Robert Downey Jr.
When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
Tony, Robert Downey Jr., is suffering some serious PTSD after the events of The Avengers. He was already in a bad place, but all that went down was just too much and he’s starting to have bad anxiety attacks. He can’t sleep, he’s just burying himself in his work building multiple Iron Man suits. Showing some really healthy growth Tony actually reaches out to Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, and tells her what he’s going through. Her response, to have sex with him in the shower, and then get mad when one of his suits comes into their bedroom and pulls her off of him.
Your man is finally reaching out for help and that’s how you react? Opinion of Pepper is at an all-time low after that.
Being Tony he makes some supremely bad decisions by giving out his home address to a terrorist. Happy, Jon Favreau, ends up getting blown up, which is nothing less than he deserves. Dude is so creepy and gross. Anyway, Tony’s house is destroyed, Pepper is kidnapped, and Tony takes a road trip.
Best part of the movie was Iron Patriot, Don Cheadle, saving the president. It was a great action scene and gave him a chance to shine. The rest of the action was supremely disappointing. You had forty some Iron Man suits fighting but you could hardly make out what the hell was going on because of the editing.
The first half of the movie was on par with the rest of the series. It showed some growth on Tony’s part, it was as good as the other Iron Man movies, but they completely shit the bed with the last third.
Pepper is injected with a substance that allows her to heal wounds that shouldn’t be healed, up to and including re-growing a limb, but it has the nasty side effect of making you get really hot and potentially blow up. Because of this new drug she’s able to survive a fall that should have killed her and when she comes back from the dead she flips in the air, kicks something, and eventually punches a hole in Guy Pearce’s chest or something. It was so out of character it actually had her saying she had no idea why she just did that. All of the women in the Marvel universe are kickass, as much as I dislike Pepper’s character, it’s fine for her not to be an ass kicker and giving her that moment felt insulting to the character.
For Tony’s Christmas present to Pepper he blows up his remaining Iron Man suits, but he’s not giving up being Iron Man, he’s just stepping back. The end credits scene has him talking to Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo, like he’s a therapist and Bruce telling him he doesn’t have the temperament for this kind of work.
I feel like it was a lost opportunity to show a male superhero seeking professional help with a serious condition by not showing him taking the whole thing seriously. Throughout the movie he talks about how much he’s grown, and he did take that step and reach out to Pepper, but for the most part he has not changed at all. Seeing him speaking to an actual doctor that could help him could have helped the perception of mental health in the country and would have been a blow to toxic masculinity.
Iron Man 3 left a lot to be desired. It didn’t do the characters justice and felt like a sour note to end his solo arc on. Tony may not be my favorite character, but he deserved better.