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Iron Man 3: Plot Holes and Deviations from the Comics

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Iron Man 3 may be a well-received movie by both critics and casual spectators alike, but these plot holes and other issues certainly don't help.
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This article contains a great deal of spoilers of the film; if you haven't yet seen Iron Man 3 be wary! Readers who have not yet seen the movie may prefer our spoiler-free Iron Man 3 review.

Overall, I enjoyed Iron Man 3 but it certainly wasn't amazing by any means and in my opinion it could have been if not for the following issues.

I'm going to be up-front: I reference the comic books a lot here, and I understand that there are changes that need to be made when adapting something to another format. However, there were a lot of changes from the comics that made the movie worse rather than better; many of them weren't necessary.

Face Your Demons!


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...Or just make some different ones.

Iron Man in the comic books really lacks decent villains; they are almost all rich business people who are competitors to Stark Industries. Their objective is one of two options: try to steal his suits to make there own, or compete with versions of their own power-suits similar to Iron Man's.

Besides Mandarin (who we will discuss later), Tony Stark's main enemy in the comic books is... Tony Stark. Oh, and his alcohol addiction. I had only seen one of the earliest trailers before seeing the film and I had heard that Mandarin was going to be in it to explore the "Demon in a Bottle" story line. Demon in a Bottle was a nine issue story arc published in 1979 and has been described by critics as "the quintessential Iron Man Story," and "one of the best super hero sagas of the 1970's.' With praise like that this is obviously a really amazing story, but even before the first movie came out fans were excited that Robert Downey Jr. would be playing the character of Tony Stark. After all, Downey has gone through similar issues with drug and alcohol addiction in his past thus - who better to play Stark?

From very early on in the film, the theme of "facing your demons" is mentioned. This may have piqued the interest of some fans, but did we get to see Iron Man at his darkest moments in the series? No. In fact, he doesn't drink a sip of alcohol except during the flashback to 1999. Instead, the phrase has been re-purposed to refer to the creation of two villains that would appear later in the movie (mainly Aldrich Killian) and to his anxiety over events of "The Avengers".

Stark has never been shown to suffer from anxiety in the comic books. Sure, its an adaptation so they don't have to stick to the events exactly, but it just doesn't make sense for him. So he deals okay with being held hostage by terrorists in Iron Man 1, but then suddenly gets post traumatic stress disorder after the almost-catastrophe in The Avengers? Really? If anything, surely those events should reassure him that the world is in capable hands, and not stress him out to the point of having a nervous break down any time "New York" is mentioned.

The whole anxiety thing is clearly just a way of exploring some of the elements of "Demon in a Bottle" without showing any alcohol abuse. The only reasons I can think of to avoid that is to appeal to children more. This is a theme I noticed a lot in this movie... There's a palpable effort made to avoid complaints made by overly conservative parents. Surely people know what they're getting into when they go to see Iron Man 3, right? Tony Stark is, and has been shown in the previous movies to be, someone who loves women (he is a "genius, billionaire, philanthropist, playboy" after all) and alcohol. He even deals with his issue... So if anything it should show how much addictions can ruin lives.

Besides, they're happy to have other people drinking and abusing drugs. We'll get into that in a minute...

Spitting on a Warlord


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Mandarin is the primary antagonist of all the Iron Man stories. He is Iron Man's arch-enemy, and Stark's worst nightmare... And apparently nothing more than a British drug addict actor being played like a puppet. It was odd that they had so much back-story set up on Mandarin and the Ten Rings despite him clearly not being Chinese.

Although probably not a close descendant of Ghengis Khan, Ben Kingsley initially did quite well at playing the role... Then in an instant he's turned into a cheap source of comic-relief. Really?

Imagine the outrage if they did the same thing to the Joker. Imagine if Magneto couldn't actually manipulate metal with his mind and he just carried around a giant magnet. Imagine if Catwoman turned out to be a dude... Sure, these things might be funny, but they come at the cost of completely destroying the original character. It's exactly what they did to Mandarin.

Just imagine if this guy (the real Mandarin) saw this movie. It wouldn't be pretty.

Similar to the legendary Batman villain the Joker, an interesting thing about Mandarin is that his true identity is unknown. Well, according to this movie his name's Trevor Cassidy. A purposely inappropriate name for a villain like this.

