I am of the strange minority that enjoyed Iron Man 2 more than the first Iron Man. For me, both stories are so conservative in their approach that differentiating between the two on the basis of who was a better villain or whatever is pretty moot. For me, the Iron Man movies boil down to banter, the one thing Tony Stark does better than everyone else he’s met (well, that and banging models). Iron Man 2 had more banter (especially the excellent bantering between Tony and Pepper) and used it cleverly in certain points. Thus, more banter equals better Iron Man movie. I mean, the Marvel Films are almost defined by not taking themselves seriously and working wonders within this winking approach.
But now things have gotten serious, or not. The Superbowl trailer (the extended one) doesn’t really offer anything new: Tony’s house gets blown up, everyone’s trying really hard to get around how inherently racist the Mandarin (the Mandarin!?!) is, and he manages to fall out of a plane. That’s the trailer. Not really too much excitement going on in terms of plot or what this movie is doing, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will follow pretty similar lines to the other two (probably to a “This is How You Remind Me of Someday” extent) and there’s nothing wrong with that!
That being said, there is no banter but a great deal of hilarity at the very beginning that at once elates and dismays me. That extended sequence with Tony is sheer brilliance; I just hope director Shane Black is as funny as the marketing director. After all, these movies are entertaining first and watching how Tony goes to new depths before defeating the enemy will surely be enjoyable. The foreboding narration of what I imagine is an apology to Pepper Potts is terrifying to me because of Gwyneth Paltrow’s bantering ability. Sacrificing her for ‘new depths’ scares me a little, not just in the Women in Refrigerators sense, but also in the Entertainability Index (something I just made up but I feel communicates itself pretty well). And certainly the very ending, where ordinary people get to do extraordinary things like hold onto each other will warm the hearts of audiences everywhere. The humanity, rather than superhumanity, is an important concept for these Iron Man films, so seeing Don Cheadle all dressed up in the Iron Partiot suit is sure to also warm the hearts of many.
The trailer works even if it doesn’t really do anything at all. That’s probably the biggest reveal of this whole thing: The trailer actually revealed nothing.