Shane Black Defends Iron Man 3′s Controversial Mandarin

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 21st, 2013 at 3:38 pm,

Iron Man 3 Interviews The Mandarin Movie Comic Book Differences Shane Black Defends Iron Man 3s Controversial Mandarin

In March, Iron Man 3 writer-director Shane Black raised alarm among Marvel Comics fans when he said that his interpretation of the Mandarin wouldn’t have magic rings, and would instead be closer in spirit to the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises and Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

With Iron Man 3 expected to cross the $1 billion mark by the weekend, most fans have taken to the silver screen to see for themselves how Tony Stark’s greatest foe was represented in live-action. The results were perhaps, not what Marvel fans were expecting.

Warning: The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Iron Man 3!








But who was expecting that his Mandarin wouldn’t be a villain at all? Reworking Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin to be a goofy, toothless figurehead subservient to Guy Pearce’s scientist has polarized audiences, with some arguing that the choice is a brave, modern move, while others decry it as sacrilege, not only to the comics but to the previous two movies. We asked Black to defend his version of the Mandarin to fans who found his weakness shocking. Here’s Black’s argument for Iron Man 3‘s bold re-imagining, from what we told us during the Iron Man 3 press day:

“I would say that we struggled to find a way to present a mythic terrorist that had something about him that registered after the movie’s over as having been a unique take, or a clever idea, or a way to say something of use. And what was of use about the Mandarin’s portrayal in this movie, to me, is that it offers up a way that you can sort of show how people are complicit in being frightened. They buy into things in the way that the audience for this movie buys into it. And hopefully, by the end you’re like, ‘Yeah, we were really frightened of the Mandarin, but in the end he really wasn’t that bad after all.’ In fact, the whole thing was just a product of this anonymous, behind-the-scenes guy. I think that’s a message that’s more interesting for the modern world because I think there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes, a lot of fear, that’s generated toward very available and obvious targets, which could perhaps be directed more intelligently at what’s behind them.”

Maybe we should have seen the change coming. After all, back when Black was denying that The Mandarin was even in the movie he was saying the character was a racist relic. But could Tony Stark’s archenemy have been rehabilitated for the modern age? Sure, there are racially suspect elements to the traditional Mandarin, but surely Black and co-writer Drew Pearce could have trimmed those out.

Robert Downey Jr Shane Black Iron Man 3 Official Set Photo from Marvel Shane Black Defends Iron Man 3s Controversial Mandarin

Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black

Perhaps Marvel fanboys are most upset at the loss of The Mandarin’s ten rings of power. These extraterrestrial weapons defined The Mandarin for decades, and in the Iron Man movies they’ve been transformed into only the name of the villain’s terrorist network. Perhaps Black could have tried to bring those rings into the film. The Iron Man trilogy has tried to rely on science-based foes, but Pearce’s Aldrich Killian could have come up with some sort of nanotechnological spin on the rings.

While it might have been nice to keep the rings, Black’s spin on The Mandarin was unexpected and fun. It certainly gave Sir Ben Kingsley the opportunity to open up and have a blast in the role (read about Kingsley’s thoughts on The Mandarin here). It also managed to actually surprise fans, who thought they knew every detail of the story going in. It’s nice, in this age of endless reboots and sequels and adaptations from well-known source material, to be surprised in the theater once in a while.


What do you think? Is Iron Man 3‘s media-managed Mandarin an interesting, modern twist? Or were you dismayed that he wasn’t a more formidable adversary? Let us know in the comments below.

Iron Man 3 is currently in theaters worldwide.

TAGS: Iron man 3
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    Sure, there were some plot-holes, but if they were ‘fixed’ by some of your suggestions then the film would have been incredibly boring. As for the Mandarin, you should give them some credit for keeping that secret under wraps!

    I’m sure if you guys were to make an Iron Man movie, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as entertaining as Iron Man 3 was.

    • I loved it too – Ben Kingsley had me in stitches with his storyline twist. I also think fans should calm down and see the bigger picture – We’re getting movie after movie now from Marvel…they have to be allowed to change some things…it’s not just bringing the comic to life…it’s bigger than that.
      The movie’s have to appeal to the vast going audience who don’t know anything about the comics. The fact that we get blockbuster Marvel movie’s that are almost perfect…is what I love and enjoy. Not a crappy TV show like we got in the 70′s.

