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Shane Black explains why Iron Man 3 is a Christmas movie

Iron Man 3 is Marvel's big Christmas movie, but director Shane Black wasn't always keen on the idea, until he was convinced otherwise

Robery Downey Jr as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3

The Marvel movie Iron Man 3 might seem like a Christmas movie in setting only, but writer and director Shane Black has explained the reasoning behind the festive choice. Funnily enough, he didn’t want the superhero movie to be set during the holidays at first, and it was co-writer Drew Pearce who pushed him to do it.


“I acquiesced largely because of the Christmas Carol aspect of it,” Black told Empire. “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.”

He adds that such a backdrop gave him a better ending for the action movie, creating more catharsis in the story. “There’s a Christmas miracle when Jon Favreau’s character comes out of a coma,” Black explains. “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.”

Though it does compound a stereotype of Black’s work that he’s tried to avoid, Iron Man 3 certainly isn’t hurt by the holiday backdrop. It adds an emotive wrinkle to Tony’s journey, and the final set-piece of the MCU movie is an even greater light show.

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Besides, with so many adventure movies in the MCU now, it’s fitting that one of them counts as a Christmas watch. Of course, now we have the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, but that doesn’t feel as big as any of the mainline entries. Maybe we’ll get another one day?