Thinking of blockbuster runs in terms of win-loss columns is not the best analytical approach, especially with this past summer’s jam-packed release schedule.
But if forced at alien gunpoint to weigh in, The Avengers won.
In case you missed the weekend’s erm, trailer to the trailer, a new Tony Snark adventure is slated for release next year (appropriately titled Iron Man 3). Ah what the hell. Let’s all spoil the movie for ourselves right now!
A few things:
— That looks pretty good, no? Gone are the punk rock attitude and cheap gloss from Iron Man 2. No more awkward Don Cheadle retcon. No more Mickey Rourke accent. NO MORE ELECTRO WHIP. This latest (but hardly the last) entry seems to be going for a more operatic feel, an Iron Man that’s grander in scope. Listen to that classically-influenced score or simply witness the immense destruction of Tony’s batch pad.
— Look at Tony, too. He’s getting his ass kicked. Seriously kicked.
And that seems familiar…
— But surely Dark Knight Rises doesn’t own a monopoly on putting a protagonist through El Wringer. Superman II did it. X2 did it. And despite the similarities, I’m enjoying the polished, serious feel of Iron Man 3. This is an Iron Man movie, right? I only ask because I didn’t hear any snarky comebacks. Where are the quips and snappy insults? Where’s the real RDJ?
— Go to any film blog. Seriously, go now. I can wait. Here’s one example to speed things up. Among the hundreds of reactions you can read, you’re likely to find at least one commonality: dark. Iron Man is dark. This features a more dark Tony Stark. Shane Black is making a much darker sequel. Pepper Potts likes her coffee dark. This is a new development. Marvel executives never seemed concerned with how edgy or realistic or dark their recent movies were. Baddies like Iron Monger and Whiplash were many things but never “real world villains” … right?
Look, Shane Black and Drew Pearce were hired to write this thing back in March 2011, so there’s virtually no chance anyone’s copying Batman here. However as I’ve written before, the shadow of Marvel’s recent success will tower over all subsequent releases from here on out. All of them, and I find their apparent creative direction a bit peculiar. The announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy was both refreshing and a risky studio move, and Iron Man 3 seems to be departing from the very elements that made it so profitable in the first place. The $600 million kind of profitable. As the adage goes, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Joss Whedon’s superpowered ensemble made over a billion clams worldwide. Compared to other superhero fare, it was lighthearted and offered plenty of laughs to boot, and Marvel’s first post-Avengers release is shaping up to have exactly none of that. Granted we’ve been shown 120 seconds of a two hour movie, but so far the only thing Avengers and Numero Tres here have in common is them ‘splosions.
If only for the sake of argument, one teeny tiny last observation. Now, I’m probably just nitpicking here and this is purely coincidence, but I did catch a very familiar soundbite *puts on CSI hat*
‘I swear I’ve heard THIS sound before… Any thoughts, detective?’
‘Just one. Take a look at this.’
‘Well it looks like Batman… has a new Bat-fan.’ YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH