • Quoting Myself: Played with at the beginning:
    Tony: A famous man once said, 'We create our own demons.' Who said that? What does that even mean? Doesn't matter. I said it 'cause he said it. So now, he was famous and basically getting said by two well-known guys; I don't, uhh... I'm gonna start again.
  • Qurac: Next to Chinese imagery, the Mandarin's videos include footage and symbolism associated with the Middle East (crossed scimitars, veiled women, angry armed turbaned men, etc.).
  • Race Lift:
    • The Mandarin. The comic book version of him is half-English, half-Chinese, but Trevor Slattery, who portrays "The Mandarin" in-universe, is played by the half-white, half-Indian Ben Kingsley. The film's real Big Bad is Aldrich Killian, played by the Caucasoid Guy Pearce, who claims with his last words to be the true Mandarin — though he's actually not.
    • Jack Taggert (known in the comics as Firepower) went from African-American to Caucasoid.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: This was the last MCU film for which Robert Downey Jr. was contracted, which affected certain aspects of the ending. The fact that he got hurt on the set might relate as well. However, it was confirmed a month later that he has signed on for two more Avengers films, plus Captain America: Civil War.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When the sheriff of Rose Hill sees a Mook accosting Tony and she tries to brush him off by Impersonating an Officer, he professionally but firmly asks her for either an explanation for what he's supposed to have done or to make a call to her superiors to confirm that she has authorization for what she's doing. When she won't give either, he seems inclined to side with Tony, before getting a lethal reminder that Police Are Useless against anyone with Extremis-enhanced abilities.
  • Recoil Boost: Several times in the film, when in desperate close combat, Tony fires his repulsers in the opposite direction to whip the body part right at his enemy.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: One of the effects of Extremis, crossed with Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Maya goes through a Heel–Face Turn, she doesn't stay alive for long.
  • Red Herring: The apparent Mandarin is just a stage actor named Trevor Slattery. The real villain is Aldrich Killian, who set the whole thing up to cover up his Extremis failures and to drum up a fake terror threat to replace Tony. It turns out Aldrich Killian is not the real Mandarin
  • Replacement Scrappy: The Iron Patriot seems to be an In-Universe example for War Machine, given how its color scheme and nomenclature aren't as "cool". Rhodey himself seems to agree, given how his password for the federal database is still "WARMACHINEROX".
  • Required Secondary Powers: Extremis is just a tissue-regeneration mechanism whose side effects result in extreme durability and heat generation as requirements for said body-part regeneration. Heat is released by all biological processes (which is the source of living body heat as well as the elevated temperatures of a fever) and the heat that would be released by the body as it is regenerating an entire limb in seconds would be tremendous. Similarly, a body physically capable of generating that kind of heat and withstanding the temperatures would be naturally very durable, which lends the Extremis soldiers their strength and toughness on top of tissue regeneration. So in this case, the Required Secondary Powers become the primary powers of the Extremis troops.
  • Reveal Shot: When the camera pans down from the Vice President to his daughter, revealing that she has lost a leg. Gee, that'd be a practical application for that Extremis stuff, don'tcha think?
  • Revenge Before Reason: Killian targets Tony for leaving him on a rooftop thirteen years ago, even though it's to the detriment of Killian's main plans. He feels the experience gave him the desperation to do anything to beat Tony at his own game, and is perfectly willing to try and use Tony to further his plans.
  • Revised Ending: An animatic posted by one of the storyboard artists who worked on the film shows a scene, just before Tony's prototypes sweep in to save the day, of Trevor getting his hands on a batch of Extremis, with unfortunate results. In the film, he doesn't explode, survives the assault on Killian's ship and is ultimately led off to jail.
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of things become clearer after you've seen the film once. For example, President Ellis asks the Vice President how terrorists got his cell phone number. They got it from the VP, who's in on the plot.
