Director Shane Black reveals that he almost didn’t set Iron Man 3 at Christmas due to his well-known reputation for making holiday-themed movies.
Iron Man 3 director Shane Black reveals that he was initially against setting the MCU film at Christmas, which would have broken a career tradition. Released in 2013 as part of Phase 2, Iron Man 3 was the last solo movie for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. The MCU movie was met with mostly positive reviews from audiences and critics and boasted Black’s signature sense of humor, which was something of a departure from the previous two films. Iron Man 3 sees Stark face off against Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who has developed a nanotechnology that has given him extremely dangerous superpowers, all during the holiday season.
In keeping with previous films that he had either written or directed like Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 blends action with Christmas spirit in a unique way, but Black now reveals that he was initially against the idea. In a recent interview with Empire, the writer/ director explains that he was concerned about playing into his Christmas movie reputation too much with Iron Man 3, until co-writer Drew Pearce convinced him otherwise. Check out Black’s full comment below:
“I didn’t want Christmas to feel like a gimmick, or something that was predictable, or ostentatious on my part. It started out as fun, and as soon as people noticed it, it stopped being fun. But I acquiesced largely because of the Christmas Carol aspect of it. Tony loses his support, loses his base, he’s adrift in Mid-America. And he’s not going to be visited by ghosts, but he’s certainly going to be in the middle of a reckoning, or a reconciliation, where he has to take stock, figure out what’s troubling him, and how he’s going to continue. It worked out well for the ending. The coda is basically him at Christmas, giving a gift to his fiancee, and giving a gift to a little kid who helped him. And there’s a Christmas miracle when Jon Favreau’s character comes out of a coma. There’s something about it, where you can get dark and dark and dark, as harsh as you want, and then summon up a little Christmas, and it gives you that pleasant out that you’re looking for.”
Why The Christmas Setting Works So Well For Iron Man 3
In many ways, Iron Man 3 sees Tony at his darkest point, at least when it comes to the character’s solo MCU outings. The film explores Tony’s deteriorating relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) due to his obsession with building more armor suits after the Battle of New York in The Avengers and one of these suits eventually flies him to rural Tennessee. Separated from his technology and the people he cares about while still suffering the effects of PTSD, Iron Man 3 tests Tony like never before, highlighting the character’s loneliness during a time often associated with cheer and family. At the same time, the Christmas setting also helps to alleviate some of this darkness, serving as a constant reminder of hope even when things get bad.
The Christmas setting also works so well in Black’s film simply because it’s different from what had come before, not only in terms of the previous two Iron Man movies but the MCU in general. The setting sets the film apart, in many ways, and helps it to feel like a change of pace after Iron Man 2 proved a little more divisive among fans in 2010. Still, almost 10 years later, Black’s movie remains the only MCU feature film to really embrace the holiday. Spider-Man: No Way Home features a brief scene set during the Christmas season at the very end, which helps to highlight Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) lonely new life, but it’s not nearly as baked into the story as in Iron Man 3.
Marvel Should Make More Holiday-Themed Shows & Movies
There are now two notable Marvel Disney+ projects that heavily feature Christmas – Hawkeye and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special – and both have been met with very positive reviews. With lower stakes and more contained stories than typical MCU installments, both projects got to explore characters and themes in exciting and intimate ways. In addition to more MCU Disney+ shows and Marvel Special Presentations, the franchise should also explore the possibility of setting an upcoming film during the holiday season, which could produce a result as unexpected and uniquely charming as Iron Man 3.
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