You may recall that the name of the organization that captured Tony Stark in the first movie was known as "The Ten Rings." Mandarin traditionally get his various powers from ten rings (and of course in the film he doesn't have any powers). The leader of the Ten Rings organization in the first movie makes frequent references to Ghengis Khan. This is meant to reference Mandarin, who is a descendant of Ghengis Khan; this is supposed to reflect his strength as a Warlord. I couldn't tell when watching it, but apparently the organization in Iron Man 3 is the same Ten Rings from the first movie. It just shows how differently they are depicted in this film.

Extremis


If you've seen the movie you will know that the plot revolves around Extremis. Extremis is actually a comic book arc that the movie was based on; however, it's a rather recent comic having been published from 2005-2006. Of course, both the writer and illustrator admitted they knew next to nothing about Iron Man...

Despite the fact that it is a fairly popular story, I don't think it was a good fit for this movie. For one thing the story is based just after the Avengers Disassembled story line; this not only obviously leads to the breakup of the Avengers, but also several key members of the Avengers are killed during it (including Hawkeye). It leads to further chaos amongst superheroes and eventually begins a civil war in which Iron Man causes the death of Captain America... So yeah, not the best story to choose to lead up to another Avenger's movie.

It's also a new origin story for Iron Man, but we already had an origin story in the first movie. Adding another one only serves to confuse things.

Further changes were made that made the film worse and caused inconsistencies and limitations for the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. For starters, the main villain in the movie, Aldrich Killian, is a very different character in the original story. He co-developed Extremis with Maya Hansen, and kills himself after he gives it away to terrorists. Maya is also not working with Mandarin on purpose as she is in the movie; instead, she is tricked into giving him samples of the drug. Extremis does give superpowers in the original - but it doesn't cause explosions - and Stark actually asks to be injected with it to save his life.

Two of the people in the movie who were injected with Extremis were actually existing characters: Eric Savin and Jack Taggert. They are, of course, the super-villains Coldblooded and Firepower respectively. However, they don't even have the same powers... Coldblooded is a cyborg mercenary while Firepower has a highly protected suit of armor. It's air conditioned and equipped with a vast array of sensors and weapons; neither of them were introduced by Extremis. In fact, they were introduced to the series nearly 20 years before the Extremis arc...

In my opinion, they would have been far more interesting characters to see and could have added a lot more to the movie than they did in their "human bomb" forms.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Help


Nick Fury's just waiting for a mate.
Something I was really disappointed in was the lack of involvement by the rest of the Marvel universe. Fine, it's an Iron Man movie; not an "entire marvel universe movie,".... I get it. But why do they show the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier when Stark first breaks out before meeting up with Rhodes? They did nothing at all in the movie. Why were they even there? Couldn't they have maybe lent some help to fight Mandarin? Surely that was the intention - I mean why else would they be there?

Everyone Should be Dead


The part where Iron Man is saving everyone falling out of the plane is really inaccurate... In so very many ways.

I don't know a whole lot about physics, but I know this. So he just manages to catch everyone before they hit the water (firstly I'm pretty sure he would have died or at least fainted from falling that far from that high without anything to slow him down) and then he only moves slightly away from there before dropping them. He barely loses any speed or velocity. Again, I'm not great at physics and I guess he probably lost a fair bit of velocity by changing direction, but still I'm sure those people would all be seriously injured if not dead.

Before going after them, he stops for a moment and works out which one to get first. Why on earth did he choose that woman first? Surely he should get one of the stronger people who is capable of holding everyone, no? Or maybe he would go for the president first in case things didn't go according to plan.

"Which one will I wear today?"


So we very quickly learn that Tony Stark is up to MK 42 armor. The comics never really seem to go past about MK VII (8), so what were the changes in the different versions? We see all of them towards the end and some of them clearly have very different features (such as a larger, bulkier one that shoots heavier weapons and misslies), but for the most part they all seemed to do the exact same thing; they just looked slightly different visually.

Then obviously the whole situation ends up being resolved when all of the suits, which are being remotely controlled, arrive. Yay! Problem solved. But why the hell didn't he do that earlier? He could have done that immediately, or at least as soon as he found out where Mandarin was.

What was so much better about this one anyway? Sure he could put it on remotely, but couldn't some of the other suits do that anyway? I'm sure he did that in the Avengers: falls off of the building and the suit deploys and flies after him as he equips it in mid-air.

