“Robert Downey Jr. gave his all to this performance,” said Marvel Studios producer extraordinaire Kevin Feige in an interview with MTV. “He left no stone unturned.”
He added: “So much of the journey of ‘Iron Man 3’ is informed by Tony’s experiences in ‘The Avengers. It’s almost like post-traumatic stress: he really has retreated after the events of ‘The Avengers’ into his workshop, where he’s building advanced versions of his suits. He has [designed] a version of the suit that can latch onto him in individual pieces … anytime, anywhere. As he starts to realize, it’s basically because he doesn’t want to be out of the suit: he’s seen a lot of things in ‘Avengers’ and has encountered a lot of powerful people, much more powerful than he is.
“It brings us back to the Tony we met in the first part of ‘Iron Man’ where he’s removed from that convoy and brought to the cave with nothing but a box of scraps. It’s fun for all of us to watch Tony try to figure out how to get out of that scenario. Much of the movie is Tony in the middle of the country without his tools and a fairly broken suit to help him. But that’s his superpower: he wasn’t born on Asgard, he wasn’t hit by gamma rays, and he doesn’t have the super soldier serum. His power is his brain. It’s fun to put Tony Stark in a corner with nothing and see how he can get out of it.”
The film also makes the feature film debut of one of Iron Man’s most notorious enemies from the comic books, The Mandarin. Long rumored to be in the films after a brief reference in the first film, the character will be coming to life this summer with Ben Kingsley in the role.
“We felt there was leeway to explore the Mandarin in a way that hasn’t been explored before. We found we couldn’t point to any sort of definitive Mandarin story in the comics — but if you print this, I’m sure a million fans will point to a specific story — so as we’ve done with many of the films, we did an amalgamation. The Mandarin is relentless: he’s a non-stop threat, and you’ve seen that in the first teaser trailer when Tony Stark’s house tumbles into the sea. He doesn’t mess around, this guy.”
With the story of the film being influenced by The Avengers and a whole slew of new Marvel characters appearing, there is plenty here to make it different, but Feige seems to think where director Shane Black has taken the film is the most outstanding facet.
“No one has been shy — myself, Robert and [original ‘Iron Man’ director Jon] Favreau — about how Shane worked in the shadows of the first ‘Iron Man’ film, helping with certain scenes and helping with tonal things,This film, it’s much less the culmination of the previous ‘Iron Man’ movies in part three: this is ‘Iron Man: A Shane Black Film.’ That, to me, is by far the most unique thing about this movie.”
Many have speculated that the Marvel films will eventually wither away, that audiences will get tired of seeing these kinds of movies and will eventually stop going (though the billions of dollars made by Marvel’s The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises seems to point in the other direction). This doesn’t seem to have affected their decision making about future films, as Feige thinks Tony Stark can stand a few more films.
“Characters like James Bond and Batman, whose stories go on and on and on — I think Tony is one of those characters. Where we go directly after ‘Iron Man 3’ … I’m not looking too far ahead. I’m looking to finish ‘Iron Man 3,’ getting into ‘Avengers 2,’ and then seeing where we go from there. But I do think we have more Tony Stark tales to tell, and we’ll take it one movie — or maybe two movies — at a time.”
Iron Man 3 opens in 3D and 2D theaters on May 3, 2013. The action adventure stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley.