I saw the film at 9PM Thursday night, and I’ve had roughly a day to collect my thoughts.
Firstly, this felt right. It was an organic and holistic approach to what, I think, can be considered a fitting conclusion of the current Iron Man series. Iron Man 3 was in all its motives, a true swan song.
This wasn’t a comic book movie in the sense of a character introduction (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America), this wasn’t a comic book movie in the sense of a team movie (Avengers): this was Marvel Studios, Shane Black, and the cast breaking ground and crafting the first conclusion in the franchise that we’ve been following since 2008. In many ways this was the Alpha and the Omega of the Marvel Cinematic universe as a whole. It’s the beginning of Phase 2 and the end of the current Iron Man movies. It exists as a bookend, but still needs to offer a compelling and complete tale.
From the beginning, Feige wanted to “put Tony back into the cave”. He wanted him to be at a disadvantage. To show that Iron Man isn’t a suit, it’s Stark, and will always be Tony Stark. That it’s just not a moniker, but a character trait. Iron can be bent and shaped by circumstance, its potential as something dynamic is inherent. It’s in Stark’s nature to change through these films, and he does.
Specific reactions below the cut. None of this is comprehensive. Note: Spoilers are included.