A question arises as one sits and watches the scores of names scroll by during the end credits—How can so many people be involved in something so utterly pointless? In sharp contrast to the original Iron Man, this incarnation is completely devoid of any heart, and of any meaning. Strike that. There is one moment buried in the middle of the film when Tony’s Walt Disney-esque dad blurts out of nowhere that his son is his greatest creation.
This revelation has no connection to the deep personal issues (self-destructive alcoholism) that Stark himself is undergoing, issues that aren’t fully developed and are seemingly solved with a key so preposterous as to be only fit for the next masterpiece in the National Treasure series. Because there is no meaningful argument to be found between father and son, and because the relationship between Pepper and Tony starts and stop without much purpose, the end climactic battle carries as much empathy as a cut-scene from Super Smash Bros.
But do sit through the end credits. The scene afterwards seems to be the only reason this film was made in the first place.