Iron Man 3 has an uphill battle when it hits theaters on May 3, 2013. Can the movie really live up to the mind-blowing action of The Avengers?
Robert Downey Jr., director Shane Black, and Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige were on hand at San Diego Comic-Con to make the case, debuting the first footage of their "Phase 2" films to the anxious and enthusiastic Hall H crowd. The extended trailer was uniquely Tony Stark — a tone that could only come out sporadically in the team-up film. Here's what we saw:
The opening scene features Stark (Downey Jr.) preparing for a new experiment. It's Christmastime and he sets the mood with a little hip-hop holiday music riff. Standing around his many armors, Stark commands his JARVIS computer to begin the test. Stark strikes a kung fu pose — nothing. He taps his forearm, trying to get something inside to work, before striking the pose again. Suddenly, from across the room, the Iron Man glove comes flying on to his arm. This is the Extremis in its beginnings, a type of armor ripped straight from the comics that allows Stark to control his Iron Man suit...with his mind. After the glove flies on to his arm, he tells Jarvis to let it rip. Pieces of armor start flying on to his body, but it's all starts happening too quickly. Now the metal braces are zipping every which way, breaking Stark's lab and forcing him to dodge like he's got Spidey sense. Eventually, all the pieces assemble on his body, save for the face mask. Turned upside and soaring straight at him, Tony does a flip in the air, rips his glove jets and clips the final piece of armor on upside in the air. Tony Stark: always a showboat.
The rest of the footage was a trailer, opening with a comedic scene between Stark and former security guard, Happy (Jon Favreau). The two banter before Stark is startled by a boom. That's when a chilling voice-over by Ben Kingsley kicks in, set to images of mass destruction. "Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: heroes there is no such thing." Scattered between shots of a city under attack are glimpses of newcomers Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce, who looks especially slimy as he gives Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) a kiss on the cheek. The grand finale is a helicopter attack on Stark's Malibu pad. Launching missles into the glass facade, Stark and Potts are blown backwards as the building begins to crumble into the ocean below. At some point, Stark gets the Iron Man armor on and attempts to survive the attack by going underwater. Whoever is behind this attack wants Stark dead (but that can't happen...right?!).
In true Marvel fashion, the trailer had an end teaser of its own. Who is Ben Kingsley? He's none other than notorious Marvel villain The Mandarin. The leader of the Ten Rings terrorist group (hinted at in the first Iron Man). He's got a crazy hairdo — shaved in the back with a single ponytail. He's decked out in flowing robes and a ton of bling. Ten rings is right! Kingsley looks evil as hell, and he sits awaiting Stark's next move in a throne fit for Iron Man's ultimate villain.
Can Iron Man 3 still thrill in the wake of The Avengers? Based on the trailer, it's pulling out all the stops to give it a good ol' college try.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Marvel Studios]