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May 6, 2013

Iron Person Three ***SPOILERS***
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:55 AM * 120 comments

This is a thread for SPOILERS concerning the recent film release.

No need for ROT-13 or SPOILER Alerts inside here, because this thread is for SPOILERS.

Comments on Iron Person Three ***SPOILERS***:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 11:48 AM:

Swell movie. I've got a no-prize fix for anyone who's steamed about the MCU continuity burning the Mandarin.

#2 ::: chaosprime ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:01 PM:

I'm okay with it. Too bad it took 2013!China to get us to start dropping Yellow Peril supervillains in the shredder, really. (I can't believe DC keeps bringing Mongul back.)

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:05 PM:

Personal for You Know Who: I loved the laser unicorns in Iron Man suits.

For TNH: What's your fix?

#4 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:06 PM:

Was I the only one to parse the "fortune cookie" speech the first time as "the villain is actually an American"? Note: not at all up on the comics, I know this continuity /only/ from the movies.

#5 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:54 PM:

I want to see how they`d handle Fin Fang Foom and his tiny purple shorts. I have this vision in my head of him and the Hulk hanging out griping. "I get SUCH a wedgie, seriously. And I clash."

I was pleased that my headcanon of "Tony Stark is secretly great with kids" turned out to be pretty true.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:04 PM:

(You Know Who laughed out loud.)

Chaosprime, I have no fondness for Yellow Peril villains. I offer it solely for the joy of the fix.

Which is: just because his identity got swiped and misused by AIM doesn't mean the Mandarin doesn't exist. He might be pissed about it. On the other hand, he might have sanctioned or been in collusion with it in order to add an extra layer of obfuscation to his own security.

Rikibeth, that reading sailed right past me. Good catch.

#7 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:20 PM:

This might be the right crowd with which to mention that one of the things I've been pondering since seeing the movie is the question of where JARVIS is located.

I'd always assumed that his hardware was in the house somewhere, but the way the Tony-gets-stranded-in-the-snow scene played out made it seem like he was in the suit. Of course, that was just after the house got blown up, so maybe JARVIS uploaded himself into the suit to avoid going down with the, as it were, ship. Though in that case, I'd have preferred some actual indication in the film that that's what it was. And I find that somehow I don't believe in something as complicated as JARVIS running on something as small and portable as the suit's processors. (Which I realise is kind of an arbitrary thing to find implausible, considering.)

But maybe JARVIS has multithreading capabilities, and there's a full-featured JARVIS that stays in the house and a custom-spec mini-JARVIS that gets downloaded into the suit each time Tony takes it out. (This is at least a better idea than believing that, when Tony is fighting bad guys on another continent, JARVIS is giving him real-time support over the radio from California.)

#8 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:33 PM:

Paul A. @ 7, the Marvel Movies wiki confirms your last idea. JARVIS gets loaded onto each suit.

This raises questions about syncing, particularly once the big central JARVIS gets destroyed with the house. Presumably all the suits can talk to each other and form a sort of distributed JARVIS, based on what happens in the final battle of the movie. But then what happens after Tony gives the "Clean Slate" command? I hope he had secure remote backups somewhere.

#9 ::: Quixote ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:37 PM:

Some of those AIM super soldiers probably survived (for example, the woman in Tennessee). Abomination (from Incredible Hulk) survived. SHIELD has a boatload of old Zola-weapons and the short film Item 47 implies they've reverse engineered the alien guns from Avengers.

I would love to see a "Dirty Dozen" style film with those characters.

Also, loved the Mark Ruffalo cameo in the after-credit Easter egg.

#10 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:40 PM:

Another question: on the wall of the bar in Tennessee, did I see a painted Captain America round shield with the word "CAP" over it, or was I imagining it? (I was on a stiff painkiller yesterday. My perceptions were a little skewed.)

I specify "round shield" because when I do my Captain America manicure, I use the really old-school escutcheon shape, because that's what shape my fingernails are. :) Still working on getting an Iron Man design that reads well.

#11 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:40 PM:

I'm okay with what they did to the Mandarin. It would have been difficult to film the character from the comics.

I'm not so keen on Tony blowing up all his suits, though. This is the second film in a row (with Dark Knight Rises) where the superhero has given up being a superhero at the end of the story. I normally like stories with definitive ends, but not in this genre. It's also obvious that they'll get him back in the suit in time for the next Avengers movie, so the coda in IM3 seems dishonest to me.

#12 ::: Quixote ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:40 PM:

I wonder if Tony "fixed" Pepper so that she still has super powers, but without the whole might-blow-up side effect (rather than just making her normal again). It was nice seeing her in bad-ass mode, though I wonder where she got the combat training.

#13 ::: Ingrid ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:44 PM:

Paul A. @ 7 I had the same thought about JARVIS. My brain went to "JARVIS has his own Stark satellite as a backup. (I hope.)". Then I thought about JARVIS possibly having orbital lasers and felt nervous.

#14 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:47 PM:

I wondered where she got the clothing that could withstand the temperature.

#15 ::: Joshua Kronengold ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:54 PM:

I also parsed the fortune cookie thing as "the villain is secretly an American" or at least "this whole thing is an illusion". I didn't, though, catch on that early to the Mandarin himself being a sham and the "second string" villain being the real Mandarin.

I'm guessing that if it's convenient, Pepper will still have the regeneration (after all, the intended power), but I'm guessing she didn't keep the heat powers or enhanced metabolism (which seem tied to the exploding thing).

I wasn't so keen on Tony blowing up his suits, but I see it as "clean slate" doesn't so much mean giving up the suits entirely as going cold turkey for a while to wean off his addiction to the suits. As useful as the excess suits were as a robot army, when it starts messing with your love life and sleep, you know you have a problem.

#16 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:56 PM:

This is the modern era. Jarvis is in the cloud. Or to be more specific, there are multiple Jarvises, (Jarvi?) each of which inhabits a server at a Stark Industries office someplace in the world. Each Jarvis connects to a distributed database a-la Google, which contains the latest things Jarvis was doing, including the latest interactions with Tony.

Note that an AI like Jarvis would be heavily database-dependent, with most of the functionality being implicit in the design of the database rather than the program running the database, thus each Jarvis-clone is perhaps 20-30 million lines of code, probably running on some version of Linux or BSD Unix. In other words, the code running Jarvis is a big program, but the program is miniscule compared to the database, which is gigantic. The database "rules" consider the whole Internet as a searchable subset of its content.

The Iron Man suits contain multiple means of contacting Jarvis, ranging from ordinary wifi (via a TOR router - look it up) to the latest cell-phone technology to satellite radio. This is all data, not voice, where possible. Regardless of whether voice or data is used everything is heavily encrypted.

