This is clearly meant to be in a continuity all its own, though it's easy to see the MCU films (this was released just before Iron Man 3) as backstory. I found the story rather odd, some scenes rather dreamlike, and the tone pretty dark. I'm not an anime fan, but I don't object to it. This is not one for younger viewers, but viewers should be aware of what they're getting into.
As Batman celebrates a long career of keeping Gotham safe, Alfred points out that he still has issues about having a family, which gets complicated when he accidentally adopts orphan Dick Grayson. Commissioner Gordon retires and is replaced by his daughter Barbara, who proposes that Batman work with the police for more effective crimefighting. Batman decides that to stop the Joker once and for all, he needs to send him to the Phantom Zone.
This satirical, high energy and just plain fun take on Batman delivers in much the same way the 1966 Batman TV series starring Adam West did, except this has some character development for Batman. It's imaginative but not stupid and has laughs for all ages. Definitely recommended, and a great start for the superhero movies of 2017.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is dealing with PTSD from his heroic acts at the end of The Avengers and he's not dealing with it well as he spends much of his time in his workshop building new suits of Iron Man armor, even discovering how to use his armor remotely. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) makes a proposal to Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) about working with his new Extremis technology to hack DNA and improve humanity. Meanwhile, the United States is threatened by a mysterious terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) via video messages. All is certainly not as it seems to be, and when Tony's California home is attacked and destroyed, he finds himself in Tennessee without a fully functioning suit and believed to be dead. Tony must finally address what makes him Iron Man and a hero: his armor or something else?
Again, Iron Man 3 fails to satisfy as a sequel but works better as a chapter of the MCU. The film is well done and brings more of the world of Iron Man to the big screen, but a lot of fans were disappointed at the use of the Mandarin character. (Marvel would reveal that there is actually a more mysterious, secretive Mandarin, but they have yet to be seen.) The film gives a good wrap up to focusing on Tony's story, though it will continue in later films, wisely leaving it open-ended. Perhaps it is because it leaves us wanting a bit more that the movie doesn't get a lot of love...
All Hail The King - A Marvel One-Shot found on the bonus features of Thor: The Dark World follows Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) as he spends time in prison and is questioned about his career and what he knows about the Mandarin. I wasn't watching the other One Shots this time around, but this one sets up a tantalizing possibility for a future MCU villain.
Thor's second film gets even less love than the first one. Despite the stakes of the story, the film never feels that serious. In addition, Malekith gets little screentime much less development, fans pointing to Loki's presence diminishing the character. It's hard to argue with that, but despite those shortcomings, the film is still another enjoyable and often exciting Marvel adventure, and sets up further things to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Thor's own story.
Few fans were complaining about this film! A tightly focused plot and exciting action, good character development for the characters, plus the introduction of Falcon and the Winter Soldier to the big screen all left audiences very satisfied.