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Marvel Movie Madness Starring Iron Man
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
Marvel Entertainment is a studio accustomed to making hit movies. Last summer The Avengers raked in $1.5 billion in ticket sales; the year before that Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor brought in $359 million. The summer before that Iron Man 2 $312 million… And this summer brings Marvel's Iron Man 3.
Starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, so far the previous two Iron Man films have found Stark developing the Iron Man technology then doing his best to make sure that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. This third installment features Stark doing battle with the evil Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), Iron Man's fiercest foe yet who will stop at nothing to destroy Stark and Iron Man along with him.
Directed and co-written by Shane Black, writer/director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and writer of The Monster Squad, Iron Man 3 is the seventh film in this ultra-successful series of Marvel universe movies.
Honestly, I have no doubt that Iron Man 3 will only add to Marvel's success and that the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier out in 2014 and Thor: The Dark World out this winter won't top the first ones in that series as well or that The Avengers 2 won't smash the records that were originally set by the first The Avengers.
I think Marvel's real problem moving forward is that they've run out of new top tier characters like Iron Man, Captain America or Thor to build film franchises around.
What many might not know is that Marvel doesn't own the film rights to titles like The Fantastic Four, X-Men or Spider-Man – other movie studios do. So don't expect to see Reed Richards helping Tony Stark or Wolverine battling Sentinels along with the Incredible Hulk anytime soon. And what the lack of new top tier characters means for Marvel is that they're going to start building new film franchises around secondary teams and characters that the general public has probably never heard of.
Out next year is a movie based on the cosmic book Guardians of the Galaxy. What, you've never heard of the Guardians before? They're a team of space-based superheroes including Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, the living tree Groot and the aptly named Rocket Raccoon.
In addition to the Guardians, there's also an Ant Man movie in the works. Ant Man was an original Avenger who has the power to grow very big or very small and has the ability to control ants with his mind too.
And the literal billion dollar question with teams like the Guardians or characters like Ant Man is if the characters seem outwardly goofy like “living tree” or “controls ants with his mind” and if they don't star people most are already familiar with, namely Robert Downy Jr., will anyone other than the comic book geeks go see it?
Part of me thinks that with the success of The Avengers the movie going public will at least try any upcoming Marvel movie, especially how Marvel does such a good job of tying their films together. Iron Man tied to The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk tied to Iron Man 2, Iron Man 2 tied to Captain America, Captain America tied to The Avengers. And The Avengers introduced a whole plethora of cosmic characters to the Marvel movie universe that would logically include the Guardians too. And Ant Man is already a Avenger so there's a familiarity there already with him. So, as long as Marvel keeps doing what they're doing they should be fine.
But another part of me worries about the future of the Marvel movies. The Iron Man and The Avengers movies were hits at the box office and the first Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk movies were successful too, but only just. It seems that if any of the upcoming sequels like Iron Man 3 or second Captain America or Thor movies stumble at the box office or if movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy fail to connect with an audience Thanos might be the least of the Marvel movie universe's worries.
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