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REVIEW: IRON MAN 3 MARVEL LEGENDS MARK 42 IRON MAN
By Thomas Wheeler

I have nothing against 4" scale action figures. I very much enjoy G.I. Joe, I like Star Wars, and there are quite a number of Marvel Universe figures that I'm glad to have. These are all excellent action figures that have found an honored place in my collection.

But -- maybe I've been spoiled by Mattel's DC Universe line or something, but somehow -- I just prefer my super-heroes a little bigger.

As such, when I discovered that there was a 6" scale, Marvel Legends-type line of figures based on the IRON MAN 3 movie, and that it included a figure of IRON MAN in his MARK 42 armor right from the movie, well, of course I knew I had to have it.

Oddly enough, there is no Iron Man Mark 42 in the standard Iron Man 3 line of 4" action figures. There is a Mark 42 in the "Assemblers" line, so it is possible to get this particular version of Iron Man in the 4" scale size, but -- somehow, I just don't feel like putting together my own action figures if I can help it. It's the same reason I bought Gundam action figures when they were available in the United States, but never much went in for the model kits.

Anyway, back to the Marvel Legends scaled version of the IRON MAN MARK 42 from IRON MAN 3. Let's consider the movie first, and then have a look at the action figure.

Iron Man 3 is the third movie featuring the Armored Avenger, taking place in what has become officially known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie once again stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. The movie is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Shane Black, with a screenplay by Drew Pearce and Shane Black.

In the movie, Tony Stark recalls a New Year's Eve party in 1999 with scientist Maya Hansen, inventor of Extremis - an experimental regenerative treatment intended to allow recovery from crippling injuries. Disabled scientist Aldrich Killian offers them a place in his company, Advanced Idea Mechanics, but is turned down.

Now, in the present day, Stark's experiences during the alien invasion of New York in the Avengers movie are giving him panic attacks. Restless, he has built multiple Iron Man suits, creating friction with his girlfriend Pepper Potts.

A string of bombings by the terrorist known as the Mandarin has left intelligence agencies bewildered by lack of forensic evidence. When Stark Industries security chief Happy Hogan is badly injured in one such attack, Stark overcomes his stupor and issues a televised threat to the Mandarin, who responds by destroying Stark's home with helicopter gunships.

Hansen, who had come to warn Stark, and Potts survive the attack. Stark then finds himself in rural Tennessee after his artificial intelligence JARVIS followed a flight plan from Stark's investigation into the Mandarin. Stark's experimental armor lacks sufficient power to return to California, and the world believes him dead.

Teaming with Harley, a local 10-year-old boy with an inventive streak of his own, Stark investigates the remains of a local explosion bearing the hallmarks of a Mandarin attack. He discovers the "bombings" were triggered by soldiers subjected to Extremis, which at this stage of development can cause certain subjects to explosively reject it. After veterans started exploding, their deaths were used to cover up Extremis' flaws by manufacturing a terrorist plot. Stark witnesses Extremis firsthand when Mandarin agents Ellen Brandt and Eric Savin attack him.

With Harley's help, Stark traces the Mandarin to Miami and infiltrates his headquarters using improvised weapons. Inside he discovers the Mandarin is actually a British actor, Trevor Slattery, who says that he is oblivious to the actions carried out in his name. The Mandarin is a creation of Killian, who appropriated Hansen's Extremis research as a cure for his own disability and expanded the program to include injured war veterans. After capturing Stark, Killian reveals he is the true Mandarin; he has kidnapped Potts and subjected her to Extremis to gain Stark's aid in fixing Extremis' flaws and thereby saving Pepper. Killian also kills Hansen when she has a change of heart about the plan.

Killian has additionally manipulated American intelligence agencies regarding the Mandarin's location, luring James Rhodes - the former War Machine, now re-branded as the Iron Patriot - into a trap to steal the armor. Stark escapes and reunites with Rhodes, discovering that Killian intends to attack President Ellis aboard Air Force One. Remotely controlling his Iron Man armor, Stark saves some surviving passengers and crew but cannot stop Killian from abducting Ellis. They trace Killian to an impounded oil-drilling platform where Killian intends to kill Ellis on live television. The vice president will become a puppet leader, following Killian's orders in exchange for Extremis to cure his daughter's disability.

On the platform, Stark goes to save Potts, and Rhodes saves the president. Stark summons each of his Iron Man suits, controlled remotely by JARVIS, to provide air support. Rhodes secures the president and leads him to safety, while Stark discovers Potts has survived the Extremis procedure. However, before he can save her, a rig collapses around them and she falls to her apparent death. Stark confronts Killian and traps him in an Iron Man suit that self-destructs, but fails to kill him. Potts, whose Extremis powers allowed her to survive her fall, intervenes and kills Killian.

After the battle, Stark orders JARVIS to destroy each Iron Man suit as a sign of his intention to devote more time to Potts. The vice president and Slattery are arrested. With Stark's help, Potts' Extremis effects are stabilized, and Stark undergoes surgery to remove the shrapnel embedded near his heart. He pitches his obsolete chest arc reactor into the sea, musing he will always be Iron Man.

In a present day post-credits scene, Stark wakes up Dr. Bruce Banner, who fell asleep listening at the beginning of Stark's story. And I barely recognized Mark Ruffalo, who really should've shaved and gotten a better haircut, even just for a cameo.

After the post-credits scene, a final line states "Tony Stark will return". Rather James Bond-ish there, don't you think?

