-I liked it! Not as much as IM, but more than IM2 (and I really like IM2). The pacing's better, even though I think you could cut like 20 minutes from this one and it'd be fine. Personally, I sort of think Shane Black should direct more RDJ movies, and not just because Shane Black is awesome.

-PS SHANE BLACK IS FUCKING AWESOME.

-Aldrich Killian is what Justin Hammer dreams about being, snug in his jail cell.

-Remember how we were freaked out that Sir Ben Kingsley was playing the Mandarin? Yeah no that makes perfect sense now. PERFECT.

-I would pay legit money for a Marvel spy movie, with no superpowers or armor, featuring Clint, Natasha (okay, so maybe *some* superpowers; depends on if we find out anything in CA2), and Rhodey. That would be so much better than a JLA movie, I cannot even tell you.

-Maya Hansen lost me the minute she helped Aldrich kidnap Pepper. Sorry, lady, but where Pepper Potts goes, so goes my nation.

-I didn't hate Harley! I was not even a little thrilled re: finding out Tony gets a spunky kid sidekick in this one for like half an hour, but you know what? The kid's pissy, he totally tries playing on Tony's emotions (and Tony doesn't fall for it--you guys, in this movie TONY STARK KIND OF CALLS A SMALL BOY A PUSSY, IT IS SO GOOD FOR ME), and he's really okay with Tony repaying his loyalty by bribery.

-GARY THE VAN TECH. His Hispanic Scott Baio/Tony Stark tattoo gets even better when you realize he's the guy getting that tattoo at the end of The Avengers.

(This whole movie is fantastic, Tony-wise. Not that I don't love Jon Favreau, but I think Shane Black just nailed it, having worked with RDJ before.)

-Happy is Tony's best friend! Happy really likes Downton Abbey! Personnel complaints have gone up 300% since he became Head of Security! BOLO TIE AND MULLET IN 1999, OKAY.

-Bill Sadler's the president! Miguel Ferrer's the vice-president! SURPRISE LINDEN ASHBY, THIS IS THE BEST Y'ALL.

-Seriously, just--the closing credits. THE CLOSING CREDITS. Everything in this movie just works, it's gorgeous and made me literally do chinhands in the theater and I REALLY LIKED THIS ONE, OKAY.

-I'm just going to assume, that since this is the MCU, that either Maya's work with Extremis or Killian's "advancements" were somehow related, even a little, to the Super Soldier Serum. Because everything links back to that shit, and it never, ever ends well. Also, this is why you don't make people super-soldiers, because they all go bugfuck like the Extremis goons seemed to.

-I don't think we need to talk about RDJ, do we? If he doesn't want to do any more (after Avengers 2), he won't; if he can be persuaded, PAY THE MAN WHATEVER HE WANTS. That's like losing Patrick Stewart as Professor X - at some point, a nerd performed a blood sacrifice to get the perfect Tony Stark, and BAM! RDJ happened. He is perfect.

-PEPPER POTTS, BE MY VALENTINE. Like--okay, I am not a Gwyneth Paltrow person, per se, but I love Pepper. She's been in Tony's corner since day one, exhausted and exasperated and furious and loving and caretaker of the best parts of him; he didn't save the world from Loki for his own sake, he did it for Pepper. She gets pissed at him when he does dumb shit or doesn't talk to her, she runs an entire goddamn company, and oh, guess what? IN THIS ONE SHE GETS GODDAMN SUPERPOWERS. Killian called her a trophy, and I think that's when he lost. And by "lost", I mean "PEPPER POTTS STRAIGHT KILLS HIS ASS." And then she looked startled because it was violent! And freaked out that maybe she would burn Tony! ("No, it's fine, I basically cured this in Switzerland, drunk, 13 years ago. We got this.")

I just--I'm going to assume, until or unless we otherwise AND OH WE'D BETTER NOT that Tony and Pepper are going to stay together, unmarried - in Tony's case, because marriage terrifies him; I think Pepper would be more twitchy about the media circus and trying to actually get Tony to remember to show up, it's not like she'd have committment issues - and possibly have a couple of kids, but not planned ones? And between Tony and Pepper and Rhodey and Happy and JARVIS and [spoiler], you could totally have a pretty great kid.

-I don't even hate Tony basically walking away from Iron Man at the end of this one, because A) it's not like he can't come back to it whenever, and B) the whole point of Tony Stark is that while Iron Man is Tony Stark, Tony Stark is a lot more than just Iron Man. Now he gets to be an engineer and a scientist more than a superhero, and he also has totally valid reasons for moving to Stark Tower in NY full-time. You know, because his house is gone.

-OH HEY LET'S TALK ABOUT THE STINGER FOR A SECOND. And how I think Tony's in New York, because the Malibu house got destroyed, and he's been talking for TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS about what happened to - drumroll, please - BRUCE MOTHERFUCKING BANNER?

(Also, this way the voiceover makes a lot more sense, since it's a story he's literally telling Bruce.)

(Also also, let's talk for a while about how Mark Ruffalo is rocking the Brothers Bloom look, which made me make a little noise in the theater.)

Bruce, who's in a suit that--he's in a suit! That is a jacket! He's relaxed enough to fall asleep around Tony! He looks okay, he doesn't look terrified or disheveled or on the run or - this is a Bruce who doesn't have to constantly be on the run from Thunderbolt Ross, this is a Bruce who's hanging out with his friend and reminding him that the "Doctor" in his name is not for a therapist, Tony.

"No training?"
"No temperament."

YOU GUYS THEY ARE JOKING ABOUT THE HULK. AND BRUCE IS GOING TO LISTEN TO THE WHOLE STORY ALL OVER AGAIN AND TRY TO STAY AWAKE THIS TIME. I just--UGH SCIENCE BROS FOREVER DON'T JUDGE ME.

(Also, I would like to formally request that if we ever make a Black Widow and/or another Hulk movie - either of them in Phase 3 - we try to get Shane Black again, because HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE.)

In conclusion: not the classic the first one was, but better than 2 - and again, I liked 2 - funny and mean and weirdly Christmas-themed, and beginning and ending cameos that made me tear up (YINSEN! BRUCE!): SEE IT.

(Not that you weren't going to, because by now you're in the MCU bag or you're not, but you don't have anything to worry about with this one. Phase 2 is off to a pretty good start.)
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