      • But what does turning the Mandarin into a punchline have to do with appealing to a larger audience?

        • Because not everyone lived and breathed the comics. If they were just making movies for comic book nerds, they would end up like the makes of Scott Pilgrim vs the World: making good movies no one cares to see.

          • …but why should we not expect a GOOD, well-done movie, whether comic-based or otherwise? IM3 was bad, as a whole, not just because of some silly twist.

            • In my opinion it was, your opinion it wasn’t – That’s movies and life.

              • Exactly my viewpoint as well, ChrisTypeR. That IS movies and life! Each person has their own opinion and reason(s) for such an opinion. However, in most cases, I find it rewarding and fun to hear other people’s opinions even if those opinions do not match my own, and to respect those opinions.

                • I agree with both of you, but I was directly responding to the comment made by acutefailure.

                  • You’re right. Sorry about that, Archaeon.

            • Man you really love to whine dont you haha

              • To whom are you talking, John?

                • “IM3 was bad, as a whole, not just because of some silly twist.”

                  What is that statement based on?? Your single opinion. I thought IM3 rocked. Marvel probably doesn’t want to use Mandarin as a main villain and they will take it somewhere else with an even better villain.

                  Also, I’m pretty sure John was talking to you.

                  • Taylor…You’re about 10, right? Does your mom know you’re on here interacting with adults? Of COURSE, it was my own opinion based on my perceptions of how many things the movie failed to achieve, how many things Black, et al, screwed up. In the IM3 Spoilers Discussion, I listed my particular reasons for saying the movie is crap. I’ve also agreed with various posters who have provided reasons in line with my own thoughts on the film. Hence, I supported that above statement with the facts as I perceived them.

                    Ummm, where did you get get YOUR opinion(s)?

                    • I don’t see how you can say that movie wasn’t GOOD or even well done when the script was sharp as a knife and the suspense was present the whole time. The pacing was ridiculous. The scene where he saves those falling from the plane was one of the most breathtaking things I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. RDJ acted his ass off and Pepper was electric.

                      I do feel sorry for your writing students. My goodness.

                    • Taylor…

                      If you don’t understand that I DID NOT LIKE THIS MOVIE, you really need to look up the word “opinion” in the dictionary. I gave and agreed with various reasons that I found it subpar, dumb, a waste, a pathetic joke…It is my OPINION that these words hold true for this movie. None of your babble has convinced me otherwise. My opinion is DIFFERENT from yours. Deal with it.

                      I found the dialogue silly and, often, childish. There was little suspense, though there was PLENTY of baiting (kind of like some of the cheesier horror movies of recent years). The Iron Legion battle near the end, which should have been epic and stunning, was virtually deflated because of piss-poor lighting and quick shots which would have fit beautifully into a “Transformers” knock-off. The story-line, as I’ve said before, was just plain stupid with weak villains and pitiful situational set-ups. Logic left the movie as soon as Black made it clear that three previous movies featuring Iron Man mattered little to none in terms of any real connectivity or narrative/developmental flow.

                      This movie was NOT well done. IM3 was bad.

                      Clear enough for you, Sherlock?

                      As for your little crack about my teaching ability, I no longer wish to engage in any sort of battle of wits with you…I’m the only one who came armed. Good luck.

                      Ta ta.

                  • Yes I was Taylor, yes I was!

                    • Good for you, John…good for you. Do you feel better, now?

                      You might want to practice with that dark grey button labelled “Reply”…It clarifies things. Just a suggestion…

                    • Actually I do, for the most part anyway =), thanks for asking!

                      What are you talking about, I did reply to your comment. Couldn’t on this one though, it’s not under your post for some reason.

                    • John…

                      Glad to hear it.

                      I supposed that your little “whine” snipe was directed at me, but I hoped you weren’t really that lame to complain about someone giving a specific and reasonable response to another’s statement…especially in terms of the quality of the movie as perceived by two different sets of eyes.

                      Hmmm…Oh, well, I guess I was wrong.

                      Buh-bye. :)

              • Trek was the best movie I have seen in a long time. Was it prefect ? No . As far as Marvel movies like IM3 go it was a good movie. That said they need to tie down the same writers and directors and actors to do nothing but that. If they could you won’t see the plot holes etc.

              • Trek 2 was the best movie I have seen in a long time. Was it prefect ? No . As far as Marvel movies like IM3 go it was a good movie. That said they need to tie down the same writers and directors and actors to do nothing but that. If they could you won’t see the plot holes etc.

