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Iron Man 3 Director Shane Black’s Greatest Hits (So Far)

by Kevin Marshall   April 29, 2013 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 1,612
Iron Man 3 Director Shane Black’s Greatest Hits (So Far)
Source: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images

"Iron Man 3" comes out this Friday, and All Access Weekly got a chance to chat with one of its stars, Don Cheadle, in its most recent episode.

One of the things we asked about was his experience with the new director, Shane Black. Black takes over for Jon Favreau, the same guy who turned a self-made indie hit called "Swingers" in the 1990s into a lucrative Hollywood craeer and, eventually, a gig at the helm of two of the biggest movies of all time.

To date, the first two Iron Man films have garnered well over a billion dollars in revenue. A switch in directors at this stage in the game would make anyone uneasy, whether they're sitting in front of a screen or behind a desk in Los Angeles. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The "Iron Man" movies themselves are just part of a larger whole of Marvel movie projects broken up into phases, all of them interwoven and dependent upon each other. While not strictly tied together in terms of plot, the films all build towards occasional team-ups ("The Avengers") and the financial success of each depends upon the other. If "Thor" had been a disaster, this movie would be looking shaky. If "Iron Man 2" had been absolutely no good, then there would have been little hope for the success of "Captain America." They are seen by fans as all part of one big project, because that's how they're presented.

In short, the pressure's on, and people were rightly nervous and skeptical when they heard that the dependable Favreau was leaving the franchise and the guy taking over for him only had one other film under his belt.

Thankfully, that film is "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," a generally well received 2005 action comedy starring Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man himself) and the always...uh..."interesting" Val Kilmer. More to the point, though, is that Shane Black is a guy whose name you might not know, but whose work you DEFINITELY know. In fact, one could argue he's shaped the idea of the big-budget Hollywood blockbuster as we know it.

His greatest hits?

"Lethal Weapon"

The film didn't invent the buddy cop genre; as far as the tone we're familiar with, that credit rightfully goes to "48 Hours." It did, however, shape it for years to come and is seen by many as the high water mark for the genre.

"Lethal Weapon 2"

Here's the thing about sequels: unless it's in the realm of speculative fiction (sci-fi, superhero movies, etc.) it's probably not worth doing. It's one thing when there's a universe built on suspended disbelief, but a story at least somewhat grounded in real-life can seem forced. One of the rare exceptions is the second installment of Lethal Weapon, which actually lived up to the original and didn't embarrass itself at all, becoming a critical and commercial success.

"The Last Boy Scout"

The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Source: Warne Bros.

After the wife of retired football player Damon Wayans is murdered, he vows to find her killer with the help of Bruce Willis. Everything about this movie is awesome. Especially the poster, which depicts Damon Wayans and Bruce Willis either being completely oblivious to the large explosion behind them or simply not caring. Also, Bruce Willis will shoot you. Damon Wayans, on the other hand, will throw a football at you. Rough stuff.

"The Long Kiss Goodnight"

Geena Davis hires the always awesome Samuel L. Jackson to help her uncover the secrets of her own past, which she's forgotten. Along the way, she finds out she's a trained CIA assassin who can do things like kill guys with a rabbit punch.

"The Monster Squad"

"The Monster Squad" Shane Black
Source: Tristar

A group of tweens obsessed with the old Universal monster movies find out that the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and Frankenstein's monster are not only real, but part of a cabal assembled by Count Dracula to obtain a mystical amulet. One of the coolest damn movies you'll ever see as a kid, and as an adult you’ll appreciate the send-ups and criticisms it levies at modern horror films (particularly addressing the trope of human serial killers that keep inexplicably coming back from the dead).

Hopefully now you have at least a little better idea of what to expect from "Iron Man 3." And, it should be noted, Black is also set to direct the American live-action version of the legendary anime and manga series "Deathnote" and was recently attached to a "Doc Savage" project.

If nothing else, it should be a blast.