Ranking the MCU: The Road to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – #16

In May of 2013, Marvel kicked off Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the third and final solo Iron Man movie, Iron Man 3. Robert Downey Jr. returned as Tony Stark/ Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrom as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/ Iron Patriot (War Machine), Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan and introduced Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, and Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery/ Fake Mandarin.

In 1999 at a New Years party, Tony runs into a scientist named Maya Hansen, who has invented a experimental regenerative treatment called Extremis, that allows recovery from crippling injuries. Disabled scientist Aldrich Killian offers them a place in his company Advanced Idea Mechanics, but Stark rejects him. When we next see Tony is 2013 and he is having panic attacks from The Battle of New York that took place in The Avengers and is building Iron Man suits to pass time.

Bombings have been happening around the world and the terrorist the Mandarin is taking credit for it. Later Tony’s security Happy Hogan is injured by a bombing caused by the Mandarin making Tony issue a threat to the Mandarin who then attacks his home in Malibu with gunships destroying it. Tony escapes in an Iron Man suit which J.A.R.V.I.S his artificial intelligence pilots to rural Tennessee. His suit does not have enough power to return to California and the world believes him to be dead.

Tony then teams up with a 10 year old boy named Harley and investigates the remains of a local explosion which is similar to a Mandarin attack. He then learns that the bombings  were triggered by injured soldiers whose bodies reject the Extremis treatment and are just coverups for the failed Extremis tests. While this is going on Killian resurfaces and kidnaps Pepper Potts and Maya Hansen while the government and Rhodey renamed the “Iron Patriot” are searching for the Mandarin, but the Mandarin lures Rhodey into a trap hoping to steal the armor.

With the help of Harley, Tony finds the Mandarin hiding in Miami and infiltrates his base only to find out the Mandarin is a drunk English actor named Trevor Slattery who has no idea the damage he has cause. It is then revealed that Killian used the Extremis virus to attempt to cure himself while profiting of helping injured veterans and that he is the real “Mandarin”. Killian then reveals to Tony that he has injects Pepper Potts with the virus in hopes that Tony will try and fix the virus for him and in turn kills Hansen when she tries to stop him.

Tony escapes and reunites with Rhodey, discovering that Killian intends to attack President Ellis aboard Air Force One. Stark then saves a handful of the crew but Killian escapes with the President and destroying Air Force One. They then trace him to a shipping yard where he plans to kill the President on live TV. We find out the Vice President has been working with Killian in order to save his own daughter with a cure. Stark summons his Iron Man suits, controlled remotely by J.A.R.V.I.S., to provide air support. Rhodes secures the president and takes him to safety, while Stark discovers Potts has survived the Extremis procedure.However, before he can save her, a rig collapses around them and she falls to her apparent death. Stark confronts Killian and traps him in an Iron Man suit that self-destructs, but fails to kill him. Potts, whose Extremis powers allowed her to survive her fall, intervenes and kills Killian.


After the battle, Tony tells J.A.R.V.I.S. to destroy all his Iron Man armor to show his love for Pepper and at the same time the Vice President and Trevor Slattery are arrested. Pepper’s Extremis virus is stabilized and as he tries to leave his old life behind he undergoes surgery to remove the shrapnel embedded near his heart and throws his obsolete chest arc reactor into the sea. In a present-day post-credits scene, Stark has been telling this story to Bruce Banner, who fell asleep.

To me this movie was always good but not great. The movie itself had a lot of potentially great things at its disposal, but they executed it horrible. The had the chance to establish the Mandarin as a fantastic villain, especially since he is one of Iron Man’s biggest villains in the comic books, but chose to do a stupid fake out and make him a drunk British guy. They also had the chance to take the extremely popular Extremis comic book series, which some argue is one of the best Iron Man series, and adapt it to a movie and make it great but it just fell flat and didn’t really excite anyone. Also it relied heavily on trying to make Tony Stark realize he didn’t need Iron Man, only to realize Iron Man will always be apart of him. One thing I also remember when the movie came out was that a lot of the movie’s best parts were shown in the commercials for the movie, especially the scene in the final act when all of Iron Man’s suits come to fight Killian and his goons.

So what do you think Apocaflix! fans? Do you agree with our ranking of #16 out of 18? Should it be higher or lower? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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