Marvel kicked off its cinematic universe five years ago with the release of the original Iron Man. It seems hard to believe that in the half decade since, Marvel has given us five more movies in that universe, capped off by last summer’s The Avengers. The last five years have been nerdvana for those of us who love to see our favorite comic book heroes on the silver screen. This past weekend Marvel kicked off Phase Two of its cinematic universe with the release of Iron Man 3.
I was elated when I heard that Robert Downey, Jr. had been cast as Tony Stark. I knew that he was perfect for the role and would create interest in Iron Man beyond just nerds. He anchored Phase One of Marvel’s cinematic universe and kicks off Phase Two with a bang. I loved Iron Man 3 and can’t wait to see it again.
Below are some thoughts I had while watching Iron Man 3. Following my own etiquette, I’ll do my best to keep things spoiler-free, or at least warn you if they’re coming.
By far my favorite part about Iron Man 3 was the brokenness and humanity of Tony Stark. Coming off the experiences of The Avengers, Tony is struggling with his life and his reality. Seeing everything he saw in New York and flying a nuclear missile through a wormhole have shaken Tony’s confidence. He’s no longer the brash weapons developer or super hero; he’s a broken shell of himself trying to keep it together. Perhaps this was my favorite part of the movie because I’ve been going through a season that resembles Tony’s. Even if I wasn’t though, it was still great to see so much more of the man in the iron and not just the super hero. Tony spends a lot of the movie out of the suit learning what it means to just be himself. We all need to realize our own brokenness and humanity because it’s only in that place that we can find perfection in God’s strength.
One of the movie’s characters, Aldrich Killian, is a geneticist and biologist interested in mapping the human genome and upgrading it. Even though an upgraded genome doesn’t really go that well for mutants like the X-Men, people in movies are still interested. When Killian looks at humanity he thinks it is incomplete and missing something important. Killian expresses a foundational truth: something is wrong with humanity. Like many other people throughout history, though, Killian looks to a solution other than Jesus. We all sense something is wrong with humanity and do many things to either fix it or ignore it. We look to any number of virtues or vices to solve our brokenness and make us feel less incomplete. Unfortunately no virtue or vice, regardless of potency, can heal our brokenness and make us complete. The scarred hands of Jesus can only mend our broken lives and we can only find completeness in the Son of God, savior of the world.
Like any good story relationships are central to Iron Man 3. I was able to identify with Tony better in this movie than in any other because of his brokenness and his relationships. We see Tony struggle to maintain his deepest relationships with Pepper, Rhodey and even Jarvis while also dealing with adoring fans who want Iron Man’s autograph. We also see the effects of broken and forgotten relationships, the ones that come back to haunt us. Relationships are an integral part of what it means to be human. It’s true for Tony Stark and it’s true for each of us. We all need a Pepper or a Rhodey in our lives, God created us that way. I also think we could all benefit from having a Jarvis in our lives; he’s like a much better version of Siri.
I thought Iron Man 3 was great and can’t wait for the next part of Phase 2: Thor: The Dark World. The Iron Man movies have always been great because of Robert Downey, Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark. However, I liked this performance best because we got much more man than iron.
What did you think about Iron Man 3?