‘Iron Man 3′ Won’t Be a ‘Serious’ Marvel Movie

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 26th, 2013 at 7:13 am,

iron man 3 serious trailer Iron Man 3 Wont Be a Serious Marvel Movie

The Marvel Studios brain trust – which includes Avengers director Joss Whedon and president Kevin Feige – have been promoting Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as riskier than Phase 1, while promising to dig deeper into the essence of the MCU’s inhabitants.

Iron Man 3 kicks off the second wave of Marvel Studios movies next summer, and the teaser trailer has people buzzing well in advance of its release. However, some of these discussions are wary, not excited, as the trailer’s tone was closer to Chris Nolan’s dreary Dark Knight trilogy than previous Iron Man installments – and there is very much a group that would prefer Marvel not attempt to emulate the Nolan approach to adapting comic books.

On the other hand, a number of fans have responded positively to the promise of a ‘serious’ Iron Man movie, as that approach is becoming more commonplace for superhero movies in general (see: Zack Snyder’s treatment of Superman in Man of Steel); not to mention, the IM3 footage reel shown at Comic-Con suggests that Robert Downey Jr.’s days playing a quip-happy Tony Stark are far from behind him, despite the increasingly-dire nature of his current situation.

IM3 co-writer/director Shane Black (Lethal WeaponLong Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) is renowned for his ability to blend edgy action/drama elements with sly humor. The expectation is that Black’s toeing that same line between grittiness and jokiness with the Marvel threequel – even though the film also features Tony’s most dangerous human opponent to date, in the form of the Ten Ring-wielding Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley).

Iron Man 3 Ben Kingsley Mandarin Praised Iron Man 3 Wont Be a Serious Marvel Movie

Feige has played up the idea of a ‘chilling’ performance from Kingsley in IM3. However, in a more recent interview with The West Australian he backs away from the idea that the movie is going to be as grim as the IM3 trailer might lead you to believe:

“It’s not a serious movie, but we seriously dig into exploring more of Tony. The trick is just trying to make great movies. We try to make them all great, all different and all fresh. What you’ll see in Iron Man 3 is some very unique directions that were taken.”

Terms like ‘fresh’ and ‘unique’ get thrown around a lot nowadays, especially with all the reboots and remakes flying about; that’s to say, Feige’s using a pretty over-done method for hyping IM3 here. Nonetheless, Black’s film does indeed appear to be balancing its responsibilities as an envelope-pushing new chapter in the ongoing story of Tony Stark with its commitment to the larger MCU (ie. not straying so far as to fracture a sense of continuity, be it in terms of plot or tone).

The same goes for Black, who mentioned in the same interview:

“We’re not aiming for bigger [than 'The Avengers'], necessarily. We’re aiming for different and fresh and new. It’s all about capturing that lightning-in-a-bottle feel, about trying to get as much into this as we can. We’re looking to get a ton of thrills into a short space, to make a nice little stew for you.”

RDJ rounded out the interview by mentioning how (with regards to The Avengers) “You can dissect why it was the right movie with the right people and the right director at the time. But we feel the same way about Iron Man 3 now.”

Iron Man 3 Trailer Breakdown Analysis Iron Man 3 Wont Be a Serious Marvel Movie

In conclusion, there seems to be three important things to take away from all this:

  1. Iron Man 3 will not be retreading Nolan’s Dark Knight style (despite what the first trailer might have you think).
  2. We will get to see Tony wrestle with the psychological and emotional after-effects of his experiences in the first two Iron Man movies and The Avengers, rather than regress to his former state of mind (which it could be argued he did somewhat in Iron Man 2).
  3. The film is not going to attempt to beat Avengers at its own game, but will try and stand apart as something equally worthwhile.

Does that sound good to you, fellow Screen Ranters? Let us know in the comments section.


Iron Man 3 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2013. It will be followed by Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015.

Source: The West Australian

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  1. I was kinda worried before reading this.

    I think Marvel should deal more with humor and should try to relate to its audience, and DC should continue making their movies dark. Good news for me. :D

    • Yeah, I was nervous, too. But I still think it’ll still be a good movie even if it isn’t really dark. :)

  2. Meh, I was hoping for a darker tone. It’d better be a psychological film.

    • Why? Will something happen if it’s not?

      • Yes

        • Lol…”yes”…haha

  3. I’m interested to see where they end up going with this one trailer looks great

  4. I agree with Brandon about the need for relatability and humor. I think super heros, especially Marvel’s, are ultimately about hope and inspiration, and if things get too dark it kills the dream. I’m all for it being tense and having thrills, I’m just hoping from this that it means we can expect it to be fun and uplifting too, not too traumatic.

    • Absolutely!! I agree 100%.

    • Thank you.

      BTW, I never said one was better then the other, sometimes I like pizza, sometimes I like KFC. Sometimes I want funny heros, sometimes I want darker heros.

      • You’re welcome! And you’re right, I was agreeing specifically on the Marvel topic. : ) I admit the Dark Knight movies weren’t my cup of tea when I saw them, bit I can’t deny they were impressive, especially the first two, and I can understand the respect they draw. I do still feel that too much of that in the super hero genre dilutes what the original appeal was though, and I admire it when creators can capture that. : )

    • You must not currently read Marvel comics if you think that they’re all about light-hearted feel good sugar plums and such. Especially the Ultimate comics, which the movies are more based on that the regular universe is. There is a line of comics based toward kids that is that way, but the others are mainly a cross between the darker side and the humorous approach. Even Spidey bounces back from stories like “The Gauntlet” and “Grim Hunt”, which are darker, to the Avenging Spider-man books which are just boring attempts at humor. I don’t disagree that there should be some inspiration at times, but what is more inspirational than rising from the bleakest situation?

      • I think the best mix is some of the compelling/interesting stories from later comics without the depressing trauma and headbangers too many of them have. There’s quite a few things in the Ultimates and more recent story lines in general that seem to sound good on paper but then just become needlessly traumatic and depressing in execution.

        And in truth, I think rising from a bleak situation is -very- inspiring– that’s more or less what happened at the beginning of the first Iron Man movie after all, and those early parts were arguably dark yet it still worked great. I just want there to be some triumph and hope by the end. I think what some stories seem to leave out is the rising part. ^_^ Simply winning isn’t always the same as overcoming.

  5. I wouldn’t mind this being a little darker.

    After all, he drank heavily in the second (and it never quite had the Demon In A Bottle feel like they promised it would) plus he almost died in The Avengers and has the weight of the world already, without the events he’ll be seeing in IM3 coming up.

    He can still be a funny guy but honestly, not everybody is full of humour all the time, they do have their dark moments and I’d like RDJ to show that as Stark since he’s more than capable of doing it in other movies.

    Just look at Skyfall and Dredd. Two great movies with a little humour despite the bleak and desperate moments.

  6. thank god its not totally serious also how are there no pictures of Firepower’s armor in this movie?

  7. Shane Black seems like a good pick. This movie should be awesome.

  8. I keep watching the literal trailer by tobi.

  9. I’m not sure why everyone equates a darker tone with being flat out serious. Has no one ever heard of dark humor? Both qualities can co-exist in a darker toned movie.

  10. “Iron Man 3″ is doing that “I’VE FALLEN AND I CAN’T GET UP…but I’m going to get up” story that has been done several times and I can name 3 in the superhero genre: “Thor”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, and “Spider-Man 2″

    I mean, Marvel Studios is just really going down the road of rehashing the same idea of a plot. Comic books have HUNDREDS of different storylines…and they’re using the same few over and over.

    • Because that’s the kind of story most people relate to and can get behind.

      Everyone has issues and to put yourself into a character that overcomes obstacles helps people with their own lives.

      Just look at pro wrestling in the late 90s. Stone Cold Steve Austin was flipping the bird to everybody and attacking the boss ever week for several years and fans ate it up and made him one of the biggest stars in that industry because he was doing what they only wished they could do.

      That’s why Bond movies and books have done so well, people want to BE the character and have those experiences.

      Love, revenge and overcoming the odds are the three elemtns in life we all face at least once in our lifetimes, every other story has at least one of those things involved in it.

      • That’s true but feige shouldn’t say he is going with different and fresh we already saw it one yeah prior with rises

        • We have not seen the movie, the trailer might be the only “dark” parts of the entire film.

