Last week brought the news that Shane Black could be Jon Favreau’s replacement to direct Marvel’s Iron Man 3, and now it looks as though the Lethal Weapon franchise scriber has landed the job after all.
Black is in final negotiations to helm the third cinematic outing with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, though it’s currently up in the air as to whether he’ll be tackling screenwriting duties as well.
Although Black is far more versed in the art of writing than directing, he was at the head of the acclaimed post-modern Noir comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which also relaunched Downey’s career and set him on the path to eventually land the role of Tony Stark onscreen. Deadline concurs that, so far, fans seem highly receptive to the idea of Black handling the followup to last year’s Iron Man sequel, which was a box office hit despite some significant thematic issues.
One of the qualities that distinguishes the Iron Man series from, say, Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies is that the former are more comedic and light-hearted overall in tone, while still examining the hard work and mechanics behind a comic book hero with no super powers. The first Iron Man did that more than Iron Man 2, which was additionally saddled with extra material that linked its narrative to next year’s The Avengers pic – and admittedly, the film suffered for it.
Iron Man 3 will likely have much more of a streamlined and focused plot than its predecessor, especially if Black get assigned to write the screenplay as well. The bigger concern right now is whether or not Black has the directorial finesse to handle a big-budget, F/X heavy action-comedy that he will undoubtedly have much less creative control over than he did on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or any of the music videos he’s helmed since that 2005 release.
It’s admittedly a different situation than when Favreau came onboard for Iron Man, since he had some experience with larger scale Hollywood projects prior to his work with Marvel, having directed the expensive family adventure Zathura: A Space Adventure. Favreau also showed a knack for charming comedy by making Elf as well. Black has crafted some killer dialogue and deliciously macabre humor in his previous films, but he’ll have to tone it down a bit to the PG-13, mainstream tone of an Iron Man movie.
There’s good reason to be hopeful about Black managing that task, given the quality of his previous work. Studio executives certainly seem to have confidence in him, having approached him to direct pics like Doc Savage or a new Death Note live-action movie. I’ll leave it to you readers to express your own thoughts on the matter in the comments section, as always.
Iron Man 3 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 3rd, 2013.