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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  1. Simply movie just wasn’t very good. I didn’t know anything about Mandarin dude but at least I was drawn in on what he would do.. It was intriguing. And then they do that crap.. and then the other antagonist(I don’t care what that guy is called) didn’t make any sense. Guy who can burn down iron man suit? Are you kidding me?

  2. The idea of a goofy terrorist is ok…DESTROY a character like Mandarim using a fake trailer is NOT ok.

    • I could handle the fake terrorist, I thought it was clever, and even felt original after we had the fake Ras Al-Ghul in Batman Begins. What bugs me was how they played Killian as the REAL Mandarin. Just having the dragon tattoos, in a sly hint that he might have been the Mandarin? That would have been cunning. Having him breath fire, something that no other person with the Extremis virus had done, as a shout out to the comics where Mandarin literally became a dragon? Pushing it, but possibly obscure enough we wouldn’t care.

      Having him actually declare himself the Mandarin in the final battle? Please…

  3. I understood what black did with the mandarin I just don’t understand WHY. the mandarin was a great comic book villain why mess with it? To make it more of a “believable” character like what Nolan did with batman? Well that can’t be the reason because of Thor,Loki, and the (rumored) arch villain in avengers 2. So why black? WHHHYYYY??

    • cutting corners is why.

    • Come on guys, Black actually told you why – it was quoted in this article.

      Mandarin is, largely, a caricature… a relic of a past, racist age where you could just paint a Fu Manchu moutasche on a character and the audience would instantly know this is a Chinese supervillain. It was a Cold War era stereotype of the evil foreigner. Its pretty easy to understand why they wouldn’t use him as is…

      • …yet they then decided to stereotype him as a ‘typical’ drunken Brit instead…

  4. I loved the movie. It was so hilarious. I thought it was a very cool twist with the Mandarin – we got to appreciate his deadliness and then laugh at who he really was and how he behaved.

    One of the best parts was when the security guy said “I don’t even like working here – these people are weird.” The theater was roaring.

    Great movie!!!

    • That really does make me cringe.

      Just another reminder that at no point did the movie attempt to do anything seriously.

      Humor when timed right is perfect, but when it’s re-occurring theme it looses it’s punch and becomes distracting, especially for a movie that isn’t exactly supposed to be an all out comedy.

    • The movie was a blasphemy. If they would have prepared the audience that would have been one thing. The Mandarin was my favorite bad guy. I was looking forward to him. I want my money back for misleading me. Only movie I have ever been this disappointed in.

    • Agree! NO ONE saw that twist coming, and to be able to make a movie in this digital age and keep a secret that big is impressive. To be able to go into a movie and be SURPRISED by such a plot twist is refreshing!

    • I agree this movie was great. Ben Kingsley did a great job portraying two radically different personalities. I say bravo Marvel, keep ‘em coming.

  5. I just can’t reconcile Black’s Mandarin with the continuity’s Mandarin. I understand what he was trying to do and the message he was trying to send, but couldn’t it have been with another villain? Tony Stark already has one of the weakest Rogues Gallery. Trivializing the Mandarin didn’t do MCU’s Iron Man any favors. Nemeses (especially arch-nemeses) shouldn’t be toyed with to that degree.
    I also understand that adapting the Mandarin into the MCU was a tall order, but Mr. Black didn’t even try. I think that’s what’s eating and the hardcore crowd the most when it comes to the Mandarin.

  6. It was a great movie twist ! Loved it

  7. For all the people who claim they didn’t like the movie because it’s not “smart enough”, you totally missed all the subtext and hidden meanings in the film. The film is supposed to mess with the mind and the nerves… It is supposed to misdirect as one aspect of the Mandarin’s machinations… The Mandarin is the Master, and there is hidden foreshadowing in the use of the word Master multiple times in the film… The fact that many things are left open, and there could be many setups that are already being foreshadowed beyond the apparent twist, is not even apparent to the people who claim the movie isn’t smart enough.

