Shane Black Reveals His Take on Iron Man 3

More “Tom Clancy thriller” than “two men in iron suits fighting each other”?

That’s the word a scooper sent in to AICN about what Shane Black, the new director (and now, also writer) on Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″, said while he attended the Omaha Film Festival over the weekend. (And unlike that Keanu Reeves/”Matrix” story, yes, Black WAS at the Omaha Film Festival this time. As to what he said, and the truthfulness of it? We’ll have to take AICN’s scooper’s word for it.)

After a lot of talking about screenwriting, etc (the reason he was there, apparently), “Iron Man 3” came up, and here is what Black had to say on various topics:

He is scheduled to meet with Robert Downey Jr. this week when he returns to L.A. Downey will be contributing to the story and Shane will be writing it in addition to directing.

The studio was not happy with the direction Iron Man 2 took. Iron Man 3 will not be another “two men in iron suits fighting each other” film. Instead, it will be more like a Tom Clancy-thriller, with Iron Man fighting real world villains.

Iron Man 3 will be made after The Avengers and will not feature any other heroes from the Marvel Universe. Marvel is only doing crossover characters to lead up to The Avengers, and once that film is released, the plan is to go back to self-contained single-character stories.

I dig the whole “Tom Clancy-thriller” angle, though I don’t see how you can ever really get rid of the whole “two men in iron suits fighting each other” element from the franchise. This is a guy in an iron suit, after all. Hard to make a movie where he just goes around blasting regular-suited baddies with his rockets and lasers and whatnot. Okay, not hard to make a movie like that, but it would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it? There’s a reason why most of Iron Man’s comic book Rogues Gallery ends up in some type of armor themselves. The same reason why Superman’s villains are always majorly super-powered (aside from, you know, the occasional Lex Luthor). You NEED a villain who can match the hero in terms of power (an “opposite”, if you will), otherwise there wouldn’t be much drama. (By the way, this is also one the reasons why Will Smith’s “Hancock” was so lacking; you have this God-like superhero, and the best they could throw at him were some bank robber types?)

I’m not entirely sure what Black means with the last statement. I’m sure “Iron Man 3” will have its own stand-alone movie, but does he mean there will be no overt ties to the Marvel Universe at all? You could actually have a stand-alone Iron Man movie, but also have Steve Rogers pop up for a drink with Tony Stark, stuff like that to still wink at the audience that Iron Man exists in a universe with Captain America, the Hulk, etc. I don’t necessarily think one precludes the other.

In any case, the bigger news here is that Shane Black will not only direct, but also write the screenplay. I’ve always loved Black as a writer, so I’m very intrigued to see what he comes up with. This will be, bar none, his biggest studio project yet in terms of how much control he has.