We polled our entire team and ranked every MCU film across six categories. We weighted each category based on their overall value to the success of the movie.
Plot - 25%
Character Development - 20%
Villain - 20%
Action - 12.5%
Intangibles - 12.5%
Supporting Cast - 10%
Film: Iron Man 3
Release Date: May 3, 2013
Rotten Tomato - TOMATOMETER: 80%
Rotten Tomato - Audience: 78%
Opening Weekend: $174,144,585
Gross US: $409,013,994
Gross Worldwide: $1,215,439,994
Synopsis: When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
Analysis: The first two acts of the film do a really good job of building Tony's world post-Avengers. They take a broken down Stark and slowly start to rebuild him from the ground up. This does wonders for building an emotional connection with the audience by showing a vulnerable side that we've never seen before. After that, it becomes a bit of a mess as the plot tries to be too clever for its own good.
Analysis: What sets the Iron Man films apart from the other solo films of Phase I & II is how much time they spend on developing the character. The first Iron Man dealt with Tony recreating himself after seeing his true legacy. Iron Man 2 tackles what Tony is leaving behind as he approaches death's doorstep. Both of these arcs worked for the character, but they were still overshadowed by the arrogant traits of the character, albeit still entertaining. One thing that Iron Man 3 did a great job with, is tearing down the character and bringing out his true fears and insecurities.
Name: The Mandarin
Name: Aldrich Killian
Bio: Killian is the developer of the Extremis virus, and the founder of the think tank A.I.M., which everyone knows stands for AOL Instant Messenger. For some reason, they decided to rebrand and call themselves Advanced Idea Mechanics, which is nowhere near as good.
Evil Plan: How to take over the world for Dummies...
Step 1) After you get ghosted on New Years stumble upon a highly volatile test that will either make you rich & handsome, or blow you up.
Step 2) Hire a group of freelance multi-media experts to develop a series of viral videos staring a drug addict.
Step 3) Get in cahoots with the Vice President.
Step 4) Steal the War Machine suit by leveraging the fact that it doesn't have an internal air conditioning system.
Step 5) Turn your rival's girlfriend into a walking HotHands Hand Warmer.
Step 6) Kidnap the President and tie him up in a shipping yard.
Step 7) Congrats! You now own the War on Terror.
Analysis: The most polarizing aspect of this film is the Mandarin twist. Upon release, It left the audience in complete shock considering the amazing job the film's marketing did at building up the character. It also gave way for an amazing performance by Kingsley. Unfortunately, after the dust settled we were left with the underwhelming villain of Killian. Once you moved past the clever cloaking device of the Mandarin, his master plan didn't make a lick of sense.
Super Saiyan Potts
Peter Parker 1.0
Analysis: Fans had mixed reactions on Pepper Potts storyline in this movie. Some liked the idea of giving the character her own mini-arc as a powerful character. Others, thought it was completely out of place and took away from the story. In a movie that took a lot of risks, this was probably one that could have been taken out to help improve the overall flow of the movie. Luckily, we were blessed with the amazing character of Harley Keener to help make up for this.
Analysis: The ending battle is great in theory. The idea of Tony rolling up to battle with a huge army of customized suits as he faces off against an army of scientifically advanced soldiers is worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, watching this go down on the big screen was a bit underwhelming. Instead of sitting back and enjoying the action, fans were too distracted by the underwhelming portrayal of the "Real Mandarin" and the unnecessary subplot of Pepper.
Analysis: Shane Black has a very unique style, which could best be described as unpredictable. This helped break this film out of the safe MCU mold of previous films. There are so many hilarious one-liners that sneak up on you every time you rewatch it. This comedic writing helps make up for some of the ups and downs of the overall plot and reminds you just to sit back and have a good time.
Everybody loves some good old fashion revenge
Analysis: The biggest downfall of the previous solo MCU films released leading up to this movie was that they were too safe. Iron Man 3 does not fit into that category. They went for it in a lot of different ways. Some of these approaches stuck the landing, while others fell flat on their face.
This is probably the toughest film to review at this stage in the franchise, because everything it built towards was immediately striped away five seconds into Age of Ultron. If you view it as just another piece in the overall MCU franchise, it will most likely feel like an outlier. If you view it as the ending chapter in the Iron Man trilogy, it actually works really well for the character.
Image Credits: Disney