Disclaimer: I am a Marvel Fanboy.
Iron Man 3 is definitely the way I would want to end the franchise, if they’re going to end it. Everything is brought together, all the loose threads are brought together and the main character comes away a lot better than when he went into the movie (in fact, the opening takes place before the first Iron Man movie to give us a look at what Tony was before his changes). I even like the idea that they refer to the Avengers movie, showing that there is continuity even in between movies. I am not going to give away plot points for this movie, but I will remark about the one thing I like about the current crop of Marvel films and even the Rami Spider-Man films.
As gifted and as talented as the heroes are – they’re still people at the end of the day. Horribly flawed people that can manage to go past that and do great things. As much as I like this line – he’s also an alcoholic narcissist on borrowed time. Captain America isn’t just The First Avenger – he’s a man out of place in every way possible. Spider-Man? Wow, are his therapy bills going to be enormous. Yet, as much as hubris seems to be a mindset for a lot of these characters, they manage to get their minds right in time to save the day. While this isn’t strictly the purview of Marvel – I am fairly certain if we had our parents gunned down right before our childish eyes the last thing we would do is transform ourselves into this. More than likely, we’d grieve and go on our way with which ever aunt or uncle is going to raise us.
What I like more about the Iron Man series, and particularly the way the series ended (thus far) is that we got to see Tony Stark become transformed into a hero almost unknowingly. Captain America asked for it, but he had to earn it. Spider-Man didn’t want it, but took it because of his uncle. Thor was born into it and it was expected of him. Tony? Didn’t want, didn’t seek it out and her inheritance wasn’t bound up in it, but when the call was made – he took it up with only a couple of hesitations. Unlike all the others, he still had a lot of issues accepting the mantle – which is something we don’t see a lot of other heroes do. We don’t see Batman (in his Dark Knight incarnation) standing in front of the window shivering from a panic attack about how close Bane came to killing him. We don’t see Captain America having a quiet crisis of survivor’s guilt if he watches Saving Private Ryan. While some people would say that stoic fearlessness is the hallmark of a hero, I would disagree. The hallmark of a hero is seeing a situation where one’s death is almost certainly guaranteed… and plunging headlong into it even though that person is scared beyond his wits. That’s what makes Tony Stark a hero in The Avengers and what makes him a bigger hero in Iron Man 3.
Go see the movie, and wait for the after-credit scene. It’s hilarious.