Fear of the Franchise

There’s never been a better time to make an Iron Man movie—yet there’s never been a worse. Jon Favreau has the technology available to him that directors would have killed to have thirty or forty years ago; but that said, directors back then were primarily making stand-alone movies, and not cogs that are part of monstrous franchises.

One great thing that Favreau has going for him is that if he’s going to cover the origin of the character, Iron Man has a corker. It’s tart and tangy and chock full of irony.

-Playboy billionaire Tony Stark uses his inventing genius to tinker together weapons of death and destruction.
-While field testing his most recent weapons for the army in what was thought to be a de-militarized zone, Stark is seriously wounded—perhaps by one of his very own weapons—and is imprisoned by a petty warlord and forced to design new weapons.
-Stark is imprisoned with fellow scientists, who are also being forced to do the tyrant’s bidding.
-The scientists use their ingenuity to build Stark a chest plate that will keep him alive until a surgeon can remove the piece of metal shrapnel that is lodged dangerously near his heart.
-Stark expands on the functionality of the sophisticated iron lung that is keeping him alive, by expanding the chest plate into a complete suit of armor, bullet proof and loaded with magnetic and repulsor beam weaponry.
-When the petty warlord barges into the work shop and demands to see the great new weapons the scientists have created for him, Tony Stark gives the tyrant an up close and personal demonstration in the form of a major ass kicking.
-Back in the US, Stark streamlines his suit design and decides to continue fighting crime on every level.

Dang, that’s a good story. Forget about trying to squeeze it into the first ten minutes of the movie. You’ve got the whole story right there. Of course it would be a blast to see Stark jetting around in the Gene Colon era armor.

The rumor mill is grinding out stories about Iron Man facing off against the Mandarin in the movie. I was never a huge fan of the Mandarin in the comics—him and his ten rings of doom. Did he ever actually get around to using all ten rings? It seemed like he was always using either his heat beam or his cold beam. His thumb rings probably had the weakest powers of the lot. One would give you a nasty prickly heat rash and the other beam would shrink your ankles for up to 48 hours. The only good that could possibly come from Favreau using Mandarin for a Iron Man foe would be the appearance of Ultimo.

As with most things, time will tell.

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