The first Iron Man movie was one of the best comic books films in recent memory. The story itself was fairly predictable, but Robert Downey Jr. put in a terrific performance as Tony Stark, and Gwyneth Paltrow was also very good as his assistant Pepper Potts.
Director Jon Favreau couldn’t recapture the magic for the second film, but there’s still hope that Iron Man 3, which hits theaters on May 3, could turn things around.
For the next Iron Man, Favreau has been replaced by Shane Black, the screenwriter of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Black recently told Collider and SFX how he adapted the Iron Man “Extremis” comic, written by Warren Ellis, into the third movie.
“In the Extremis comic book, there’s a type of thing that takes over and basically upgrades DNA,” Black explained. “Sometimes you die. But if you live through the experience then you come out this changed thing.”
As Black continued, “What we’ve tried to do is take this very science-fictiony concept of super people, and ground it in the type of people who volunteer for this being not necessarily super villains, but just people who upgrade. I love the idea of a super villain that doesn’t wear a cape, that doesn’t wear a super suit, that goes around dressed as you are right now. As for the science of it, once again we’ve gone back to the comic books…”
The third Iron Man also got some help on Iron Man 3 from Favreau, as well as JJ Abrams. (Funny enough, when making the first Iron Man movie, Favreau reached out to Black for advice). As Robert Downey Jr. told IGN, “There were a couple of times in Iron Man 3 where our lifeline was we’d call Jon Favreau. ‘What do we do?’ He’d be like, ‘Stick with this. Stick with the love story,’ or whatever.”
When Black was having third act problems with the film, “we reached out to JJ Abrams when we were really confused,” Downey continues. “There’s something so evocative about how this particular strain of the Marvel universe was so successful, so what are the reasons for that, how do we keep that vital and just have fun?”
Downey also told Collider that this Iron Man has “a much smaller storytelling style,” but at the same time, he’s “never done so much action in my life. The scope feels really, really big. I think Marvel’s intention is to defy expectations again.” Clearly, we at TG are hoping Iron Man 3 will indeed defy expectations and revitalize the franchise once again.