    It’s so frigging subtle it’s sailing right over your heads, and the setups and planned reversals are so hidden as to not give away the Masters’ surprise attack that will, in the future, all be linked back to this movie in surprising ways… I would say that all matter is connected… that everything is connected. And context is key…

    They’ve deliberately left some things ambiguous… This would be a problem if it wasn’t Marvel and they didn’t have some way to follow up and reverse things again… the subconscious mind can perceive things forwards and backwards… This is how Tony seems to know little things ahead of time in the story….
    Because it’s only a story Tony is telling Banner, and he too, like the viewer has been deceived and misdirected by the story itself.

    In poker the double bluff is used to cover a much bigger hand…
    This isn’t the last of Mandarin, me thinks, not by a long shot…
    There are many ways he can return.
    Some of which are already set up.
    Some of which may involve mind control… and Killian never revealing his whole hand.

    Killian said it himself subtlety’s sort of had its day.
    Apparently now you have to beat the audience over the head with ham-fisted themes and fake ass drama… for the audience to get it…

    This movie was not made for you to get. It was made to mess with your mind and misdirect you from what comes next in Killian’s plan…
    It’s not just about money. And it’s not about being rejected by Stark.
    There is much more to the story.
    This is about each man’s ego and alter ego, as well their super ego’s and subconscious desires/defense mechanisms…

    In this movie both the Mandarin and Tony were fighting via proxy. That will not be the same next time.

    Just like Tony is Iron Man, and the suit is an extension of his mind, so too is Mandarin to Killian. Mandarin is only an extension of Killian’s mind right now….
    but this thought to combine and build a proxy for himself, an alter ego separate for him, had him hiding behind it, like a cocoon…

    At the end of the move Killian is accepting that he is the Mandarin just like Stark is accepting that Tony Stark is Iron Man, Tony’s mind made the man and the suit.
    Same with Killian…
    But Killian collects and amasses power, combines things.
    The mere thought of creating this super terrorist alter ego and then creating him, makes this though a real part of Killian”s superego.

    When Killian admits he is The Real Mandarin he is being egotistical and arrogant, like Tony.
    He is in a stage in his personal transformation where Killian has now admitted to being Mandarin in a superficial way, as Tony did in the first movie… Killian is still somewhat separate from his persona, but it is beginning to take over… The Mandarin part of Killian’s superego is real, a terrible thought to combine and pervert all symbols passed through it and cannot be destroyed… His mind can not be destroyed…

    Similarly, his brain is his connection to the universe. And the method of his return….
    There is much more going on under the surface, and above our heads.

    Everything on the surface of this movie is merely a distraction… None of it is real, as we will soon find out… Just a story told from Tony’s perspective… Cap and Fury have their own perspective. Where do you take Tony now that his hero arc is done? Director of Shield for the first half of Avengers 2 after Cap and Fury go rogue in Winter Soldier… He has a very different perspective than Cap and Fury.

    Trevor says he “panicked and then he handled it” when Coldblood asks why he didn’t hit the panic button. Please explain to me fully how Trevor “handled” it and how later Trevor says he told them nothing…

    The whole movie is misdirection and you all fell for it by being upset and not keeping an open mind and actually looking at things deeper…

    Feige said this movie sets up many things for phase 2, although we don’t know it yet.

    I believe Mandarin is a much smarter man than we’ve been led to believe and he has been messing with brains in many ways. And will continue to do so. Strung Tony along, to let him think they got back the “strung up” president who was way too out in the open…

    He made them look at one hand while the other hand was doing something else the whole movie, all they up until the end. Lets trevor misdirect them too, saying this next part might involve the VP. This Mandarin is a master of propaganda, he told only half-truths and because of that we believe the lies… the schemes and the set ups he’s placed in preparation of something much larger that will reverse everything and make everyone, character and audience alike, look like fools again…
    Because it was all planned from the start, with multiple backup plans and even backup bodies… “He’s here and he’s not here, it’s complicated” could really have a lot more meanings… and the multiple meanings to things in this film could become astounding in the end. But are completely unnoticed and so subtly planted to tie into things much, much later.

