I’ve been a little worried that Iron Man 3 was going to repeat the cycle of Tony Stark being an entitled, self-regarding rich bro before rising to the occasion that’s become the character’s signature arc, but this trailer has my mind at ease:
If you’re going to have a giant, years-long story, continuity should be a benefit of The Avengers franchise, rather than a hindrance. So I’m excited to see that Shane Black, who directed Robert Downey, Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which helped bolster Downey’s comeback, is making a movie that’s deeply engaged with the impact of the events of The Avengers on Tony Stark. “Nothing’s been the same since New York,” Tony reflects in the trailer’s voiceover. “I experience things and then they’re over. I can’t sleep, and when I do, I have nightmares.” It makes sense that a man who enjoys life as much as Tony does would be shaken by his own decision to sacrifice himself, and that, powerful he is, he’d be unnerved by his first glimpse of the world beyond the one he’s known and dominated on almost every level. “Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist,” as Tony laid out his resume in The Avengers, doesn’t count for quite as much in a world where there are giant alien armies prepared to descend on Midtown.
I’m less immediately stoked about Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, both because it would have been nice to see an actor of Chinese, rather than Indian and British origin, play the role, and because there’s a bit too much Bane in at least what we’re seeing here. “Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one. Heroes? There is no such thing,” said in a funny voice, feels like Black and company picked it up off the cutting room floor for The Dark Knight Rises. Loki’s been so much fun in The Avengers because, as Bruce Banner put it, “his brain is a bag full of cats.” He’s twisty, unpredictable, and we’re a long way from his end game, but perhaps most importantly, his motivations, courtesy friend of the blog Zack Stentz and company, have been clear going back to Thor. Coding a villain as intellectual is not actually a substitute for explaining who they are and what they want.