            • Seriously Archaeon? Sure, there’s nothing against stating your opinion, but harassing almost everyone who actually enjoyed the movie is a bit low man.

              • Mike…

                Did you even bother to read the comments of those I was supposedly harassing? I’m going to guess NO. Their opinions agree with your own. Mine does not. Of COURSE, I MUST be harassing them…

                Sheesh. Really? Sad.

                • Actually, I have read your comments and your opinions, and I respect that. Obviously, you do not share the same respect for other people’s comments and opinions about Iron Man 3.

                  • It’s a shame that you see it that way. I do not. C’est la vie.

                    • Then how do you see it?

                    • I see it as responding both to a terrible movie AND to those who were either making a comment I found inconceivably silly and/or who responded in a hostile manner to me…just like MANY people have done on these various threads.

    • Nope. I LOVED it as well. I really enjoyed every moment of it. Sure it has its flaws, but no movie is without sin. I’d watch it again and buy it on Blu-Ray. =)

    • This movie was not even original. It was practically the same as Dark Knight Rises with a different superhero..If Tony had all those suits in hin IRON MAN CHAMBER of HORRORS why the heck did he continue to use his busted suit in TN. he should have had Jarvis send him another suit once Jarvis got back online. Iron Man 3 was a 5/10 in my book. Theres so much they could have done that they didnt, to build up to Avengers 2.

      • one more person who didnt pay attention to the movie. he couldnt call the suits immediately because:
        A:Jarvis was damaged and off-line for a large portion of when he was in TN, and
        2) tons of concrete-house rubble were preventing said launch of the iron legion

        • Jarvis wasn’t damaged and offline and those suits weren’t covered by rubble when his mansion was being attacked to begin with.

          It’s sh*t story telling bro, no way around it.

          • When your house is being blown to bits, what are you going to be thinking about? Getting you and the ones you love out alive or wasting 40 suits on a couple of helicopters?

            • Jarvis doesn’t have loved ones…”he” is a sentient program charged with helping Tony, maintaining the property and technology, and PROTECTING those in “his” given parameters. There should have been some more advanced warning. There was none simply so Black could get Tony’s mansion blown up.

              Bad writing…middle school boy’s disaster/hero fantasy-level writing…

              • I was talking about Tony’s loved ones.

                • Mike wasn’t talking bout Jarvis’ loved ones. Tony got caught in the midst of attack and had to save Pepper and himself. He can’t just pause to sit down and unleash his suits on the choppers, when his house is collapsing.

                  Jarvis controlled all the suits in the final battle, and look how that turned out. Jarvis could barely handle it without Tony’s help.

                  And WHY would he have advanced warning??

                  Tony lives on the coast. He can’t just bring forty suits out and blow up any helicopters before they can destroy his home, due to the possibility that they might be hostile. How would he even KNOW they are going to destroy his home? What kind of radar would detect that?

                  Archaeon, you should be the last person to be commenting on bad writing.

                • Mike…

                  I neither said nor implied that YOU were stating Jarvis had family members. I KNOW you meant Tony’s loved ones, as he is the only human of the two.

                  I, however, DID mean that Jarvis, because he has no people to CARE about (because he is analytical, logical, and programmed to look out for and maintain the property and, in a different way, Tony…as a machine intelligence), would have been monitoring both the grounds and the local airspace around the mansion…ESPECIALLY after Tony’s broadcast to the world. Jarvis would have warned Tony of ANY approaching potential threat and would’ve had PLENTY of time to activate at least a couple of suits and/or other estate defenses (the computer can react in microseconds, not needing as much time as any human counterparts).

                  It was only because Black and/or the writers felt that the shock value of a sudden attack that destroyed the mansion and nearly killed those inside would set up the joke of a plot that they had for IM3 that any of this happened.

                  It was piss-poor writing for a piss-poor movie, no matter how much you and your little puppy Taylor try to deny it.

                  You don’t see it that way? Tough.

    • yes

    • TONY STARK AS jason bourne? gimme a break. various plot holes, loose characterization, sh*t pacing…But, BUt the movie’s got plenty of whizbang CGI and so many iron men, wow…fanboys.

