‘Iron Man 3′ trailer: Tony Stark faces off against the Mandarin

March 05, 2013 | 10:08 a.m.

Gwyneth Paltrow, left, and Robert Downey Jr. reprise their roles as Pepper Potts and Tony Stark in "Iron Man 3." (Marvel Studios)

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark in a scene from "Iron Man 3." (Marvel Studios)

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark in a scene from "Iron Man 3." (Marvel Studios)

Iron Man and Pepper Potts share a moment in "Iron Man 3." (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios)

The Mandarin draws power from 10 rings he found among the ruins of an alien vessel. (Robert De La Torre / Marvel Comics)

The Mandarin made his comics debut in 1964's "Tales of Suspense" No. 50, by Stan Lee and Don Heck. (Marvel Comics)

With his 10 powerful rings and aspirations of world domination, the Mandarin became Iron Man's arch nemesis. Above, the cover for "Tales of Suspense" No. 55. (Marvel Comics)

“I’m going to offer you a choice. Do you want an empty life or a meaningful death?”

The question, as posed by Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, is one of the most memorable moments in the newest trailer for “Iron Man 3,” which debuted online Tuesday morning. The Oscar-winning actor is the antagonist to Robert Downey Jr.’s genius billionaire inventor Tony Stark in the third installment in the massively popular Marvel franchise, due out May 3.

The centerpiece of the clip is the spectacular destruction of Stark’s cliff-side home, glimpsed in earlier footage from the film, which is directed by Jon Favreau’s former “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2″ consultant Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”).

In the comics, the Mandarin was an exiled orphan who discovers a crashed spaceship. He mastered the alien science he found there and kept 10 powerful rings used to drive the ship. He used the rings’ power in his schemes for world domination and became one of Iron Man’s most formidable foes, from his first appearance in 1964′s “Tales of Suspense” No. 50, by Stan Lee and Don Heck.

Though Marvel President Kevin Feige has said that the big-screen Mandarin’s back story won’t follow the comics, focusing in technology instead of magic, the trailer showed the villain’s ring-garbed fingers.

The trailer also plays up the worry that seems to be creeping into the corners of Stark’s life after the events depicted in “The Avengers.”

“Things are different now,” Stark tells his lady companion Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) at one point. “I have to protect the one thing I can’t live without. That’s you.”

Let us know what you thought about the trailer in the comments.

– Gina McIntyre and Noelene Clark

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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