  • Ring of Power: The Mandarin's ten rings, which in the comics grant him various powers. Here, they're just a visual theme. Sharp-eyed viewers will spot Killian's rings early on and clue in that he's involved with the Mandarin.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Roxxon's incident off the coast of Florida is very similar to not only the Exxon Valdez incident, but also the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • When Tony first tries out the Mark 42 suit — designed to be assembled around his body — the faceplate doesn't work at first. Instead, it hovers, facing Tony directly. One of the overarching themes in the film is Tony's debating over whether he is defined by being Iron Man or Tony Stark.
    • Much like his description of a fortune cookie, the so-called "Mandarin" is an American invention, hollow and full of lies.
    • Invoked by Killian with the "Death by Oil" plan to give the President a Viking funeral. He doesn't care about the president or the politics behind the oil or its tanker. He just knows that it would play well on the news.
  • Running Gag:
    • Tony's "limited edition" Dora the Explorer watch.
    • For Colonel Rhodes, his new nickname "Iron Patriot" doesn't get as much love as "War Machine" by a long shot.
    • The Mark. 42 suit is made to come apart and pull together very easily. This, of course, results in it getting knocked/blown/smashed apart as many times as the movie can get away with.

    Tropes S to Z 
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • The Mandarin threatens to kill an employee of Roxxon Oil live on TV if the President does not call him. The President does call, but The Mandarin shoots him anyway. It later turns out The Mandarin was faked and the whole thing was staged, but it still counts since the President didn't know that.
    • After Air Force One is attacked, flinging the passengers out to fall, JARVIS and Tony have this conversation. He saves them all.
      Tony: How many in the air?
      JARVIS: Thirteen, sir.
      Tony: How many can I carry?
      JARVIS: Four, sir.
    • Tony also has to choose between saving Pepper or the President. He chooses both.
    • This is a callback to The Avengers, where Captain America takes Tony to task over always needing a way out.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Something finally happens so surprising that even Tony can't quip: a surprisingly alive Pepper saving Tony from Killian.
    Tony: ...I got nothing.
  • Say My Name: Pepper undergoes this when Tony appears to have died after his Malibu home is blown up.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Tony takes out a room full of mooks, the last one standing drops his gun and runs away.
  • Sequel Escalation: Averted compared to previous Iron Man films. While Tony is all over the country trying to solve the mystery of the bombings and the Mandarin, he spends most of the time out of armor, there are fewer fight scenes than in the previous movies, and his villains are not robots or guys in big suits of armor but rather men and women who can burn things. This is a good thing, however, in that the toned-down setting allows for more exploration of Tony Stark's character.
  • Series Finale: Since this was the last Marvel movie on Robert Downey Jr.'s initial contract, the film was set up as a conclusion to Tony Stark's story arc in case Downey didn't come back. The Creative Closing Credits also include clips from all three films in the series. Downey would eventually renew his contract, returning for Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and three more Avengers films.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The Mandarin proclaims that he will execute a man on live television if the President does not call him in thirty seconds, as his cell phone has the number for the phone next to the Mandarin. When the Vice-President objects to the President beginning to call as "we don't negotiate with terrorists", the President replies he doesn't care; he has to try to save the man's life. The guy would have lived whether or not the President made the call, since the shooting turned out to be staged.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Tony has a "Eureka!" Moment when leafing through a soldier's files. He flips the paper around, and the thick M.I.A. stamp on the file now reads A.I.M.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: All the newer Iron Man suits seem to have them, which can be detonated by JARVIS on command.
  • Sequel Adaptation Iconic Villain: After the first two films focused on less famous villains, the third film brought in Tony's Arch-Enemy from the comics, The Mandarin. Though subverted with The Reveal he wasn't the real Mandarin.
  • Sequel Hook: The title card after the credits reads "Tony Stark Will Return." And Robert Downey Jr. returned for more Avengers films and eventually the Spider-Man films.
