Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man 3 had a disappointing storyline compared to the earlier installments. While the film collected a billion dollars at the box office, mostly backed by the success of The Avengers, fans couldn’t help but notice the decline in quality. One major myth surrounding the film was that it took elements from Pixar’s 2004 film, The Incredibles.
The Incredibles is considered one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, grossing $632 million at the time of its release. While the plotline of Iron Man 3 and The Incredibles feels eerily similar, there’s not much truth to the plagiarism claims.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man 3 Is Not A Copy Of The Incredibles
The similarities between the two superhero movies were first popularly explored by the YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended. In a scene in the video titled, How Iron Man 3 Should Have Ended, an animated Tony Stark sarcastically explains to Aldrich Killian the similarities between the two films. The video explains how both plotlines explore the same character arc of a super fan humiliated into becoming a supervillain.
The dynamics between Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian resemble that of Mr. Incredible and Syndrome. Further, both films have a black friend who helps the hero in defeating the villain. Also, there’s a female character in both, who betrays the hero initially but later changes her mind. The video explained these similarities:
“You realize this is the exact premise of the Pixar film Incredibles. I met you a long time ago, hurt your feelings, which pushed you over the edge, and now you’re a supervillain currently with the upper hand, and I’m temporarily trapped. You are Syndrome and I am Mr. Incredible. I even have a black friend who helps me fight crime… And he even has a super suit.”
However, the plagiarism claims do not hold true as most of the plotline of Iron Man 3 was taken from the Extremis storyline in Marvel Comics starting from Iron Man Vol. 4 #1. Iron Man 3 definitely took some creative liberties but stayed true to the comics for the most part. The biggest deviation in the Robert Downey Jr. starrer from the comics was the ‘fan’ storyline of Aldrich Killian.
However, the argument that it was copied from The Incredibles appears baseless due to the difference between Tony Stark’s and Mr. Incredible’s characterizations. Bob Parr rejects Buddy in The Incredibles as he interrupts a rescue mission, while Tony Stark acts as a complete jerk to Killian.
How Much Has Iron Man 3 Deviated From The Comics?
In the comic book, Mandarin is established as a ‘real’ Iron Man villain, who is a product of the Cold War and steeped in Chinese iconography. Aldrich Killian appears as the villainous scientist in the comics as well, but he has no history with Iron Man. He’s portrayed as a scientist gone rogue after he distributes his experimental tech, Extremis, to a militia group. Killian in comics takes his own life after feeling guilty.
Another storyline the film did not explore was that Killian and Hansen were actually hoping to recreate the Super Soldier serum and not just new tech. The character Savin also had a bigger role in the comics, but the movie version was almost nothing like the comics. Iron Man 3 and other Iron Man movies are now available for streaming on Disney+.