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Why Iron Man 3 Is a Great Christmas Movie

Iron Man 3 is the seventh entry within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the primary film in Marvel’s Phase 2. The film had loads of expectations when it was first launched, being the third entry within the fashionable Iron Man movie franchise but additionally being a direct follow-up to the large hit of The Avengers, which redefined the superhero style. While the kick-off film for the summer season of 2013, Iron Man 3 was notably a Christmastime movie.


Before Iron Man 3, the one different superhero film set at Christmastime was the infinitely darker Batman Returns, which was launched 19 years prior. In the years since, superhero Christmas adventures have turn into extra commonplace, with Shazam!, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and each Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Wonder Woman 1984 concluding at Christmas. The MCU has explored Christmas once more within the Disney+ collection Hawkeye and the current particular presentation, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Yet even in spite of everything these releases, Iron Man 3 nonetheless stands proud from the pack and stays an incredible Christmas film. Here is what makes Iron Man 3 an incredible decide for the Christmas season.

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Iron Man 3 Is a Shane Black Movie

Marvel Studios

Iron Man 3 is written and directed by Shane Black, and one hallmark of the prolific screenwriter-turned-director is that his movies are typically set at Christmastime. His screenplays for Lethal Weapon and The Long Kiss Goodnight, in addition to his directorial function movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which starred Robert Downey Jr. in certainly one of his first massive comeback roles), all happen throughout the Christmas season, and the director makes use of the vacation setting as a distinction for his characters.

Related: Why the MCU Is So Often Set During Christmas

The protagonists of Shane Black films are typically lonely people coping with some type of melancholy, and Black makes use of the Christmas setting to spotlight that loneliness. When everyone seems to be gathered collectively, his characters really feel extra alone than ever. Yet by the tip of the movie, they discover some semblance of goal and household throughout the holidays, and Iron Man 3 isn’t any completely different.

Throughout the movie, Tony Stark is dealing with PTSD following The Avengers and his personal sense of inadequacy in a world full of superhumans. He has bother sleeping and has buried himself in his work. Yet throughout the Yuletide season with the assistance of his good friend Rhody, A.I. Jarvis, new baby confidant Harley Keener, and romantic companion Pepper Potts Tony finds his goal as soon as extra.

Different Type of Christmas Aesthetics

Iron Man 3 Christmas
Marvel Studios

When most individuals they consider Christmas, they have an inclination to think about sure photos: rural settings and snow, sometimes related to a white Christmas. When it does revolve round a metropolis, it sometimes is New York, as the town has turn into linked to the vacation season (and the MCU has taken benefit of this with different Christmas programming like Hawkeye). Yet Iron Man 3 steers into a distinct set of vacation aesthetics.

The movie’s two major areas are California and Florida, two coastal states generally related to solar and seashores versus snow and forest. This means they embrace a Christmas aesthetic in a non-traditional manner. There are nonetheless Christmas lights and decorations, however it’s not the everyday backdrop to those photos. This juxtaposition, in a film that’s set at Christmas however does not really feel like Christmas, highlights Tony Stark’s isolation and virtually makes him a superhero model of Charlie Brown.

While the movie’s second act does function a outstanding scene in Tennessee and provides audiences the snow they anticipate from a vacation film, it does spotlight the distinction of the Christmas areas for a majority of the film. It breaks away from the conventions of what Christmas could be, to point out that Christmas has many alternative seems throughout the nation. Much like Tony Stark and Iron Man, it is not the outward look that makes the vacation however as an alternative what’s inside that counts.

Draws From a Rich History of Christmas Stories

A scene from Iron Man 3
Marvel Studios

Iron Man 3 on the floor is perhaps a narrative about Tony Stark going through off in opposition to The Mandarin, and that definitely is what the trailers offered to the viewers. Yet most of the movie’s dramatic beats are drawn closely from different Christmas classics. Most notably, the primary risk of the movie is a ghost from Tony Stark’s previous, a results of his personal previous egocentric transgressions, drawing a parallel to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Those previous regrets additionally draw a parallel to Tony Stark and George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. Tony even quips that one of many children seems like Ralphie in A Christmas Story (Ralphie’s actor, Peter Billingsley, appeared as William within the first Iron Man and would later reappear within the MCU’s Spider-Man: Far From Home).

Related: Underrated Christmas Movies You Should Watch

Iron Man 3 even attracts similarities to different motion movies set at Christmastime that many have debated about being Christmas movies. The comparisons to Lethal Weapon are apparent, given Shane Black’s involvement, however the film additionally has a lot in widespread with Die Hard. Tony Stark ultimately finds himself needing to outlive and face off in opposition to a bunch of enemies as only a regular man. He does not have any superpowers and even his high-tech swimsuit, so he must depend on his wit and ingenuity identical to John McClane.

An Ending Marks a New Beginning

Iron Man 3 suit
Marvel Studios

Christmas arrives on the finish of the yr, and alongside New Year’s Eve makes for the ultimate vacation of the yr and tends to mark a time of reflection. It is in some ways an finish of the yr celebration, with the hopeful promise of one thing new on the horizon. It is price noting that Iron Man 3 begins with a prologue at New Year’s Eve and primarily takes place throughout Christmastime, tying into the concept of endings and new beginnings.

In a metatextual studying, that’s precisely what Iron Man 3 was for the MCU. It was the kick-off movie of Marvel’s Phase 2 and opened up an entire new world of storytelling following each hero after the occasions of The Avengers. Yet it additionally marked an endpoint for the franchise. This was the ultimate Iron Man solo movie, and whereas the character would nonetheless seem in three extra Avengers films, Captain America: Civil War, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, this marked the ultimate time Tony Stark could be the lead in his personal solo movie.

Iron Man kicked off the MCU, and Iron Man 3 marked the ending of 1 period and initiated one other. Yet even with Iron Man over, Marvel elevated established franchises like Thor and Captain America and launched entire new blockbuster collection like Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. Iron Man 3 was an ending, but additionally the mark of a brand new starting for the MCU, and that is without doubt one of the many components of Christmas that the film embraces to turn into a vacation favourite.

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