The trailer: After the disappointment of Iron Man 2 — which was, fortunately, somewhat mitigated by the much more impressive Avengers — Iron Man 3, which hits theaters on May 3, is aiming to get the franchise back on track. The latest trailer focuses on a surprisingly humorless Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who seems to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after an attack on New York City — depicted in The Avengers — which almost resulted in his death. As Tony withdraws to the comfort of his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), he finds himself, and the rest of the country, under attack by a terrorist who goes by the name the Mandarin. Is this newer, darker Iron Man the right direction for the series?
The reaction: How dark and political is Iron Man 3 going to be? That's the key question, as the film is about "a globally known terrorist striking back against American power," says Daniel D'Addario at Salon. This may be a superhero movie, but the trailer offers glimpses of "themes that wouldn't feel out of place in a Kathryn Bigelow movie." True — but the Mandarin "isn't the only thing plaguing Tony Stark," says Brian Truitt at USA Today. "Self-doubt comes into play, too, as he worries about the world's safety" and his own ability to ensure it. Don't fret, Iron Man fans, this doesn't look too serious, says Jesse David Fox at Vulture. "Robert Downey Jr. is still there, there's a badass army of iron men, and Ben Kingsley's voice as the Mandarin is pretty funny, so we shouldn't worry too much."