So, I have a friend who goes on the same forum as this guy whose brother cut together the Iron Man 3 trailer, and he gave me the scoop on the full plot synopsis for the movie.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
We open on a desert in somewhere un-America. There are some guys digging in some pyramids and a few guys waving a helicopter down. The helicopter lands and a musical cue happens as a robed figure (Richard Attenborough) exits the helicopter. He walks to the dig site and bends down.
“We found it this morning” says an Un-American, in a non-American language. Richard Attenborough reaches into the hole and opens a box. Inside the box is a ring, which he puts on his finger, the tenth finger. The other nine fingers already have rings on it, so we can assume that he’s been riding a shit ton of helicopters lately. His hand starts to glow and his face is revealed and two surprises happen at once. First, everyone discovers that it is Richard Attenborough, and second, nerds discover that it’s The Mandarin. The Mandarin whispers “Tony….Stark…..” to himself and then screams into the air.
The Iron Man 3 logo appears and some metallic guitar plays.
We cut to California, America, as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Sr.) is playing with some inventions and talking vaguely about The Avengers. Pepper Potts (Pepper Potts) comes down the stairs and asks him what he’s doing. They engage in witty banter and Tony alludes to some problems he’s been having. He keeps thinking about New York, so Pepper buys him a statue of the Empire State Building, and he can’t sleep, so Tony sees a doctor and gets some medication. After he does that, he starts to sleep well again. Then, Pepper and Tony make love, but before they do, they make sure that the bedside picture of Agent Coulson is facing away.
Meanwhile, Rhodes (War Machine/Denzel Washington) is all pissed off because he wasn’t invited to join The Avengers. Tony engages in some witty banter with him and makes a reference to Twitter so we all know he’s hip. Rhodes then updates his Twitter and looks longingly at the War Machine armor. Tony Stark says something about a man crush and they fist bump ‘cause they’re bros.
In the desert, in a secret fortress, the Mandarin is watching secret footage of Iron Man 2, and developing a plan. A henchman comes up and says “We have the prisoner!” The prisoner, with a bag over his head, is pushed forward and the bag is removed, revealing Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) who claims to not know anything. Rockwell is then beheaded by the Mandarin with a telekinetic glowing scythe that he can make with his hands, due to his new ring powers.
Some loud dubstep music fades in, and Tony Stark arrives to a party and says cool stuff to hot girls and Pepper is like “You dog” and then Tony says something witty to her and they smile. Then ACDC appears on stage and plays a song and Tony and Pepper dance to it, along with other rich couples. Then, a giant dragon shaped truck bursts through the floor and the Mandarin is on top of it.
He demands Pepper Potts to come with him, but Tony Stark tackles Richard Attenborough’s stunt double and they fight until the Mandarin beats him with a giant fist made of glowing energy. The Mandarin retreats and that night, Pepper and Tony go to sleep, thinking nothing of the awakened power or evil or heroes or whatever.
But Pepper wakes up, only to find an Iron Man suit gripping her arm. She screams and Tony gets in his own Iron Man armor and fights Iron Man 2 until Iron Man 2 is erased from memory. Rhodes bursts in with a gun and fires some rounds into the night sky and then helps Pepper up because she got knocked over in the fight. He gets a bit too handsy though and she pushes him away.
That morning, The Mandarin plays “Ride of the Valkyries” in some army helicopters and shoots missiles at Tony’s house, while saying some philosophical shit on a loudspeaker. The house explodes and Tony Stark (Guy Pearce) gets on his armor but he gets knocked underwater and when he emerges, he can’t find Pepper. Rhodes tells him that The Mandarin took her. Tony Stark says “We have to get her back.” And then a remix of Kanye West’s “Mercy” plays and Tony and Rhodes dress up in suits they had hidden in a special basement that only Tony and Paul Bettany’s voice knew about.
Tony and Rhodes fly to some un-American country and fight some dragons, including a big one that only geeks in the audience seem to care about. They then face down against the Mandarin, who says that he’ll soon rule the world. Tony Stark then says “Not on my watch” and shoulder tackles The Mandarin into a pit of lava.
He unties Pepper and they all start to walk away until they hear deep, maniacal laughter and turn around to see a giant lava Mandarin rising up out of the regular lava. Tony says “Oh boy” and he and Rhodes fight, but get beaten up until Pepper shows up in Iron Girl, a suit she made all by herself, and the three blast Lava Mandarin until he screams “Nooooo” and light starts to appear in holes in his body and he bursts. “Must have been something he ate” or something wittier Tony says, and then Rhodes attacks Tony.
Tony is flabbergasted by the betrayal, but Rhodes reveals that it was actually him who was in the Iron Man 2 armor, and that he’s loved Pepper this whole time. They fight and go high into the air but Rhodes says “I’ve had an upgrade” and he kicks Tony and Tony falls into the snow. Tony then gets up and makes a sled and starts to drag his armor until, feeling all pissed and defeated, he sees a vision of his father (Jeff Bridges), who tells him that an Iron Man needs an Iron Will. Tony then smiles and starts to rebuild the armor, setting up Iron Man 4.
After the credits, Nick Fury (Snakes On A Plane memes) is talking to Captain America (Matt Salinger) and they make coy allusions to an Avengers sequel.