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Iron Man 3 Is a Christmas Movie

Tony Stark in Iron Man 3

For years, I’ve had to listen to how Die Hard is a Christmas movie because it was set during the holiday season. There have been multiple think pieces on the subject, and fans of the series would lay their lives on the line to defend that line of thinking. So you know what I say? I say that, by that logic, Iron Man 3 is also a Christmas movie.

Before we look at the very obvious clues as to why it’s a Christmas movie, let’s get philosophical for a moment. A man struggling with his own wellbeing, afraid to reach out, forcing himself into self-destructive tendencies, finds a young boy who needs his help and guidance, and through working together, they overcome a greater evil and the man is reunited with his love once more. Am I talking about the plot of literally any Christmas movie or Iron Man 3? Surprise! It’s both.

The movie, which takes a deeper look at what being a superhero means and explores Tony’s struggle with anxiety after The Avengers, continually references Christmas despite the movie being released in May of 2013. Still, now that we’ve addressed the fact that everything about this movie screams our ideas of what a holiday movie should be, let’s look at the very obvious references that are in the movie.

First, there’s Tony’s needle drop. When Tony Stark locks himself away in his lab to work on his suits (and ignore his anxiety problem that he still hasn’t told Pepper about), he is trying to test out the Mark 42, and in doing so, plays “Jingle Bells” on his record player. I just like the idea that Tony Stark likes the holidays that much that he’d put aside his love of AC/DC to blast some holiday cheer in his workspace.

But then, as if we didn’t already know it was Christmastime and, seemingly, a Christmas movie, Tony Stark also makes a reference to an iconic Christmas film. When a little girl brings her drawing of Iron Man up to Tony to sign, he looks at the little boy with her and mutters, “I loved you in A Christmas Story,” to him because the little boy looks like Ralphie.

Then, he drives home to his mansion, which is decorated for Christmas. He bought Pepper a giant rabbit for Christmas. He keeps talking about how it’s Christmas. Honestly, how does anyone not think this is a Christmas movie? We should be exploring how Tony Stark, a man with a less-than-stellar relationship with his parents, dedicates a lot of time and care to the holidays as an adult. That’s more interesting.

And maybe the best part of Iron Man 3 is when Tony Stark looks at a small child and says, “Dads leave, no need to be a pussy about it,” though. Still, there are so many beautiful moments in this movie that now, as I think about what movies I want to watch around the holidays, I’m going to be drawn towards Iron Man 3, my new favorite Christmas movie.

If someone tries to tell you that it isn’t a Christmas movie, just point out that Tony Stark says, “Screw it, it’s Christmas,” as he blows up all his suits that he’s been working on as part of his “clean slate” program. So, take that, haters.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.