“IRON MAN 2″ COUNTDOWN: 23 DAYS
Tony Stark breaks all the rules (even the one that says superheroes must keep a secret identity), and he always seems to comes out on top — that’s why we love him. But now comes “Iron Man 2,” a film about secret dangers, the sins of the father and the nasty price of modern celebrity. The movie lands May 7 in the U.S. and every day until then, we’ll have behind-the-scenes scoops on the summer’s most anticipated film.
Don’t expect a cliffhanger at the end of ”Iron Man 2” — director Jon Favreau says the the ambitious plan by Marvel Studios to create a latticework of mythology that connects all of its hero franchises eliminates the “to be continued” option.
“I want it to be completely self-contained because a lot is going to happen between now and the next chapter. You’ve got ‘Thor,’ you’ve got ‘Captain America ‘ and you’ve got ‘Avengers.’ I don’t know how all of that is going to impact this little handmade story of ours that we’ve been doing over the last two films.”
Marvel Studios is attempting something unprecedented in the Hollywood blockbuster sector – to make all of its films fit into a larger mosaic where the same actors and characters will appear again and again to create a sort of connective tissue. It began with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) popping up in “Iron Man” and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in “The Incredible Hulk.”
But being on a team means sharing the ball; the “Iron Man” franchise will sit on the bench for the next few years to make way for the other movies in Marvel’s still-narrow pipeline. That means some risk for the studio since the franchise is (so far) the only proven all-star on the roster.
For Favreau, meanwhile, the hiatus for the franchise and the need for Iron Man to be available for other storylines means he couldn’t have the new film’s credits roll on an unresolved story like, say, “The Empire Strikes Back” or “The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers.”
“You want to leave some things open, you know, to be like a food cache for them to set things up that can be paid off later and lean toward where we think things are going,” Favreau said. “But we can’t leave it like ‘Empire’ where you’re waiting to see it resolved. It’s not a cliffhanger. We had to tuck this whole story in. And that be said, we had like eight different storylines going and opened up the door, especially with both the good guys and the bad guys, for a larger story to be told. That’s just responsible filmmaking. But if you just watch this movie, it’s self-contained. It’s not like ‘Two Towers.’ ”
Check back; we have some very interesting details on the specific ways that “Iron Man 2″ fits into Marvel’s interlocking mythology plan.
– Geoff Boucher
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FIRST LOOK: New Iron Man print by Alex Ross
Photos: From top, Robert Downey Jr. in “Iron Man 2″ (credit: Merrick Morton /Marvel Entertainment); Jon Favreau at his Los Angeles office in 2008 (Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times); Iron Man by Alex Ross (Marvel)