Dear Marvel Studios (especially producer Kevin Feige and director Jon Favreau),
I just wrote my 100 Words or Less Iron Man 2 review. It wasn’t pretty. I gave it 2.5 stars and I was in a pretty good mood at the time. If you are lucky, when one of our other staffers does the full review you might even con them into a 3- or 3.5-star review. I wasn’t bored during the film. But I’d watch a Robert Downey Jr. home improvement show, especially with guests like Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlet Johnansson — and I hate fucking home improvement shows. I enjoyed the movie in spite of the script, definitely not because of it. The script was just silly. (spoiler alert)
Justin Hammer leaves just two douchebag security guards to keep Whiplash in check while the rest of his compound is oblivious? Nice try. How about Whiplash knowing Tony Stark was going to be racing when nobody in his crew even knew? Had to squeeze that big “cum in your pants” trailer scene in there, didn’t ya? What about Rhodey kicking Iron Man’s ass the first time he gets in War Machine (even if Tony was drunk)? What about Tony Stark purposefully pissing his pants, er, iron pants in front of a bunch of hot chicks at a party? How un-Stark. The dialogue? To quote the movie, it was so ridiculous it gave me “Hammer-roids.”
I don’t have anything against Iron Man 2 screenwriter Justin Theroux. I liked him in American Psycho and Mulholland Drive. Tropic Thunder was pretty damn funny (again carried by Downey Jr., just like Iron Man 2). But maybe you should have evaluated just how good his words were without Downey Jr. behind them before handing him the keys to your red and gold sports car? Besides, if anything, I thought you hooked the new fans with the fun, light first Iron Man and needed to actually go darker the second time around. I’m not the only one who thought that either. That is obviously not Theroux’s vision, and never will be his vision. He’s an action-comedy writer, or is at this point in his career at least.
The die-hard fans have been clamoring for Demon in a Bottle. After two box-office smashes, the new, more casual fans will come on board for a darker third installment in the series. Downey Jr. is arguably the biggest box office star in the world now — he can make that happen. But, no, Theroux doesn’t think anybody wants that (via MTV’s Splash Page).
“It’s just a great, gritty storyline. It doesn’t transfer to film. We didn’t want to be the ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ version of ‘Iron Man 2.’ Even just a little bit of that can completely dominate the story.”
“We realized that in a comic book you can have one key-frame where it’s a guy, drunk, but in a movie, that’s gotta be a big scene and it’s gotta be addressed,” added Theroux. “A thirteen year old kid does not want to see drunken Tony.”
Here is what Favreau has said (via Newsarama).
“I don’t think we’ll ever do the Leaving Las Vegas version, but it will be dealt with.”
You know what? Iron Man meets Leaving Las Vegas is exactly what I want. I think it is exactly what a lot of people want. You think David S. Goyer and the Nolans are sitting around thinking about 13 year olds as the plot Batman 3 and the new Superman saga? Jesus H.
Bob Layton and David Michelinie’s Demon in a Bottle is the best Iron Man story there is, maybe the best comic book story there is, and it deals with alcoholism. The primary villain in that story is Justin Hammer, who is already being played by one of the finest actors in the business — Sam Rockwell. I don’t think you’d have to pull back the scale any, but even if you did wouldn’t it be worth it to raise the stakes through the roof? Wouldn’t it be worth it to not just challenge The Dark Knight at the box office, but with critics as well? Wouldn’t it be worth it to see Robert Downey Jr. get nominated for Best Actor for an effin’ comic book movie?
Iron Man 3: Demon in a Bottle wouldn’t even wreck The Avengers, as it looks like you are planning to release Iron Man 3 first anyway. Hell, Stark is just an adviser right now because of his “me first” attitude. Maybe nearly losing a substance abuse battle, his company, a war with Hammer, maybe even his life would ground him enough to become a member of the Avengers. The plot would be a perfect segue for a humbled Stark accepting a role as part of the Avengers team. Additionally, the Iron Man franchise doesn’t have Batman’s rogues gallery of villains — Tony Stark’s greatest opponent is Tony Stark.
Favreau and Theroux need to get on board with this idea, or they need to be removed like Terrance Howard was. I think everybody has enjoyed how fun the first two installments have been, but another light actioneer will kill the franchise quicker than that palladium would’ve Tony’s heart. Besides, give Downey Jr. ad Favreau any script and they’ll find the fun. That’s a given. They don’t need a side order of comedy added on.
The Iron Man franchise can still be something special, and it still has one of the all time great comic series to draw upon for inspiration. Things are starting to look a little too Spider-Man 3, but, hey, Spider-Man 3 made you boatloads of money. Maybe you”ll just have Robert Downey Jr. come back, do an emo song and dance, collect your check and kill the series like you did with Spidey. Hey, you can always bring Tony Stark back tween style?
This is the way to go for Iron Man 3. Tony Stark can be more than just a box office Iron Man — he can be a superhero for comic book geeks and critics, too. Iron Man 3: Demon in a Bottle would be a classic movie, not just a classic superhero movie. You just have to have the balls to make it.
A Die-Hard Iron Man Fan
(I only like Batman better, and if you knew how much I liked the Caped Crusader…)