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A couple of weeks ago, we shared who we thought should join the team in The Avengers 2, which was received well by some, and not so well by others. Since then, we've seen The Avengers a second time, but before that we watched all the previous Marvel Studios movies as part of AMC's Marvel Movie Marathon. Sitting in a movie theater for 17 hours watching nothing but Marvel movies made us start thinking more about what we liked and what we didn't like, which got us thinking how Marvel Studios can keep the love going with their next three movies, all sequels to popular movies as well as their very first threequel Iron Man 3.
Granted, most of these movies already have scripts written and they probably have a good idea of what they plan on doing and who they will include in them but in case anyone from Marvel Studios is reading this, maybe there's still some time to make sure that long-time fans of the comics will get some of what they want. (After all, none of these movies have actually started filming yet)
SPOILERS FOR ALL PREVIOUS MARVEL MOVIES
It's really difficult making a threequel, especially when the first two movies in a franchise are generally well liked. That's partially why movies like Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand will never be considered among the favorites of comic book movie fans, but we think Marvel Studios knows there's a lot of pressure for Iron Man 3 to be as good as The Avengers and they'll be going out of their way to insure that, starting with the intriguing cast they've been putting together.
1. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. This is very important because with "Lethal Weapon" creator Shane Black taking over both as writer and director, he certainly brings his own distinctive voice and sensibilities to the franchise, which is cool, but that doesn't mean we want to lose what we liked so much about the first two "Iron Man" movies. We look at this movie like it's issue #3 of a comic book and if you're reading any series and you get to the third issue and it doesn't have what you liked about the first two, you're likely to be disappointed. Fortunately, Black is a shrewd filmmaker with franchise-writing ability in his blood, but also, he wrote and directed the excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a movie that was influential on Kevin Feige and Jon Favreau hiring Robert Downey Jr. in the first place, so we think their reunion in this will basically give them a forum to create an even better "Iron Man" movie.
2. Happy Hogan! – Even though Jon Favreau is no longer in the director's chair, Tony Stark's driver is an important part of his support team, and it would be a shame if someone (like Favreau) decides that appearing in a movie he's not directing is taking him away from directing his next movie. We really enjoyed Favreau as Happy Hogan--even more than we liked him as "Foggy" Nelson in Daredevil--and in the comics, there's always been this odd love triangle between him, Tony and Pepper Potts that seems ripe for introducing into the movie now that Tony and Pepper are together.
3. Iron Man's villains don't all have to wear armor – This one is really important because one of the things that killed Iron Man 2 for many people is all those suits of armor flying around shooting big guns. Sure, War Machine makes sense and okay, having an army of unmanned "Mandroids" also could have been cool, but when Whiplash showed up in his own armor, most people felt "Okay, enough is enough." The great thing about Iron Man villains like Mandarin and Spymaster and Madame Masque—most of them, in fact--is that they find other ways of fighting Iron Man's armory of weapons without their own suits of armor. If you're just going to throw every villain into their own armor, then it just starts feeling silly.
4. Easter eggs! – Obviously Shane Black and Marvel are going to try hard not to turn Iron Man 3 into a long-form trailer for The Avengers 2, but we really liked how some of the earlier movies hinted at the other characters in the Marvel Universe, and this seems like a good time to let moviegoers know there's more coming. I wouldn't be too obvious with it—like we don't need Tony saying something like "Man, I wish this galaxy had guardians against aliens," but there's ways of getting other characters in there. (See Hawkeye's appearance in Thor, which was a nice surprise for many.)
5. Let's not wait too long for Iron Man 4. With Robert Downey Jr.'s contract coming to an end with Iron Man 3, we're nervous there may be a fairly large gap while Marvel Studios plans The Avengers 2 and tries to launch other heroes. It was two years between Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and three years before Iron Man 3, so we want to leave this one knowing that Downey is signed and ready to go for Iron Man 4 and it'll get released by 2016. And seriously, if they don't put the Mandarin in THAT one, we're going to have a conniption (although we believe the rumors that he's going to be in this one).