Over the course of building Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios developed a house style for their blockbuster comic book movies that included a bright color palette, a light tone (particularly compared to their Distinguished Competition's more somber wares like Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy and Bryan Singer's self-serious Superman) that made room for plenty of humor amidst the derring-do, villains with a lot of firepower (but not much menace) and straightforward stories that lobbed few curveballs at the audience. What's interesting about Iron Man 3, which kicks off Phase 2 of the MCU, is that it very deliberately goes about blowing up Marvel's house style... along with the house of its signature hero, Tony Stark -- played, as always, by Robert Downey Jr. That particular point isn't a spoiler, since it's been heavily featured in the movie's many trailers and teasers. However, in order to really get into why IM3 represents such a departure (at least for a little while) from the Marvel status quo, I'm going to have to get into more specific detail about what incoming writer/director Shane Black (taking over from franchise starter, Jon Favreau) has in store for Tony and his armored alter ego without, of course, giving the whole game away. So here's a Spoiler Warning for anyone who has an ironclad resolve to go into the theater without hints of any kind.
We critique all the big movie ads that aired during last night's big game, from Iron Man 3 to World War Z.
I really can't blame Jon Favreau for wanting to pass on the third Iron Man movie. He's already made two really good films, and any sort of arc he wanted to have in the third one was going to have to take a back seat to what happens with Iron Man in the Avengers and what Marvel wants him to do in Avengers 2. So best to leave it in the hands of someone who's sold on the whole "big picture" plan, but hopefully can still deliver the goods. Sadly, go-to sequel master Irvin Kershner is no longer with us, but we came up with a list of name directors with sequel experience who would, at the very least, create a threequel that would get people talking.
From the perspective of someone who works in an industry where most of the professionals couldn't tell you where their next job is coming from, most people in Hollywood are probably sitting around the dinner table tonight discussing how Robert Downey Jr. is like, totally set for life. The Iron Man actor has signed on to play Tony Stark in three more films. With Iron Man being, well, let's face it, the second-biggest movie of the summer, Marvel Studios nevertheless has about five hundred and seventy eight million ($!) reasons to get him back for a sequel. And while reports aren't out yet as to just how much of that juicy box-office gross they used to lure RDJ back, they got him, and not just for one sequel, but two. Oh, and also what could technically be called a spinoff.