Tony Stark is a great character, but it appears as though the guy with the chip on his shoulder is going to have it knocked off — hard — in Iron Man 3. If that is the route Shane Black goes, audiences might just get the best Iron Man appearance yet.

Iron Man 2 was a decent super hero flick. It was fine … but when one compares it to the first installment or The Avengers, it’s glaringly obvious that the studio rushed a half-baked product to the market. The only thing that saved Iron Man 2 was Robert Downey Jr’s pitch-perfect understanding of the character. Marvel will be under a great deal of pressure to get the ship righted, but after seeing the first trailer for Iron Man 3, it appears as though they might have succeeded.

The problem with Tony Stark (billionaire, philanthropist, playboy), is that even though he’s that cocky genius-bastard you can’t help but love, after three movies of his wise cracks, at some point the character needs to be grounded. He needs to be humbled. He needs to face something that takes the smirk off his face and makes him reassess who he is and what’s important to him. I’ve said since day one that bringing on Shane Black, who did a wonderful job with Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang, was a smart move. Black is more than capable of directing strong action sequences, and he’s shown that he could write witty, compelling, complex characters. Marvel did itself a favor by bringing him on board.

With that said, the only thing that could derail Iron Man 3 for me will be politics. (I can tolerate Gweneth Paltrow’s “I’m just here for a paycheck” performances, although I hope she gracefully exits after her contract is up.) Marvel has a bad habit of flirting with liberalism in its products — even subjecting Tony Stark to weird Bush-Cheney warmonger allegories. While it’s been said that the new movie was going to be inspired by Tom Clancy — who is most definitely conservative — I wouldn’t put it past them to sully the series with politically correct gobbledygook.

Case in point: Iron Patriot.

Will the Iron Patriot be a good guy or a bad guy? Good question.

Without spoiling things for fans who don’t read the comics, the Iron Patriot’s mere presence raises questions. Who will be in the suit? Is he a good guy or is he a bad guy? Will the calamities that befall Tony Stark be solely the work of The Mandarin, or will shady actors within the U.S. government somehow be to blame?

Take, for instance, the trailer’s narrator, who says:

Ladies. Children. Sheep. Some people call me a terrorist; I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes — there is no such thing.

If the Iron Patriot is somehow involved with the Mandarin or if the U.S. government is somehow culpable for the espionage that destroys Tony’s life, the movie will instantly lose credibility. If the message ends up being some sort of social commentary on how “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” I probably won’t be seeing Iron Man 4 in the theaters.

Regardless, I had my doubts about The Avengers and ended up being pleasantly surprised. I’m cautiously optimistic that the creators of Iron Man 3 are drawing from the same successful formula.
Related: Iron Man is America
Related: Robert Downey Jr.’s politics: A lesson for liberal Hulks
Related: Lone Avenger: Robert Downey Jr. soars above his liberal critics

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

7 comments

    1. Same here. An anonymous commenter on my post about the trailer asked me what I thought about the Iron Patriot and what his role is. It wasn’t until I found a link to Newsarama via Colossus of Rhodey that I discovered it was Rhodey.

    2. Ha. Someone let me know on Twitter last night right after I posted it. We’ll see how it turns out. I figure, given that it’s Hollywood, it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. government becomes Tony’s #1 enemy. Sad.

  1. I really hope it doesn’t come to that, but you’re right, it is Hollywood we’re talking about here. I just hope he isn’t controlled by the Mandarin or anything like that.

  2. I have high hopes for this. Robert Downey Jr. has stated he is a Republican (ever since his time in jail), so I hope he has the pull to rein in any overly liberal junk. I thought the first two films had a nice balance that could fit with either side, depending on one’s interpretation. And Joss Whedon is a Libertarian, so I never feared for Avengers being uber leftist. I just hope Marvel is smart enough to keep it that way with all their films and not put an agenda over entertainment everyone can enjoy.
    I’m so sick of propaganda in films that tell me I’m a horrible warmonger who wants to see poor people starve in the streets and have “mother earth” destroyed; it’s like Captain Planet is running Hollywood.

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