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Iron Man Blasts Into Theaters in May

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Marvel looks to hit big, when Iron Man hits theaters this summer. With the movie's release date getting ever closer, Broken Frontier's Jason Juniewicz looks at what we know so far about the film and what's rumored to be in store for the Golden Avenger...

We are only months away from the release of the film featuring the newest hero that the folks at Marvel are bringing to the big screen: Iron Man. Marvel has put a lot of muscle behind this movie and shown us some great photos and footage of the star-studded cast and eye-popping effects. With the film release date set for May 8th, now seems like the perfect time to look back at what Marvel has shown the public and try to get an idea of what fans have to look forward to when they walk into theaters.

Way back when Marvel announced that their own production company, Marvel Studios, would be making Iron Man an in-house production and not pursuing their old route of licensing to another movie company, fans weren’t sure what to expect. Sure this might mean that the film would stick closer to the books and not stray as much as some of the other adaptations of Marvel’s comics have in the past, but what sort of movie can we really expect? Marvel soon showed the world that they were not kidding around when they revealed the cast. They pulled out all of the stops announcing that none other than Robert Downey Jr. will be playing billionaire industrialist Tony Stark/ Iron Man.

Iron Man has always had a strong supporting cast in his books, and Marvel wasn’t about to skimp on the talent when it comes to casting Shell-Head’s entourage. What they came up with only helped to solidify the credibility of this film. With Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts and Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes, fans are sure not to be disappointed by the quality of talent that is being brought to this movie.

But there was one question people were still wondering about: who will the villain be? The obvious choice would have been the Mandarin, being one of the mainstays of Iron Man’s cadre of villains, but the filmmakers decided that he was a bit too hokey. With the Mandarin being a no go, who better than the bane of Stark Industries, Obadiah Stane? Stane successfully took over Stark Industries in the comics for a time, and has gone toe to toe with the Armored Avenger as the Iron Monger. Marvel revealed that they would be granting the villains with as much star power as the heroes, when they announced Jeff Bridges would be portraying the dastardly Stane in the film.

With the cast in place the position of director would need to be filled. Veteran writer and actor in the Hollywood scene, Jon Favreau was chosen to be the guiding light behind the big screen debut of the Armored Avenger. Add to that the legendary design skill of the one and only Stan Winston as the one who would be responsible for designing the Iron Man armor. Winston has proven himself to be a master in visual effects with his credits including such hits as Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Mix in the name amongst names in visual effects, Industrial Light and Magic, and you have the recipe for a summer blockbuster.

Even with this much talent in place, fans still weren’t certain what to expect. Last summer any doubts they had were laid to rest when fans were blown away during the San Diego Comic  Con International as Marvel unveiled live and in person the Mach I armor from the film. Those in attendance could swear that this armor could have been pulled right off the pages of Tales of Suspense #39, where the Man of Iron made his first appearance. If that wasn’t enough, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Jr. and Stan Winston were on hand to meet some fans and sign autographs. To top off the festivities, fans’ jaws hit the floor when they were treated to a seven minute advance preview of footage from the film after a Q&A session with the film’s stars. The footage left those in attendance (or those who were lucky enough to find it online before it was pulled down) in utter awe. Glimpses of the Mach I armor in action as well as a soon to be iconic image of Iron Man flying in between two fighter jets before rocketing away were among some of the highlights.

Since then Marvel has been treating the public with a steady flow of pictures from the set, giving away slight plot points all fans of the Armored Avenger are hungry to uncover. These pics have included everything from shots of the cast to Mr. Stark testing out his Iron Man tech to Iron Man in full all-out action. But pictures can only reveal some of the story…

After some serious teasing with the photos and the key was long thrown away to whatever vault Marvel was keeping the Comic Con footage in, fans were finally treated to the long awaited official trailer for Iron Man. This trailer mostly shows the Mach I armor in action, and even shows the dynamic of how they are going to handle Tony Stark’s journey from “The Merchant of Death,” as he is named in the film, to the iron-clad hero that everyone come to know and love. Of course all of this is brought to you with the classic Black Sabbath song “Iron Man” blaring in the background.

Many fans probably thought they had seen it all after this, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Only one word can be used to describe the mind-blowing spot that played during this year’s Super Bowl: amazing! I’m sure fans around the world got goose bumps when they got to see everything from Iron Man flying full speed to quick clips of what looks to be a battle of mythic proportions with the Iron Monger. We also see Shell-Head dispatching a tank in an amusingly arrogant way. From the looks of the TV spot this movie will be action packed from start to finish and show us the full measure of what the effects team from the legendary Industrial Light and Magic can do.

Recently Marvel has released the second trailer for Iron Man. This trailer shows us some of the same stuff we saw from the first, expanded a little bit and concentrates more on the Mach II and Mach III armors. It even gives us a clue to the film take on the origin of Iron Man’s trademark red and gold motif. Again Marvel does not disappoint in showing the amount of action fans can expect from this film, and leaves no one doubting this will be a white knuckle ride.

With all of the solid info that the public is being fed about Iron Man, what about the rumors that are flying around the web? The buzz is that this movie will tie directly in with another star-studded movie Marvel Studios has in the works, The Incredible Hulk. Director Jon Favreau was asked about the possible connection between Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk at this year’s Wonder Con, but remained tight lipped. The rumors say that The Hulk’s arch nemesis General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross will be making a guest appearance, but no one has come forth to confirm or deny this. If this is true, could this mean that fans are that much closer to seeing a Marvel Universe unfold on the big screen? Just imagine movies where you could see Iron Man flying by as Captain America does some shield-slinging, or even the entire Avengers team together on screen! The possibilities are endless.

One rumor that has been confirmed will bring a smile to the face of any fan of  The Ultimates comic series. The man who has been everything from a hit man to a Jedi master, Samuel L. Jackson, will be playing that role that was made for him. He will be appearing as the one-eyed master of espionage, Colonel Nick Fury. This has made many fans jump out of their seats with excitement, as this has been a role people have wanted to see brought to the big screen by this man ever since his obvious likeness was used as the model for Fury by artist Brian Hitch in the pages of  The Ultimates. Forget the atrocious David Hasselhoff rendition. This is the Nick Fury movie fans have been waiting for.

Marvel appears to have all their pieces in place to move from being a major comic book publisher and licenser to becoming a dominant force in the realm of film. If Iron Man hits big and The Incredible Hulk follows suit, the sky is the limit for who else fans could see brought to the big screen. Rumors about an Avengers movie have been floating around forever, as well as a Captain America film that would portray the character with the respect he deserves, and leave the horrid 1980s adaptation with the rubber ears a forgotten relic. If what Marvel has revealed so far is any indication, all signs point to Iron Man being one of the all-time big summer blockbusters.

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