    When phase 2 ends it all ties back to the beginning and we don’t get to know how until that point. I will say it has to do with mind control and the universe in general. All things being connected even though it may not seem like it… And the kid Harley already understands he has formed subatomic bonds with Tony, that they’re connected and always will be… will cross paths again…

    Please keep your brain slot open for Mandarin when Extremis returns, so he can fill you with new insights and retroactively change your mind in the future. Or try to re-write your memory like a computer…

    Lower your psychological defenses, play with your expectations, then secretly come out of no where, returning to invade the hearts and minds. Killian seems like he wasn’t too worried about going hot and exploding…
    He needed the fix, but his main goal was the White house, he already had the terrorists.
    And as I said, Killian is very subtle, he only shows part of his poker hand to misdirect us. He has more than a few things up his sleeve, he doesn’t only have one ace in the whole like Joker, he has prepared many…
    HE will not show his whole hand, ever, and even in the end allows us to think his body/mind is dead. Possibly only the mind returning…

    Kilian showing off his brain to Pepper is him being subtle and cocky/egotistical. He’s showing off his backup plan in a weird way…
    Killian has found a way to exist without a body.
    He was not worried about exploding… or anything, really he has many backups and does things to Extremis soldiers minds over time…. Anyone who takes Extremis is secretly programmed by Killian’s mind…
    It slowly writes over their memory like a computer. Psychologists says the brain is much like a computer. And Killian was hacking the mind and body in a number of ways he didn’t full reveal.

    The ego can protect a person, Stark’s ego will protect him… by putting up psychological defenses. Killian scripted everything, to condition the mind… to make it respond a certain way in all cases. Everything Killian says is a deception — the map of his brain he shows Pepper is not an accident, it’s because like Tony, his brain controls his alternate persona via proxy… He hollowed out the actors mind and didn’t completely rewrite the brain… Trevor is not what we think… “it’s complicated” way more complicated… He’s a host body. A mouthpiece through which Killian spoke, and can move his mind into at will.
    Killian is starting a collective and is the Mandarin is in more places than once, a force that joins both their minds subconsciously ( this is why Trevor fakes sleeping, when he was getting orders).

    Tony accidentally almost attacks Pepper in his sleep with his subconscious…

    This was all a play to him. He can afford to have a little fun, he is that sure that what comes next will make all the nations of the world part of his combined Empire.

    • Agree with your points. Also think this movie is setting up a return to Mandarin in later Marvel movies. BTW, you could have shortened your response because your message was good but Im sure most readers didn’t read it because of its length. Just my 2 cents

    • Kang…

      Those of us who thought it was a dumb movie or, at least, a failed attempt at whatever Black NOW claims he meant to do did not miss anything…we did not have anything pass above our heads. What we DID have is major disappointment when we realized that a movie many of us had been anticipating would bring us happily into the MCU’s Phase 2 instead was merely garbage, a pitiful cash grab running off the good will built up by RDJ and “The Avengers”.

      Perhaps, instead of believing we missed something, you might consider the possibility you were simply taken in (quite handily, I’d say)…?

  8. Horrible Villian, I was expecting Power Rings to be shooting from the Mandarian the movie kinda sucked due to what I thought the villian would be

  9. It seems to me that fans are upset that they got fooled. Plain and simple. They also don’t have any right getting mad at Black for changing the Ten Rings into a terrorist organization; that had been done in the first Iron Man film.

    Comic fans generally (not every one of them, but go to cons and tell me this isn’t true) have extremely conservative tastes: They like their enemies to be Otherized almost as much as they love to objectify women. The reveal that Kilian was the real Mandarin was not only a bold choice for the studio (as I’m sure they knew it would enrage fans), but it was a bold statement to make in this post-9/11 world. The enemies aren’t always the “obvious” folks we’re told they are.

    • @Jordan, that’s the entire point many of us are making. You said it best…they’ve been hinting at the 10 Rings since the first movie and then to throw it away like they did was irresponsible film making. And for what, to introduce some pedantic bathroom humor? There are half a dozen ways the film could have fit the Mandarin into the ‘realistic’ world of Iron Man (hell, Killian breathed FIRE!) so that is a very lame excuse.

      Don’t get me wrong, I was entertained and liked quite a few things about the movie (Pepper’s involvement, Tony’s journey, the kid, the action, Don Cheadle) but whereas the best movies have villains you can say “remember him?” there will be no such thing with this one. Well, actually there will, but they will be talking about it for all the wrong reasons. Black had the chance to put a gem of a movie on the silver screen and all we get is this decent but flawed film.

      • @Jordan. Hell yeah im upset. Im by far not a comic fan and literally didnt know much about the Manderin excet from the trailer. Like so many movies nowadays, I was amped up from the trailer, then dissapointed from the actual movie. So yes, we are all upset about the “misleading trailer”.. the fire breathing dragon guy was not even mentioned (and no Manderin in the film!). Makes me wonder if the bad guy shown at the end of the Avengers movie will even show up at all in the second Avengers film. Oh wait, he’s just an actor too, hahaha, NO!

      • @Jordan. Hell yeah im upset. Im by far not a comic fan and literally didnt know much about the Manderin excet from the trailer. Like so many movies nowadays, I was amped up from the trailer, then dissapointed from the actual movie. So yes, we are all upset about the “misleading trailer”.. the fire breathing dragon guy was not even mentioned (and no Manderin in the film!). Makes me wonder if the bad guy shown at the end of the Avengers movie will even show up at all in the second Avengers film. Oh wait, he’s just an actor too, hahaha, NO!

        • You mean to say the trailer for a film DIDN’T show us everything that happened in the movie?! Your right that’s literally a war crime! I guess The Sixth Sense is also misleading since the trailer said nothing about Bruce Willis being a ghost

      • @Jordan. Oh yeah im upset. Im by far not a comic fan and literally didnt know much about the Manderin excet from the trailer. Like so many movies nowadays, I was amped up from the trailer, then dissapointed from the actual movie. So yes, we are all upset about the “misleading trailer”.. the fire breathing dragon guy was not even mentioned (and no Manderin in the film!). Makes me wonder if the bad guy shown at the end of the Avengers movie will even show up at all in the second Avengers film. Oh wait, he’s just an actor too, hahaha, NO!

      • @Jordan. Oh yeah im upset. Im by far not a comic fan and literally didnt know much about the Manderin excet from the trailer. Like so many movies nowadays, I was amped up from the trailer, then dissapointed from the actual movie. So yes, we are all upset about the “misleading trailer”.. the fire breathing dragon guy was not even mentioned and no Manderin in the film! Makes me wonder if the bad guy shown at the end of the Avengers movie will even show up at all in the second Avengers film. Oh wait, he’s just an actor too, hahaha, NO!

      • Jordan. Oh yeah im upset. Im by far not a comic fan and literally didnt know much about the Manderin excet from the trailer. Like so many movies nowadays, I was amped up from the trailer, then dissapointed from the actual movie. So yes, we are all upset about the “misleading trailer”.. the fire breathing dragon guy was not even mentioned and no Manderin in the film! Makes me wonder if the bad guy shown at the end of the Avengers movie will even show up at all in the second Avengers film. Oh wait, he’s just an actor too, hahaha, NO!

      • Jordan. Oh yeah im upset. Im by far not a comic fan and literally didnt know much about the Manderin excet from the trailer. Like so many movies nowadays, I was amped up from the trailer, then dissapointed from the actual movie. So yes, we are all upset about the misleading trailer.. the fire breathing dragon guy was not even mentioned and no Manderin in the film! Makes me wonder if the bad guy shown at the end of the Aveng movie will even show up at all in the second Aveng film. Oh wait, he’s just an actor too, hahaha, NO!

    • High five Josh, I totally agree.

    • I agree with you, IM3’s “Mandarin” is indeed an ingenious twist on multiple levels at the same time. It’s probably also the best Marvel/Disney could do in salvaging an unsalvageable racist label stemmed in Iron Man’s comic book past. All the talks about great baddie/actor being wasted and Mandarin’s race etc are just false pretence. The real issue is the Mandarin’s name. Google the word “Mandarin” and you’d see what I mean. It’s amazing to see “The Mandarin” got passed Chinese censors this time. (It says a lot about the competency of CCP bureaucrat, doesn’t it?) But there probably won’t be many more of such luck for Disney in the future.