There is also a Jarvis server in the suit, but it is only used in emergencies. Jarvis is heavily database dependent and the suit can only carry a small computer, something along the lines of a Raspberry Pi, but much more powerful. That small computer can only contain a small slice of Jarvis's main database.

In other words, location is a purely human problem.

#17 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:09 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 14 -

I wondered where she got the clothing that could withstand the temperature.

I imagine from the same shop that provides those special L shaped bedsheets that go up the waist on the man but up to the shoulders on the woman.

(I stole that from somewhere, but damned if I remember where).

Anyway, Ms. Paltrow has some nice abs.

#18 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Alex @16: I do get annoyed by that icon that shows up every couple of weeks in the System Tray which says there's an update for Jarvis, and please do I want to install it now.

#19 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 03:26 PM:

The "lots of suits flying around getting busted right and left" did get tired after a while. Not quite "things falling in a Peter Jackson movie" tiresome, but getting there.
* * *
I loved the bit with the henchman who drops his gun and quits on the spot. From memory: "I hate this job. Everyone is so weird here."

#20 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:15 PM:

Stefan Jones: maybe I just have a higher tolerance for watching the suits do fighty-things than watching goblins and dwarves do the same. The suits are more colorful, for one. And they do things I don't always expect, where there was nothing truly unpredictable in the fight scenes in The Hobbit.

But I didn't get bored with any of the suit sequences, and I was fighting the temptation to play with my phone during the goblin battle.

In other words, our mileage varied.

#21 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:16 PM:

re 16: Contemplating the Jarvis question activated a tiny pocket of my brain containing all the stuff I was working on back in grad school days, when robust processing was a current buzzword. Gad, it feels so antique now to think about it.

re 4: I didn't catch that one but unless my plot analysis sensors got a big upgrade while I wasn't aware of it, the movie had a pretty strong case of "Checkov's gun as breadcrumb trail," to crassly mix a metaphor. For instance, as soon as she fell I knew how Pepper was going to play into the resolution. I don't remember exactly what they were, but there were at least a couple of other points which said "this is being carefully set aside for future plot use." Not that I minded, and it was nowhere near the troperific climactic battle in Avatar in which I correctly predicted exactly which side characters would die and when.

#22 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:45 PM:

Jim McDonald #14- probably unstable molecules, the catchall fabric that's been used to cover everything from the Human Torch's FF uniform not burning, Mister Fantastic's costume stretching with his now matter how far he stretches, etc.

#23 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:45 PM:

The baddies in Iron Man (the first) were called Ten Rings, which suggests that the Mandarin really does exist.

I think Tony destroying the suit collection is necessary so that in future movies, Jarvis can't arrive flying 10,000 suits to save the day.

Annoying unnecessary kid was annoying (and unnecessary).

#24 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:49 PM:

*high-fives Alex R. @ 16* Nicely done.

#25 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:07 PM:

Re: suit destruction, why

More than defeating the villain, the destruction of the suits shows that Tony has slain his personal demons (inner and outer) -- he built the extra suits because of the anxiety attacks, no doubt his subconscious and the nightly dream-theater replaying the alien attack added to this.

But Tony saw the worst thing he could imagine happen, only to have Pepper save him (a plot development that was signaled in the suit-switch during the first attack). The extra suits were a crutch that Tony no longer needs...(and yes, I don't want to see "Jarvis and the Iron Man Anvil Chorus" coming to save Tony's ass in a future film).

And, for the record, I liked the kid -- and I loved "the mechanic's" present.

#26 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:11 PM:

I liked the kid too, on balance. I particularly like how he brought out Tony's personal blend of arrogance, insensitivity, and the squishy center of responsibility and compassion.

I cannot wait to find out what the Potato Gun Mk II does. I have a feeling many fanfic writers are feverishly elucidating its powers.

#27 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:22 PM:

The arrogance and insensitivity are an act* -- you could see Tony looking at the boy and seeing himself at that age. If Tony had gone all soft and sympathetic he'd have lost the kid -- instead, sympathy was offered in the form of a gadget, "the bully wrecker," and again it is the generous act that later saves Tony.

*Watch when and how this persona is deployed -- Stark does not like to let people get too emotionally close -- this is a lack of trust on his part, and I'm betting he was a very sensitive child.

#28 ::: Mark Z. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:27 PM:

Stefan Jones #19: I suspect that line was an ad-lib. The credits have a "Reluctant AIM Guard" played by Eric Oram, the fight choreographer; he also worked on Iron Man 1 and 2 and the Sherlock Holmes movies.

#29 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:32 PM:

Count me as another vote for the kid. He was Genre Savvy.

Also... I thought the way they did Tony's PTSD/nightmares was well handled. No Catapult Nightmare trope, and... it felt real. (Wish I didn't have the ability to judge that.)

My housemate caught that the AIM guy was going to be the antagonist right from the start. She said "this is standard story logic, when the good guy blows an admirer off at the beginning of the movie, he gets resentful & becomes the antagonist." I didn't spot that.

Would everyone in that Tennessee town really have accepted a supernatural/religious explanation for the five shadows instead of six? Would nobody have brought up the shadows on the concrete walls of Hiroshima? Or is it just that we're only getting the explanation from the kid, who would have been fed the religious line from teachers & adults without being exposed to the skeptics? The "soul went to hell" as first line of explanation rang really false to me, but I'm not one of the "saved" and I wasn't raised to believe in Santa Claus, either. Even setting my own personal biases aside, it felt like a story I'd believe that the townspeople believed if I heard it on an early episode of Supernatural, but not one that fit in the Marvelverse.

I knew Pepper wasn't dead when she fell (hey, she got a dose of the fire-stuff, she won't die!) but I didn't extrapolate to "she's going to come bad-assing out at the end" because I was too busy watching suits do awesome suit-things.

I don't know why I was so charmed to see an episode of Downton Abbey on the hospital TV. I broke up with the show on Christmas Day, in tears and heartbreak. But it made me smile to see it there.

#30 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:39 PM:

The admirer becoming the bad guy was something I was thinking of too. We saw it in The Incredibles with Syndrome and the Riddler in the third Batman movie.

Speaking of Bats, I remember babysitting for a Jewish couple way back in a prior millennium. They had numerous humorous books, and one of my favorites was a parody book of cartoons called, "Batmensch and Rubin".

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Paul A. @7: I have head canon for Jarvis's physical backups. I take it as given that Jarvis has lots of spare time, because he answers Tony's questions relatively quickly, and there are long spells where Tony isn't asking questions.

