I think we can call this weekend the official beginning of the summer movie season. For such a momentous occasion, or because of it, Tony Stark just the kind of guy to usher in the onslaught of big budget films we’ll be seeing over the next few months.

Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.

Iron Man 3
Not much suspense here. By many, many, many early accounts Iron Man 3 is a kickass movie and perfect way to get the summer season rolling. It seems like only three years ago I was talking about the second piece in the franchise and complaining that a third movie might be overdoing it a bit, or at least be a case of diminishing returns. Oops. Incorrect. Not only will the Tomatometer score rival that of the first movie, but the early reviews just further cement the idea that the Marvel Studio Universe has a significant leg up on the comic book film competition. Man of Steel will of course keep DC hanging around, but until they get a Justice League ensemble together, Marvel owns this stage.

Much of Marvel’s success in this arena is owed to Iron Man, and really Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. One of the reasons I didn’t think the original Iron Man stood much of a chance for sweeping success was the character’s metallic, robotic presence just didn’t feel like it had enough juice to produce a captivating on-screen hero. Again, oops. Downey’s ability to not only turn Stark into a love him/hate him/always-enjoy-him lead, but also add personality to a clunky armored suit, is pretty fascinating. Before this franchise hit, Iron Man was, at best, hovering just outside the top eight-to-ten of comic book characters in terms of mass appeal and broad following. I think that’s probably being generous. Downey-as-Stark has significantly tipped the scales, putting the character just outside the “untouchables” of (in no order) Batman, Spider-man, and Superman. We can debate the short list after that, but Iron Man even in the conversation is something that never happens without RDJ.

The third installment in the franchise, directed by Shane Black Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (83%) is, like its predecessors, going to be huge. Though it marks the first not directed by Jon Favreau (he’s on as exec producer), Black’s screenplay and vision behind the lens doesn’t appear to have created any slippage. In fact, considering Iron Man 2 (72%) was a good-not-great sequel, adding a fresh directorial vision appears exactly the right move. At over 90% through more than fifty reviews, the film looks like it has the perfect mixture of action, story, characters, star power, effects, wit and pathos. Downey Jr. and company have set the summer bar pretty high. The Rotten Watch for Iron Man 3 is 91%

Did Doug get it right on his Iron Man 3 prediction?

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