          Lets not say it will be like TDKR until we see it, thats all I’m asking. :D

      • And skyfall

        • Those aren’t Marvel movies though so to that studio, it is sorta fresh.

          Sure, Thor had something similar but not on the scale that Skyfall and TDKR had where everything was at stake and all hope was lost.

    • Marvel do tend to overuse those stories although I’d say Iron Man 3 seems to be playing on the idea of Tony Stark becoming worried about how he can protect the people he cares for.

  11. A little bit off topic: I think the next Hulk movie should involve Iron Man, with The Leader as the main villain. Plot, The Leader takes over the Hulk and controls him, thus causing a major amount of destruction, Tony Stark “Iron Man”, being Bruce Banner’s friend jumps in to solve the problem and battles Hulk. They both discover that someone is controlling Hulk, Tony makes some tech that breaks the control and the final battle is Hulk and Iron Man vs The Leader and (his possible Minions).

    • I like the idea of iron man being in the next hulk movie to help the hulk movie be popular with fans, and to build the stark-banner relationship.

      As far as a dark tone, enough already. Marvel has done just fine without the Nolan dark tone/grounded in reality stuff. Let marvel keep doing what their doing, and let dc do whatever their doing. There is no need to be dark in the marvel movies. The world is dark enough in real life, let’s have a little fun with the super hero movies.

      I will say, if pepper does indeed die in this movie, I don’t know how you don’t go dark in that situation.

    • I was hoping that at the end of the Ed Norton Hulk when Tony Stark met up with General Ross, that in the next hulk movie they would bring in the Hulkbusters! Remember those? That’s what the hulk needs some giant mechs that he can beat the crap our of!

  12. I’m kinda glad. I liked the tone of the previous Marvel films. Incredible Hulk had to be the darkest one. Thor was a bit too lighthearted. But Iron Man does’nt need to be as dark and gloomy as Batman. Two different characters.

  13. I’m sold on the trailer, whatever happens. These movies are in good hands with Disney and Joss Whedon.

  14. * and Shane Black… respectively

    • Nope, not in this particular interview.

      • Ok, thanks for replying!

  15. Right now there is a whole lot of marketing fluff being thrown around and it’s hard to separate the promotional BS from actual facts. Frankly, I don’t really care about all these assurances and the typical “fresh & new” publicist talk. That kind of stuff way too often turned out to be just a smoke screen to cover up f-ups that couldn’t be changed anymore.

    It’s almost like some kind of code. “Fresh & New” often means “We didn’t really know what made the first movie so successful and changed the sequel in all the wrong places”.

    Having said that, I really hope that Iron Man 3 will deliver what the name Shane Black promises, but we will only find out in the theater and not in interviews whether or not that’s the case. ;)

  16. Good for IM3.

    Deal with “dark” and serious topics then add a healthy injection of wit and I’ll be happy. This is the way to deal with life. Sometimes bad stuff happens……. but you keep your chin up and keep swinging. Moping around all sad faced and depressed like Bruce Wayne in TDKR is not what I want to be. I’d rather be Tony Stark. Ugly bad guys messing things up for him and he’s cracking jokes and sticking it to ‘em.

    • Yup. Glad there’s people like you that actually have something worth reading to say here in the comment section. ;)

      • Thanks BWF….

        Looks like Scarjo will be back in 2014 as BW in Captain America 2.


  17. I love the Dark Knight Trilogy, and I never wanted a “Nolanized” Iron Man. But, I am worried that they won’t take this too seriously. A serious movie doesn’t meen realistic and grounde (well, it might for some people), it meens there is real tension, you are invested in the characters, and in an action mopvie, you have a sense of danger there.

    I didn’t think the Iron man 3 trailer was Nolanized at all, but I really dug the more serious tone. Don’t get me wrong, an Iron Man movie will always need comedy and wit every once and a while. But, I would also like to feel tension.

    Avengers was GREAT! But, my only problem with it was I never felt tension. I knew from the first 5 minutes who was gonna survive and who wasn’t. It was a fun movie, with really good characters, performances, and directing, but that’s about it (for me).

