‘Iron Man 3′ Super Bowl spot puts Tony Stark in a doozy of a dilemma

Movie Talk
Iron Man 3'

We hope you enjoyed the first two "fun" "Iron Man" movies, because it looks like there's nothing but bitter defeat, paralyzing self-doubt and near-insurmountable challenges in "Iron Man 3."

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) handled the threats of Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) with skill, panache and, of course, the occasional one-liner in his first two adventures. He even proved that a fiercely independent and eccentric egomaniac could work with a team in "The Avengers." But now it's time for the wisecracking industrialist to prove whether he really has what it takes to be a "superhero."

[Related: Watch the exclusive 'Iron Man 3' trailer only on Yahoo! Movies]

Watch the Super Bowl spot for 'Iron Man 3':

The Super Bowl ad for "Iron Man 3" shows Stark in a harrowing situation that tests not only his considerable physical powers while in the Iron Man suit but also his ability to make major decisions that require the speedy response time of instinctive snap judgments. There's a massive attack (or at least some sudden structure deterioration) on Air Force One, which sends several passengers flying out of the plane (at least one reader's worst nightmare, no?); ever quick to evaluate the situation, Jarvis (voiced by Paul Bettany) tells Tony that there are a total of 13 people plummeting to their death ... of which Iron Man can only carry four. "Oh, boy ..." muses our hero, as the spot ends on a cliffhanger.

[Related: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Super Bowl spot]

We have a feeling poor Mr. Stark is going to need something a lot stronger than shawarma this time once all the crises in his latest adventure are wrapped up.

The spot is, as something of a hat tip to another hot movie ad that aired tonight, fast and furious -- though it's also a "horse of a different color," to quote a line from a certain predecessor of "Oz The Great and Powerful." Indeed, the "Iron Man 3" spot is rather unique as it breaks "trailer tradition" by offering a brief glimpse at one single set piece from the film rather than incorporating footage from several different scenes. The cliffhanger ending is a clever (if infuriating) touch as well.

Between the super-intense Super Bowl ad, the despair-filled teaser trailer and last week's unveiling of the poster featuring a battered Stark falling from the sky, we have to wonder if the days of the kinder, gentler Marvel film are over and "Iron Man 3" is paving the way to much darker territory in Phase Two. Must all the members of the Avengers be pushed to their physical, mental and emotional limits (and perhaps beyond) before they can team up once again for "The Avengers 2"? It will certainly make for some major drama ... and the kind of "character development" that leaves broken bones and busted egos (and, in the case of Stark, a 'sploded house).

[Related: 'The Lone Ranger' Super Bowl pre-game spot]

"Iron Man 3" will kick off the 2013 summer movie season on May 3.

Watch the extended 'Iron Man 3' Super Bowl spot: