The cool parts of the first two are watching the extravagant use of money and smarts to build awesome technology and then using all of the above to kick ass. While the first two feel more triumphant, the third movie feels like it has a lot of downers; struggle after struggle with more losses than victories.
But then those are the circumstances needed to encourage perseverance and growth: “You can take away my suits, you can take away my home, but there’s one thing you can never take away from me: I am Iron Man.” A realization that is a victory above and beyond defeating the bad guy: knowing yourself and discovering peace.
It reminds me of what the King of Qin said from the movie “Hero:”
“I have just come to a realization! This scroll by Broken Sword contains no secrets of his swordsmanship. What this reveals is his highest ideal. In the first stage, man and sword become one with each other. Here, even a blade of grass can be used as a lethal weapon. In the next stage, the sword resides not in the hand, but in the heart. Even without a weapon, the warrior can slay his enemy from a hundred paces. But the ultimate ideal is when the sword disappears altogether. The warrior embraces all around him. The desire to kill no longer exists. Only peace remains.”