  • Sequel Logo in Ruins: The title image for Iron Man 3 in the trailer is a sparking, incomplete, and generally broken-looking version of the Iron Man 2 logo.
  • Shadow Archetype: Aldritch Killian is a brilliant and arrogant weapon designer like Tony Stark, but uses his creations for evil instead of to atone for past mistakes. Whereas Tony declared to the world "I am Iron Man. Also, here's my home address. And someone get me a cheeseburger.", Killian instead hides in the shadows and puts someone else forward as the face of his agenda.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: There's a lot of plot points that are aborted by the end of the film. Tony's PTSD is never acknowledged again, Rhodes goes back to being War Machine, the Ten Rings fade into obscurity due to HYDRA upstaging them, Iron Man comes out of retirement after making such a big gesture and the new project that Tony was so excited about turns out to be Ultron.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Any mention of New York, aliens, or wormholes sends Tony into panic attacks.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Happy is determined to keep Pepper and Tony together — particularly funny when you factor in that in the comics, Happy is in love with Pepper.
    • He's also a Tom Branson/Sybil Crawley shipper.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • The comic relief robotic arms, Dummy and Butterfingers, are shown early on in the film doing menial tasks. The next time we see them is during the house attack, where one of them seems to be freaking out as another is smashed and flopping on the floor, and both go sliding down the cliff with the rest of the house. At the end of the movie, as Tony throws his arc reactor electromagnet off the cliff of his ruined home, he also salvages Dummy and Butterfingers.
    • Same goes for Happy, who is blown into a coma in the first act.
    • JARVIS disappears for a while as well, after Tony's house is destroyed.
  • Shout-Out: Collected in a subpage for the Iron Man series.
  • Shower of Love: Pepper implies this to Tony.
    Pepper: I'm going to take a shower. [walks to the door, then looks back] You're going to join me.
  • So Last Season: Tony goes from the Mark VII at the end of the The Avengers to the Mark XLII at the beginning of Iron Man 3 out of fear over new threats to himself and his loved ones. It's also partially as a "distraction" due to his PTSD. Of note is that his new armors, while more specialized, don't perform any better than his originals (mainly due to being untested prototypes).
  • The Sociopath: Aldich Killian is the only clear-cut one in the Iron Man series. Charming? Check, though in a superficial, Faux Affably Evil way. Manipulative? Check. Lack of morals or empathy? Double check — just look what he did to poor Maya. Grandiose sense of self-worth? The guy was trying to own the War on Terror and in a sense thought himself a god. Poor impulse control? He had that largely under control until Tony kinda blew him up — then again, poor Maya.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: All the Extremis goons are former soldiers who lost limbs and more than a few of them are rather psychotic. It's never stated whether it's some kind of long-term side effect of Extremis (Pepper doesn't go nuts), or Killian deliberately sought out this kind of person.
  • Soft Water: Justified. When Tony does his Barrel of Monkeys routine, he uses his thrusters to slow down everyone's fall as he rescues the Air Force One crew. JARVIS tells him he can only carry four to safety, and there are fourteen. Thus, he can't get them onto the nearby highway to signal for help. So he has the crew grab each other while helping them assume a skydiving position, and matches the speed of the remaining individuals to minimize whiplash. As soon as he gets them all, he flies above Biscayne Bay visibly straining to slow down the rate of descent and lowers them gently into the water that's two inches below them, next to the highway. It's not until they indicate they can swim and are cheering at being alive that he considers it a victory. Offscreen, they make it the short distance to shore and live. 
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't be a jerk to awkward, crippled, disheveled nerds like Aldrich Killian, or they will become evil, rich, and work with terrorists in hopes of destroying your whole life.
  • Spanner in the Works: Much of the plot would never have happened as it did had Happy not been following Savin and observing his meeting with Jack Taggart.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Happy getting badly wounded and falling into a coma mirrors what happens to him in the Civil War crossover. While that storyline ultimately saw him becoming braindead and eventually either passing on from his wounds or Tony using his connection to the Extremis to shut off his life support and Mercy Kill him, in the film his wounds aren't as severe and he eventually awakens, allowing him to appear in future films.
