One element of Iron Man's appeal in print is the armor's continual evolution. You could look upon it as "boys with their toys," but it runs deeper.
Superior technology combined with solid values have always been a part of the American framing of defense. Iron Man's Cold War roots have allowed the character to easily play into this narrative. With the current focus on anti-terrorism, technology has gotten both praised and scorn in the public discourse. Our reliance on surveillance satellite and code breaking so well suited for nation states missed the threat of asymmetric warfare posed by terrorist groups. After a decade of conflict however, the appreciation of technology has returned. The debate about military drones is the public face of this new engagement, but the impact is widespread. Iron Man 3 bring these ideas into the film narrative. Like the United States, Tony Stark's victory will likely hinge on superior tech, reinforcing the belief of technology as a solution. Critics argument otherwise, but the public's desire to feel protected remains a driver for military technology.