If Hulk hadn’t become king of superhero comedy when he grabbed Loki’s puny ankles and repeatedly smashed the God’s head against the floor, Iron Man’s quick wit would’ve made him The Avenger’s joker. However, the new trailer for Iron Man 3 brings to mind another Joker’s remark; “why so serious?” Robert Downey Jr.’s mischievous and endlessly cocky performance as Tony Stark has been vital to realising Marvels cinematic universe as one where superheroes can be more than just dark, brooding symbols; they can actually have fun! So why does this new trailer abandon Marvel’s vibrant tone and steal utilise the gloomy atmosphere of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films? Hans Zimmer-esque deep, ominous bass ‘n’ all.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing Dark Knights beaten, broken and generally having everything they love destroyed, but Iron Man and The Avengers enamoured audiences to rich-boy Stark by having him retaining his chutzpah however high the stakes were raised. Of course, even Stark’s charm couldn’t redeem Iron Man 2’s mess of mostly incoherent, poorly conceived plot strands (if anybody actually understands how Stark discovered that new element please enlighten me in the comments section). Hopefully Iron Man 3’s trailer’s dark tone is merely a calculated effort to assure fans that Iron Man 2‘s follies are being avoided, and is not wholly representative of the film. Newly recruited director, Shane Black, gave us a lively, satisfyingly erratic Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, so it’d be a shame if those talents aren’t exercised again. And with Joss Whedon, master of blending comedy and tragedy for maximum emotional impact, overlooking, I’d be surprised if this isn’t encouraged. Otherwise the only chuckles will be at the expense of Ben Kingsley’s baffling accent.