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Analysis: ‘Iron Man 3’ Trailer Dazzles

The first official trailer for Marvel's Iron Man 3 landed with a thundering ground pound this morning. Considering you, like everyone else in the geek world today, are probably salivating to take a first look (or a second, or a third, or a fourth), if you wish to just see it and avoid the analysis, head to the bottom of the post.

As for breaking it down, let's talk tone. After Iron Man 2 featured Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) battling illness and alienating his friends, the three-quel seems to be sending the billionaire playboy even further down the rabbit hole. The relatively breezy, screwball comedy of the original film is nowhere to be found here. 

Right from the start, Stark is apparently struggling with the aftermath of the climactic events of The Avengers (unsurprising, since out of the whole super-powered gang he came the closest to death). And considering the numerous shots of girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) in peril, it's clear that being Iron Man isn't all fun and games for the millionaire playboy anymore.

That's all certainly engaging stuff, but it definitely shows how much Christopher Nolan's Batman films have affected the genre. This trailer practically matches the Dark Knight Rises teasers beat for beat (there's even an attack on an airplane). Let's hope that director Shane Black remembers to bring back the whip-smart, entertaining dialogue that set Iron Man apart in the first place, but since this is the guy who wrote Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Lethal Weapon, I'm not too concerned.

Then there's our first look at the Mandarin, as played by Ben Kingsley. He certainly looks the role, though his voice and dialogue is a pretty bizarre mixture of Anton Chigurh and Walter Cronkite. But what's that mark on the back of his neck? It sure looks like Captain America's shield, though if that's the case, it has no precedent in the comics. Fans will surely be debating that one right up until opening day.

Overall, the likelihood of Iron Man 3 following the "Extremis" storyline, as hinted by Marvel's press release last week, still seems pretty strong, considering the scenes of Stark going under the knife and a sentient suit of Iron Man armor (or perhaps there's just someone else in there?). Plenty of questions still abound, even beyond the Mandarin, though. For instance, how is Guy Pearce involved in all this? And what's that final shot of Stark dragging the Iron Man suit through the snow? Is this his prison pit a la — once again — The Dark Knight Rises?

Are there any other hints that you caught? And what do you think of War Machine's patriotic paint job? Personally, I'm digging it.

Iron Man 3 hits theatres May 3.


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