  2. My voice doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things but I just want to say I was truly disappointed in what they had done to the mandarin’s character i have been a marvel fan all my life and they must realize that for comedy or not something like an arch enemy should not have been tampered with.. I hope they make up for it in the upcoming marvel movies and STAY TRUE to their roots. Thank you.

    • I agree. I would have preferred seeing a role reversal with aldrich and the mandarin. I also feel that the technological jump from iron man 2 – 3 was excessive. Iron man 2, we saw a couple of suits, then number 3.. boom.. an army of ai suits working together in the final battle.. that was a bit hard to swallow. whats the point of the avengers if stark can just build himself 50 suits???

      • Yeah, that’s a good point about the technological jump from IM 2 to 3, aaannd I agree that Stark building 50 suits creates worthy competition for The Avengers. Hmm.

        • @FilmGeek2 & Pauly, Not really when you see realize how easily the sounds got destroyed. But Jarvis and Pepper saved the day.

          • SO NOW, THE SUITS ARE MADE OUT of aluminium sheets?

          • @Blastaar: Actually, you’re right, now that I think about.

  3. The solution is very simple… Mr. Black… You should simply stop thinking!!! That is what is going to ruin your career and keep people from paying to see anymore of your movies (that and what you did to something so many people hold dear). I for one won t ever pay to see one of your movie again! I dont care what those of you who dont care about The Mandarin think. He is an amazing character and had so much potential to be turned into a real B.A. character and really lifted IM to the status the mythology deserves. I still believe as I posted twice already The Mandarin WILL be returning as the villain for A2 along with Fin Fang Foom. They did the Red Skull correctly enough in the movies, as well as Loki (not sure bout Malekith or Kurse yet) and Thanos. Mandarin cant be the only villain in the Marvel U that they screw up. He s gonna be back for A2 watch. I just hope they dont make him Kingsley after what they made him out to be in the movie (not that he is a bad actor bc he is not).

    • It made a billion dollars [or close enough to make no differnce]. I don’t think his career will be ruined by a bunch of forum dwellers crying themselves to sleep.

      • Ug, another billion dollar argument.

    • good GOD man! i thought i was going to see an iron man film. was i supposed to be watching a mandarin film? if i wanted to see that, i would watch the fiendish plot of dr. fu manchu.

  4. A 7/10 comedy, parody movie.

    A 4/10 actual marvel superhero movie

    • ^This.

    • Thank you.

      Actually, since humor is subjective, 2/10 for me.

    • Perfect comment!

  5. Ok… there are alternative perspectives here:

    1) The Mandarin really is the leader behind the 10 rings. The persona we saw was just an act of self preservation. Aldrich Killian is not around to challenge this false persona and the Mandarin can blame everything on Killian and AIM, when in reality this whole effort was a joint venture between the Ten Rings and AIM. After the Mandarin is arrested he’ll be release since he is perceived as just a stooge/patsy and had no criminal intent. He’ll quickly disappear and resume his plans for world domination.

    2) Similar to the above, after the Mandarin is released he finds the real 10 rings and so on and so forth.

    3) The REAL Mandarin was considered a legend/myth that Aldrich turned into a figurehead for AIM and his plans, and now the REAL Mandarin is tick’d off and out for revenge (not sure why, but he is).

    It seems to me that the Mandarin was always a good foil for Tony because it was Tech vs Magic; at least until the rings were determined to be alien tech. When the Mandarin was based on Magic, he was a foe Tony could not understand or relate too and it created a natural conflict, not only over goals and objectives, but world perspectives and fundamental beliefs.

    So… if the Mandarin does come back, bring back the magic too.

    • @Scott Stacher, Trevor Slattery wouldn’t be let out of prison, he’s an accessory to terrorist activities that have lost lives, millions in property damage, illegal sabotage and disruption of FCC policies, and all of the other things that Killian and his goons were responsible for. Trevor would be considered an accessory because he was aware of everything without trying to stop it. However like I’ve said here before too, it would be great if it turns out that he actually was the Mandarin and going getting caught just was a part of his plan.

      The magic v.s. tech would have made a MUCH better foil or twist if Tony thought that he was actually up against magic, could’t figure out but later finds out that it’s actually alien tech and figures how to be him with Jarvis, NOW THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A MUCH BETTER TWIST.

      • Or even the other way around with Stark thinking it’s tech and it’s actually magic would also have worked.

