10 Screenwriting Lessons You Can Learn From Iron Man 3

9. There's Always Room For A Joke

iron-man-3-tony-stark-robert-downey-jr One of the reasons I think The Dark Knight Rises suffered was because it came out so bleak and bombastic - all the energy of the first two installments seemed to have vanished, and watching our protagonist dealing with so much angst felt, for an audience member, gruelling. Simply put, it was no fun, because all of the characters dealt with every moment in the same way: with a deadly seriousness But because it was supposed to be a blockbuster, and a movie about a popular comic book hero, it came across as far too ridiculous for its own good. One of the things that Iron Man 3 understands is that it's okay for its characters to make jokes, even at times when we might deem them to be somewhat inappropriate from a real world perspective. At first, it might appear strange for a character to make light of a dangerous situation - say, for example, somebody firing a gun at them in a shootout scene. But throwing out a funny comment, I think, can be a pretty realistic approach. Believe it or not, making light of a situation can help to imbue it with an added sense of humanity. I mean, you're not going to forget the moment in Iron Man 3 when that henchman drops his gun and says, "I hate working for these guys, they're so weird," are you? I remember once I watched a clip on YouTube of some American soldiers in Afganistan. They're just chilling out, waiting for orders, and then a bullet comes whizzing through the air and hits the wall behind them. Erk! They all freak out about it initially (as one would), but within seconds they're in position, laughing about it and cracking jokes about how one of them almost ended up dead. It seems bizarre, and it totally was, and I would have never expected any of them to react like that at all, but it did, and I'll never forget it. The fact that I've never forgotten that video, over five years later, proves my point entirely. Don't be afraid to play around with how you use humour in your script: no matter what you're writing, there's always room for you to pull back and see if it might be better to tackle the scene from a humorous point of view, or using a joke or two. It might seem kind of insane, but absolutely any situation can be mined for comedy purposes.

All-round pop culture obsessive.