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Iron Man faces 'meaningful death' in new trailer

In the first full-length trailer for “Iron Man 3,” the metal-suited hero faces two choices: “An empty life or a meaningful death?”

The question, asked by Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley’s terrorist villain The Mandarin, sets the tone for the gloomy, action-packed third film in the super successful Marvel franchise. Robert Downey Jr.’s charming billionaire investor Tony Stark is in for a seriously tough time, as we see his beautiful cliffside home destroyed and dozens of civilians falling helplessly from a blown-up airplane that appears to be Air Force One.

Thankfully, Stark has back-up and not just in the form of a killer cast rounded out by Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce. In a lab, armies of Iron Man suits are being fitted on new heroes. At the end of the trailer, the army of Iron Men flies in to the rescue, a superhero face-off seemingly imminent. Bruised and beaten, Stark looks up with a grin. “There’s my boys.”

Even with his new crew, it won’t be smooth sailing for Stark. The Mandarin may be his toughest foe yet. In the comic books, the villain used magical rings that he found inside an alien spaceship to try to rule the world. While we see his rings in the trailer, Marvel President Kevin Feige told IGN that The Mandarin will instead combat Iron Man and his gang with seriously powerful technology, not magic. And, come to think of it, between the dark orphan backstory and mind-blowing airplane destruction, The Mandarin has a lot in common with Batman’s most recent enemy, Bane.

While “Iron Man 3” seems to ratchet up the intensity and darkness, Downey Jr.’s clever bon mots still bring a lightness and sense of adventure to an otherwise serious flick. “No politics here,” Stark tells a reporter. “Just good ol’ fashioned revenge.”

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