Anyways, he proves how useful it was to keep all those suits; even Pepper said she could understand now. Then.... Then he blows them up for no reason other than to reassure Pepper. What if the next day a new supervillain arrives... They would be doomed. Where's the harm in keeping them? Pepper had already said that she understood.

I QUIT!


What the hell was with the end? You know, with Stark removing the power core.

The whole reason he had it on all the time was because it's a risky surgery to remove the shrapnel. Secondly, it's the power for his suits. If he removes that, he has to redesign all the machines to include it within the structure of the suit. This is the thing that the villains of the first two movies were trying to get from him and he just throws it away. Sure, in the real world that would be completely lost, but your dealing with super-villains; I'm sure they can think to maybe go to his house and work out where he might have thrown it.

Finally, I can't work out a reason why he would seemingly quit and suddenly get over his anxiety of an alien invasion just because he wrapped up one completely unrelated problem. Besides, apparently he wasn't even quitting... After the credits it says "Tony Stark will return". Before it even said that it was obvious, so why would they even pretend to not have Iron Man in the next Avenger's movie? There is no answer for that. The only reason I can think of for them to include that in the movie is to copy the ending of the Dark Knight Rises, which I absolutely hated for very similar reasons, many of which were detailed in this plot holes and problems article.

Upcoming Movie Speculation


This movie really added nothing to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I don't really have any extra speculation on future movies.

The only thing that I can possibly come up with - and this is only because I really want the post credits scene to mean something - is that Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffallo) had much more grey hair in that scene because of stress. This means... A new Hulk movie with Mark Ruffallo. Or that I'm just reading waaaay too much into it and really want a new hulk movie with Mark Ruffallo as Hulk/Bruce Banner. It is possible, though, but not until 2015. When/if it does happen, Tim Roth will return playing The Leader.

Between now and the Avengers 2 (May 1, 2015), confirmed upcoming Marvel movies are (in order)...
  • Kick Ass (which is completely unrelated).
  • The Wolverine. Wolverine is sometimes part of some of the Avenger's teams in the comics, and it would be cool to see him appear in the Avengers 2, but the movie rights are owned by a different studio, so it's unlikely. This movie is about Wolverine in Japan, which I consider to be a very interesting story; it should bring out a gentler side of him. Hugh Jackman has also said that he has been a fan of the Japanese arcs in the comic books so he should be pretty good at acting in it.
  • Thor: The Dark World, the next movie in the MCU, with few details on the plot revealed. Loki does return and is shown in the trailer. However, I don't believe he will be the main villain.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the third movie in the MCU, which will involve other S.H.I.E.L.D. members including Black Widow and Bucky Barnes, who was Captain America's sidekick before he was frozen. It also shows Steve Rogers adapting to the modern world.
  • The Amazing Spiderman 2. I would also love to see Spiderman in the Avengers; again, he is sometimes a member of the Avengers, but the rights are owned by a different studio. The main villain is apparently Electro.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past. Several X-men Characters are rumored to appear in the next Avengers film even though another studio owns it. I'm not really looking forward to this at all. I love the X-men comic books, but I really hated X-men: First Class and The Last Stand. Its apparently a sequel to both, which doesn't make sense to me. I get really frustrated about how badly the X-men films manage to conflict with themselves.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy. The 4th and last film in the second phase of the MCU before The Avengers 2. I'm rather interested in this as I have never really heard of this team and I'm sure many other people are in the same situation. However, it includes a team of super-humans and aliens based on the post credit scene in The Avengers. It seems like things are heading in the direction of the outer-space side of the marvel universe, which has quite a lot of potential.
  • Fantastic Four. Again, not an MCU project; it's actually meant to be in the same universe as the X-men films. It's a reboot; not a continuation of the previous Fantastic Four Movies.
Aside from that there is an upcoming TV Series called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D; Agent Phil Coulson - who apparently died in the Avengers - will be returning in the show. Rumor has it that he may appear as the android, The Vision or the Cyborg, Deathlok. The Vision seems more likely and is an important member of the Avengers.

There is also an upcoming Hulk TV Series with very few details released. It was apparently meant to be coming out this year but it has obviously been pushed back if it is still planned at all.

Conclusion


Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. Please let me know what you think of the article by commenting below and joining in the discussion with us.