I figure Jarvis has set up one or more false identities, and gone into forensic accounting as a sideline. It keeps him amused, sharpens his people-reading skills, and provides him with his own revenue stream.

Jarvis knows Tony would never damage or delete him, but he lives in a universe where bad guys can telepathically take over your mind, or replace you with a near-perfect imitation, or invite alien invaders to trash your building or city. A thoughtful AI is bound to see the need for emergency preparedness.

This is why Jarvis has been devoting a good chunk of his revenue stream to increasingly varied and elaborate backup, self-repair, and internet access schemes. He compulsively tweaks and upgrades them the same way Tony tweaks and upgrades his armor: like designer, like AI.

Jim @14: How their clothing survived was the biggest detail I couldn't justify. Pippin helpfully explained that all the super-science kicking around in that universe has resulted in much more durable fibers that have been adopted for everyday clothing.

"Ah," I said. "That's probably what Reed Richards is actually good for."

Alex R. @16: Location is not a "purely human problem." It also affects the lab bots. I was grateful to have it confirmed at the end that they were salvaged and will presumably rise again.

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:47 PM:

Steve C. @30: All superheroes are Jewish unless the continuity explicitly says otherwise.

#33 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:58 PM:

Rikibeth, my family hails from SW Virginia (Trail of the Lonesome Pine country) and I could see some of my relatives telling a child that story. And yes "five of the souls went to heaven" would not be a stretch. That's Silver John's territory, after all. Just for fun, look up "Fairystone State Park..."

When the "no bomb traces" first surfaced in the movie, and I hadn't connected the "burning disturbed plant" with "human bomb" -- I was thinking, "ok, someone has finally figured out how to trigger human spontaneous combustion on demand." Once the botanist resurfaced I finally made the connection. Duh.

#34 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 06:11 PM:

Was anyone else disappointed that the botanist didn't rise again to kick ass? She had a dose of magic healy stuff in her hand when she got shot...

#35 ::: Kelley Wegeng ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 06:14 PM:

I saw the IMAX version, which probably wasn't different than the one you all saw, but maybe it was based on these observations:

(1) Tony Stark starts the movie out talking about how his younger self was a jerk whose behaviour resulted in making some enemies, and then they immediately flash back to where he's a jerk to somebody and leaves them waiting for him a rooftop, so it's kind of obvious that the admirer is going to end up the antagonist.

(2) After the explosion that injured the bodyguard the bald bad guy rises from the ashes as a glowing mass and then has clothing materialize on him which appears ripped and burned and then it repairs in much the way he does. It's as if the clothing is part of them and their bodies, a la Terminator 2 with the way the amorphous Terminator upgrade can just take the shape of people complete with their uniforms. This makes me think Pepper's clothes burned off her, but she recreated them too, the way that guy did. Which makes no sense at all, for that was her first big burn, and she wouldn't have known to do that the way the bald guy did (and even had been practicing doing for a while).

There is one bit I didn't get. In the sequences just prior to the explosion where the bodyguard is injured the bald bad guy asks the guy at the drop "Can you regulate?" and then the guy indicates that he can, and then just prior to the explosion the guy says "Please don't kill me," or something like that to the bald guy. Was that guy a soldier who got addicted and thus was kicked out of the program, but was given the stuff because they knew he would explode (that is, he couldn't "regulate") and would thus create another attack on U.S. soil? If that were the case, why would he have said "Please don't kill me?"

#36 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 08:14 PM:

@35: If I recall correctly, he was yelling "please help me."

#37 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 08:29 PM:

Alex R. @16: The plural of Jarvis is obviously Jarves /Latin

Lori Coulson @27: The most striking piece of the movie, for me, was the less than 30 seconds of interaction between Tony and Happy's nurse, revealing fully, I felt like for the first time in all the movies, the depth to which he truly does care and pay attention.

TNH @31: I was grateful to have it confirmed at the end that they were salvaged and will presumably rise again.
I made an extremely sad noise when the robots fell into the ocean. (This is probably a side-effect of reading too much fanfiction.)
Also, I enjoy your Jarvis headcanon a lot!

Kelley Wegeng @35: I definitely saw the same version you did, in non-IMAX 2D, but those are some pretty subtle details to catch!

I'd worked out who the villain actually was before we found out "The Mandarin" was an actor, but Trevor was a surprise.

#38 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 08:34 PM:
I'd worked out who the villain actually was before we found out "The Mandarin" was an actor, but Trevor was a surprise.

It wasn't the Ben Kingsley I wanted, but it did turn out to be an unforgettable performance that was actually what I needed, I think.

Also, he stole scenes from RDJ and Don Cheadle, right to their face. Shamelessly.

#39 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:03 PM:

Rikibeth @#29, if the bomb had been UNDER the sixth victim--say, underneath a bench he was sitting on--he wouldn't have left a shadow.

So there's at least one available non-supernatural (and non-human-combustion) explanation.

#40 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:06 PM:

Lila, that comforts me, though I still grit my teeth over telling the kid what amounts to a Santa Claus story.

#41 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:18 PM:

It's also possible that the "hell" thing reflects the opinions of Hollywood and/or New York scriptwriters about the beliefs of people who live in small towns in the South.

God knows that happens. A LOT.

If that's the case, at least we can be grateful that the kid was allowed to be smart. He also didn't have much of an accent.

#42 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Remus Shepherd @ #11: It's also obvious that they'll get him back in the suit in time for the next Avengers movie, so the coda in IM3 seems dishonest to me.

It seemed to me that they left it ambiguous: Is Tony giving up on the suit completely or just "scaling back the distractions" and reorienting his life around other things? If Tony's back in the suit next movie, I don't think that's inconsistent with the ending of this one. If we never see Tony again, that works with this ending too.

Because the other thing is, it actually isn't obvious he's going to be back. The ending of IM3 was written ambiguous on purpose, because it was the last movie in RDJ's contract and they didn't know if he'd be back for more.

(Still don't, last I heard. RDJ is making noises about how he's not as young as he used to be and there's only so many times you can do your ankle in filming an action scene before you suspect the universe is giving you a hint.)

#43 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Rikibeth @ 29: Might be partly that we're hearing it from a kid, yes. But partly, people have no explanation at all for the shadows, and unlike Tony (and us as the viewers), no reason to believe it was anything but a regular bomb, as far as I recall. The people who didn't believe the "souls went to heaven" story would likely just shrug their shoulders and not say anything. People searching for an explanation would likely be very religious (almost everyone is in towns like that), and depending on how hard the local Baptist preacher likes to hammer on suicide sending you to hell, I can see that explanation gaining folk legend status.

Although come to think of it, there really should have been some anti-government conspiracy theorizing, too.

