New direction for Iron Man

SINCE kicking off with 2008’s Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (AKA The Avengers and the associated films of its member superheroes) has studiously avoided distinctive directorial voices. The studio’s aim has been to create one coherent world, so the individual ticks of the directors have largely been subsumed into the house style. It’s interesting, then, that for Iron Man 3 the studio has chosen Shane Black as director and co-writer, a man whose wise-cracking action movie scripts (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout) made him one of the most idiosyncratic Hollywood writers of the 80s and 90s. Iron Man 3 is his first film as writer or director since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, his giddily post-modern 2005 detective story. That film created the persona its star Robert Downey Jr would go on to refine as Iron Man’s Tony Stark. Whether Black will be allowed to run riot with the source material as Sam Raimi once did with Spider-Man remains to be seen, but his present 100 per cent success rate when partnered with Downey Jr bodes well.

Iron Man 3 is in cinemas on 25 April.