Iron Man 3 Trailer: Five Things We Learned

The Iron Man 3 trailer broke early this morning, bringing plenty of awesome, high-action footage and dark, ominous overtones with it. The Mandarin's plan gets a little more fleshed-out, his agenda laid on the table, and there are an awful lot more questions raised than answered by the just-over-two-minutes of footage we got to see from the forthcoming Marvel sequel.

It's certainly built into the Marvel Universe in a big way, which makes sense given that both in and outside of the film series, it seems as though Marvel is building Iron Man as the cornerstone of the Marvel Universe. That, of course, comes with its own challenges in keeping the film's identity. "Why doesn't he just call The Hulk?" has already been asked on message boards all around the Internet, which sort of misses the point of a solo film.

What were our big takeaways from the trailer?

The New York battle in The Avengers is being reated like 9/11

Nothing has been the same since New York, Tony says in the trailer, which jives with the way Marvel have marketed the "I survived the battle of New York" posters and t-shirts spinning out of The Avengers. Alien invaders, massive property damage, a life-changing status quo in terms of joining a superhero team...one can understand why Tony feels like that was a watershed moment in his life. It's harder to guess how he'll cope with it, except that in saying he has a lot of people to apologize to, it could very well mean that he descended into debauchery between films.

Tony has nightmares

That might explain the terrifying image, about 45 seconds into the trailer, of the Iron Man armor grabbing Pepper out of bed while Tony appears to remain sleeping. The fact that he says it at the same time they're visiting the vigil site that we photographed months ago might throw the reality of those events into question for some, but it there's lots of selective editing in trailers so it's hard to imagine a whole plot point like that would just be created completely.

(As a side note, the armor definitely seems to have something odd going on with it. Can The Mandarin be co-opting Iron Man's armor through use of the Extremis virus or something else? It seems likely--while we've all see Iron Man appearing to save people during the plane crash in the movie, and heard rumors it will be Air Force One, there seems to be a look in this trailer of Iron Man punching through the wall of the plane from the outside, causing people to fly out and then catching one and flying away. Is that just a very odd way for Tony to be saving a plane that's in danger, or is there something more sinister at play? Perhaps someone else wearing Iron man armor or the armor acting on its own that then forces Tony's hand in saving the rest of the flight? And does it relate to the previous scene, in which the armor (or someone in it) goes after Pepper, or were we right in the first place about that being a dream?)

Tony really does seem stripped of everything.

At one point, Tony seems to be hiking through the snow, carrying the Iron Man armor behind him like a shirpa on a mountain. It's difficult to guess exactly what that might mean, but it seems as though there's a little bit of The Dark Knight Rises at play here, with the third film installment seeing Tony broken and having to rebuild. Losing his mansion (as seen in the trailer) would be a huge setback, but is it possible he's actually without any resources at all, forced to rebuild his suit with nothing like when he was trapped in the cave? It would make storytelling sense.

Tony has surgery

All along, we've been wondering who Tony might have been visiting in the hospital--but what if that's him coming out of the hospital after a procedure of his own? It appears as though he's having surgery at one point in the trailer...but for what? Could he finally have decided that with the arc reactor being constantly targeted and occasionally kicking off, it's time to figure out a way to remove the shrapnel from around his heart?

The Mandarin has his rings

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We'd wondered why The Mandarin had a gun in the teasers, but not his rings. Well, it looks as though maybe actually acquiring the rings might be part of the story, as there's a pretty clear shot of the villain's hands, with all the rings on them, in the trailer as well.

That should present...a challenge.