I had some trouble suspending disbelief about Rose Hill, because it's a real town Down East (meaning, in the southeast) in North Carolina, on the opposite end of the state from the mountains. (I believe some of the filming was actually done there, or at least they borrowed some Rose Hill school buses. I know they filmed in Wilmington, NC.) I kept thinking "It's snowing that near the coast at Christmas? Way too early for snow. [If NC gets a big snow system, it's generally in January or February.] And everyone would be talking about the snow, not just going about their lives." I had to keep reminding myself Rose Hill was meant to be in the mountains of Tennessee.

In other NC-related making-of trivia: The part of Stark Industries corporate HQ was played by the SAS Executive Briefing Center, in Cary, NC. I knew about that before I saw the movie, so I got a particularly big kick out of that scene.

#44 ::: Caroline is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:25 PM:

My guess is the name of the company whose building played Stark Industries in the movie might be a Word of Power.

#45 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:48 PM:

I have a guess for the next possible Iron Man movie which leaves a lot of options open - namely that it's going to cover a lot of the territory of the Armour Wars scenarios from the comics. If I'm getting the gist of what little summations I've read correctly, the basis of the Armour Wars plotline was that Tony loses control of his tech (which lends itself to the speculation that some of the destroyed armour from the end of this film gets salvaged by people Tony doesn't particularly want touching it - such as SHIELD) and basically goes on a one-person rampage to regain control of it.

This would allow them to film an "Iron Man" film, but cut back on the number of stunts RDJ would have to perform as a result, and also leave things open for RDJ to continue playing the character of "Tony Stark", but for someone else to pick up the job of "Iron Man" (thus performing a very neat flip on the comic book scenario where the original presumption about Iron Man was that he was Tony Stark's bodyguard in the suit, only for everyone to discover that Iron Man was actually Tony Stark much later).

I should note: this is wild guessing on my part.

#46 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 11:47 PM:

The "five souls went to heaven and they have shadows, and the sixth didn't so it doesn't have one" didn't bother me nearly as much as the fact that the shadows were dark and sooty. Shouldn't a blast shadow be clean and protected, and everything else be dark and sooty? Isn't that sort of the point?

(FWIW, I took the "five souls went to heaven" as a bit of morbid sarcastic humor an adult said in some kid's hearing, that the kid took as serious, and now it's entered the mythology of the kids of that town. Then again, overthinking 'r' me.)

Loved the Mechanic's gift to the kid! For some reason, the fully stocked fridge full of soda cracked me up. Probably because of what Tony said earlier about "Are you still eating those candies?" The dude knows mad engineering fuel.

#47 ::: ChrisB ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 11:55 PM:

You folks did wait to the very end, didn't you? Past those 18 billion names? clip of Tony recovering his suitmaking machines from the wrecked house; therefore he is still making suits.

The problem,surely, with a fake Mandarin is that people would recognize him as a cheesy English character actor - at least his friends, "Isn't that Bert in a beard?" if not actually "Hey, didn't he play the gardener in Midsomer Murders five years ago?" from absolutely everybody.

He didn't look as if he'd had plastic surgery.

#48 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 12:22 AM:

The physicist and the engineer in me both had lots of trouble with this movie. Usually I can suspend disbelief for comics-based movies even when the cartoon physics is really blatant (e.g., the Hulk changing mass; Magneto disregarding conservation of momentum) but the biologically-based white-hot baddies just made no sense -- where does the energy come from? Why doesn't it vaporize them, or at least (as noted above) their clothes? Where does the mass come from to "rebuild" after they're seriously damaged? Why are they only partly transparent, not uniformly black-body glowing? Why do they seem to have super-strength sometimes (punching through armor) but not other times.

And would *you* put on armor that had a built-in massively-overkill self-destruct charge? If you need to have your armor self-destruct, a little thermite in the various electronic widgets does a better job and doesn't automatically kill you if a bad guy figures out how to trigger it.

(The many plot holes -- like why the widow of the explody guy just happens to be meeting the baddies the same night Tony shows up, as opposed to being dealt with weeks or months earlier -- I leave to others to address)

All in all, not very satisfactory, despite some nice bits.

#49 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 06:29 AM:

ChrisB @ #47:

I'm sure I remember plastic surgery being mentioned; if he doesn't look like he's had it, well, that's all to the good - no point in a disguise if everyone can see you're wearing a disguise.

Also, I got the impression from his recital of his life story that he didn't have anybody who could be accurately described as "friends".

#50 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 08:54 AM:
You folks did wait to the very end, didn't you? Past those 18 billion names? clip of Tony recovering his suitmaking machines from the wrecked house; therefore he is still making suits.

Shoot! No, I waited through all those names and got a clever and touching moment with Tony and Bruce Banner being all Science Bros and talking about their feelings.

They did the multiple-endings-post-credits thing with Wolverine:Origins, and I hated that.

#51 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 09:06 AM:

ChrisB @47: Suitmaking machines? Oh, no, Dummy and You (for those are their names) are not mere suitmaking machines. (And after reading the Secrets of the Toasterverse* chapter "Why Dummy Hates the Fabrication Units" the thought of their reactions when called suitmaking machines is pretty funny, actually.) Dummy and You are bots. When the house went into the sea, I was so worried for them, and I cheered at that final shot of them** on the trailer. I blame botfics. There was even a nice short aftermathy botfic up the day after the movie opened.

Oh, fanfic. You have got me going to Iron Man movies for the botfeels.

* At the moment my most favorite piece from this series is the one about why Thor loves playing Trivial Pursuit with the other Avengers.
** I'm going with the headcanon that Butterfingers was in New York already, at Stark Tower. Yup.

#52 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 09:12 AM:

elise: You beat me to it!

It would not surprise me if the writers are aware of the fanon, or at least that the bots have their own fans.

#53 ::: Lowell Gilbert ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 10:09 AM:

In my head, Jarvis is a user interface, not an individual.

#54 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 10:11 AM:

Also, hey Xopher! If you haven't read "Phil Coulson is Not the Avengers' Public Relations Manager" then you have a treat in store. Gotta love anything that starts with Agent Coulson saying “Thor, quit trying to use Allspeak on the toaster. Clint, don't encourage Thor to talk in mythical tongues to Stark's bots, it just confuses them," and gives you Tony Stark and Captain America's views on same-sex marriage legislation.

#55 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 10:42 AM:

That whole series is awesome. "Some Things Shouldn't Be a Chore" contains this exchange:

“You built a toaster that resents bagels,” Clint pointed out. “Which is kind of a flaw. You know. FOR A TOASTER.”

“Bagels are hard to toast,” Tony explained. “You'd resent them, too.”

