Director Shane Black's Iron Man 3 maintaining the momentum of Joss Whedon's The Avengers is a manageable, but nonetheless difficult task. That involves both balancing commitments to the greater Marvel Movie Universe - including (maybe) setting up Guardians of the Galaxy, the sole Phase II non-sequel - and crafting an installment both entertaining and emotionally-satisfying (in addition to being somewhat politically-relevant, with a villain like Ben Kingsley's Mandarin).
Marvel is using Super Bowl XLVII to keep on raising expectations and launch new footage from the Iron Man threequel. A teaser for said IM3 Super Bowl commercial has popped up online, in addition to another poster not-so-subtly hinting at tough times ahead for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
Here is a telling excerpt from the official Iron Man 3 synopsis:
When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
The Super Bowl teaser contains familiar footage of Stark's Manor being decimated by The Mandarin's forces, but also features previously-unseen (if brief) glimpses at James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) in his new Iron Patriot-inspired War Machine armor and Guy Pearce as Adrich Killian, whose importance to the IM3 proceedings may either be minimal or secretly-pivotal. Once again, it's apparent that difficult times lie ahead for our hero, even though the overall film apparently won't be as serious and dark as the trailers suggest (or unrelentingly bleak as the posters - see below).
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Shane Black directed Iron Man 3, based on a script he co-wrote with Drew Pearce. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau, James Badge Dale, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall and the voice of Paul Bettany.
Iron Man 3 arrives in theaters (including, 3D and IMAX 3D) on May 3rd, 2013, followed by the other Phase II installments beginning with 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, and culminating with The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015.
Phase III starts with Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015. Doctor Strange follows sometime after that.