Well I still think there could be "A" Mandarin out there somewhere all pissed off that this no socks wearing Don Johnson wannabe was using his name and likeness and he's just waiting for a chance to go all alien ring on someone's ass.
But I liked it - it was a good merging of the Extemis storyline and a good wrap up to the Iron Man trilogy. I'm SURE part of the reason behind it all was in case RDJr didn't re-up for any future movies, they had a good 'out' for him that felt satisfying. Plus I think in some ways it also helps make his full time move to New York work a bit better too - really the last time Tony Stark lived in Malibu was the early 90s and then he moved back to NYC until shortly after the whole Heroes Return thing and he moved to Seattle but always wound up hanging around NYC - granted that was the first time they introduced Stark Tower - and then later they just made it the epicenter of everything Tony Stark.
But anyway... I watched it twice already and I enjoyed it as much as I did. I think you can appreciate it more after you've watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the last movie RDJr did with Shane Black. I know a lot people were miffed that Tony spent a lot less time in the suit - but I think the finale sort of compensated (overcompensated) for that - plus I'm one of those Iron Man fans that think some of the best stories were the ones were Tony didn't have the Iron Man readily accessible or he had a half working suit and had to cobble something together until he could get a fresh suit or properly repair it. The Iron Legion notwithstanding - it did feel like a 60s era story with modern elements. Basically Tony with nothing but barely functional prototype armor that he has to make do with until the bad guy is beaten or until the plot lets him have something that works. And I'm honestly kinda glad that it wasn't Tony in a fully functional Iron Man that took down the big bad, posing for the camera and going 'wow that was a rough fight. Now Pepper, let's get home. Oh yeah we don't have a home. New York?" and flying off with Pepper in his arms or something equally cheesy.
I'm also glad they did away with the dependency on the arc reactor in his chest. I think once you can make a suit that Rhodey can wear without having a reactor drilled into his chest cavity - you pretty much make keeping the round glowy thing obsolete. Plus it had the desired effect - the Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man 3 is a totally different man than the Tony Stark he was even at the end of Iron Man 1.
The ONLY thing that miffed me - that they killed off Maya Hansen. Sure she only recently was killed in the comics - but she was still around for a while. Ah well.
I do hope they bring back War Machine in Avengers 2 - even if its only a cameo and in a suit that looks more like the 'War Machine Mark 2' or something closer to his Mark 1.
One thing that does sort of... make me wonder and it may just be different angles or something but - did they change the main Stark Industries building in this movie from what it was Iron Man 1 and 2? Just looks different