This is a hard one to write an opening to. I could talk about how Iron Man 3 is now one of the highest grossing films of all time, taking in well over a billion smackeroos. I could prattle on about my view of the film and how I feel that jives with box office totals, or predict how Tony's journey through the film could have lasting consequences for the future of the MCU. I'm not going to do any of that, because I'd prefer to not think too hard about the movie at all. It'll be better for me that way. Instead, a novel idea...
Let's take a look at the set!
This might just be the least accurate movie tie-in set that LEGO has ever created. CONGRATULATIONS GUYS! I mean gorram, this almost feels like one of those toys you buy in another country where they just don't get (or care maybe?) what it is they're selling. Like the Superman on a dinosaur or the Thomas the Tank Engine/Voltron mash up. For the record, those are awesome and I want the Thomas one... just... so bad. This is a different kind of bad and it made me really want to get a peek at some of the earlier script writes, but then I did and I just felt dirty. If you haven't seen the movie yet stop reading now as it'll get a bit spoilery until I give you the safe word. Issue #1, War Machine does not appear in this film as War Machine, because he's been repainted as the Iron Patriot which I want the figure of... just... SO BAD. Issue #2, Tony Doesn't even wear this suit when he fights Killian. The suit is there, but Tony doesn't wear it past his escape from Chez Trevor. Issue #3, the only boat that appears does technically belong to the Ten Rings organization or AIM or whatever, but it's just a little recreational boat Tony and Rhodey steal from Trevor. So basically, like the Ultimate Breakdown before it, this set fails on every level as an adaption from the film. Unlike that little stinker of a set, this one has a lot of redeeming qualities, so let's move on from the ridiculous level of inaccuracies and get to the good stuff.
Oh by the way, the safe word was banana. So, Banana.
Honestly, you could really just buy this set and the Ultimate Letdown and be done with it if you just want a good selection of figs. The Malibu Stacy set has no new armour, a throwaway soldier and a variant of a character that became a literal throwaway through the course of the film. Of course, if you are a completest you'll want it for those, Pepper and Tony. I certainly wouldn't deny that desire, but you can really get the best of the bunch here and add on the little set to remain on a tighter budget.
We get the same Mark 42 suit from the largest set and I really don't like this suit, but I like the minifigure version a bit more. The details on the torso portray the prehensile, segmented style of the Mark 42 very well, but that aesthetic doesn't carry down into the legs which highlight the now standard (though different between models) thigh armour plate and toe. Aldrich Killian's figure is a hot mess really (wink), but it's still neat that the head glows. The suit comes off very Miami Vice and the light/dark combo don't look very good when printed, but it is fairly accurate to his beach suit from later in the film. I wish they'd used the suit he had when he visited Pepper earlier, or better yet that he hadn't dressed like a tool in the movie I suppose. They should have used a tan or dark tan hairpiece as well, but that may not have stood out against the glowing head and suit. The angry dragon face is sweet and I think it is very useful. I've already been playing around with it on other figures and it's great, but it makes me want to get all the Ninjago elemental faces now...
War Machine is probably my favourite figure of the line. I've always liked him more than Iron Man because Rhodey was the hero Tony aspired to be/fell into being. Also, black can be very slimming. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch IM2 again to check the figure against the film, but there's no point because this version of the character is basically a repaint of the exclusive Iron Patriot figure. Which is kind of cool really because it makes it unique and I think that adds something to the set. It's obviously War Machine, but like with any of the armours it is enhanced by the differences. Unlike Tony's suits though, the War Machine armour usually gets replaced or upgraded so this would be the natural evolution of the movie suit between the two films instead of a different addition to his wardrobe. The details are great, but I don't know why they didn't use a dark grey clip and saber hilt for their approximation of his gun. I'm cool with the way they handled his weapon though, because I don't think it's worth a new piece and this is more like his traditional gun instead of the one they recycled from Johnny 5 for IM3.
On to the meat of the set, the boat of the Ten Rings. I've already mentioned that this set has nothing in common with the movie, so I can't compare it to the film and that's a big plus for the set too. This is a fun little boat and the kooky design really grew on me. I guess it's supposed to be a generic speed boat design and it captures the basic shape of the vessels. The use of the very popular rounded canopy on the nose makes it a bit too round, but it still looks pretty cool and I'm thankful they used it here because now it comes in dark green. Extra points for the hinged windshield providing a more streamlined profile, however slight it may be. I'm really enjoying this less traditional building trend that has evolved. It really is the little things.
On that note, it's a sweet little parts pack and I appreciate the fact that they colour co-ordinated vehicles in this line like they did with the Avengers sets last year. Even if it was absolutely pointless to the film, it makes a nice little collection for those foolish enough to want all three sets... like me.
There are two play features in this watercraft, assuming you don't count sliding it around on the carpet because I don't (I got rid of all my carpeting). The first is basic and lame. The "hood" of the boat, or the upper bow, pops off to allow you to hide a minifig. They illustrate this by hiding dynamite or having Killian pop up to get the drop on the Iron Men... because it's likely he would do that on his own boat. From my observations, hiding figures in whatever nook or cranny they can seems to be a big hit with kids, so it's one of those times that I need to remind myself that I am not the target demographic.
The other play feature is standard fare, but I enjoyed both the execution and the results. Flick-fire missiles are a real sore spot for some it seems and I will agree that on some sets they just don't fit. More accurately I could say they are bafflingly stupid in some sets, but simple vehicles like this make sense and when some thought is put into their inclusion and deployment, even better. I was impressed by the launcher that uses hinges and slopes to fire the pins at an arcing angle that works great with the launching mechanism. On that subject, bravo again! I've seen many a pin launcher that subtracts the need to actually press the flick-fires yourself and while some have been decent, most have been pretty terrible. This one gives you a satisfying pop and sends them flying at a fair clip, while allowing you to fire the two levers individually or at once for maximum imaginary destruction.
But wait, there's more... for some reason. Remember the scene with the exploding buoy? Of course you don't because it's just one more thing that seems put there to leave you wondering if Marvel was just messing with LEGO when they described how the scene would go down. As I said it explodes and you can set a figure on one side of the teeter totter and send them flying along with the top of the buoy. I assume the sticker is the initials of the builder and their birth year as we've seen in recent sets and kudos to them, because otherwise it's a useless bit except for parts.
What I Liked:
- The boat is generally well constructed, fun to play with and an alright parts pack.
- Most inaccurate licensed set ever!
- War Machine. Nuff said.
What I didn't Like:
- The Killian figure looks off, but is useful in pieces.
- Most inaccurate licensed set ever!
- The buoy is un necessary, but at least it keeps with the nautical theme.
Vedict: If you only buy one IM3 set this summer, you should make it this one. Reasonable price, relatively fun little set with a good fig assortment. It isn't just the most not accurate set, it's the least worst set of the range. Double whammy. The movie left a lot of unanswered questions that RDJ's contract renewal for Avengers 2 & 3 may or may not leave room to answer, but if you use your imagination with these sets you'll probably come up with some crazy crap to plug up all those plot holes.
Buy 76006 Iron Man: Extremis Sea Port Battle from LEGO Shop@Home:
Or grab it on Amazon at a whopping 10% off. Bam!