  6. I was very disappointed with Black’s treatment of the Mandarin. I think it was a huge slap in the face of 40 years of Iron-Man history. My only hope is that a better director shows up to bring the Real Mandarin to the big screen.

    • ^50 years

    • I’m just surprised that Marvel let Black change the Mandarin character that much. I thought Marvel had tight control over their character properties? It was a real let down. I think most of the people who are praising Black that it was a bold move are not familiar with the character, and most of the people who are against are familiar. I think Black could’ve change certain aspects of a character when adapting him, but to totally change the character is not bold, it’s just stupid. I think the people who are praising Black are just craving for something different that they think it’s actually cool. If the same thing was done to more popular villains like Magneto or Lex Luthor, would these people still think it was a bold move?

      • Guys… I’m starting to feel like a broken record… but whatever:

        To everyone wishing and hoping and believing that at some point you will get the “real” mandarin, it will NEVER HAPPEN-

        Marvel’s new direction is global marketing. A global market includes China. If you want to sell your product in China, you have to make the Mandarin disappear entirely. You have to say he never existed in the first place.

        It’s genius, actually. This way, if Marvel does get to sell more and more products in China, and little Wang Pang gets confused and upset when he gets his hands on an older IM comic featuring the Mandarin, you can quickly say to little Wang Pang:

        ” Don’t worry, little Wang Pang. Remember IM 3? The Mandarin isn’t real, he’s just an actor.”

        And all I have to say is…


        • Stop using ethnic slurs. It makes you look like an imbecile even though you bring up a good point.

          • Claiming that the use of an actual ethnic name is an ethnic slur doesn’t make me look like the imbecile, professor.

            • I’ll elaborate, if I had referred to the Chinese child as “ching chong wong dong” you would be absolutely correct, and that would be an ethnic slur.

              … but I referred to this imaginary kid with an actual Chinese name. Claiming that the use of actual Chinese names is an ethnic slur, well… that reflects on you pretty negatively.

  7. I WAS looking forward to seeing a standoff between Ben Kingsley & RDJ, so I can relate to people who felt let down by the twist– it did indeed feel a bit like one villain just vanished.

    At the same time though I can understand Shane Black’s decision and appreciate the fact that he leveraged a character rooted in racist stereotypes to make a pretty spot-on societal commentary.

    Overall I thought the movie was great, I’m mystified at all the people bugging out about it.

  8. Okay Black, that might be all fine and dandy for another Marvel villain, but this is Mandarin; the archnemesis of Iron Man.

    You don’t make a joke out of rival enemies, that is a very bad decision. Villains like Green Goblin and The Joker fall into the same category as the Mandarin does and people would be in an outrage if this situation happened to either of them.

    What you did was take the “Batman Forever” Edward Nigma and mashed him together with Professor Moriarty from “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. That is anything but a good mixture

  9. I thought it was a great idea. Nuff said.

  10. Loved the movie, I think it’s funny that we live in a day and age where we want to know every single aspect of a movie being filmed that when a director or company is able to pull one over our eyes we feel betrayed. I loved the twist and I’ve been reading Marvel comics since I could read. I’m 30 now. They pulled off a great twist and I for one do not feel like I was slapped in the face. Can you imagine if The Sixth Sense came out today how many people would be super pissed off that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time! How dare they make me think he’s alive the whole time! I feel betrayed by the studio! That would be funny to me.

    • The movie comes from a legendary source material well-known by a HUGE group of people. Those people go to see a respectable adaption of these characters; and this was nothing more than a slap to the face for them.

      Sixth Sense did not have a solid background prior to the film, it was something new that people went to see for the heck of it.

      No, a lot of us didn’t have to go looking for it’s flaws. They found their way to us. Your reasoning could go as far as saying “There has never been a bad movie in existence; you’re just too busy trying to feel and understand what is going on.”

      Is IM3 a god awful movie? No, but it’s far from great.

    • This is a really bad analogy that you are using. What The Mandarin is to Ironman is what Lex Luthor is to Superman. Imagine that they did a remake of Star Wars, and it wasn’t Anakin that becomes Darth Vader. Instead it was just some Stormtrooper appointed by The Emperor “pretending” to be Darth Vader.
      The action in the movie wasn’t even that great. This movie was horrible.

  11. Ok I really don’t want to sound insensitive here but I don’t think anything about the Mandarin as a “Racist Relic” Why, Because hes Asian? So bad guys can never be any other nationality? I dont see him that way only that he is a bad @$$ Villain. Or he was until Black neutered him. That being said I enjoyed the movie.

