9 Big Questions Left Unanswered by ‘Iron Man 3’

By  · Published on May 4th, 2013

Iron Man 3 is a movie I’ve seen, and if you’re reading this I sincerely trust that you have too. Why? Two reasons. First, you should see it because it’s a pretty fun flick. And second? I’m about to unload spoilers below of epic proportions.

My review is elsewhere on the site, and you should probably give it a read so you can call me names for the grade I gave it. The movie has issues, and more than that it leaves us with some serious questions. Again, and obviously, there are spoilers below regarding things that happen and who they happen to so tread lightly.

1. Why Give Your Address to a Terrorist on Live TV Then Not Prepare for a Visit?

I mean, come on. You gave your address to a terrorist famous for blowing things up, and you don’t even have a radar system or surface-to-air missiles? Even beyond the threat posed by the Mandarin, how about the hundreds of other bad guys lining up to take you down? Tony Stark has always been filled with hubris, but he’s never been such an idiot before.

2. How Come Pepper Potts Can Drive an Iron Man Suit, But When Rhodey Wants One He’s Told To Go Screw?

Seriously. Pepper falls into a suit and can drive it relatively fine (women drivers and all that), but when Rhodey asks for one of the dozens flying around aimlessly in a scene where he’s in real danger Stark tells him, sorry, but they’re programmed specifically to him? This either makes no sense or Stark was playing a prank, and if it’s the latter that’s a pretty crappy and dangerous prank to pull.

3. What the Hell is Going on With That Extremis Project?

So the goal was to create super soldiers, but the side effect is that you’re turned into a nuclear furnace? Or a fire-breathing bastard? Or a bomb? And even if it made you stronger, how does that translate into knowing acrobatic combat moves?

4. Where the Hell Is S.H.I.E.L.D. During All of This?

Yeah, yeah, this is an Iron Man movie, but it’s set after The Avengers for a reason. This isn’t simply an attack on Iron Man either. Americans are dying, and the President is under attack… Seems like an ideal case for Nick Fury and the rest of the team to maybe show some interest in, right? Obviously they couldn’t all come running, but a single line explaining why none of them did would have been nice.

5. Is the Mandarin Really an Actor or Is He Really the Mandarin?

And side question, was this move really necessary? As someone who’s never read the comics I have no dog in this fight, but it’s a pretty ballsy move taking a legendary, much-loved villain from the comics and revealing that he basically doesn’t exist. They’ve left themselves no real wiggle room here either because if Kingsley ends up actually being the Mandarin, having simply played Hans Gruber/Bill Clay to Stark’s John McClane, then that’s going to be stupid.

But would an actor have been so clueless as to what he was getting into? And, sure, Killian screamed out that he was the Mandarin near the end, but then he blew the hell up, so he’s not coming back.

6. Why Has Stark Waited Through Four Movies to Have the Shrapnel Removed From His Chest If It Was This Damn Easy?

So Stark has shrapnel in his chest that can’t be removed because he’ll die or something like that, right? So he builds that arc reactor to keep him alive and to power the suit. Except now he decides at the end of the film that he’s done playing hero and just has the shrapnel and reactor removed? Is this supposed to be like Superman giving up his powers in the ice caves only to realize he really, really needs them later?

7. If the Mandarin Is an Actor, What’s the Significance of Captain America’s Shield Being Tattooed on the Back of His Neck?

This tattoo would make little sense if this really was the Mandarin, but it makes even less sense seeing as the Mandarin isn’t a real villain. The good Captain has nothing to do with this movie so it’s not like the Mandarin was pretending to target him or anything. Is there a scene on the cutting room floor where he kills Captain America and gets the tattoo to commemorate it like gang members and their tear drops?

8. The Movie Is Over Two Hours Long, So Why Is Stark Only in the Suit for Less Than 15 Minutes?

I’m guesstimating the in-suit time, but I’m probably erring on the side of generosity. Most of the film is Stark running around in non-iron clothing, and several times even when he’s in the suit he isn’t really in the suit – he’s remote controlling it or letting Jarvis fly. It takes away something from Iron Man’s mystique when he comes down to being nothing more than a tin R/C toy.


9. When Do I Get to See the Fan Bingbing Version?

This is probably the most important question of all. I know additional scenes were filmed for the cut released in China, and I know they feature Chinese stars to make the Chinese people happy, but I don’t understand why those scenes couldn’t be included in our cut too. I like Chinese people. Especially Fan Bingbing.

Do you have any lingering questions about Iron Man 3?

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.