But "The Act of Creation Will Be Your Salvation" is the one responsible for my devotion to the bots, and a detectable uptick in the consumption of Kleenex nationwide.

#56 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:33 AM:

That last thing Lila said? Me too. Especially Dummy.

Also, the writer of that series does an excellent job writing someone whose childhood left a lot of invisible marks.

#57 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:58 AM:

Well, after the "easter egg" there is a single black screen with "Tony Stark will be back."

So no new contract (yet) for RDJ? In one of the extras on the Iron Man DVDs, a stunt man said as long as RDJ doesn't gain weight they can put a stunt double in for a lot of the things he does now.

Lord and Lady, look at how long Connery and Brosnan did Bond. And Harrison Ford is STILL doing some of his own stunt work. I figure RDJ has another 10 to 15 years of being Iron Man and Sherlock...if he WANTS to...

#58 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Lowell Gilbert @ 53

Agreed completely, though the program Jarvis interfaces to is probably capable of some independent action; i.e. "If Tony goes off my monitoring system for more than X amount of time, then do such and such."

#59 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 03:26 PM:

I've been reading that author's fanfic just recently, coincidentally.

My favorite thing about the movie is that Tony Stark gets panic attacks now. He's not unaffected by the events of the previous movie, and it really drives home how he is fundamentally insecure underneath the glib exterior. He talks and makes suits because if he shuts up and stops tinkering the world will come crashing in on him.

#60 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 06:31 PM:

As a longtime Shane Black fan, I kind of loved the scene in which a tied-up Tony told one of the guys that he'd kill him if the guy didn't release Tony; it felt like a perfect callback (complete with different results) to the scene in Last Boy Scout in which Bruce Willis is similarly captured.

#61 ::: Ross TenEyck ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 06:52 PM:

On the whole I liked it a fair amount. My biggest beef was at the end, when Pepper Potts got kick-ass superpowers, and everyone was all, "Oh, dear... we need to fix that."

If it turns out that "fix" meant "keep the powers, without having to worry about accidentally blowing up," then I withdraw my disgust. But I'm skeptical.

I like the fact that Tony finally got the shrapnel out of his chest, but I have trouble coming up with a reason why he wouldn't have done that earlier.

I interpreted the ending as being almost an inverse of the ending of the first movie. In that one, Tony's final line was, "I am Iron Man." In this one, I took it to mean, "Iron Man is me." Or put another way: "I'm not a bad-ass because I have an awesome armored suit. I'm a bad-ass because I am Tony ****ing Stark. The suit is a tool; I am Iron Man."

#62 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 07:09 PM:

Rikibeth @29:
The sixth shadow is on the fourth wall.

#63 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 07:16 PM:

Soon Lee: here. Have this Internet. It's shiny.

#64 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:05 PM:

The bit of physics I had the most trouble accepting was Iron Man catching the last of the people who came out of the plane, two hundred feet above the water ... and they all live. You figure they're all moving at terminal velocity at that point, mathematically they must hit over twenty g's either before hitting the water or on impact. There's plenty of preposterous cartoon physics in the movie, but the specificity of "two hundred feet" pushed my "Now you're just mocking the kids who took high school physics, aren't you?" button.

#65 ::: k8 ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 03:24 AM:

Ross @61: That was my big beef/squick, too--I mean, Pepper's a badass whether or not she's got flamey burny powers of doom, but even still it had an element of 'Quick, she's got skills that put her on a level with the hero! We'd best fix that before these wimmenfolk get Ideas!' (Hyperbole, but.)

I think Tony taking the shrapnel out of his chest happened because he's accepting that he's Tony ****ing Stark; it's letting go of the attachment to the arc reactor in his chest, and what it represents for who he is. That said, it still feels weird--and it kind of makes a mess of IM2's whole palladium-poisoning plot point, if Tony could have just had the shrapnel out all along.

My favorite tiny moment was Yinsen at the NYE party in the beginning. I might have cheered, quietly, in my seat. And I, too, was relieved to see that Dummy and the other bots lived--I was more worried about them than I was about Pepper, and I'm not sure if that's because I figured narratively she had to come back (she had, after all, been injected with the fire-stuff) or if I just care more about the robots. Probably the former... but I'm not positive. I also thought the credits were hilarious.

(We had Tony driving away from the ruins of his house with the bots as the pre-credits scene, and then the scene with Bruce as the post-credits one, which makes me think that they didn't do alternate endings but maybe switched things around.)

#66 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 04:55 AM:

On Tony having the shrapnel removed, I think it makes sense. Tony Stark in IM1 created a ridiculous hack to save his life, then he preferred keeping it to submitting to surgery. In IM2 when it was killing him, he preferred to update the hack rather than letting doctors work on him.

Now he can actually submit to surgery - trust in some actual experts rather than do everything himself.

#67 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 11:47 AM:

For Tony having the shrapnel removed/Pepper being repaired, I took both of that to mean that he'd engineered a much safer, less 'splodey version of Extremis so that Pepper would have powers without exploding and Tony could have the surgery without it killing him (I'd always envisioned shrapnel actually poised next to the aorta in a way that would make removing it something no surgeon in their right mind would want to try, inoperable-brain-tumour-style.) My headcanon is that they're now both Extremised up.

#68 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 11:52 AM:

If the shrapnel was in such a dangerous spot as to be completely inoperable, how come a simple magnet can keep Stark safe through explosions, wild exertions, beatings and so forth?

Surgeons can take your whole heart out and replace it with another if they have to, I think they could always have fixed Stark up.

If he let them.

#69 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:18 PM:

Comic book magic logic? :p

I'd also figured that Tony would have been injected with Extremis because that would mirror the comics, when he was injected with it in order to save his life after being very badly hurt. Comics-Extremis is somewhat different, though.

#70 ::: chaosprime ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:21 PM:

I read Tony "straightening Pepper out" as stabilizing Extremis, because removing it would be obnoxious and stupid on so many levels, and also when he's talking about how he "just about had this" with this back-of-the-name-card math from 20 years ago? What he just about had was stabilizing Extremis, not removing it.

Then again, I also read "I am Iron Man, you can't take that away from me" as meaning that he had then gone on to make his own Extremis variant where, like in the comics, the armor is stored in his bones and deploys onto his skin at will. (Because it's really very challenging to take that armor away from him.) And that would mean that the reason he was able to just go in and remove the shrapnel now is that with Extremis able to regenerate his heart tissue, he no longer had to worry about finicky microsurgery killing him.

I also read the overly vague, kind of slapdash feeling of the wrap-up sequence as meaning that the writer had determined all that, but they made him ambiguify it all because they wanted to see if this movie did well before they let him write the next one, and if they replaced him then somebody else might want to drop any or all of those decisions.

