The second full-length trailer for Iron Man 3 has gone live (you can see it here), and that means it’s time for one of our frame-by-frame analyses. Strap yourselves into your preferred suit of armour as we comb through the trailer looking for clues about what Iron Man 3 is going to show us. Note that this piece is us playing guesswork, based on what’s in the trailer, so there’s no spoiler that we know of here…
Avengers did a lot to show cinema-goers that superheroes could be fun and exciting without also being edgy. But let’s face it, when you’ve got the Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor in the same movie, being grim isn’t an option. Iron Man 3, however, seems to be taking a more sombre tone, more along the lines of Nolan’s Batman or even Snyder’s Man Of Steel. If Avengers was the party, Iron Man 3 is going to be the hangover (something Tony Stark is probably used to dealing with).
In any case, this film is going to put its characters through the wringer – and that’s as it should be. From now on, Marvel’s films are all going to face the difficult question of “where are SHIELD and the Avengers?” whenever the threat gets too big. The way best to dismiss that concern is to make things as personal as possible. Make this a fight only Tony Stark can win, and one that no-one else is interested in having. That, at least, is what the Mandarin appears to be trying to do.
If this trailer contains any big reveal, it’s the confirmation of the long-held rumour that Stark would be mobilising an entire legion of remote-controlled Iron Men. We’ve already seen the poster with multiple suits on, but this is the first time we’ve seen them all in action. And while the character beats in this film are tending towards being a real gauntlet for Stark, it looks like the action scenes are going to give us some proper big-screen thrills. Purpose-built Iron Man suits have always one been of the most fun things about the comics, and the movies have been relatively conservative with his armours up until now. Not anymore, though.
It’s difficult to see from the brief glimpses we get, but some of the armours included in the trailer include a stealth suit, the 80s Silver Centurion suit, a Hulkbuster suit, and maybe even the ‘modular’ suit from the current comics. No prizes for guessing any of the others – but it’s fun to do it anyway.
By this point, we’re now well aware that the War Machine armour James Rhodes wears in Iron Man 2 will be returning for the second sequel, but re-painted into the Iron Patriot colours. On one hand, this is could be seen as a reaction to Captain America’s reappearance in the Avengers: the US government turning the closest thing they have to a superhero into a nationalistic figurehead that they can control.
On the other hand, maybe it’s a political statement. We know a fair amount of Iron Man 3 is going to involve a threat from China, even if the Mandarin is autonomous. Maybe the reason they re-painted War Machine is because now, more than ever, the American military needs fists people can see in action. How much will Rhodey be going along with this? Well, that salute suggests he’s still respecting the chain of command… for now.
Anyone who’s picked up an Iron Man comic in the last few years is probably aware that Pepper Potts has her own suit of armour, code-named Rescue. And those of us who do know have been hoping like hell that it’ll make an appearance in the films, too.
Well, could it be that we’re getting our wish? This trailer shows that Tony’s not going to be the only person getting targeted. There’s a line in there about Tony wanting to protect “the one thing that I can’t live without”, meaning the woman he loves. And how would Tony protect her? Well, giving her a protective suit of armour would be one (admittedly literal) interpretation of that line. He’s built a lot of armours for this movie, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine that he included one for her as well.
Backing that idea up is the shot of Pepper stuck in a contraption of some kind, which on closer examination appears to turn up later in the trailer when Killian is supervising a group of men who are being operated on. Given what we know about the film, it’s a safe bet that what we’re seeing here is the Extremis process – something that ‘upgrades’ people to have near-psychic control over computer systems and machinery.
It’s pretty likely that Tony will go through a prototype version of the process, and that this is Killian’s attempt to produce people with the abilities to rival him. And Pepper? Perhaps she’s also doing it voluntarily so that she can control her own armour. Fingers crossed for that one.
It’s clear that while the events of The Avengers will weigh heavily on Stark’s mind in Iron Man 3, we’re not going to be getting any major appearances for the Avengers characters. Going by the trailers, even SHIELD might be absent from this instalment – if Nick Fury or even Maria Hill played any major part in the film, you’d expect to see them in the trailer to remind all those Avengers fans that Iron Man 3 is What Comes Next. But no, there’s nothing.
That said, the Avengers influence is there, both on Stark personally, and on the world around him. He’s helped saved the world, but at the same time, his own understanding of it has been shaken. Gods, aliens, technology far beyond his own – it’s no wonder he’s having trouble sleeping.
Similarly, the legion of specialist Iron Man suits he’s created don’t just look like his attempt to be ready for any situation – it also looks like his way of having his own army ready for when the next alien force comes invading. And maybe even dealing with his allies if push comes to shove – you don’t build a Hulkbuster suit unless you’ve got Hulks to bust, after all…
Perhaps the most interesting outward nod, however, is the presence of a telescope in Stark’s bedroom. He’s seen what’s out there, so now he’s actively watching out for it. And while we probably won’t see a direct nod to 2014’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, it’s at least a subtle reminder of where the next film is going to be set.
Man or Mandarin?
Comic book movies have a tendency to ignore the ‘campier’ aspects of the source material, which inevitably includes code-names. In Iron Man 2, no-one called Vanko “Whiplash”. In Iron Man 1, no-one called Stane “the Iron Monger”. So it’s actually quite a surprise to hear someone call Kingsley’s character The Mandarin, especially when it’s one of the more ridiculous and borderline racist code-names. Maybe the intention is to own the name, to use it ironically, or in a self-aware manner.
But name aside, the Mandarin looks like he’ll be a formidable opponent. Not so much a businessman as a warlord. Will those ten rings contain magical powers, as in the comics? The trailer doesn’t give us any reason to think so, except that it gives them a reasonable amount of prominence early on. We’d bet “no”, but now that The Avengers has established Iron Man in a world of threats beyond his understanding, it’s hard to be certain.
Still, with Iron Man 3 due on the 25th of April in the UK, we’ve got even less time to wait before we get the answers to all of these questions and more. Break out your AC/DC albums in preparation.,,
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