Iron Man 3: Tony has PTSD
How do you come back from Avengers? The closing chapter of Phase 1 of the MCU that was in so many ways incredibly epic and enjoyable. Almost anything that follows up on that high is gonna be... well a come down, if not a let down.
Marvel chose to start Phase 2 by going back to their hit character Iron Man, and show what it was like for him to come down from the events in NYC. And like I said above, it wasn't fun for Tony. How could it be? Nothing he's done has truly prepared him to fight off aliens, through a wormhole, with a nuclear missile. And so we see manic, sleep deprived, panic attack suffering Tony trying to keep himself together. And when The Mandarin arrives, terrorizing the USA, Tony snaps, and challenges him.
Now, this could have been a simple storyline, Iron Man vs the terrorist Mandarin, but instead they gave us some twists. First off, taking Iron Man out. While Tony is chatting with Pepper and an ex-one-night-stand, his house is attacked, and destroyed, and Tony gets the shit kicked out of him. Given that he wasn't anywhere near top of his game, not a shock. And... Tony takes himself away. Small town middle America, where he hangs out as The Mechanic with a fatherless kid, and investigates what's been going on. Turns out The Mandarin used the tech Tony's ex was developing to make super soldiers.
Always with the super soldiers...
Let's pause a minute here to talk about the kid. He was great. The perfect foil to Tony, someone who's impressed, but not necessarily intimidated by this superhero who literally broke into his garage. Ty Simpkins as Harley does an absolutely fantastic job.
Then there's Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin... I remember being so absolutely stunned at the reveal, and about half a second later laughing so hard about it. I love his performance, even now.
It really isn't a movie that stands alone, and would be a terrible jumping in point for anyone interested in the MCU, but as a defining chapter of Tony's life, it's just about perfect.
And the end credit scene? Brilliant!
Next Up: Thor: The Dark World