    • Yeah, I feel the racism thing is something people look into too much. We have to have a variety of nationality, there have been some American villains.

      But we don’t have cool accents! :)

  12. It’s mind numingly simple what they wanted you to take away from the story. Everything is disposable it’s just at what price point. This is what they want because to keep something that has a legacy is philosophicaly binding and they don’t want to live up to that responsibility. Hollywood is trashing the comic universe but then it’s golden and silver ages past a long time ago and was corrupted by philosophies that are burning our world down faster and faster…

  13. I see that most posters feel the same as I and presumably most fans. Ok you vented now. Feel better?

    So how does Marvel fix it? Got any ideas on that one?

    Here is mine so far. Yes the character was a bomb, but could be used to spur the next film. Where did Killian get all the money to finish his research? AIM alone? Not likely. Where did he get the idea to surgically alter the actor to look the way he did for “his” Mandarin? Where did Killian get the idea for Mandarin? And why use the Ten Rings terrorist organization and not have them retaliate for using their name? Lots of questions that can be answered with one simple idea. The “real” Mandarin was behind it all along. The entire thing was supposed to make Tony second guess his role as a superhero and stop being Iron Man (you know the guy that “privatized” world peace). The same guy that no doubt put a dent in the Ten Rings operations world wide. So sure the guy behind the guy that was behind the image is another (albeit somewhat lame) way to patch this up. You get to keep the Ten Rings just as they are no mystical powers, but we get the real ruthless and dominating Mandarin. One that uses the network that is the Ten Rings to wreak havoc on Tony’s life now that they know the extent of his power. This was all just a test to see how far they would have to go to break Tony.
    I know its all a bit kitsch but what other way could they go to fix the damage of trust Marvel has created? So far they were batting a thousand with their movies portrayals of classic heroes and villains alike. Sure some of them departed a bit from the source but not so far as this one. This was too much for most of us to handle. From here on out I will be attending Marvel movies with skepticism where as before I trusted blindly that they would not disappoint. And I think thats how a lot of die hard fans feel about this one. I watched Iron Man 6 times in the theaters. I watched Avengers 12 times. This one I will only watch once. I wont even go back for a matinee or double feature. To me its too painful. I will obligingly purchase the DVD/BluRay but only to complete a set. Is this really what Marvel/Disney was going for?

    • They’re not going to fix anything it’s all disposable junk to them. They might recycle it but only to burn it down and throw it away again, and again…

    • Every CBM film needs a good villain to fight or to challenge him/her.

      The film should’ve just focused on the Mandarin instead. Ben Kingsley is a great actor, and would’ve made a phenomenal villain. It’s a common conceit with superhero movies to include more than 1 villain; the problem is, unless you do it properly (and most don’t), you waste a lot of screen time, and don’t establish the villain as an important character. Thus, each villain becomes one dimensional, and comes off as cartoonish.

      Kudos to you for seeing through the Marvel “money trap”. I’m with you, in that I thoroughly enjoyed IM1 and the Avengers (saw them only once, but have them on Blu-Ray/DVD). IM3 is NOT the direction I want their movies to go in. Thor 2 looks promising, and I’m sure it won’t end up being like IM3, but one can’t be sure. Vote with your wallet, I say, so that Marvel gets the right message.

  14. Who are all if these people that keep claiming that the Mandarin is Iron Mans arch nemesis ? Maybe back in the 70′s ! Do you guys even read the comics anymore ? Did you really want a racist stereotype of Asians with “magic” rings ? One guy even complained that Aldrich Killian breathed fire in the movie. Dude, inthe Extremis comic story, an Extremis soldier breathed fire ( I guess he would prefer the Mandarin’s fire ring ). The obvious arch nemesis for Tony Stark is ( as in current Marvel comics ) ULTRON. He is the embodiment of Tony’s worst fear, the technology evolves beyond him. The very inventions that have been under his control and enabled him to fight his battles looks him in the eye and says : “You are irrelevant.” Hank Pym may have made him but Tony Stark fears what he represents, a future devoid of humanity.

    • Ultron is Iron Mans hardcore baddie but in no way is he iron mans arch enemy. They dont have anywhere near as much history as tony and mandarin. Plus, You can’t do Ultron untill you do ant man. Hank pym created Ultron.

