GOTCHA LIST! I don’t have that many reasons. However, I AM pretty sure that Iron Man 3 is actually about the true meaning of Christmas. There are some spoilers but just think of it like finding your parents’ stash of presents a couple days before the actual day.
Fist things first: the tone of Marvel movies always amazes me. They’re basically comedies, but still taking the superhero genre seriously. I used to avoid them because, honestly, sometimes action scenes are similar to musical numbers and I get bored when the plot’s not advancing. There, gay community and bro community, I gave you something to talk about! Anyway, last year when the Avengers came out I just watched all of them in like two days because THEY’RE SO MUCH FUN. They’re also perfectly structured screenplays and dayum, do I love a good story structure! (I’m sorry, please keep reading) The point is, I will always see a Marvel movie in theaters.
“here goes another number”
Secondly… Guys, I love Christmas. People think I’m Jewish. And I tell them I’m 1/4th Jewish and 3/4ths Christmas. So, when Iron Man 3 was set during the “most wonderful time of the year,” I flipped out. I kept punching my friend saying “WHY IS THIS A CHRISTMAS MOVIE??” Full disclosure: I was not completely sober. I apologize to the guy who came alone to revel in superhero badassery happening on the screen and had to sit next to a girl stuffing momofuku cookies in her face and talking about Christmas. He’s probably my soulmate and I blew it. Oh well.
Shane Black sets a lot of his movies during Christmas. Slate actually wrote an article about the similarities between Iron Man 3 and A Christmas Carol. Black said, “I think it’s a sense of if you’re doing something on an interesting scale that involves an entire universe of characters, one way to unite them is to have them all undergo a common experience. There’s something at Christmas that unites everybody and it already sets a stage within the stage, that wherever you are, you’re experiencing this world together.” It’s an interesting point, and I would consider it lazy writing if it didn’t MAKE SO MUCH SENSE.
(author note: I actually think it’s pretty lazy.)
What is the true meaning of Christmas, you ask? According to Wikipedia: “to give up one’s very self — to think only of others — how to bring the greatest happiness to others — that is the true meaning of Christmas” Okay, so. Let’s unpack this. And try not to think about how selflessness is PROBABLY the theme of every single superhero movie.
Tony Stark has a material obsession at the beginning of this movie. He’s making like a billion versions of his lil adorable Iron Man suit. Uhh, does that sound familiar to you? HOW ABOUT SANTA’S WORKSHOP?? Stark is basically making TOYS. Granted, they’re all for himself, but he tinkers like nobody’s business.
And JARVIS (head elf??) continues to enable him, but we accept slavery when there’s magic involved. Also I’m sorry to people who really believe in the science of these movies, but I’m pretty sure all this technology is magic. Movie magic. OR, Christmas magic.
I’m not saying Tony Stark is Santa Claus, but Pepper Potts puts up with a lot of Tony’s shit. And like, come on. Doesn’t Mrs. Claus deal with the same thing? And I’m sure Santa gives Mrs. Claus random stuff to make up for having a toy obsession, like how Tony gave Pepper a giant bunny rabbit stuffed animal. While writing this, I realized that when Tony asked Pepper if she liked the rabbit, he meant the actual stuffed animal. At the time, I laughed because I thought he was making a vibrator reference. (SIDEBAR: Wouldn’t Tony Stark make the best vibrator?)
Moving on, the scariest part about the villain in Ironmas is that no one knows exactly what he wants. His name is the Mandarin and he’s Ben Kingsley so everyone’s just confused. But really, as a smart audience member, you realize that THE MANDARIN JUST WANTS TO RUIN CHRISTMAS. Like, there’s no huge destruction of the entire world or humanity or whatever, it’s all about making people have a shitty holiday season.
Note: holiday season. Remember, not everyone celebrates Christmas. We cannot forget about Jew Favreau (who also, I might add, directed ELF. Coincidence? Most definitely)
So he’s Pepper’s bodyguard and he sees some shady stuff happening. I can only imagine that Jewish people are extra suspicious of people around Christmas because they’re making up for the rest of us cheery assholes. Jew Favreau (aka Happy Hogan) is the real hero of this movie because he figures out what’s up from the BEGINNING, but then (spoiler) there’s an explosion and he’s in a coma.
Why did they choose to go a slightly racist route by making the evil dude be a white guy dressed in stereotypical Asian clothes? Because Jewish people go to Chinese restaurants on Christmas day. This is what makes Tony realize his call to duty. Happy is going to miss his Christmas Chinese dinner and Tony Stark needs to avenge him.
So obviously, the stakes are as simple as this: Tony Stark needs to save Christmas.
And I haven’t even brought up THE KID yet, who is another key character. Like in most Christmas movies, there’s an impressionable child who still believes.
And this boy has all these (spoiler) weird daddy abandonment issues. But shenanigans happen, Tony’s stuck in this small town, and THE KID is the only one in this town who can help him. And why do we only trust children in this world? Because duh, they really care about saving Christmas. Kids love Christmas more than anyone else.
HARLEY (ugh these names) gives Tony the best advice of all (spoiler): you’re a mechanic, make something. Tony just cobbles some shit together and it’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
And then Ben Kingsley NAILS IT as the ghost of Christmas present.
And Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian shows the FALSE meaning of Christmas. Which is GREED. Because he has this new technology, but it has some glitches. He just wants money! And he wants Pepper because he loves Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. Come on, Aldrich, Christmas is not about THINGS and POWER, it’s about making others HAPPY (HOGAN).
So in the end (spoiler, but why are you still reading if you care) Tony’s toys save the day BUT he realizes that he doesn’t need them after all – because what he really cares about is to give up on oneself — to only think of others — and how to bring the greatest happiness to others.
Also the kid gets AN ENTIRE GARAGE of new things from Tony because what’s Christmas without presents. Even a new potato gun, as the next Avenger is obviously POTATO BOY.
And Happy Hogan gets to watch Downton Abbey, so at least Jews have TV. (seriously, Iron Man 3 referenced Downton Abbey and I peed myself)
But the VP’s daughter is still gonna have a stub leg though, ain’t nothing gonna change that.
(author note #2: I am so, so sorry this exists.)