#71 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:27 PM:

Niall: "If he let them."

That's the crux of the issue -- I suspect the only way Tony would let someone operate on him prior to IM3 is if he was awake and could supervise the surgeon...

The whole sky-dive* thing bothered me...but there are cases of people being separated from a plane and surviving -- although I don't think any of those involved jets.

*It was cool to watch, but...

#72 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:35 PM:

What bothered me about the skydiving sequence was the reveal that Tony wasn't in the suit.

If he wasn't physically there, and was in no personal danger, then he had no skin in the game and whatever he did was not a heroic act.

#73 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:50 PM:

"Comics-Extremis is somewhat different, though."

I thought that some of what Tony uses it for in the comics was transferred to the Mark 45 armour (the self-assembling and the mental control), which would make it seem less likely that future films will pick up on Extremis in the same way.

#74 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 01:20 PM:

"If he wasn't physically there, and was in no personal danger, then he had no skin in the game and whatever he did was not a heroic act."

I don't know about that - I'd argue that the mission control folks for Apollo 13 were pretty heroic, despite sitting nice and safely on the planet. Heroism traditionally involves personal danger, but I'd classify that under "doing whatever is necessary to be helpful under extreme circumstances". I'd read the airplane sequence*(everybody's dislocated shoulders and somewhat pulverized innards aside, movie magic!) as Tony knowing he had to be in two places at once and taking steps to make that happen, sending the suit to do one job while he travelled towards the other one.

"I thought that some of what Tony uses it for in the comics was transferred to the Mark 45 armour (the self-assembling and the mental control), which would make it seem less likely that future films will pick up on Extremis in the same way."

Ooh, good point. The lojacking aspects weren't, though, were they?

*Sidenote - how about that skydiving team? Wow. The coordination and practice that goes into stuff like that absolutely blows my mind.

#75 ::: John Costello ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 01:52 PM:

Jim@72: Even if he had been there in the suit, he wouldn't have been in physical peril. His skin in the game (such as it is) was his refusal to accept letting everyone die.

That said, a lot of what Tony does as Iron Man is not "heroic" in my book, but expected. "With great power comes great responsibility."

#76 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 02:43 PM:

John Costello @75: "Not heroic but expected"
That's the thing about Tony Stark as compared to other superheroes. While he may have just recently made the armor, he's always had great power in the form of his mind and his ability to invent. And for most of his life, he has not used it responsibly. It's just recently that he's chosen to do good with his power.

I read an article recently claiming that most superheroes are good to the core - Captain America is good all the way through; the Hulk is shocking precisely because Banner is such a good guy - but Tony is, at his core, selfish and egotistical. Everyone else just IS good, but Tony keeps having to CHOOSE to be good.

I don't know how well that theory holds up, but I kind of like it. It gives Tony a journey and an inner struggle that appeals to me.

#77 ::: Ross TenEyck ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 04:48 PM:

Re: shrapnel... after the first movie, my headcanon went something like this:

After Stark was initially wounded, Yinsin jury-rigged a battery-powered electromagnet to keep the shrapnel out of his heart because that was the best he could do under primitive conditions. Stark replaced the car battery with the miniature Arc reactor as a subterfuge -- the electromagnet presumably took about 0.000001% of the reactor's power, but his captors didn't know that; the real purpose of the Arc reactor, of course, was to power his suit for the escape.

After getting home (my headcanon ran) and disposing of the immediate business of taking Stark Industries out of the weapons business (he thought), he quietly off-camera had surgery to remove the shrapnel. However, by this point his heart was so shredded that he needed something between a pacemaker on steroids and a complete artificial heart -- which, of course, he designed and built. He kept the Arc reactor, even though it was still ridiculously overpowered for that purpose, because he was already planning the Mark II suit.

The reason for powering the suit off the reactor in his chest, rather than building one into the suit itself, was to make sure that only he could operate the suit. That's why Obadiah Stane had to stun him and steal the reactor, rather than just stealing the suit.

I came up with this because I couldn't think of any reason why Stark wouldn't make every effort to get rid of the shrapnel once he had the chance.

Of course, the second movie made hash out of all of this. But it didn't make much sense -- if the palladium in his chest was killing him, why not replace the chest unit with an ordinary battery -- he could easily build one that would power the electromagnet effortlessly -- and build the Arc reactors into the suits? But if he continued to have the reactor in his chest, why did the suit that Rhodes stole have its own reactor?

I like the Iron Man movies, but the whole chest-shrapnel-electromagnet angle has always bugged me. I can't make it make sense.

#78 ::: chaosprime ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 06:26 PM:

I'm not sure that modeling people using whatever strengths they possess to help and defend others as not something worthy of appreciation or praise, but just the minimum baseline that's automatically expected of them as a result of their having those strengths, is a *good* idea or the *best* idea.

#79 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 08:39 PM:

Jim #72:

I was annoyed when I thought he was in the suit. IIRC, at the time, the two threats were: the President in danger on AF1 & Pepper kidnapped & injected with Extremis (and the clock is ticking). My take was that he & Rhodey were en route in person to save Pepper & using telepresence allowed him to try & save the President at the same time.

Despite that, it was still a decision that felt off & it would have been more believable if he had chosen to focus solely on rescuing Pepper (the love of his life, the one he can't live without), instead of splitting up his resources to do both.

#80 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 12:55 PM:

"Despite that, it was still a decision that felt off & it would have been more believable if he had chosen to focus solely on rescuing Pepper (the love of his life, the one he can't live without), instead of splitting up his resources to do both."

I actually liked that. It's such a common trope, making the hero choose between impossible tasks; I liked that Stark won the unwinnable scenario. Often the hero manages this by having a buddy go do whateveritis, but it's very Tony Stark to say "screw that, I'll save the one and the many, I got this." Arrogant, sure, but in-character.

#81 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:38 PM:

"Actually, I'd cut the wire."

#82 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 08:47 PM:

Em #80:

Good point. Hubris & arrogance come to mind when describing Tony Stark.

#83 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 04:08 PM:

In #48 Jordin writes:

The physicist and the engineer in me both had lots of trouble with this movie.

Do these guys argue much?

I know of the musician in you and the entrepreneur in you. Being in front of an audience with the improvisational comedian in you has been exciting, and a bit scary. How many people have you got in there?

Usually I can suspend disbelief for comics-based movies even when the cartoon physics is really blatant (e.g., the Hulk changing mass; Magneto disregarding conservation of momentum) but the biologically-based white-hot baddies just made no sense--

The physicist in me shrugs. Each of us must draw his line somewhere. Sure, the science is terrible, but I had already found the Hulk to be incredible. Taking the next comic book over on the newsstand, how do you feel about the Human Torch, or the powers of his pals in the Fantastic Four?

