Over the past five years, comic book fanatics, teenagers and movie addicts alike have all flocked to see the three installations of Marvel’s Iron Man trilogy. Since the first movie, audiences have fallen in love with the hottest new super couple, consisting of Robert Downey Jr. (Iron man) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts). A perfect balance of romance and action has satisfied moviegoers with great success, and even with the critically denounced Iron Man 2 in the mix, the trilogy has become one of the most successful superhero trilogies in movie history. Some say it was due to great writing, others give credit to great sound, music and special effects, but the most notorious theory behind Iron Man’s success as a blockbuster hit has been Iron Man himself. Iron Man as a comic was already a favorite in the eyes of many, so when they decided to take Mr. Stark to the big screen, it was destined for success. Then, to finish off the recipe, they cast Robert Downey Jr., who was in the process of staging his comeback, after exiting rehab for drug abuse in late 2001. Although it wasn’t as obvious at the time, in hindsight, this franchise saved both the hero and the actor as far as their exposure in Hollywood goes. Robert Downey Jr. needed a dynamic, exciting, and consistent role to get him back on the map and out of trouble, while Marvel Studios needed someone perfect to bring their dreams to life. As it turns out, the marriage was perfect, and although he was also phenomenal as Sherlock Holmes, I have to say that this is and forever will be, both the best role Jr. will ever have, and the most accurately cast superhero the public will ever lay their eyes on. I think what makes it so perfect, is the fact that unlike Sherlock Holmes, I assume Downey Jr. acts somewhat similarly to Iron Man in his personal life. Smooth, arrogant, funny, charming and badass all at the same time? That sounds about right to me.
So lets fast-forward to the ending credits of the third movie in the series, imaginatively titled Iron Man 3. After an arguably epic, and unexpectedly conclusive ending, many fans are wondering what is next for America’s (let alone most of the world’s) favorite suit of armor. Now please don’t shoot the messenger on this one, as I am just as disappointed to write this as you are to read it, but as of right now, Robert Downey Jr.’s contract is fulfilled. He has starred in 3 solo Iron Man films, along with appearing in various other hero movies for a short scenes, and co-starring in the most successful superhero movie, and 3rd highest grossing film to date: The Avengers. Although he could make an argument that he has completed his term as Iron Man, and is off to bigger and better things, I don’t know why he would. If history repeats itself, and Earth continues to revolve around the sun, over the next 3 years Iron Man 4 (announced) and The Avengers 2 (announced) both have the potential to top even the first Avengers film in sales. If you claim that your job is to act in movies, why would you turn down such an amazing career opportunity? Downey Jr. quitting Iron Man now, would be like Mozart ceasing to compose after his 6th Symphony. Unfortunately for us, in today’s society, movie stars seldom take advice from college students and it’s possible Robert Downey Jr. may not return for the fourth movie in the Iron Man saga.
While you are wiping the tears from your eyes, I can provide some tissues and uplifting information to ease the pain. For those who don’t know, Marvel Studios was recently purchased by Disney. No, Mickey Mouse will not be the next inhabitant of the old maroon and gold. This is a new Disney, one that our generation is frankly having a hard time adjusting to. We are so used to Disney being cartoons, Pixar animations, and princesses, but this new Disney (while continuing to make money with that stuff) will finally be accommodating for the needs of those over the age of twelve. This is the company that is now at the reins of Lucas Films and the treasured Star Wars franchise, not to mention Disney was calling the shots for Iron Man 3. They have done a flawless job at making the transition as seamless and smooth as possible and it is safe to say that they have succeeded. With the ability to carry huge franchises like Star Wars, and the power to attract big names J.J. Abrams, I think that Marvel Studios is in very capable hands, and on a side note I am actually quite excited to see what Disney will do with Lucas’s baby, as its new adopted parent. With Bob Iger in charge, Disney has treated all of their children with love and affection, and I am certain that Iron Man 4 and Avengers 2 with or without Robert Downey Jr., will still be colossal successes both in the box office and in the critical eyes of fans worldwide.