Iron Man 3 continues the tale of Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) as Iron Man, tracing his evolution from cocky, wise-cracking selfish playboy to cocky, wise-cracking armor-wearing hero. With no origin story to bog it down, Iron Man 3 is free to be the ultimate superhero movie and easily the best in the series.
Kicking off “Phase 2” of Marvel’s cinematic universe after The Avengers, Iron Man 3 has a tricky balancing act to pull off: how to present Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) with enough of a threat to create the drama required for the third film in a series, but which doesn’t necessitate the assembling of the Avengers, now that Tony presumably has them on speed dial?
Tony Stark is back and this time he is up against two enemies, the Mandarin and himself. Following on from the timeline established after the events of The Avengers, we find Stark in a state of flux, struggling with the things that happened and suffering from it. Stark questions all that he has done, coming to the conclusion that Pepper Potts is the one thing he has in his life that keeps him going.