Iron Man 3 : A cheat sheet

2013 is a great year for comic book movies. The lineup – Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Star Trek into Darkness, The Wolverine and Thor: The Dark world, to name a few – has the nerds screaming like 16 year old girls in 1998 when Shah Rukh (why doesn’t he stop!) Khan walked into the screen wearing the most ridiculous skin-tight t-shirt in the world. While none of them would admit it, these nerds (which may or may not include this post’s author) are already planning their sick leaves and hoping against all hope that none of their old relatives kick the bucket close to these movies’ release dates. They might also secretly be buying adult diapers to get them through the movie without the need of a bathroom break, who knows.

But this post is not for the nerds. This is for those non-nerds, who would like to watch the movie and if possible know a little background to the characters and the universes (Marvel universe and DC universe) and maybe even know what to expect in the movie so that they can, not just enjoy the movie, but try and shut up those nagging know-it-alls with 2 magical words – “I know.”

So here’s a cheat-sheet for the upcoming Iron Man movie. 3 things that will give you a little more information about the movie, the characters and the story. I have tried to keep the spoilers to the minimum, but look away now if your curiosity gene is non-existent.

3. The little facts

The director for the first two movies was Jon Favreu, who also doubled up as Tony Stark’s driver and personal assistant, Happy Hogan. This third movie however, is being directed by Shane Black.

There is a high possibility that Pepper Potts might end up getting a suit of her own in the movie. If she does, and if she decides to don it, she will be called “Rescue”

Potts and Rescue in the comics

The real names are Anthony “Tony” Stark, Virginia “Pepper” Potts Hogan and Harrold “Happy” Hogan

Tony’s friend Rhodey, who gets to don one of the Iron Man suits (called War Machine) in IM2, gets to keep a suit this time. And since he works for the government, they paint it red-blue-white and call it the Iron Patriot suit. While Avengers is a super-hero lead initiative, the Iron Patriot is government’s official super-threat response.

War machine & Iron Patriot

A lot of imagery in the new movie is taken directly from comic book pages. A few are listed below. The story line is influenced by the Iron Man comic “Extremis” where Tony Stark modifies the serum his father used to make Captain America and develops a nano-tech version of the virus.



2. The (many) iron suits

Over the course of the 3 movies that Iron Man has made an appearance (2 Iron Man movies & The Avengers), the suits have constantly changed and evolved. From the first suit that Tony Stark made in the cave with the help of Yinsen to the one which flies out towards the end of The Avengers movie attaching itself to Stark via laser guided bracelet he’s wearing while he’s falling off the Stark Tower. Each of these suits is different and are named I to VII based on the version.

The suit that Tony uses in the IM3 is called the XLVII (number 47). Do you see what happened there – the suit modification moved from VII (number 7) to 47. What happened to the other 40, you ask? Here’s where you smile – Tony has not skipped the versions, he has made all 40 of them.

In the comic book, Tony controls all 40 suits via his super-suit XLVII. The latest released trailer confirms that at least a dozen, if not all 40, of the suits will make an appearance in the movie, with Tony Stark affectionately calling them “My boys..”

Iron army

Bonus fact:

One of the suits Tony develops is called “The Hulkbuster”. And yes, it is designed to exactly what it sounds like – control The Hulk when the other supers are changing their underwear. Given the fact that we see Bruce Banner and Tony Stark engaging in intense bromance during The Avengers movie, it would be interesting to see what led Tony to create the said suit.

1. The villain

The Mandarin. Played by Sir Ben Kingsley, this is arguably the most strategy-centric villain shown on the big screen in a long time. While Bane used his great strategic thinking to target a city and cripple it, The Mandarin declares war over the entire country. He isn’t necessarily coming after one super hero, he’s going after the whole country.

In the comic books, Mandarin, a descendant of Genghis Khan, is obsessively trained in science and combat by his aunt who is bitter about the way the world works. The same bitterness is instilled deep within Mandarin’s consciousness and he grows up with the aim of getting back at the world. His genius scientific knowledge and combat skills are supplemented ten folds when he creates 10 rings out of crashed alien technology. These 10 rings, representing different powers and worn on specific fingers, gives The Mandarin a renewed sense of power and invulnerability as he works his way towards world domination. His primary method of creating chaos is using his scientific skills to turn a country’s own technology against itself. This might translate to Tony Stark’s technology being used against the country and hence Tony’s quest for “Pure, old-fashioned, revenge..”


Bonus fact:

The Mandarin’s moniker “10 rings” is mentioned subtly in the previous 2 Iron Man movies. In the first movie, the terrorist group that abducts Tony Stark is called the Ten Rings. Later when Obidiah Stane incapacitates the terrorist group leader, he removes a ring from the said terrorist’s finger saying something on the lines of “you are not worthy of it..”


In the second Iron Man movie, Stark’s competitor, Justin Hammer is constantly seen wearing a ring on his pinky finger. The shots with Hammer in them ensures the ring is in view as much as possible. jh

If all these subtleties were indeed connected, it is the best example of genius level foreshadowing.


So there you have it. 3 important pieces of information that should , hopefully, make you sound like you know your stuff. Enjoy. Next time – Superman!


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