I'm shocked at how good this was. Not quite Avengers good, but certainly the best of the three Iron Man films. The action scenes were phenomenal, especially the one with the different suits.
My only gripe was the Mandarin. I've enjoyed him as a foil for Tony over the years and I really did not like how he was portrayed here. No offense to Ben Kingsley, who did his best with what he was given, but that was not the Mandarin I've known for three decades. The Mandarin I know would have used Fin Fang Foom to kick Iron Man's ass, but there was no giant dragon to be seen. There was a good, rewritten Extremis storyline, which gave Warren Ellis an nice fat paycheck though.
I'm gonna say this was the best solo Marvel film to date.
Definitely the best solo movie so far. What I liked is that it isn't a rehash of any of the previous two movies. Instead of what the trailers looked like at times, this is not a movie about the latest & greatest armors. It's a movie about Tony Stark and how HE is the heroic character and not the suit.
I had the reverse with the Mandarin. The twists they gave to the character were unique. At first I thought he'd be very cliche like. Not the type that uses a dragon but the realistic "OMG! Terrorist warlord proto-type" type. But they managed to make him unique and stand out.
To answer what will surely be an FAQ: "YES, there is a post-credits scene" and you'll probably like it.
I wasn't disappointed with Kingsley as the Mandarin at all, but a little let down with the direction they went with the character. I'd say it's a bit of a retcon as if affects the "10 Rings" guys from the first movie.
The plot's more like something from James Bond, but it worked well. I liked that Stark wasn't able to lock himself off inside his man-cave and whip up a solution.
Also glad that "Iron Patriot" wasn't the focal point of the plot. I cringed at seeing another finale featuring Iron Man against another "anti-Iron Man armor" and was pleased when that was not the case.
If Iron Man was a series, this would be "Best. Episode. Ever". I liked that it felt like an episode and is part of the greater Marvel Movie U.