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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

MCU Crossover Series - Iron Man 3 (2013)

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Co-Host: Adam Hitchcock, The Streaming Circuit podcast


  • Shane Black, Writer/Director

  • Drew Pearce, Co-Writer

  • Brian Tyler, Music

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man

  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

  • Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes / Iron Patriot

  • Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian

  • Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen

  • Stéphanie Szostak as Ellen Brandt

  • James Badge Dale as Eric Savin

  • William Sadler as Matthew Ellis

  • Miguel Ferrer as Rodriguez

  • Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

  • Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery

  • Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S.

  • Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener


$200 million (last movie with the Paramount logo)

Box Office and Ranking:

  • #7 among all MCU films

  • Worldwide box office: $1.2 billion

  • Total domestic box office: $409 million

  • Domestic opening weekend: $174 million

Critic Scores:

  • RT: 79%

  • Metacritic: 62

  • Letterboxd: 3/5

Plot Summary: In "Iron Man 3," director Shane Black brings a fresh perspective to Tony Stark's saga. The film opens with a vulnerable Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) grappling with the aftermath of the events in "The Avengers." Haunted by anxiety and insomnia, Stark finds solace in his workshop, where he obsessively builds an array of Iron Man suits.

However, the narrative takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) emerges, orchestrating a series of devastating attacks on the United States. Stark's world unravels as his home is destroyed, and he is presumed dead. Stranded in a remote location with a malfunctioning suit, Stark must rely on his ingenuity to survive.

"Iron Man 3" explores themes of identity and resilience as Stark confronts his own vulnerabilities without the protective shell of his suits; confronting the man behind the armor, stripping away the layers to reveal the core of Tony Stark. Downey delivers a nuanced performance, balancing the charisma and wit that define Stark with a newfound vulnerability that adds depth to the character. The film's climactic showdown brings Stark full circle, challenging him to redefine the essence of Iron Man.

Did You Know?:

  • The idea that "Happy" Hogan's favorite television show is Downton Abbey (2010) was at the suggestion of Jon Favreau, who is actually a big fan of the British series.

  • Robert Downey Jr. pushed to get Gwyneth Paltrow to have some action scenes, and producer Kevin Feige approved: "We are bored by the damsel in distress. But sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something, other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with 'Is Pepper in danger, or is she the savior?' over the course of this movie."

  • The first Iron Man movie to gross over $1 billion, and the second Marvel movie to reach this mark, with The Avengers (2012) being the first.

  • The character of U.S. President Ellis is named after comic book writer Warren Ellis who wrote the 2005 Iron Man story arc "Extremis," a primary influence for this film franchise's storyline.

  • Shane Black described this movie as "a Tom Clancy thriller," with the focus on real-world-type villains, and not "two men in iron suits fighting each other."

Best Villian: Killian-The Real Mandarin (20%/2%)

Best Love Interest: Pepper Potts (100%)

Best Sidekick: James Rhodes (100%)/Harley

Best Scene:

  1. House Party (15%)

  2. Opening Flashback (5%)

  3. Mandarin Strikes Tony (20%)

  4. Miami

  5. Rescue over Water

  6. Final Cut Scene

  7. Tennessee

Best Lines:

Brandt: [scoffs] Is that all you've got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?

Tony Stark: Sweetheart, that could be the name of my autobiography.

Pepper Potts: Am I going to be okay?

Tony Stark: No. You're in a relationship with me, nothing will ever be okay. But I had this twenty years ago when I was drunk, I can sort it out. I fix stuff.

Pepper Potts: I think I understand why you don't want to give up the suits. What have I got to complain about now?

Tony Stark: Well, it's me. You'll find something.

Trevor Slattery: I wouldn't go in there for 20 minutes!

Trevor Slattery: Ah, well, I had a little problem with... substances, and I, uh, ended up doing things, no two ways about it, in the street, that a man shouldn't do...

Tony Stark: Next?

Trevor Slattery: Then, they approached me about the role, and they knew about the drugs...

Tony Stark: What did they say, they'd get you off them?

Trevor Slattery: Said they'd give me more!

The Stan Lee Rubric:

Legacy: 5.5

Impact/Significance: 7.75

Novelty: 6

Classic-ness: 6

Rewatchability: 7.25

Audience Score: 8.25 (87% Google, 78% RT)

Total: 40.75

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