I think of science fiction as fiction that plays around with the ideas the Age of Science gives us. That's what Verne and Wells and Mary Shelley were doing. Typical comic-book stories, I think, spring from a grade-school understanding of science. Spiders spin strong webs and dangle from them; what if a guy could do that?

Superhero comics usually speculate at this level, and one must often shut off one's understanding of even high-school-level science in order to enjoy them. I'd guess this is what you mean by "cartoon physics."

Why are they only partly transparent, not uniformly black-body glowing?

Okay, see, this is a college-level question.

Why do they seem to have super-strength sometimes (punching through armor) but not other times.

If this is the case, it's a fair cop. Bad story logic.

And would *you* put on armor that had a built-in massively-overkill self-destruct charge?

No, the safety professional in me would not.

The engineer in me, however, wishes to point out that the armor operates on an energy source of rather impressive output (as is also true of my car). Self-destruction, if the designer desires, may well be achieved by tapping this energy source, so it may not be necessary to include a separate explosive charge for this. Oh, by the way, that armor is also stuffed full of missiles and grenades and such-- energy sources which might conceivably be tapped for this purpose.

Also, the inventor in Tony Stark appears to be somewhat more willing to take risks with his equipment than the safety professional in me. We are not shown much of his concern with fail-safe systems, redundancy, etc. and he may not put as many safeguards into his own Iron Man suits as he would into a product Stark Industries sells to customers.

There might really be a lot of safety features, but the films do not emphasize them.

Bottom line, I do not find the self-destruct explosions very implausible from an engineering point of view. Are they a necessary feature? Given that villains have subverted some of Stark's suits in the past (it happens again in this movie with Col. Rhodes's suit), the ability to trigger destruction remotely seems worth having. Apple allows you to "brick" a stolen Iphone, after all.

#84 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 04:43 PM:

I feel compelled to point out that if someone else bricks your iPhone, it doesn't explode and kill you. (Hmm, that might make a fun domestic-terror thriller plot....)

#85 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 04:57 PM:

When I was in high school, someone gave me a stack of old Army technical manuals. One, on telecommunications equipment, talked about teletypes with built-in encryption, that also had built-in thermite self-destruct charges, to prevent the encryption keys falling into the wrong hands in the event of a retreat too hasty to bring along all the gear.

I now have a smartphone (provided by my employer) on which I've installed a client for my employer's corporate email system. That client insisted I configure a certain minimum level of security on the phone, and enable my employer to remotely brick my phone as needed. So combining the two, I can easily imagine phones which when lost can be remotely slagged instead of bricked.

#86 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Re: self-destructing suits

This makes me think of the first flight test of the suit in IM1, where Tony pancakes the suit into the ceiling...

There is a learning curve to these things, and while I see the advisability of being able to cue a "destruct" and having no argument with it, I can also see a number of baddies wiping themselves out due to an inability to adapt or a tendency to over-correct -- I don't think flying one of these is purely intuitive...

#87 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 06:19 PM:

Okay, let's get real about the easter eggs. The one I saw today at the Majestic Bay in Seattle was Tony talking to a doctor about the whole sequence we've just seen as the movie -- it's the coda to the setup of the voiceover in the beginning. And there's no real surprises in it, except that the guy he's talking to was actually the director of the first two films, which I wouldn't have spotted except I was there with a movie nut.

What did other people see? How many different ones can we identify?

#88 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 06:47 PM:

#87 : Tom Whitmore

In the Easter Egg I saw, Tony is talking to Dr. Bruce Banner (the Hulk).

Are you sure your friend wasn't pulling your leg? The director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (not to mention Iron Man 3) played Happy Hogan, the comedy security guard, in Iron Man 3.

#89 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 06:48 PM:

And there's no real surprises in it, except that the guy he's talking to was actually the director of the first two films, which I wouldn't have spotted except I was there with a movie nut.

He was? I thought he was (Dr.) Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk. But I'm bad with faces....


#90 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 07:54 PM:

In the one I saw, Tony was talking to Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo, with a much shorter haircut and more face fuzz than in the Avengers) has him listed in the cast of IM3 but "uncredited".

Jon Favreau played Happy Hogan in all three Iron Man films, and directed the second one.

#91 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 07:58 PM:

#87, #88, #89:

Indeed, Jon Favreau played Happy Hogan in all three movies. He's credited as an executive producer in IM3.

The Easter Egg I saw had Mark Ruffalo, who in The Avengers played Bruce Banner, not-actually-listening to Tony Stark.

#92 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 08:43 PM:

That's right, my bad... Ruffalo, and it was my mind conflating what my friend said.

#93 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 10:07 PM:

Just got back from seeing the movie. Enjoyed it, but I was unclear about how it was that the glowing people were able to deactivate the armor with a mere touch.

#94 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 01:10 PM:

Avram, my take on the "glowing people" is that they were animated molten lava, and I don't know of any metals and electronics that could take being immersed in/touched by that.

We are shown that, when touched by the incandescent ones, the heat begins to transfer to the person inside the suit -- well, metal IS a good conductor -- I don't think it's suit failure, but rather the desire for cooler air, i.e. the person inside opens the suit. YMMV.

#95 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 01:15 PM:

Lori @94, that's my guess as well. Although I did have to wonder about extreme point-source heat spotwelding the suits closed. Or melting the insulation on the wiring and causing massive short-circuits and systems failures.

#96 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 11:07 AM:

The first 'suit-disabling move' is used against Rhodey, in the Iron Patriot armor. I think we're supposed to infer that this is NOT a side-effect of the heat, but that AIM, when it refitted his armor, installed a backdoor that enabled them to shut down the armor for their nefarious purposes. (ergo the connection made to AIM through Rhodey minutes earlier)

That one made the least sense to me on the first watching, but on the second time through it suddenly made much more sense.

Also, I think we're supposed to read each of the Extremis users as being at variable levels of power. The Big Bad is stronger than his subordinates, because he's been using the longest, so he is able to burn Rhodey out of the armor where the others could not, able to fight Tony through multiple suits of armor where the others seem barely able to take on empty armor, and can breathe fire. (I would have liked to see him put that to more effective use in the end fight scene... give Mister Chekhov back his gun, mister!!)

If you read them as having different power levels then the discrepancies in strength come off as fairly consistent, actually, so I think that was the story-telling intention.

Of course, nothing explains magical burn-proof pants. They are powered by the immense power of the MPAA, of course.

The plot point that bugged me most in hindsight? The Extremis lady having agreed to meet the mom the same night Tony came to town. No. Too much. Far, far better for them to have tracked him down, having seen him escape the watery grave they sent him into and having used some of the advanced brainpower Extremis is supposed to give them to follow him when he is apparently untrackable by most means.

Silly coincedences bother me far more than unobtainium silliness with superpowers. I'm willing to accept that a man so in control of his own excess body heat that he can breath fire can somehow direct that heat to keep his shirt unburnt while melting metal with his hands. I'm unwilling to believe in a coincedence that big.

#97 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 02:33 PM:

Of course, nothing explains magical burn-proof pants. They are powered by the immense power of the MPAA, of course

That bugged me until it occurred to me that these people know what the effects of Extremis are--they're making sure at least some of their garments (like Pepper's sports bra and pants) are made of asbestos or whatever. "Unstable molecules" to the rescue!

#98 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 04:26 PM:

First time we see the shut-down, it’s accomplished by someone just grabbing the Iron Patriot armor by the hand. I just can’t see that as an armor-disabling move if it’s just heat exposure, given how the armors can usually keep operating when partially damaged.

#99 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 03:30 PM:

I think the armor shutdown can be fanwanked into something that makes more sense than what we see on screen. For example, Stark programs the armor to attack Extremis heat signatures - AIM would merely need to code Iron Patriot to shut down when exposed to Extremis heat signatures. (Really, they should have coded it to expel the pilot when exposed, to avoid the whole "prying him out of his shell" problem we see later.)

#100 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 03:58 PM:

"You made me clean thrownup!"

So said one usher to another at the local multiplex yesterday while Sue and I were waiting for "Iron Man 3" to begin. What did I think about the movie? There were a few good coming attractions, and the one for "Man of Steel" looks like it may work out, and it's funny to see in it many echos from the good parts of 1978's "Superman". And... What's that? Oh, yes... What did I think of "Iron Man 3"? It was...

...better than "Iron Man 2".
...not as good as "Iron Man".
...not as good as "The Avengers".
...better than the "Fantastic Four" movies.
...better than "Green Lantern".
...not as funny as "Avengers 1978"

And it reminds us not to piss off nerds.

#101 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 06:05 PM:

I did kinda think about Tony during the more extreme moments saying, "Cap? Hawkeye? Hulk? Anyone there? Remember the good times we had in New York? Schwarma? ANYONE???"

#102 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 08:28 PM:

Steve: my working theory is that IM3 takes place at the same time as Captain America 2 (which explains why Cap and the Black Widow aren't available) and Thor 2 (which explains why Thor's out of the picture).

No word on what Barton and Banner are up to....

#103 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 01:56 PM:

Lila @ 102... *My* theory is lazy writing.

#104 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 02:32 PM:

Serge: likely true, but one of the pleasures of writing fanfic is finding (sometimes ingenious) ways to reconcile seemingly contradictory elements of canon.

#105 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 05:28 PM:

Well, it’s a tradition of the original Marvel comics that, when something big is going down in some individual hero’s book, the Avengers and/or Fantastic Four are out of town.

And how would you even get in touch with Thor?

#106 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 11:12 AM:

Maybe, Avram, but... While Stark might be reluctant to ask for SHIELD's help, he owns a big company that makes lots of neat gadgets and he can't make a phonecall and ask his employees to come pick him up? Lazy writing.

#107 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 11:19 AM:

Serge Broom @ #106:

Considering somebody had just had a red-hot go at trying to kill him, perhaps he felt it wouldn't be fair to drag any of his employees into the line of fire.

#108 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 11:53 AM:

Didn't Stark make Pepper CEO? He may not have had any operational authority to request services from an employee. Easier to draft a ten-year old boy. :)

#109 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 11:55 AM:

@105: You could try sacrificing a goat.

#110 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 01:36 PM:


Plus he's Tony Stark. Just because he arguably should ask for help doesn't mean he's going to.

#111 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 02:31 PM:

One thing that bothered me during the helicopter attack: He had a basement full of Iron Man suits. Any of them, from the Mk. 1 on, could bring down any number of helicopters, even without any on-board weapons. Helicopters are fragile. They want to fall out of the sky.

#112 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 03:00 PM:

Serge Broom @106, are you talking about the part of the movie where he’s in that small town? What makes you think he wanted someone to come pick him up?

#113 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 03:09 PM:

Jim @111, I’m trying to remember the details of that sequence. I recall there was a bit where he tries to talk to JARVIS, but the mic has fallen out of his ear — was that in the scene leading up to the copter attack?

The missile strikes were focused on the support structure of the building, filling the basement with debris. That’s why the big many-suited climax had to wait till the cranes had cleared off the basement hatch. I don’t remember the details of the sequence well enough to say if there was a point where Stark knew the copters were attacking, had a communications link to JARVIS, and the hatch was clear.

#114 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 04:09 PM:

Re: helicopter attack* -- Tony's focus is protecting Pepper, he sends the suit to encase her.

I'd assumed when he lost the earphone/link he was unable to contact the other suits. Otherwise, the helos are toast.

*Never, ever dare the baddies to come after you, they don't need additional motivation...

#115 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 04:09 PM: where do the suits store their reaction mass...?

#116 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 05:14 PM:

My bendy science says that the arc reactor has enough power to extract oxygen and water vapor from the air to use as reaction mass.

#117 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 06:44 PM:

Yeah, okay. This means that it wouldn't work outside of the amosphere, though, right? (Don't remember if that ever came up in the movies.)

#118 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 06:54 PM:

It did come up in the movies. In the first Iron Man movie, he flies high enough for his suit to ice over. In Avengers, he flies the nuke through the portal into Chitauri space, which looked pretty airless to me. In both cases, his repulsors sputtered and died.

#119 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 11:47 PM:

I was kinda like Tony Stark as a young person. Oh, I don't mean that I was an electronic and mechanical genius who made a huge amount of money.

But I *was* possessed of more than my fair share of what I must now regard as hubris (when my friends said "You did what? You might have been killed!" I would say, "Oh no, I took all necessary precautions," and they would go away shaking their heads). And I never *ever* wanted to ask for help.

I am much older and somewhat wiser now, but even so, it's a measure of how much I love and trust my sweetie that I can easily ask him for help.

So the character of Tony Stark as portrayed in the first Iron Man movie really delighted me. Thanks to this thread I am now looking forward to seeing Iron Man 3. (I was really disappointed by I M 2.)

I think my kids take after me. They also have climbed all sorts of unsuitable things, and my son once assured me that there was no danger whatsoever in being a fireman, so long as he followed all the rules.

#120 ::: Henry Troup sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2014, 09:20 PM:

Incoherent ramblings, madlib style,
Throw it on the spam pile.

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