Read this, too: A couple of Omaha guys built a real "Iron Man" suit.
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Tony Stark, a billionaire and technological visionary, is a high-tech knight in cutting-edge armor who cruises around the world to protect the innocent and fight alongside the Avengers as the invincible Iron Man.
Dubbed “the greatest human fighting machine,” Iron Man (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) is the central character in the “The Avengers” and the “Iron Man” films, including Friday's “Iron Man 3.”
Here's a primer on what you should know going into the movie:
He's fought terrorists and the Iron Monger (“Iron Man”), Whiplash and armored drones (“Iron Man 2”) and a Norse god with an alien army (“Avengers”) in seven different suits of armor. According to the film, Tony Stark created dozens more suits of armor between those films and “Iron Man 3.”
In the film, Iron Man wears a new armor, the MK XLII (Mark 42) suit, a set of 14 pieces that fly onto Stark's body. The MK XLII is controlled by chips implanted in Stark's body, which allows him to mentally control the armor.
IRON MAN'S ADVERSARIES
The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) first appeared as Iron Man's enemy in “Tales of Suspense” No. 50 in 1964, and he used 10 rings that granted alien superpowers in order to dominate battles. In the movie, he's a terrorist played by Ben Kingsley who does his best to stick it to Iron Man.
Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce)
Killian founded a technology company to rival Tony Stark's Stark Industries. He also developed the Extremis technology, which gives amazing powers to regular guys, and in “Iron Man 3,” Killian seems to be more than just a regular guy.
IRON MAN'S ALLY
Tony Stark's buddy, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle), donned an ultra-armed suit during “Iron Man 2” and became War Machine. In this movie, he gets a new, patriotic rebranding with red, white and blue to become the Iron Patriot.
Free Iron Man comics
Essential Reading: Iron Man
In “Iron Man 3,” the titular hero gets another suit of armor, battles the Mandarin and uses his various suits to do battle. The following comic book story lines, which are available in paperback, can give you some background on the story (and maybe some spoilers, too, so watch out).
“Extremis”: A six-issue story arc of “The Invincible Iron Man” comic series from 2006. It gives a new origin to Tony Stark and introduces a serum called Extremis used by Iron Man and the villains that give them extra powers. “Iron Man 3” is mostly based on this series.
“Armor Wars”: In the comics, Iron Man has dozens of armors and lots of enemies. In this late '80s story, he fights wave after wave of armored enemies.
“Demon” (Iron Man Vol. 9) & “Long Way Down” (Vol. 10): Mandarin teams up with another of Iron Man's enemies to destroy Iron Man as well as Tony Stark's businesses. Stark even considers quitting Iron Man.