Finally finished editing it. Took me two days due to the length. ;)

 

Good work. I'll save most of my comments until I watch the movie for myself; I will be returning to this comment section.

I don't know a whole lot about physics,

It's a pseudo-futuristic movie. You know nothing of future physics.

So he deals okay with being held hostage by terrorists in Iron Man 1, but then suddenly gets post traumatic stress disorder after the almost-catastrophe in The Avengers? Really? If anything, surely those events should reassure him that the world is in capable hands, and not stress him out to the point of having a nervous break down any time "New York" is mentioned.

I don't know. Having an entire city destroyed by aliens on flyers that came out of a giant fucking portal in the sky along with a giant worm would freak me out. If anything, it'd tell me somebody out there hates us and would probably attempt another attack.

What was so much better about this one anyway? Sure he could put it on remotely, but couldn't some of the other suits do that anyway? I'm sure he did that in the Avengers: falls off of the building and the suit deploys and flies after him as he equips it in mid-air

His electronic helper thing does say the remote control suit thing was a proto-type in The Avengers. So maybe this technology in Iron Man 3 are the real deal? Haven't seen IM3, so this is just what I know based on The Avengers.

 

I can respect what you know about the Marvel Universe and what not. Hell, I don't know any Iron Man villains or sidekicks or anything. But if you could step back from looking at the movie from a comic book fan's point of view, would you still say it was good? Which is to say, you'd have to ignore any discrepancies from the books and similar aspects.

I can respect what you know about the Marvel Universe and what not. Hell, I don't know any Iron Man villains or sidekicks or anything. But if you could step back from looking at the movie from a comic book fan's point of view, would you still say it was good? Which is to say, you'd have to ignore any discrepancies from the books and similar aspects.

 

This was something I was going to mention as well. The vast majority of people aren't going to know/care at all about the comics, so when you do a plot holes / issues piece on the movie you should only mention the movie. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a "deviations from the comic book" article either; it's just a matter of choosing one and then writing specifically for that audience.

 

It's a pseudo-futuristic movie. You know nothing of future physics.

 

The laws of physics are the same everywhere and at every time by definition. That doesn't mean they have to be the same in the fictional Iron Man universe, though, which is what I think you meant.

Finally finished editing it. Took me two days due to the length.  ;)

Yeah...sorry about that. You did a good job though. I noticed a typo though (not sure whether it was me or you) where it says "...manipulate me ..." it should be "...manipulate metal..."

 

This was something I was going to mention as well. The vast majority of people aren't going to know/care at all about the comics, so when you do a plot holes / issues piece on the movie you should only mention the movie. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a "deviations from the comic book" article either; it's just a matter of choosing one and then writing specifically for that audience.

Yeah, I was trying not to get into that too much but it just kind of kept relating to it. I only use it to add to my argument (other than in suggesting that they could have chosen a much better story to adapt).

 

 

I can respect what you know about the Marvel Universe and what not. Hell, I don't know any Iron Man villains or sidekicks or anything. But if you could step back from looking at the movie from a comic book fan's point of view, would you still say it was good? Which is to say, you'd have to ignore any discrepancies from the books and similar aspects.

Well, I wouldn't say I know a huge amount about the Marvel Universe, but I've kind of just been exposed to it enough that I just know the basics of it.

 

If I didn't have even that knowledge though I would say it would be easier to enjoy the movie (which I still did, just not as much as I could've) but even within the movie they work so hard to set up this major villain that you're meant to really despise and then all of a sudden they just turn away from that completely. There was just a whole lot of stuff that really didn't make sense for the characters just from what they'd set up in the other movies and even the rest of the movie.

 

I don't know. Having an entire city destroyed by aliens on flyers that came out of a giant fucking portal in the sky along with a giant worm would freak me out. If anything, it'd tell me somebody out there hates us and would probably attempt another attack.

Yeah, I kind of get that, my thought's on it though were that being held hostage for months (possibly years I can't remember), and the feeling of hopelessness that come with that should surely be at least somewhat psychologically damaging, whereas the aliens yeah they do a lot of damage but they also stop them with minimal casualties within a day.

 

 

His electronic helper thing does say the remote control suit thing was a proto-type in The Avengers. So maybe this technology in Iron Man 3 are the real deal? Haven't seen IM3, so this is just what I know based on The Avengers.

