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 Weapon, Long 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).
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."
In conclusion, there seems to be three important things to take away from all this:
- Iron Man 3 will not be retreading Nolan's Dark Knight style (despite what the first trailer might have you think).
- 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).
- 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, 2014, The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015.
Source: The West Australian