Doc Savage

With Iron Man 3, director Shane Black has the second-biggest US movie opening ever, and a film that is rapidly on track to hit the $1b global box-office mark. That translates to professional capital, and Black is ready to devote some of it to a project that was back-burnered a couple years ago.

In 2009 Black scripted a big-screen revival of the pulp character Doc Savage for Sony and producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The character is a hero of pulp novels and comics, described as “a scientist, physician, adventurer, inventor, explorer and researcher. He has been trained since birth to be nearly superhuman in every way, with outstanding strength, a photographic memory, and vast knowledge and intelligence. He uses his skills and powers to punish evil wherever in the world he finds it.”

The film, designed at that point as a period piece, almost went forward in 2010 with Black directing from a draft he co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry. Ultimately, however, it stalled, and then Black ended up going to work for Marvel in 2011.

Now the film is back on at Sony, with Black directing from that script he wrote with Bagarozzi and Mondry. Read More »

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Iron Man 3 Concept Header

There are a lot of Superhero Bits floating around this week: info is out there for Man of Steel, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers 2 and more. But we’re gonna put those on hold in celebration of the superhero du jour, Iron Man. This edition of Superhero Bits is solely decidated to the film at the top of the box office, Iron Man 3, and everything about it.

Do you want to hear Shane Black and Kevin Feige talk about the film’s big twists? How is the Internet reacting to the surprises? Want to see some new concept art and alternative credits sequences? How many unanswered questions does the film leave? Is The Mandarin the best comic book movie villain ever? Where was Robert Downey Jr. on opening day? What exactly did all each those armors do? Why didn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. come to the rescue? Were the rumors about the film over the years true? Read about all of this and more in today’s all Iron Man 3 edition of Superhero Bits — be warned there are film spoilers ahead.  Read More »

Iron Man 3 Final Header

Briefly: Tony Stark has defeated the Iron Monger, Whiplash and now he’s beaten Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow and Batman, too. Iron Man 3 opened this weekend with a whopping $175.3 million box-office take, the second best opening weekend of all-time. The only film Stark couldn’t beat? His own. 2012′s The Avengers remains the all-time record holder with $207.4 million from Friday to Sunday.

What’s even more impressive about the Shane Black-directed film? As it opened internationally a week prior to the US opening, Iron Man 3 has now grossed $680 million globally in its first week, outgrossing the entire run of both Iron Man ($585.2) and Iron Man 2 ($623.9 million).

The only questions now are, can Iron Man 3 combine the grosses of 1 and 2? Which other summer movie could topple it, if any? And will there be an Iron Man 4? [Box Office Mojo]

Iron Man 3 header

Iron Man 3 is a bundle of contradictions. It is light and genuinely funny, yet a vein of deep cynicism acts as the movie’s spine. At times it is gleefully silly, but it indulges ideas that are merely goofy. It wants to reconcile real-world violence into larger-than-life escapism. Yet the contradictions don’t quite break the movie. Director/writer Shane Black and co-screenwriter Drew Pearce understand the mode in which they have to work, and manage to make both impulses live side by side.

Those contradictions give Iron Man 3 a weird sense of pace, and a personality that isn’t quite like any other superhero movie. This isn’t the gleeful candy-colored romp of The Avengers, and I sympathize with any audience thrown by the film’s shuffling rhythm. Shane Black writes and directs movies that walk a fine line between idiosyncratic and mainstream, and many of the director’s impulses (winking narration, in-jokes, the subversion of cliches) are on display here.

Black and Pearce struggle at times to keep all their ideas in the frame, but that struggle alone makes Iron Man 3 interesting to watch. The film’s giddy highs are quite wonderful, and its personal quirks are testament to the power Marvel Studios has accumulated. The film plays loose with characters and ideas from the comics, but in doing so presents a story that is more unique than we have any right to expect from a threequel. In fact, crossover between real and heightened worlds has defined Marvel Comics since day one, and Iron Man 3 may be more true to Marvel’s spirit than any other film.

(Note: Iron Man 3 features a couple big plot elements that shouldn’t be spoiled, and so the following review avoids discussing those elements. I’m not going to say this is 100% spoiler-free, but I’ve avoided the big points. ) Read More »

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A couple weeks ago I got the opportunity to sit down with Marvel head Kevin Feige and Iron Man 3 writer/director Shane Black.

We’ve run some of the answers over the last week as stand-alone posts, but you can read the whole interview transcript after the jump, including collecting Back to the Future memorabilia, Iron Man at Disneyland, transforming a superhero movie into a detective story, Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars/Marvel crossover rant, if it was weird for Black to direct Jon Favreau in an Iron Man movie, how Iron Man 3 sets-up future Marvel films, Tony Stark’s unexpected team-up with a child, how Marvel deals with leaks, misinformation and the rumors of the age of the internet.
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Kevin Feige

Its very hard to keep secrets in the age of the internet, especially when it comes to fanboy properties like superhero movies. While talking to Marvel head Kevin Feige and Iron Man 3 writer/director Shane Black, I asked how Marvel Studios is evolving to deal with this growing interest in rumors, leaks and sometimes even misinformation.

Read More »

Iron Man 3 China

Marvel is well-known for inserting scenes into their films to surprise audiences, and Iron Man 3 is no different. As always, stay to the end of the credits. What is different about Tony Stark’s latest adventure is that the film’s Chinese release is four minutes longer than in the rest of the world. China helped co-finance the film (though it isn’t an official co-production) and the Chinese footage features cameos by some of the country’s most famous actors. Those four minutes got a lot of fanboy interest when director Shane Black said they featured an “interesting surprise.”

Iron Man 3 premiered in China Wednesday night and details of those scenes have now made it online. Sorry, there are no major revelations like an appearance from villain Fin Fang Foom. The footage is just a bunch of extended scenes that some fans claim are totally extraneous to the plot. Read about them below. Read More »

PATTON-OSWALT-STAR-WARS

During my interview last week with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Iron Man 3 director Shane Black, I brought up Patton Oswalt’s awesome ad-libbed Star Wars: Episode VII pitch (a Parks & Recreation outtake) which involved a cross-over event involving Disney’s Marvel superhero and galactic universe.

While many of my colleagues were asking the softball questions like “will Robert Downey Jr come back for a fourth Iron Man” or “where will Marvel go in Phase 3?” I knuckled down with the much more important hardball question: when is Disney going to take Oswalt’s pitch seriously and give us that Marvel/Disney cross-over film? Find out the answer after the jump.

Read More »

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