There is something about the internet that makes people real hyperbolic. Either something is a 0 or a 10. Love it or Hate It. Ironman 3 has just opened up to 175 Million Dollars, so of course that’s just gasoline on the fire. The deciding factor or the underlying argument people are making is that the twist with The Mandarin is a detriment to the comic books, and a big slap in the face to the ironman Fans, and the Fans of the Mandarin. I’d like to to make a few points to counter the argument. i don’t plan on changing any minds, but hopefully i can put some things into perspective.
The Twist Basicaly is that Aldrich Killian manufactured the Mandarin to be a front for his organization, as a decoy as to keep attention away from himself, whilst himself metaphorically being the Mandarin, and representing his ideals.
The Mandarin’s Origin
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty keen on trying to add a level of realism to their movies aside from the more fantastical aspects Frost Giants, Laser Guns, Glowstick Of Destiny. The original Mandarin’s Origin is that he received 10 Rings from an Alien which gave him each individual powers he used to become basically a General. At his best he’s a Sun Tzu a formidable military strategist or a Martial Arts expert who was competent in combat well before he got the rings. At his worst he’s an offensive stereotype of Oriental Culture. Given the nature of Marvel Movies I’m not surprised they decided to go with a different origin that much was apparent to me before I walked into the theatre.
Nobody Cares About The Mandarin
Ironman is a B-list comic book character. The Avengers is an A-List property, but their individual members save the Hulk are all slightly obscure. I hear a lot of people claiming that The Mandarin is like Joker or Lex Luthor. The Mandarin isn’t nearly as popular or as well known as Joker or Lex Luthor. Even before The Dark Knight The Joker is a staple in Pop Culture through movies, animated shows, the Adam West show, and video games. Lex Luthor is also the poster child for intelligent villains, and while not as popular as the joker still pretty well known.
Nobody knew who the Mandarin was outside of him being rumored for the Ironman movies. I’ve never read a comic or even seen him in a video game, unlike say Loki, Doctor Doom, Magneto, or Thanos. The Mandarin is extremely obscure, making him the perfect character to do something new with, without pissing so many people off. Or So You’d Think.
Nobody Cares About Ben Kingsley
I noticed that once The Mandarin was named as the villain a lot of people shook their heads and rolled their eyes, or those who knew who he was. And when Ben Kingsley was rumored to play him there was a similar attitude. Now if you don’ t like the movie Ben Kingsley is their favorite actor, and Mandarin is their favorite character. Now Ben Kingsley is a fantastic actor, but to say his career is a mess would be an understatement. To quote Korey From Spill.Com ” Kingsley went from playing..Ghandi , to being in The Love Guru”. He has made some bad choices, and he’s in that same bracket of Nicholas Cage who is also an amazing actor who always go for the pay check.
That being said, this was supposed to be his come back role. At least to most people, I respect the man very much, and to me this very much was the perfect move for his career. He shows a lot of range, and goes from menacing to hysterical in less then 2 minutes, really showing off his range, and hopefully this will lead him to play more villains.
He’s An Archetype
The reason the Manderin is so effective in the first half is that he’s basically an accumulation of what we consider to be exceptional villains. He’s menacing, based in reality, and based of a real life character. The most obvious comparisons people can make is Christopher Nolan’s super villains from TDK trilogy. Got the intimidating voice, the realistic take, and the tactician aspect down.
The Reason this works is because he’s almost Every great supervillian stitched together. Hans Gruber, The Joker, Bane, Jig Saw, the list goes on. Even at the end of the movie Killian’s plan is to have the president assassinated in the Iron Patriot suit, with oil so people can take away their own interpretations in the media. That’s hilarious because that’s something straight out of a Die Hard movie, but instead of coming off as a rip off it comes off as a tribute or genre turning. That’s what makes it brilliant, Shane Black saying “this is what we all think of when we think supervillian”.
You Still Got Your Mandarin
So basically Alrich Killian is using Mandarin as a front. There is no Mandarin, and all the tension is gone. But wait, Guy Pearce is the guy behind all the planning, and metaphorically the Mandarin, and if you need to imagine it, he can be considered “THE MANDARIN”. His scheme is actually really brilliant, and for once is actually pretty easy to follow. Shane Black and Drew Pearce basically give a real good hint at the start of the movie that puts everything into perspective. He has a plan, there’s a constant sense of that plan and it’s not convoluted or messy, it completely makes sense.
Now, That Being Said
I still get where people are coming from when they complain about the twist. It’s ultimately unsatisfied and I plan on going to see the movie again to see if it works better when I know what to expect. The Mandarin is just so awesome and badass in all the right ways it hurts to find out it’s a hoax, by Guy Pearce. Alrich Killian is still a good villain but he’s not the same as the menace of the original Mandarin. But it’s a damned if they did damned if they didn’t. Had they made Mandarin less threatening then you wouldn’t have that sense of fear the first half. Overall I’ll just be grateful that Marvel took a big risk like that, and i can’t wait to hear others opinions on the matter.