Audience and Institution
- Director: Shane Black
- Year of Release: 2013
- Certificate: 12A
- Top Billing: Robert Downey Jr.
- Awards: 13/49 (nominations in Academy Awards and BAFTAs for visual effects)
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
- Production Company: Marvel Studios, DMG Entertainment
- Distribution Company: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Revenue: $1,214,692,272 (worldwide)
- Primary Audience: 15-25 year old males and their fathers
- Secondary Audience: 15-25 year old females
- Advertising Platforms: “Iron Man 3: Armor Unlock” on Facebook, Disney theme park attractions, 1st TV ad on CBSN Network during Superbowl XLVII
- Length of Trailer: 2 minutes 22 seconds
- Marvel’s animated logo
- Paramount (A Viacom Company) – production company
- “On April 25” is the release date; the text of which is stylised red and gold writing, linking itself to the Iron Man theme
- “(Marvel) Iron Man 3” is the film title and is set out in a logo-like fashion.
The trailer begins with a shot of two helicopters above an ocean at either sunrise or sunset with a soundtrack of heavy beats. The image transitions through superimposing to a long shot of Stark in his suit room, and the voice over begins with “I’m Tony Stark”, introducing the character to the audience. The voice over continues with “I build neat stuff, I got a great girl, and occasionally I save the world, so why can’t I sleep?”. During this voice over the visual shots we see change to support the narrative, e.g. when he talks about the ‘great girl’ we see two different shots of him giving her a gift of a heart-shaped necklace. When he says he cannot sleep he is shown sitting on a bed, at which point the soundtrack (non-diagetic) starts to add tension to the trailer through the adding of strings playing dissonant harmony to the score. After the Marvel and Paramount credits we see someone acting as an American President giving his post-election speech and Iron Man arrive and salute him, whilst in a costume of the Iron Man suit of the flag colours, supporting the idea that Stark is allying himself to the protection of America. This previous point could be seen as rather stereotypical, as a masculine white hero being very patriotic can’t be called unusual in Hollywood films/characters.
At this point the action begins with an explosion, and a mid shot of someone’s back who is removing their hood revealing a tattoo on their neck. This identifies them as the villain, as they were shown directly after a disruption to the relatively peaceful though foreboding beginning. Stereotypical heroes don’t tend to have visible markings or facial hair as they typically look unkempt and therefore inappropriate for the ‘almost perfect hero’. Another voice over begins at this point that is significantly more uncomfortable for the audience to listen to as the villains actor extends his words at a strange pace: “You’ll never see me coming”. This is followed by a cut to a close up of the villains clasping hands that are covered in rings, suggesting a wealthy opponent. Next we see a plan with a hole ripped in the sides and people falling out, then a press attack on Stark about the attacks, and a news broadcaster asking where is Tony Stark, suggesting to the audience he has gone missing or into hiding, which isn’t exactly normal behaviour for the stereotypical strong, masculine hero. We are then given an answer to our forming questions about the situation, which take the form of he wants to protect ‘his girl’, saying that he wants to protect her above anything, including his ‘job’ at protecting as many people as possible. The editing at this point becomes much faster as we then see attack after attack on his home. The villain is shown in an extreme close up asking “Do you want an empty life or a meaningful death?”. The end of the trailer includes some comedy after the serious vibe from what was originally viewed as the ending of the trailer (double hook structure) , between Stark and his second in command. The editing throughout the trailer uses quick black fade out transitions as a way to jump around time within the trailer, and as a metaphorical heartbeat, with the tempo of the cuts increasing as the tension and action build.
The trailer, through its large use of action in the latter half, foreshadowing in the beginning narrative, and tense soundtrack appeals to a primary audience of 12-25 year old males and their fathers. The often refered to love story of Stark’s is a relatively minor selling point to the above group, but a large one for 12-25 year old females, who make up the majority of the secondary audience.
Stark is represented throughout the trailer as the ‘stereotypical’ white middle-aged man in that he wants to protect his family over anything else (in this case his family is himself and his girlfriend/wife over the rest of America?). In a twist this causes him to look like a coward as he tries to run away or hide from confrontation, however once they are attacked and their house destroyed he does take up his hero ‘persona’ again. His partner is represented in an almost over the top fashion regarding stereotypes, as she is practically presented as a doll: having a necklace put on her, wearing a lot of white (generally connotes innocence), being told that Stark wants to protect her, and a shot of her falling in slow motion after an attack on their home. On top of this I don’t believe her name was mentioned or that she had one line of dialogue in this trailer. She is made to be the stereotypical weak female who appears in the trailer to be more a plot point than a character, as she could have been given one line of dialogue saying, for example “I’m here for you”, thus still keeping her stereotypical but giving some depth to their relationship as she would be giving Stark some emotional/psychological support.