The movie opens up in a darkened laboratory. Two men are seen speaking with each other, with one man (referred to by the other as "Mr. Savin") saying that "all the pieces are in place." The other man says he is sending "Taggert" out. The man called Savin leaves. The other man is revealed as The Mandarin.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Tony Stark, as Iron Man, is rebuilding Stark Tower, and has been, for the most part, successful in doing so.
- Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man / Tony Stark
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia "Pepper" Potts
- Don Cheadle as Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine
- Guy Pearce as Dr. Aldrich Killian
- Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen
- James Badge Dale as Eric Savin
- Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
- Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin
- Ashley Hamilton as Jack Taggert / Firepower
- Wang Xueqi as Chen Lu
- Paul Bettany as JARVIS