A few thoughts about the movie, if I may. Although the movie has certainly been a box office hit, a number of people I have spoken to online tend to agree with my assessment -- too much Stark, not enough Iron Man. Okay, I get that the point of the movie is for Tony to learn that he can function as a hero without the armor. And he succeeds.

By the end of the movie, he's even had advanced surgery to remove the shrapnel from his heart that has required the technological implant in his chest that also aided in powering his armor. Fine and well. But the title of the movie series is Iron Man, not Tony Stark, and I think I and a fair number of other fans would've preferred to see a little more armored action and a little less emotional angst and whatever else.

That tag line "Tony Stark will return" with its James Bond riff is hardly inappropriate. Stark comes across like some sort of James Bond type character. With all due respect, when I go to a movie titled "Iron Man" -- I expect to see Iron Man, and a good bit more than this. Tony's claim at the end of the movie that he is still Iron Man -- apparently with or without armor -- just doesn't cut it.

Personally, I doubt that this was even Robert Downey Jr's, idea, to get his face on the screen more. It just seemed to be the main crux of the movie. It was still an enjoyable movie, but still...

The armor came across well, and that includes both Tony's latest as well as the Iron Patriot armor, the repainted War Machine armor, now known as the Iron Patriot, still worn by Tony's friend Jim Rhodes, in service to his country. But I still found some elements of the movie's ending rather, if not unsatisfying, then certainly a little disappointing. Several dozen perfectly serviceable suits of armor are self-destructed by Stark. That struck me as a waste. With the removal of the chest implant -- and good for Tony -- he seems to have little reason to build more armor, despite the claim at the end of the movie that he is still Iron Man. And whose idea was it to have his girlfriend be the one to do in the bad guy at the end!?

Of course, there's always the Avengers sequel, and given the box office take on this movie, I can't imagine there won't be an Iron Man 4, etc., but I'll be interested to see how they explain Stark's return to armor.

Anyway, enough on that. Just wanted to take an opportunity to express my views on the movie, but this is supposed to be an action figure review.

So, how's the figure? Absolutely outstanding. There's a number of figures in this Marvel Legends Iron Man 3 line, but several of them are repaints or reworkings of previous releases. I don't have a problem with that, really, but the Iron Man Mark 42 had to be, by definition, an entirely new figure, and Hasbro's designers and sculptors really knocked this one out of the park! It's an amazing figure.

One interesting observational note. It's actually a little taller than some of the other Iron Man Marvel Legends-scaled figures. Previous figures have typically been around 6-1/4" in height. The Iron Man Mark 42 figure is more like 6-5/8". At that scale, that's a fair difference. And on a distinct side note, the Iron Man Mark 42 blends in pretty well with Mattel's DC Universe figures -- assuming that armor is seriously form-fitting. I always wondered how Tony Stark would fare against Lex Luthor...

There's a lot more ridged and sculpted detail on this armor than on most previous armors. I think this is due to the fact that this armor is meant to be summoned remotely, and as such has to be broken down into smaller sections that can connect once they've secured themselves around Tony Stark. This detail has been rendered so effectively on the figure and with such precision that -- no insult intended towards any of the sculptors, this is strictly speculation on my part -- I wonder if the figure was mostly designed on computer, possibly even using some of the templates that were used for the CGI effects in the movie itself.

Iron Man's typical color scheme is red and gold, but it's a lot more scattered around on the Mark 42 than we're used to seeing. Traditionally, Iron Man has a red helmet with a gold faceplate, red torso, gloves, and boots, and gold arms and legs. I believe the percentage of gold is a bit higher than average on the Mark 42, and the color distribution is a lot more complicated.

About the only thing that's maintained in the traditional sense is the red helmet with the gold faceplate. Everything else is segmented between the colors to the point where I'm not even sure I can explain it sufficiently. The level of gold on the front of the torso has definitely increased, as has the amount of red on the arms and legs. But it really is just all over the place. To give you a good example, the thumbs and forefingers of the gloves are gold, while the rest of the fingers are red. Yeah, it's that complex.

There's a modicum of silver-gray trim here and there, mostly looking like it's part of the interlocking mechanisms that seal the armor into a single unit. This can be seen around the collar, abdomen, and knees especially.

Of course, Iron Man's arc reactor is present and accounted for, in a circle on the chest. The mouth slit of his helmet has been given a black detail line, and his eyes have been painted a bright blue with a black outline. I'm impressed with the precision of it, especially given that precision on imprinting the eyes was something of an issue with some of the 4" scale figures from the last Iron Man movie.

Really, the precision of the paint job overall is extremely impressive, and given how intricate this figure is, this can't have been an easy task. But the color differences line up exceptionally well with the various lines and ridges of the armor design itself. Hasbro's painters should be commended for their work on this figure.

Articulation is excellent. Iron Man Mark 42 is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, legs, upper leg swivels, knees, and ankles.

The figure doesn't come with any accessories of his own, but he does come with a "Build-A-Figure" part for the Iron Monger. You need to buy all six figures in the collection in order to complete this seventh figure. Based on the arm that came with the figure, I'd say that Iron Monger is likely a large and impressive item when fully assembled.

So, what's my final word? This is an extremely cool cinematically-inspired Iron Man figure, and I'm very glad to have him. He's well-made, sturdy, astoundingly well-detailed, and amazingly well-painted. Tony Stark can say, "I am Iron Man", but here is Iron Man, right from the Iron Man 3 movie. If you're looking for the most impressive representation of Iron Man from his latest solo movie, look no further. Here it is. You won't be disappointed.

The IRON MAN MARK 42 figure from the IRON MAN 3 MARVEL LEGENDS line definitely has my highest recommendation!