  • Sparing the Final Mook: After breaking free from captivity, Tony fights with a group of mooks, gradually defeating them. The last one suddenly surrenders and drops his gun, Tony lets him go.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Jack Taggert is now "J. Taggart"... hmmm...
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Killian to Pepper. He wants her as a "trophy" to get back at Tony.
    • Milder Played for Laughs example: The guy who runs the news van Tony breaks into has a creepy obsession, but is ultimately harmless.
  • Stealth Pun: How would you describe Pepper Potts when she is infected with Extremis? A hot pepper. How would you describe her when she's wearing the Iron Man armor? Iron Potts. Also Tony gave her the armor to save her in an attack. As in he Rescued her. The dialogue all but says that.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, Tony's voiceovers are revealed to be him recounting the events of the film to Bruce Banner, who fell asleep at the beginning.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: When Maya makes her Heel–Face Turn, she threatens to inject herself with a fatal overdose of Extremis unless Killian lets Tony and Pepper go. Unfortunately, Maya had already reached the limits of her own ability to improve Extremis and needed Tony to make any more progress. Killian was aware of this, and since he now already had Tony as his prisoner, he just shoots Maya himself.
  • Storming the Castle: Tony sneaks into a Miami mansion where the Mandarin is located, taking out the guards with weapons he improvised himself.
  • Strawman Has a Point:invoked Exploited and Subverted. The Mandarin uses past atrocities committed by the United States against Native Americans, Asian immigrants and other minorities to justify his own acts of terror, claiming them as Poetic Justice. Aside from the fact that he is still killing innocent people for crimes committed by their ancestors, "The Mandarin" is just a stage actor, his "terrorist attacks" were mostly human experiments Gone Horribly Wrong, and the actual villains- Aldritch Killian and AIM, don't give a damn about the historical crimes of the United States beyond the excuse it provides them, and are in fact planning to profit off of the American war industry.
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: Tony Stark finds himself stranded in Rose Hill, Tennessee in the middle of winter. He steals a poncho from a wooden Indian to keep warm.
  • Superhero Packing Heat:
    • As always, War Machine/Iron Patriot has bullet-based weaponry, but this time Rhodey shows his military training when he is removed from the suit.
    • When Tony extricates himself from imprisonment in the Mandarin's mansion, he only gets the right gauntlet and the left boot from his Mark 42 (the rest lagging a bit behind). He supplements his improvised repulsor thruster acrobatics with various firearms taken from foes he already waylaid in the bedlam.
    • And in a case of Supervillain Packing Heat, Savin, when in the hijacked Iron Patriot armor, uses a stolen handgun to kill the President's Secret Service agents rather than the on-board repulsors, due to his inexperience with the armor.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: Extremis test subjects who are physically and/or mentally unable to control the heat output that goes with their powers explode.
  • Superpowers For A Day: Pepper after getting injected with Extremis, which she uses to finish off Killian. At the end, she is fixed by Tony, but it's left deliberately ambiguous as to whether he got rid of the Extremis material completely or just fixed the Superpower Meltdown issue.
  • Super Prototype: Killian is shown to be much more powerful than a "standard" Extremis Super Soldier, and fights Iron Man one-on-one in an extended final battle.
  • Super Soldier: A byproduct of Extremis, which was initially designed to repair and regrow living tissue. There's also a side order of burning hot bodies involved.
  • Super Toughness: Killian is able to take on a full body contact explosion and survive, while others like Brandt die when in close proximity to an explosion.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Tony almost died at the end of 'The Avengers''. He's a Shell-Shocked Veteran now, struggling to cope, which is rather unusual for superhero movies, who often have characters shrugging off life-threatening adventures.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Iron Patriot, an armored man with a concealed face, is allowed to enter Air Force One just like that without so much as a word. Nobody bothers to check that he's actually James Rhodes (all he had to do was to remove the faceplate to be exposed as Eric Savin), and this led to disaster. Especially bad since that very suit of armor had been hijacked by enemies in the last Iron Man movie.
