Jon Favreau, you've done it again.

Every single "Iron Man 2" trailer has gotten more and more confident, and this last trailer... or at least I assume it's the last one, since the film is just about two months away now... is absolutely amazing.

Finally, they've introduced the character of Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), who seems to be a direct counterpoint to Tony Stark.  He's an eccentric weapons manufacturer, charismatic, but the difference is that Hammer has no moral compass whatsoever.  There's also even more Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) in this trailer, and he looks like a real threat, plain and simple.  A superhero is only as good as the opponent he faces, in my opinion, so to give him a foe who looks that dangerous automatically makes Iron Man more interesting this time around.

There's something very meta about the way this trailer begins, with Iron Man dropping into the Stark Expo, setting off a major celebration over his return.  And why not?  Why shouldn't Favreau and Downey take a victory lap?  They earned it last time out, turning a character that many people were calling "the B list" into one of the biggest box-office successes of the year.

There's a little more Scarlett Johansson this time, but not a lot, and that's fine.  I hope her character is a subplot in the film, a diversion.  What really seems to get turned up is the idea that Tony Stark wants to do everything by himself and increasingly realizes how impossible that is.  Don Cheadle's James Rhodes gets a decent amount of face time in the new trailer, both as himself and as War Machine, and that scene where all of Hammer's Iron Man knockoffs drop one by one to the ground, surrounding Iron Man and War Machine, is one of the most immediately iconic beats in superhero cinema.

Here's the trailer, in case you didn't see it when it premiered tonight during "Jimmy Kimmel Live":

 

 

Actually, that's what Favreau seems to get that a lot of directors who have worked in the genre have missed completely.  There are individual panels in the comics that have become legend because of the way they immediately hardwire themselves into the fantasy lives of fandom.  Superhero comics are not just about character and ideas but about images, and Favreau is dealing in some big images here.

Yes... Robert Downey Jr. looks great again.

Yes... the supporting cast looks like they're having a blast.

But it's Whiplash cutting a car in half... or Iron Man and War Machine facing down a crowd of armored opponents... or Tony Stark suiting up on a race track... those are the things that really give fans goosebumps, and Favreau gets every single one of them dead right.

Once again, Marvel, you've done it right.  Now bring it on.  Let's get the summer started right.

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