fair points mate. but, i disagree with the finality comparison to the dark knight. tony picks up that screw driver - he is still "the mechanic"and he has not faked his own death and he still has his billions of dollars. he has just got to a point where he doesn't NEED to compensate his life by putting on a suit and saving the world. he has found inner peace. this fact, coupled with him picking up the screwdriver, the last line of the film, the taking of the helper robot (presumably to the garage) tells me that we will be seeing iron man again. it is just up to joss now to give tony an interesting arc in the avengers sequel, because by the end of iron man 3 he has reached self actualisation. tony still wants to be iron man now, he just doesn't need to be. it isn't a crutch for him anymore.
Originally Posted by jmc
i do agree with you more than my post may imply, however. the ending is open to a bit of interpretation. i guess a middle ground may be that tony is on sabbatical.
if iron man is "forced out of retirement"
via the threat in avengers 2, then that's great in my opinion.