After saving New York from alien invaders last summer (with a little help from some friends) you would expect Tony Stark, and his alter ego Iron Man, to be looking for time off. But the movies don’t work that way, or rather the studio coffers don’t when The Avengers amassed over a billion dollars globally, and so Iron Man returns for his next solo outing.
But after the massive superhero team-up of last summer, will audiences be satisfied with just one superhero to save the day when you could have half a dozen? The answer from the film’s producers seems to be not to try and go bigger but to do ‘deeper’, or as is obligatory in Hollywood these days, ‘darker’. Indeed if the trailers are anything to go by we may see less of the wise-cracking Tony Stark from the past two films and instead see a more serious Stark grappling with the inner dilemma of “Does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”.
It certainly seems like an interesting direction to take the franchise in and after the disappointment of Iron Man 2, Marvel Studios clearly wants to take Iron Man back to basics: Tony’s world is destroyed by the evil Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and as he finds himself with nothing but his genius to fight back with and no Thor or Captain America on speed dial, we’ll likely be seeing a darker, grittier Iron Man, more in the vein of the first film. How his love interest Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and best bud and fellow metal fan, Rhodey (Don Cheadle) fit in with this is yet to be seen.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Iron Man 3 is new director, Shane Black. Black, who directed Downey, Jr. in the fantastic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, replaces Jon Favreau in a move which will hopefully inject some of his trademark dark wit into proceedings. He’s also added an excellent supporting cast including Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall to take on Stark in some verbal (and physical) sparring.
But how will this all fit in with the wider Marvel Universe? We already know that both Thor and Captain America are returning for their next individual adventures and that the Avengers are re-assembling in 2015. By planning the next group reunion so far in advance, Marvel risks removing the suspense of whether these characters will survive their next mission as we already know we’ll be seeing them in a few years time again. Or maybe this is a ploy. Maybe Iron Man is soon to be scrap metal? Only time (and box office receipts) will tell.
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