I think the reason that Stark's alcoholism is not a plot point is because there isn't a really good way to introduce this very real issue, and resolve is satisfactorily in the course of 2 1/2 hours. Comics have the luxury of being able to deal with the ramifications over several months. Stark's demons are a way to keep him out of the armor, to try something different. The producers (and the audience) don't want a film where Tony isn't in the armor.
I think everyone is in agreement.
Almost everyone - not me
- Alcoholism WAS IN THE INITIAL SCRIPT Black was working on, so they clearly found a way to incorporate it. It was dumped because of Disney executives, not because it couldn't fit into the movie.
- It's usage was intended as a sub plot, not the main story. Doesn't mean Tony is out of the armor the whole movie and honestly he was out of the armor most of IM3 anyway, so not sure where you're going with that. Drunk Iron Man was a recent comic plot point and sets up some really interesting questions about the downside of having superpowered vigilantes. This also sets up the potential to have an IM4 with limited RDJ if need be, which would be a nice option now that he's indicated he wants a break.
- The drinking was already established in both Iron Man and Avengers movies, so its not like they needed to spend time building this up. If you can resolve an arms dealer enjoying making weapons then have him swear off them in one movie, then you can clearly have someone enjoying booze and swearing off it in the course of one story. Alcoholism is not something you overcome like a virus. They can't "solve" alcoholism in a lone movie, but they can easily address it and have Tony walk away from it all in one movie.
Honestly, just take the 4(ish) scenes where Tony is having panic attacks and replace them with scenes of him being drunk. Maybe you need another 1-2 minutes of added setup, but you could probably just put a drink in his hand in a few early scenes and rely on the already constructed groundwork from prior films. When Pepper is taken and Tony's drunk, War Machine swoops in becasue Tony's shnockered, actually giving the "Iron Patriot" more of a reason for being and more purpose in the film. He can't cut it, so Tony has to come to the realization that his friends (Pepper, Rhodey, Happy) are more important to him than drinking. He sobers up, swears off the drink, comes up with a system to control multiple armors at once, then the last 30 minutes of the movie are exactly as we saw it. Hell, the narration we saw with Bruce could have actually been Tony at an AA meeting.
I hope they don't touch it now - it wouldn't make any sense since they ignored the opportunity with IM3. This and the missed link back to SHEILD just baffles me. Why would you not plug the TV show and future movies in some way? Can't believe executives were so concerned about drinking, but dropped the ball on SHIELD.
I liked IM3, but this route is completely achievable, credible, and proably a lot more emotional/meaningful for people than what we ended up with.