On Tuesday 26 March 2013, Total Film was lucky enough to attend an exclusive sneak preview of 20 minutes of footage from Iron Man 3.
And they weren’t just any 20 minutes. The focus of the screening was the huge action set-piece in which Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) cliff-side Malibu mansion comes under fire from a squadron of missile-packing helicopters.
Naturally, ginormous spoilers that can’t be unseen will follow, so be warned before you read the 10 essential things we learned from the Iron Man 3 footage screening…
1. Maya Hansen isn’t your typical movie scientist
The scene begins with Rebecca Hall’s Maya Hansen arriving at Tony Stark’s Malibu pad, just as Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is trying to convince the genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist to take a break (and go into hiding).
By casting Hall, director Shane Black could have gone with a poshly spoken, haughty take on Hansen, but instead, she’s laidback, sporting sneakers and a skirt, with glasses and a lab coat nowhere to be seen. Oh, and it seems she has a bit of history with Stark. Well, one night’s worth of history anyway.
2. Tony Stark’s Christmas gifts are flamboyant
Nestled in the nook of Stark’s impressive staircase, the focal point of the glass-panelled lounge is the MAHOOSIVE bunny that Stark has bought Potts for Christmas.
As the scene plays out, and the Stark residence falls crumbling into the ocean, things don’t work out too well for the big stuffed toy.
3. Happy Hogan has been hospitalised
It’s only mentioned in passing, with no time spared for added detail, but we learn early on in the scene that Stark’s chauffeur and bodyguard, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) has been hospitalised.
How, when, why and how badly Hogan was hurt remains to be seen, but post-Avengers, it seems the stakes have been raised. After Agent Coulson’s death, is any Marvel regular expendable?
4. Pepper Potts does get to wear the Iron Man armour
We spotted it in our close-up look at the LEGO set, and it has since been revealed in spoilery TV spots, but Pepper Potts does get to don an Iron Man suit in Part 3.
As the impact from the first missile tears through the mansion, Stark’s first instinct is to save Pepper. Through the new suit's snazzy nanotech, Stark commands the various elements of his suit to clatter towards her and clamp themselves onto her body.
After being given a moment in the spotlight to save Tony, a suited Potts escorts Hansen outside to safety. Only once Jarvis assures Stark of Potts’ safety does he take the suit back for himself.
5. The Iron Man gloves can function independently from the suit
Stark (now in the Iron Man armour) is dragged underwater by a not inconsiderable chunk of debris (formerly his living space).
Crushed against the ocean floor, lights going out, power failing, Stark saves himself by removing an Iron Glove and instructing it to save him. It grabs his hand and pulls him to safety, before he’s able to power up the suit and fly away again.
6. Tony Stark crashlands five miles outside of Tennessee
That scene in the trailer when Tony Stark’s dragging a tattered shell of an Iron Man suit behind him in the snow? That’s after he escaped from the Malibu showdown, and after a bumpy landing, JARVIS informs him that he’s five miles outside of Tennessee.
Cold, battered and bleeding, Stark drags the remains of the suit behind him as he seeks out a makeshift workshop. Along the way he steals a poncho from a statue of a Native American, and calls Potts to leave her a voicemail message (the ‘”I’ve got a lot of apologies to make…” speech from the trailer, delivered with less of an intense sense of foreboding in this cut).
7. Stark is presumed dead…
Stark holes up in a cabin to get to work on rebuilding the Iron Man suit, and has a run-in with a young kid (a little hackneyed perhaps, but nowhere as cringey as it sounds).
He fires off a wishlist of gadgets he wants the kid to retrieve for him, and when the young’un twigs who his new houseguest is, he shows him a newspaper, which is running a front page story on Stark’s presumed deadness after the Malibu incident (why the kid didn't recognise him before he saw the Iron Man suit is beyond us).
8. ...But his enemies know better
In the following scene, we see Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) on the phone to an unseen co-conspirator, confirming that he was behind the attack on Stark’s mansion.
As his mercenaries were unable to recover a body, he’s aware that the reports in the paper are ill-informed. And, as the end of this sequence reveals, he’s involved in a much bigger grandplan of villainy…
9. Aldrich Killian is in league with The Mandarin
Killian’s phone conversation takes place as he strolls through a sprawling house that’s doubling as an evil hideout. As the scene comes to a close, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is welcomed into the house, and takes a seat in front of a camera set-up, ready to make a terrorist address.
We already knew that Killian was publicly at war with Stark, but it seems he’s a key component in The Mandarin’s network. We’ve already theorised about Killian’s place in the plot here and here, but it looks like he’s more significant than we previously thought…
10. It will be funny
Despite all of the ominous overtones and scenes of mass destruction, the main thing we took away from the screening was the fact that Iron Man 3 will actually be funny. Very funny.
The early trailers led naysayers to believe that Iron Man 3 was ‘going dark’ in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.
Suffice to say, the footage we saw was packed with Stark’s trademark quippage: from his banter with Potts and Hansen inside his (pre-destruction) home, to his searing putdown of the kid in the cabin (“Dads leave - there’s no need to be a pussy about it…”). The result? There were more gags than explosions. Just.
Iron Man 3 opens in the UK on 25 April 2013.
Is Iron Man 3 your most anticipated film of summer 2013? Tell us below…