Unlike most of the world, I was never exactly smitten with the Iron Man franchise. Well I found the first one to be a fun film, Iron Man 2 was pretty damn mediocre, a mess of half baked ideas jumbled into a half hearted Avengers prequel. Following that one, I wasn’t sure I really cared to see the further adventures of Tony Stark. But then Favreau (who I found to be a serviceable director at best) left the series, and they replaced him with writer/director Shane Black. Now I love Shane Black, and especially love his last project with Robert Downey Jr, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. My attention was once again piqued, but I was no where near anticipating the film. Following the disaster of a second film, I just wasn’t sure if the franchise would be able to repair itself. Well yesterday the first trailer for the film hit the internet and, after seeing it, the question must be asked: did it sway my opinion what so ever with its seemingly darker tone and more character focused story. Well the answer is yes. Yes, yes, and yes.
First of all, here’s the trailer once again just in case you missed it yesterday:
This is one surprisingly dark trailer, folks. If you’re expecting to see fun wisecracking from Robert Downey Jr. mixed in with a tone of tongue and cheek humor like the last two films, you should probably turn away now.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think Iron Man 3 will be void of all the humor and fun that makes the Iron Man franchise what it is. I’ve heard a lot of people comparing this trailer for one for, say, The Dark Knight Rises. And well their claim is somewhat grounded (as I’ll point out later on), I don’t think we should expect TDKR from this film. That’s not a complaint though; honestly, I think we have too many “dark” superhero stories now a days, and something humorous and fun like Iron Man or any of the other Marvel studio properties offers up a nice foil to the Dark Knight’s and Watchmen’s of the world.
All that said, I do believe this trailer takes a lot of things from the advertising campaign of The Dark Knight Rises—to surprisingly awesome effect, though. Similar to the ads for TDKR, most of the dialogue in this trailer consists of a big speech from the main baddie, in this case Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarian. And so far, what a bad guy The Mandarian is shaping up to be. He has a slightly off kilter voice similar to his Bane counterpart, and his dictator like speech certainly made an impact in this trailer. His simple message of “heroes don’t exist” is pretty damn chilling, especially read by thespian Ben Kingsley. The villains in the Iron Man films have never been particularly strong, so I hope the Mandarian will be able to impress this time around.
Like I said, I hate hammering down the Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3 comparisons but, since this Trailer Breakdown is specifically about that, I feel like I pretty much have to (wrote myself into a corner their with that headline, didn’t I?) But for what it’s worth, it’s not like the two don’t have a lot of things in common trailer wise. There’s a ton of awesome destruction here, including a scene at Tony Stark’s home that looks to be pretty damn intense. Also, there seems to be a pretty great looking middair rescue by Iron Man…which bares just the slightest resemblance to the plane rescue in TDKR. Then again, I’m probably just reaching for straws with that one.
But moving away from The Dark Knight Rises comparison for a second, how amazing does the action look in this film? One of my huge beefs with the other Iron Man films is the surprisingly dull action from director Jon Favreau. When you have a badass superpowered character like Iron Man fighting other badass superpowered characters, shit should be really hitting the fan. But aside from a few choice scenes, the action for the most part was pretty standard and dull. Thankfully, that seems to be different for Iron Man 3.
With Shane Black at the helm, I have much more confidence that the action will be great in Iron Man 3. He obviously knows how to construct them, what with his Lethal Weapon and Long Kiss Goodnight scripts. And well the jury is still out on whether or not he can direct them, following his fantastic debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I’m more than willing to give the guy a chance. Knowing his talent, he’ll easily knock this one out of the park.
The final aspect of this trailer I’d like to discuss is the noticeably darker tone than usual…even by Marvel standards. As I said above, don’t go into this trailer expecting a light little trip of witticism with Robert Downey Jr. Things seem much darker in Iron Man 3 but, contrary to what you might believe, it actually REALLY works. I think that choicing to darken the mood for the third (and most likely final) entry into the series was a good move on Marvel and Shane Black’s part. Because unlike other superhero franchises that take a “darker” tone in its sequels, this one feels deserved.
Unlike Peter Parker or Clark Kent, Tony Stark actually feels like a superhero who could easily go bad if he wanted to. He’s not a perfect boy scout, and he has a ton of problems (narcissism, alcoholism, and conceitedness just to name a few). And even though the Jon Favreau entries in the franchise have used his flaws as a launching point for humor, they can easily work dramatically as well. As Iron Man, Stark is a great and heroic person. But as Tony Stark himself, he’s kind of a mess. This (seemingly literally) battle between himself and the suit is perfect subject material for the series to cover. Let’s just hope this won’t be another “Demon in the Bottle” missed opportunity like in Iron Man 2.
Overall, I couldn’t help but love the first trailer for Iron Man 3. I had very limited expectations going in, but things look to be really shaping up. Favreau leaving the franchise (in the director’s chair, at least), might be the best thing that could happen to the Iron Man series, and I can’t wait to see what amazing adventure Shane Black has in store for us when Iron Man 3 hits theaters next May.