Both reports are correct. EW's coverage indicates that they're compositing the characters which is smart. In Contention mentioned the importance of compositing in their Watchmen take and it's totally true. Comic books are a long form art -- much more analagous to TV than movies -- and you have to make adjustments and cuts to properly capture them in transfer. Superhero movies get too bogged down in multiple characters and don't we all want to see a bit more Tony Stark and his personal demons in the second installment?
Mickey Rourke vs. Robert Downey Jr with a tub of popcorn on the side and a little Gwyneth Paltrow for
- Mandarin (unknown / still included???)
- Whiplash/Dynamo (Mickey Rourke)
- Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell)
- The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
- Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson)
- War Machine (Don Cheadle)
Did Jon Favreau, who seems to be a smart guy, learn nothing from the dwindling of the Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men franchises? The more characters you add the worse a film gets. It's a law of entertainment physics and yet everyone in Hollywood thinks they are immune to it or can beat it. Like cocaine.
Since the Iron team is still in pre-production I shall pray for script revisions so that we go from 7 major characters to 4. I shall pray for focus, tight focus. Not just tight costumes. Speaking of... I love The Black Widow (one of my favorite comic chicks) but if you're not going to do her justice, why do her? She needs more than a tiny slice of screen time. Bliss when I heard Emily Blunt would play her. Great casting. My intermittent love of Scarlett aside, she's wrong as the replacement. (Yes, yes, I know the body type is fine. But when is Scarlett's body type not right for a comic book movie? Bras only come in one cup size in the DC and Marvel Universes: Double D). And while we're on the subject of ScarJo: Does this film need two of The Spirit's stars? You sure you want to draw that parallel?
But back on topic. Most of the greatest, influential and most popular action movies: Aliens, Die Hard, Spider-Man 2, Terminator & Terminator 2, Speed have very pared down stories and characters. All the better to play off of those gargantuan setpieces. Generally there's but one villain. Even The Matrix (less pared down) essentially had one villain... even if he seemed like many.
good use of multiple characters
bad use of multiple characters