A Look Back at Iron Man II
So first things first, what exactly happened to our genius industrialist in the past movies? Well, like any superhero gone public, he faced quite a lot of nasties, fending off both the obvious villains and the ones disguised as men of status. He faced the possibility of an imminent death and even butts heads with his best friend, Colonel James Rhodes, in the process. To jog your memory, Tony gets drunk on what he thought was a celebration of his pre-death birthday party while donning his Iron Man suit. The U.S. Air Force Lieutenant ends up battling Stark with the use of the Mark II armor to stop the ruckus and sober him up. After this, Rhodes turns over the armor to the military for analysis and weapons development.
While the military does not end up recreating Stark's work perfectly, they were able to develop the War Machine armor --a more offensive, heavily armed version of Tony's suit. At that year's Stark Expo, Ivan Vanko, son of Howard Stark's trusted associate Anton Vanko, takes control of the weaponized suit, with Rhodes in it, and attempts to use it against Iron Man.
Smells Like Team Spirit
While "Rhodey" usually tends to favor supporting military causes, his friendship with Tony Stark holds true throughout the film. Seeing as in Iron Man 3, Tony is going to be hunted down by a number of foes, he will need all the help he can get. What better way to give War Machine some more screen time than to tag team with Iron Man once again.
It is possible that Ms. Virginia "Pepper" Potts may also get some action-packed screen time in the upcoming movie. While they are mostly only rumors, word is out on the street that Pepper gets an armor of her own. This feminine version of the Iron Man suit is referred to as the Mark 1616 Rescue Armor. While donning this special suit in the comics, Ms. Potts makes daring civilian rescues while the two armored superheroes stall the villains. That doesn't mean she can't pack a wallop herself. The armor also has JARVIS built in, making her twice as efficient as a team player.
Excited about the possibility of Rhodey and Pepper joining in? We are too. Although Tony is a one-of-a-kind genius superhero, at times he does need a hand or a swift kick to keep him in line. It would be epic to see his two best friends get some armored baddie beating action alongside him. All the more if Stark technology is to be misused for evil, ala the "Armor Wars". In the trailer, Tony's suits of armor blow up one by one, indicating the possibility that he will be facing a shadow of his own work.
What we do know for certain however is that, spoiler alert, most of Tony's armored inventions are going to be instrumental in saving the president and his staff from harm midair. Apparently, the Mandarin instruments a strike on Air Force One, endangering the life of its passengers.
More of the Man in an Iron Suit
Now what has gotten Tony so worked up? Being a true blue superhero, rarely does he think about his own safety. Protecting something, someone, is what drives him to perform amazing feats and overcome even the toughest villains yet. In the trailer, he mentions "protecting the one thing he can't live without" which most likely refers to Tony and Pepper's relationship. Is a development on the horizon? Well, to what extent is anyone's guess but it would be nice to see Pepper's affections being reciprocated.
The official press release also mentions adding a dash of revenge to the plot when Tony's personal life is destroyed by his enemies. Let's just hope Happy Hogan, whom Jon Favreau agreed to play again by the way, doesn't run into too much trouble.
A Dash of Evil
As for the main foe behind all the havoc in Iron Man 3, it seems that the Mandarin will play as the puppet master behind the scenes. Dr. Aldrich Killian is mentioned as the scientist behind the Extremis Virus, a sort of super-soldier solution which hacks the part of the brain that is in charge of healing and rewrites it. After the body goes into an extremely debilitated state, it reemerges with super abilities such as accelerated healing, a highly improved immune system among others. The subject's mental capabilities are also taken to the next level, enabling them to process information at the speed of light, a feature that a genius like Tony will definitely benefit from.
Doesn't sound too villainous? Well, the package doesn't come with benefits alone. Side effects such as heightened aggressiveness and hallucinations come with the territory. Not to mention that this virus only works for a select few that possess a specific genetic sequence. That means anyone who does not meet the criteria and is exposed to the Extremis will suffer fatal consequences. It would be interesting to see how our high-tech armored protagonist overcomes the disadvantages and puts the Extremis technology to use.
We Called It
Those things aside, here is a short list of things that picked up from the previous Marvel movies that are likely to have an appearance in Stark's latest misadventure.
Rock and roll shirts were a big part of Tony's civilian apparel -particularly that of bands which actually played part of the movie's soundtrack. The second movie soundtrack was great, but nothing is as iconic as Black Sabbath's “I am Iron Man” which was featured in the first film; here's to seeing more of that.
We all know that Captain America's vibranium shield has been in Stark's lab since the first movie (where it was shown for a very brief period of time). In the second movie, it was pretty much used blatantly in the scene where Tony discovers the secret plans his father laid out for him to discover (he uses the shield as a support for the beam he was focusing). With Avengers already out and the shield back in Steve Roger's possession, it is quite unlikely that there will no longer be any other iconic Marvel items lying around in Tony's lab. With the last teaser hinting at Thanos, we would not be surprised if one of the infinity gems or another celestial artifact might be making a quick appearance in the film.
Speaking of the Avengers movie, good ol' Bruce Banner was last seen riding off with Stark, while we doubt that the gamma-master will still be hanging around for the events of Iron Man 3, he is bound to leave some mark on the place (especially if he decided to Hulk out). At the very least, this should be more than enough of an inspiration (or information source) for Tony to come up with that powerful Hulk Buster armor. So we might see this in a blueprint, some state of pre-production, or quite possibly, even finished and ready for action.
The Short Wait
With two action packed movies under its belt, the Iron Man franchise is definitely a solid superhero experience. While the first movie brought Iron Man to life and the second movie showcased the scrutiny a known superhero faces, this third film seems to address the darker side of technology. How will Iron Man overcome the bad guys and protect the people he cares about most? And how will he answer the toughest question yet: "does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?" Sit tight and hold the popcorn, we'll have to wait until Iron Man 3 opens in cinemas on the 3rd of May this 2013.