Seeing as the Iron Man franchise is coming up on its third film – and the first that’s seeing a changeover of directors – one might think that Marvel would be hedging their bets with it and lowering their expectations. How many times will audiences really keep coming back to watch Robert Downey Jr. playing the same snarky character? And even if the love for this take on Tony Stark can last indefinitely, will the loss of franchise launcher Jon Favreau in the role of director lead to Iron Man 3 being tonally different from its predecessors? And if so, how will Downey’s smitten audience react to going in for more Iron Man and getting something that feels unfamiliar? When it comes to an aging franchise that’s in the midst of creative turnover, one would imagine that a movie studio would start playing things a little bit safe. But seeing as The Avengers just came out and pretty much scooped up all of the money left in the global economy and became an international topic of culture conversation, that’s not the direction they’ve decided to go. Marvel heroes are the “in thing” right now, and their new-found level of relevance has led the studio to believe that they can do more.