  • Tag Along Kid: Defied. Harley insists that he and Tony are connected and claims that Tony leaving is like when his father left. So you think Tony will keep Harley with him for the rest of the movie, right? No, Tony has none of that because he doesn't want to endanger a child who has a loving mother. Though he does outfit Harley with a Cool Garage in gratitude, possibly grooming him for R&D down the line.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Killian's attack knocks the Air Force One Crew out of their plane. Iron Man goes to save them, and finds out via Jarvis that his suit can only carry four people and fourteen are falling over Miami Beach. Will he have to make a hard choice? Nope. Tony doesn't exactly say nuts to his suit's limits, but he shows the sentiment. Instead of carrying four people at a time to safety, he grabs the passengers one by one, instructing them to grab each other, so that they can assume a skydiving stance, and uses electricity to make sure none of them let go. Once every person is accounted for, he uses the thrusters to slow their descent and deposits them into Biscayne Bay safely. Everybody Lives
    • Done by Killian when Maya threatens to kill herself if he doesn't let Tony go. He shoots her when he decides that she's disposable and keeps Tony imprisoned.
  • Taking You with Me: Whenever the Iron Man suits in the final battle are being overwhelmed by the Extremis soldiers, they'll crash into something and self-destruct to kill their attackers as well.
  • There Are No Therapists: Played with and averted. While Tony is suffering anxiety attacks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, nobody but Harley asks him about his problems. Eventually, he does talk out his problems on a chaise longue with Bruce Banner, but he's not a therapist. He doesn't have the temperament for it.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Tony upon finally killing Savin.
    Tony: Walk away from that, you son of a bitch.
  • Three-Point Landing:
    • The Iron Patriot greets the President this way before boarding Air Force One, although the shaky way the suit lands should tell you that Savin is piloting the suit instead of Rhodes.
    • The Creative Closing Credits include a sequence of shots of three-point landings from throughout the series.
  • Throat Light: Red light shines out of Extremis subjects' mouths when they lose control and are about to combust.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Secret Service lets a heavily armed and armored man with a concealed face walk onto the Air Force One, without bothering to double-check if Rhodes was in fact the man inside the suit, especially since the real Rhodes been AWOL for at least several hours. With predictable results once Savin reveals himself as the suit pilot.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Pepper. In the first film she was Tony's personal assistant, in the second she was promoted to CEO of Stark Industries, in The Avengers she designed Stark Tower in New York, and now she's getting in on the action scenes, especially at the end.
    • Tony is shown practicing martial arts and takes out several mooks without his armor.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Tony is a nicer guy all around, continuing the Character Development that's been in progress since the second act of the first film. However, his Troll level has also increased exponentially since The Avengers. This being Tony Stark, that is truly an accomplishment.
  • Tomato Surprise: A minor one occurs when Tony is saving the passengers from Air Force One plummeting towards the water. After the "barrel of monkeys" save, he checks to make sure they're all safe and takes off over the bridge. A semi truck runs flat into him... and the pieces of the Mark 42 scatter across the bridge. Tony only winces in disgrace as Rhodey opens up the door to the dark room on the boat he was actually in, piloting the Mark 42 remotely.
  • Torso with a View: Tony finally offs Savin this way by blasting a point-blank shot through his chest with a Unibeam.
  • Trash the Set:
    • Tony's Malibu home is blown up in a missile attack and falls straight into the ocean, with Tony's Mark 1 through Mark 7 Iron Man armors blown up one by one along with it.
    • In Rose Hill, Savin causes a water tower to collapse in an attempt to drown Tony.
