Iron Man 3 (2013, directed by Shane Black) is generally a smarter movie than any other superheroic part three I can think of. Other part threes--Superman III, Batman Forever, Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand--almost always seems like retreads or one too many trip to the well. Most of these movies tick off the supervillains that haven't previously appeared in their respective series, and here, Iron Man has something of an advantage. Since there isn't really a signature Moriarty to Iron Man's Holmes, the filmmakers are pretty much free to do what they want. True, they make good, somewhat, on the first film's promise of The Mandarin, but they do it in a way that is likely to send some types of hardcore comics fan screaming to the social networks in a frothing rage. Good for the filmmakers. Iron Man 3 also realizes something that is unique to its particular set of characters: we're not as interested in Iron Man as we are in Tony Stark. Compare this with, say, Bruce Wayne, and you'll realize how different that is from most other superheroes. New series director Shane Black seems to share this opinion: he spends the entire movie depriving Stark of his armor, perhaps as a gentle riposte to Captain America's jibes at Stark in The Avengers. What is Stark without his armor? That's what this film wants to find out.
Note: here be spoylerrs, but you've probably seen this film by now anyway. Fair warning.