JARVIS (the electronic helper thing you mentioned) says the same thing in IM3

Good Movies Bad Movies
Apr 29 2013 01:01 PM

There were so many plot in Iron Man 3 that could have easily been sorted.

 

The thing that really annoyed me was that due to the scope of the events within the film, they completely ignored the existance of SHIELD and The Avengers. (My review can be read here: Iron Man 3 Is A Disapointing Mess)

 

Thankfully Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set to have SHIELD, The Black Widow, Fury, The Falcon and Maria Hill.

There were so many plot in Iron Man 3 that could have easily been sorted.

 

The thing that really annoyed me was that due to the scope of the events within the film, they completely ignored the existance of SHIELD and The Avengers. (My review can be read here: Iron Man 3 Is A Disapointing Mess)

 

Thankfully Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set to have SHIELD, The Black Widow, Fury, The Falcon and Maria Hill as read here: (Captain America: The Winter Soldier Is Avengers 1.5!)

I completely agree, like I mentioned they show the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier but S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't involved at all, the first 2 movies atleast had some SHIELD involvement.

 

I had seen that The Winter Soldier is meant to focus a lot more on SHIELD, so hopefully they do that much better.

the big one was definitely why wait until the end to unleash his army of suits when he's dragging his ass around Tennessee in constant danger from extemis assassins and assault mandarins mansion with home made tranqs and tasers why not use the army of war suits?

I completely agree, like I mentioned they show the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier but S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't involved at all, the first 2 movies atleast had some SHIELD involvement. I had seen that The Winter Soldier is meant to focus a lot more on SHIELD, so hopefully they do that much better.

Maybe all these movies/events (phase 2) are happening at the general same time and the shield are maybe busy helping cap.

the big one was definitely why wait until the end to unleash his army of suits when he's dragging his ass around Tennessee in constant danger from extemis assassins and assault mandarins mansion with home made tranqs and tasers why not use the army of war suits?
When he was dragging his ass around Tennessee the suit had no power to communicate and send them in, and when the suit was charged he was already attacking the Mandarin before it was charged enough to do all stunts later on. (I hope atleast what I'm saying is accurate)

Okay, finally saw this myself.

 

I enjoyed it. It was EASILY better than the 2nd Iron Man, and you could make a case it was the best of the trilogy. There were a good number of moments that led to legitimate laughter in the crowd I was watching with.

 

There were some weaknesses.


    [*]I don't know what's with Colonel Rhodes, but he kind of annoys me. Not sure if it's his intentionally lame personality or the fact that all of his lines are bad with poor delivery, but yeah.
    [*]There was a REALLY long sequence where there was no Iron Man suit. I suppose the orgy at the end made up for it, but at the same time it was weird that it wasn't featured in the majority of the movie.
    [/list]

    There are definitely more but I'm tired and can't think straight.

     

    I will say that the scene with the people falling out of the plane didn't really bother me, In this fictional universe having Iron Man slow them down sufficiently before dropping them into the water isn't that out there.

     

    As far as the ending with the power core: he destroyed all of the existing suits to have a "clean slate." Redesigning them with an internal power source was probably why they included that in the movie.

I kinda liked the movie. I thought there were too many suits, and too easy to rip the suits apart, even though they withstand bullets and explosions.

I kinda liked the movie. I thought there were too many suits, and too easy to rip the suits apart, even though they withstand bullets and explosions.

 

Oh, yeah. I didn't like that either. The bad guys probably ripped through a good 2 dozen suits like hot knives through butter.  By the end of the movie, the "Iron Men" really felt cheap and insignificant. It's not like it was even a bunch of super-powered aliens that were breaking everything... It was a few humans on terrible roids that Tony Stark had apparently developed 20 years prior to the movie.

I only just saw these comments, I thought I would get notifications about it but oh well. Anyway, I think maybe I ruined it for myself a bit by deciding I was going to write an article on it before I saw it. Maybe if I hadn't have done that I wouldn't have picked up on every single thing they did wrong or at least not have been worried about it.

 

I still think they ruined the Mandarin character, and that the scene at the end with all the suits was cool to watch but kind of ridiculous. And although its not really a problem with the movie I would have liked to have seen some more Avengers tie ins or references. Also its a basic fact that is core to Iron Man that if the power core were to be removed he would die as its actually keeping the shrapnel in place (removing it is just going to kill him faster) also mind the unintentional pun.

Dem holes

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