    • The self-destruct mechanism of Mark 42 used to try and kill Killian managed to destroy the supports holding up the oil rig and causes it to collapse.
  • Traitor Shot: Just before Killian and his goons arrive to kidnap Pepper, the camera briefly lingers on Maya. As Pepper turns to answer the door, Maya's expression changes, her eyes taking on an ominous look which hints that she knows what's about to happen.
  • Transhuman:
  • Universal Ammunition: Averted. Rhodey can't give Tony extra ammo during the final battle because their pistols are different. While both of their pistols use 9mm ammunition, the magazines are designed differently, and Rhodey does not have the time to manually unload rounds from a spare mag to give to Tony to manually load back into his empty mag.
  • Vapor Trail: During the diner fight, Tony splashes a trail of fuel towards Agent Brandt and then throws the canister of fuel at her before igniting the trail with red-hot remains of his handcuffs.
  • Video Call Fail: Happy is hopelessly incompetent with video calls. At one point he contacts Tony but is almost entirely out of frame, prompting Tony to call him "the forehead of security" to Happy's confusion.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Killian has no reason whatsoever to leave Rhodey alive after dumping him out of the Iron Patriot armor. Indeed, he has every reason to kill him since a) he is a commando, capable of escaping their mansion (which is not guarded by Extremis mooks) and b) he could identify Killian himself. After knocking Rhodey out, they don't even bother to tie him up.
    • Throughout the climax, Killian could have killed Tony several times over if he could resist a single opportunity to stop and make him squirm. Somewhat justified as his motive (and to an extent his will to live) is formed entirely around spiting him, so playing things safely and quickly (and thus less painfully) defies the whole point.
  • Villain Has a Point: When President Ellis is informed by Killian that he's going to be executed for helping to ensure that no-one faced justice for what's implied to be an oil-related environmental disaster on the scale of the Exxon Valdez, Ellis doesn't bother to dispute this accusation, only showing surprise that Killian actually doesn't care one way or the other about the spill, let alone want to kill him for it, and is just using it as a plausible reason why the Mandarin would want to have Ellis killed.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Pepper kicks ass at the end and saves Tony while doing it. Killian won't be bothering anyone else again.
  • Visual Pun: The Mandarin at one point can be seen sitting next to a fruit bowl full of, you guessed it, Mandarin oranges.
  • Voodoo Shark: Rhodes has an "Iron Patriot Support Staff" whom he communicates with and gets his orders from, making him operate more like a soldier than a completely autonomous unit (which was the issue with Iron Man in the first place). However, this explanation creates the question of "what the hell was the Iron Patriot Support Staff doing when Rhodey was AWOL for hours, then comes back without saying a word to anyone or checking in at all."
  • War for Fun and Profit: Killian's Evil Plan is to profit off of a war in which the villains control both sides, one with support from the Vice President and the other with his Extremis mooks.
  • Water Tower Down: Savin collapses the Rose Hill water tower by melting the structural supports, in an attempt to drown Tony. This prompts an Oh, Crap! moment from him.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Aside from the usual, the Mark 40 "Shotgun" can use its repulsors to enhance the power behind its punches.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head:
    • The War Machine suit has been repainted with American flag colors and motifs. This is mocked by everyone.
    • The Mandarin (though he's not the real McCoy) has a red, white and blue shield tattoo similar to Captain America's iconic weapon on the back of his neck.
  • Western Terrorists: A.I.M. are the real villains; the Ten Rings don't show up at all.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Tony lampshades that the Mandarin's speech mannerisms are similar to that of a Baptist preacher's despite the guy being Ambiguously Brown and using a Chinese name. Justified, as it was all an act to exploit America's fear of its recent terrorist enemies. The accent is really over the top with overly drawn out R's, almost as if the Mandarin was an unskilled British actor trying to do an American accent.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Tony orders J.A.R.V.I.S. to remotely destroy all the Iron Man suits as a sign of his devotion to Pepper. Harley gets a Cool Garage from Tony for the help he provided. The Vice President and Slattery are arrested for their crimes. Tony visits his destroyed mansion and thinks that even without his armor, he will always be Iron Man.
