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It seems fitting that we start looking forward to what might be next for Shane Black now that his "Iron Man 3" has started to screen for delighted critics. Black has just given himself a huge boost in trying to get pretty much anything made, because he nailed what had to be a fairly intimidating gig. Stepping into a franchise after two films by the director who kickstarted the whole things and a team-up movie that was one of the biggest films of all time can't be easy, and Black had never directed anything like this.
I've had a chance to read at least one draft of the live-action "Death Note" that Black wants to make, based on a property that's already been a manga, an anime, and a Japanese live-action film, and it's a pretty solid piece of writing. It didn't knock me out, but I'm willing to bet he'd milk it for all it's worth.
What really has me excited, though, is the possibility that I may see a "Doc Savage" film that Black co-writes and directs. First, I love Black's work. But more than that, "Doc Savage" is one of those things that is an above-and-beyond obsession of mine. I adore the character. I adore the books. I adore the potential that exists here, and when Black tells Brandon Connelly, "Finding the way to get that script correct has been one of the guiding passions of my adult life," that sounds to me like he needs to make that film. Not soon, but now. Right now. I want a Doc Savage movie.
Black has one huge issue in front of him if he's going to make the film, and I'm not sure what the solution to that issue is. Doc Savage, the character, is not like any typical human being. He is described as an outrageous physical specimen, gigantic and perfect, and short of doing some sort of special effects or make-up on him, I'm not sure how you sell that idea visually. It has always been the great question mark regarding Doc Savage, but if Black feels like he's cracked it, then I'd love to see his solution.
There was, of course, one other "Doc Savage" movie made in the '70s, and until recently, I'd never seen it. When I got Warner Archive Instant, though, that was the first movie I watched, and it is every bit the catastrophe I'd always heard. It manages to get absolutely nothing right, but it certainly lays out many of the pitfalls of trying to do these characters. Here's hoping Black's seen that film and absorbed the lessons it offers.
As interested as I was before, "Iron Man 3" has given me a whole new sense of confidence about what could happen the Man Of Bronze, and I hope Black gets it up and running as soon as possible.
"Iron Man 3" opens May 3, 2013.