  15. Who are all of these people that keep claiming that the Mandarin is Iron Mans arch nemesis ? Maybe back in the 70′s ! Do you guys even read the comics anymore ? Did you really want a racist stereotype of Asians with “magic” rings ? One guy even complained that Aldrich Killian breathed fire in the movie. Dude, in the Extremis comic story, an Extremis soldier breathed fire ( I guess he would prefer the Mandarin’s fire ring ). The obvious arch nemesis for Tony Stark is ( as in current Marvel comics ) ULTRON. He is the embodiment of Tony’s worst fear, the technology evolves beyond him. The very inventions that have been under his control and enabled him to fight his battles looks him in the eye and says : “You are irrelevant.” Hank Pym may have made him but Tony Stark fears what he represents, a future devoid of humanity.

    • You nailed it. You need to post this is every IM3 article from here on out.

      • Thanks, I was sure I wasn’t the only one who thought this.

        • Not true. If that reasoning were true, what about Spider-Man? Venom has been Peter’s worst fear ever since the symbiote found his way to Brock (or at least, when Eddie was Venom), but he is not the prime threat; Green Goblin is.

  16. I wish they kept the origin of the Mandarin and Extremis intact because for me it was a surprise which ruined my enjoyment of the movie.

    • ur right i went with my girl and she loved it i was pissed not because of mandgrin it felt like a disney movie stick with cartoons all ur movies suck

  17. I can understand why people are upset if they were really excited about the Mandarin character. To them, it is a slap in the face. I am not a Mandarin fan so I was able to enjoy the twist and think that Shane Black’s point is a good one. To me, this was Marvel’s best yet. I had a great time out with my fiance and good friends, so I loved it.

  18. IMO I think marvel copped out by combining the Character of Killian and the Mandarin in Iron man 3. Here’s how I believe they did it. Now I didn’t know much about the Mandarin character. Until I read his Wikipedia. But clearly in the comics he’s a formidable adversary to Tony in every way. So his appearance should have been epic.

    But I guess because they alluded to the Mandarin subtly in the first two films. And unfortunately they didn’t lay the proper groundwork for his eventual appearance in the third film. So how could they insert him in the film without any real context?You change the character entirely.

    The image of the mandarin is Ben kingsley’s character. The physical manifestation of the Mandarin’s power from the comic book is Killian. In the comic. The mandarin is the only human that could actually hurt Tony when he is inside the suit. Which is what the Killian character is able to do with his powers. A substitute for his mythical Ten rings maybe?

    If you look at the picture of the mandarin used in his wikipedia. Which I’m guessing is the modern appearance of the Mandarin. He doesn’t look asian for one. Kind of looks like Zeus. He’s shirtless. And looks just like Killian does at the end of Iron Man 3 mullet and all lol. So they embellished the mythology. Because ultimately most movie goesrs will not know about the mythology or even care. They just want to see Iron man 3.

    I hated how the trailers made it look as if The mandarin was going to be a bad A** and he wasn’t. Marvel pulled a bait and switch. But this is my fear moving forward being owned by Disney. Disney makes family films. Not rated R films. Some Marvel Characters subject matter deserve edgier adult orientated stories which could require that rating. IE Blade,Wolverine,Daredevil ETC. So only time will tell. But that’s my two cents on Iron man 3

  19. It was an enjoyable twist. I keep looking at it from the standpoint this could open the door for the real Mandarin to make an appearance.

    How cool would it be for the real Mandarin, mystic rings and all, to emerge from the shadows to reclaim his dignity. He could be enraged by the farce and decide to really strike fear in the rest of the world. He could summon Fin Fang Foom and we could have an epic battle sequence with Iron Man and perhaps a cameo by Henry Pym? I think we have the workings of a great script there lol

  20. i clearly see his point, stil believe that the real responsible for 9/11 is yet to be discovered, wandering among us, and america has only sent the fault to bin laden because he was such a perfect stock character

  21. Huh, so Avengers can have Thanos at the end pulling the strings, but he can’t have his ten rings of power. Interesting.

  22. im not the mandgrin im an actor how dumb was that if i wanted to laugh i would have payed to see a comedy

  23. Just goes to show all you Marvel fanboys how much DC is more respected. Would anyone have ever thought to do this to the Joker or Lex Luthor?

    • agreed. The DC movies will be better.