  • Whole Costume Reference: War Machine's new paint job is based on the Iron Patriot armor worn by Norman Osborn in Dark Reign.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Tony spends most of the movie with either scraps of armor, no armor at all, or a series of prototypes that were never as powerful as the originals since he assembled many of them over a short period of time with no sleep and never bothered to test them.
  • World of Snark: Shane Black takes the trademark snark of the previous Iron Man movies and ramps it up to eleven.
  • Wounded Hero, Weaker Helper: While suffering from a panic attack, Iron Man needs help from a young boy to work his way out of it.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Mandarin holds a gun to a man's head on national TV. He tells the President that if he doesn't call, he'll kill the guy. If Ellis doesn't call, the guy dies and the president loses face for not saving him. If he does call, he shows that the Mandarin has power over him. This is Truth in Television with many terrorist tactics; there is a reason official policy for most countries is simply "We do not negotiate with terrorists."
  • Xenafication: Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow pushed heavily for Pepper Potts to be an Action Girl. Thus, Pepper has her own action scene where she kills Killian. As she's usually so peaceful, though, her sudden aggression surprises her.
    Pepper: [after killing Killian] ...oh my god... that was really violent!
  • Yellow Peril: Exploited. In the movie, the Mandarin is a fictional character (though All Hail the King reveals he was based on an actual Mandarin who's been in hiding) specifically catering to American Sinophobia.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Maya attempts to use herself as leverage to convince Killian to not kill Tony. Sadly, Killian decides she has become replaceable.
  • You're Insane!:
    • Tony says this to the bad guys several times, almost verbatim.
    • One mook has this to say of his boss just before he quits and runs away.


Tropes from Iron Man 3 Prelude:

  • All There in the Manual: The book explains why War Machine was not present during the events of The Avengers. It turns out he was foiling a terrorist attack from the Ten Rings over in Hong Kong during the Chitauri invasion.
  • The Cameo:
    • Phil Coulson appears on a monitor screen, preparing to have a conversation with Tony.
    • Thor and the Quinjet piloted by Black Widow make a brief appearance.
    • The rest of the Avengers make a cameo in the shawarma restaurant when Rhodey finally has time to make it to New York.
  • Comic Book Movies Dont Use Code Names: Averted. Rhodey actively refers to his suit as the War Machine armor, though Tony explains that he meant for the name to be an offhanded insult.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • At the start of the book, Tony and Pepper are shown working on Stark Tower, which would end up becoming a major plot point in The Avengers.
    • The tank used by the Ten Rings members fires the same type of "Bunker Buster" missile Justin Hammer installed in War Machine's armor during Iron Man 2. This time it actually works.
    • Tony ends up calling Rhodey for assistance during the Chitauri invasion seen in the climax of The Avengers. Being in China, Rhodey is obviously unable to make it back to New York in time. In the next issue, he does find time to get to New York just in time for the Avengers having shawarma.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Rhodey is given a new, sleeker suit of armor to replace the bulky Mark II armor Justin Hammer customized for him during Iron Man 2.
  • Mythology Gag: Tony confiscates Rhodey's Mark II armor at the start of the book, stating the armor wasn't calibrated for Rhodey's body and could have killed him. This mirrors a comic story where Rhodey temporarily became Iron Man, only to slowly be driven insane with paranoia due to the armor being calibrated for Tony's brainwaves.
  • Shipper on Deck: Rhodey arrives at Tony's Malibu house just as Pepper is officially moving her things in; he's openly delighted, even giving her a hug.

"You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys. But one thing you can't take away? I am Iron Man."


Mandarin Video 2

The Mandarin waxes poetical about the destruction of a Chinese theater.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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Main / PropagandaPiece

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