    Like I said, Iron Man 3 will need comedy, but, I was very excited for it when I saw the trailer BECAUSE of the new tone. I am glad they aren’t trying to copy Nolan, but I do hope that they still have a darker tone (at least compared to the other Iron Man films and Avengers). I just hope this is the Marvel movie that actually puts me on the edge of my seat.

  18. Like I said, I never wanted any of these to be “Batman” dark, but I do think this would be the perfect film to be the darkest COMPARED to the others they have done in the Marvel cinematic universe. And everyone who says “I hate movies where they have to have the heros going through problems and strugles” well, (for me) they should always touch on that every once and a while, because when they don’t, the hero tends to become less of a character to me, which gets me to loose interest. Iron Man 3 still needs comedy every once and a while, but I do think it should at least be darker than the other Iron Man films and Avengers.

  19. I think a lot of people are ready for marvel to get away from the goofy silly aspect that they have and tread some more serious ground. However Their sense of humor and fun is also one of their greatest strengths. This is why Shane Black is the perfect director for this, his style of humor is perfect for Iron Man, but he can also definitely tackle some pretty dark material. People who are worried should be, IM3 is in good hands

  20. I like the lighter tone of the Marvel movies compared to the dark and even grim direction of the DC movies, so I’m glad they are keeping to the same tone. I was rather worried after watching the trailer that they were going to try and copy the style of Nolan’s Batman. Hopefully we will get another really great Mavel film to add to all our collection.

  21. I hope they don’t go too goofy though, that would just be distracting and unsatisfying after the Tony’s emotional growth from IM2 and The Avengers. I want a mix in there. Equal parts light and dark or like someone before me said..”DARK HUMOR”
    The film-makers, if I may be bold enough to say, have been very G-rated with emotional themes in these movies. Even with THOR, which should have been much more grounded than it was, given the themes it was tackling and THE DIRECTOR who was DIRECTING IT! (I was expecting so much from Kenneth Branagh) It could have had more depth but it remained g-rated barely scratching surface.
    What in my opinion would make things interesting is blurring of the lines a bit. And who better to do it than the IRON MAN?

  22. I hope and expect a balance in the light, humorous, and dark tones .
    I am looking forward to the film.

  23. Oh thank God. I was super nervous when I saw that first trailer, but now it looks like Marvel is thankful going to stick to what makes the Iron Man films so great.

  24. I just want to see Mandarin and Iron Man duke it out, with Mandie’s rings zapping and sizzling all the way, man-to-man. They have already done the multiple armor fight thing in #2, and an armor-ish fight thing actually in #1.

  25. Will everyone stop saying this movie is trying to be like the dark knight movies. It won’t resemble them in anyway. It just doesn’t look like it will have the overall tone of a Nolan super hero movie. It looks like it might be the best iron man story though.

  26. I never thought that a slightly darker tone will take the humour out of the movie. So I was not worried. If it’s well-balanced both can be there just fine.

    Tony Stark will be Tony Stark though and even if the movie is darker than the previous ones, he will still make one-liners and smartass comments, because he’s Tony Stark.

    So while I’m glad Marvel does not plan to change much with the overall “style” (because why would they want to mimic DC), I was not worried to begin with. :)

    DC can stay dark and gritty and angsty, I am fine with Marvel movies being bright and flashy and snarky. That’s what I love about them :D

  27. While I just wrote a column this week condemning the darker tone of Iron Man 3 (not the idea of a darker film, but copying Batman’s formula), I’d like to instead offer this opinion.

    A good film–whether it’s superhero or no–should effectively balance every tone it attempts to juggle. Therefore, if Feige wants Iron Man 3 to be a side-splitter, write in some good jokes and ease the seriousness down. However, if Shane Black wants to add his own flavor of grimness to the tone of HIS film, then let him.

    Ideally, a great film can do both. Let Robert Downey, Jr. flourish in the funny scenes, yet make Kingsley’s Mandarin scare the pants off of us. That’s the kind of superhero film I’d like to see, something that takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster.

  28. come on, Marvel, audiences have clearly spoken. we want you to utilize the dark aesthetic of the Nolan movies instead of taking a facetious/inane approach. Add more depth to Iron Man. The character needs it. As do we. After enduring the last two wacky IM movies, we deserve some grit and seriousness.