  24. Who are all of these people that keep claiming the Mandarin is Iron Mans arch nemesis ? Maybe back in the 70′s ! Do you guys even read the comics anymore ? Did you really want a racist stereotype of Asians with “magic” rings ? One guy even complained that Aldrich Killian breathed fire in the movie. Dude, in the Extremis comic story, an Extremis soldier breathed fire ( I guess he would prefer the Mandarin’s fire ring ). The obvious arch nemesis for Tony Stark is ( as in current Marvel comics ) ULTRON. He is the embodiment of Tony’s worst fear, the technology evolves beyond him. The very inventions that have been under his control and enabled him to fight his battles looks him in the eye and says : “You are irrelevant.” Hank Pym may have made him but Tony Stark understands and fears what he represents, a future devoid of humanity.

    • @ CinemaViper

      “Who are all of these people that keep claiming the Mandarin is Iron Mans arch nemesis ?”

      Ummm… either people who are in touch with the comics, or perhaps anyone who has played Ultimate Alliance?

      Regardless of who you feel is the better arch-nemesis, the Mandarin is, in fact, the arch-nemesis of Tony Stark “since the Mandarin believes he can use technology to achieve world domination.” – Marvel Encyclopedia, p.204

    • Why are you posting this multiples times?

      Once is enough.

    • well said…..I’m not familiar with ultron. But maybe that’s where they will go if the they attempt another Iron man movie or avengers 2.

  25. here’s what i thought.

    The Mandarin “joke” was funny but not here.
    He should have been a bad ass.
    God knows, Killian wasn’t.

  26. Don’t advertise apples when you’re actually selling oranges. The trailers promised us a terrible villain with, like, no soul… and we got a washed-up actor.

    The ‘change’ to Mandarin was a complete 360. It was funny, but—come on. What Black could’ve done was have the Mandarin be a terrorist and such, but a weak one (and behind the hit on Tony in the first Iron Man). Black could’ve written that Aldrich funded the Mandarin in exchange for him taking responsibility for all the attacks and such.

    It’s too late to complain about it now, though, unless Favreau and/or Whedon are willing to redo the entire thing.

  27. To all those people who think IM3 was a joke i am with you. NOT bc im another fan boy crying over what a horrible twist the Madarin was, but bc they have completely turned IM into a joker (no pun intended)

    I am a huge fan or Ironman, and not even bc of the comics but bc of the first movie. When i saw the first teaser trailer with the huge bulky armor i thought it was a ridiculous movie that i would never see. When the other trailers came out i was in complete disbelieve bc they looked so SIIICK! So i went and i watched it, and outta that my love for Marvel grew and I became a Devoted Ironman fanatic! Everyone from my friends know this and they even call me Ironman cuz thats how much i’ve fallen in love with him. I can relate to him a lot and he is a huge parr of my life.

    When i walked out of the movie theater, every part of me wanted to cheer and believe that this was a good movie. That Marvel had brought it again and it was a great start to Phase two. And as my friends finally stood around me asking me what i thought of it, i knew i couldn’t lie to myself and i blurred out; That was horrible!

    I don’t wanna be seen as a ranter, even tough i probably already look like that. But the truth to me is that i Love Marvel and i Love Ironman. It hurts to think that Marvel might be going all for the money and forgetting why they even started making the comics movies. Bc we all comic lovers wished that, regardless of DC or Marvel, that one day we might see our favorite super heroes take to the big screen and completely show the world why we love this characters! And to show just how awesome they are! We die w joy at the thought! So for Black to come along and really dump this joke of a movie on us is very disappointing. Not bc it was just our loved herroe but bc it wasn’t even take serious. :/ Sorry for the essay guys, once my thoughts started i couldn’t stop.

    • @Ironmagician, I don’t want to sound corny but your post was really heartfelt. It’s just a movie but it does mean more to some people. Great post! Hopefully Marvel won’t ever do this again.

  28. Well…I was hoping that Shane Black would’ve done HEROES FOR HIRE which was what he was actually more suited for. Now I know that aint happening.

  29. Crap. The iconic scary bad guy was “hollywoodised” into something no one outside of a few wanted. Just like Suprer Mario Bros : we are forced to see a character dangerous as anyone ever, become a drunk. Crap crap crap. Yes the movie made money but so does a prostitute. I do NOT in any way like what black did to Mandarin. I feel betrayed yet once again.