    • As Bob Chapman of The Escapist pointed out the problem with the “You thought it was X but it’s actually Y” is that you’ll always get people who really wanted it to be X.

  10. 509 comments (as i write this) i can’t believe some of the pure nonsense i’ve been reading on this thread. IM3 may not be the best liked film in the MCU so far, but, it certainly seems to be the most popular, so hats off Mr. Black, well done!
    i liked the movie, i loved what they did with the mandarin. i couldn’t care less about his back story in the comic books. if i did, i would go back and read them. i am a comic book fan, i’m just 46 and have too much other stuff to read and do, so i like what marvel has done with the MCU. it has over-the-top heroes, over-the-top villains, over-the-top stories, and it’s all connected, just like the comic books.
    i guess every comic book ever printed must be perfect;i.e. no stories that were considered “sub-par”, no gimmics (foil covers/bagged), no cash grabs (death of superman, his return), nothing that would warrant this same level of hatred? just curious.

    you may continue your vilification.

  11. The thing people fail to understand about this “twist” is that it pretty much sends the message, “If you can’t figure out how to make the villain work then reduce him/her to comic relief”. That’s not a real solution it’s lazy writing at it’s worst, kinda like, “it was all just a dream.”

    Will, guess we’ll all just have to wait and see which villain is next to get this sort of treatment, maybe they’ll make Egghead a woman with ridiculously huge breast in Ant-Man and call her Eggchest, or Doctor Strange villain Dormammu won’t have a flaming head, he’ll just be flaming gay, cuz that would be a funny twist, right?

    • @your mom…”Lazy writing” That’s EXACTLY what it was. They can dress it up all they want but the fact is they did not take the time to even try to fit the Mandarin in. Every excuse I’ve heard is comical when you think about Killian breathing fire like a freaking dragon!

      • You do see the inconsistency of arguing that they were wrong to change the Mandarin from his comic roots, but also wrong to keep the fire breathing powers that extremist gives, right?

        • Yeah I was sure when we didn’t see it in the scene where Happy Hogan was attacked that we wouldn’t have anyone burping fire.

  12. That was the biggest let down of this decade!

  13. I thought it was a pretty entertaining film and am glad they made it. I think the Mandarin though was a pretty big letdown. In a series that tries to get heroes like the Iron Man as close as they can to much of the original source materials, why then do they circumnavigate that practice for one of the bigger villains in Iron Man’s rogue gallery?

    If you can have the Mandarin the way he was, why not have Iron Man be a boy about Harry Potter’s age, and instead of an “iron” suit, you can have him fly with the wings of an Eagle and possess mental armor to protect himself from the negativity of others?

    My point is, if you change the villain that drastically, everything else doesn’t really jive with it. Like a puzzle piece that fits but has none of the right colors on it to match anything.

    Maybe when they reboot Iron Man they can have Shaq take up the role, and Pepper Pots can be Electra 2.0, why not right? Let’s “surprise” the audience.

    • Arggh…. Yes, I can see how you’d have problems coming up with a Mandarin that wasn’t so blatantly racist, so the filmmakers WOULD need to work on that, but both the filmmaker and multiple commentators keep on saying things like “Iron Man is supposed to have tech-based enemies, so the ten magic rings are a problem as well. Has anyone saying this actually RESEARCHED the Mandarin? The rings ARE NOT MAGIC!!! They’re tech. Mandarin adapted them from the propulsion system of a crashed alien ship. They’re just a good example of the old Arthur C. Clarke quote about sufficiently advanced tech being indistinguishable from magic. They fit just fine in the Iron Man world. No need to retcon nano-anything, just have Mandarin explain where he got them. I think the “Mandarin-as-stalking-horse” twist worked, but I also think that a bit of additional knowledge of the Mandarin would have made that unnecessary.

  14. It’s all F*CKIN’ DISNEY’S FAULT!!!! They will also ruin the Star Wars Saga… F*ck U Walt Disney

    • Don’t blame Disney for a stupid choice some one-hit wonder, director made. Disney are only the distributors, they have no say in the production or making of any Marvel film.

    • Umm, it’s not ALREADY ruined???

  15. Black’s idea behind the villain is pretty cool, I get that, but The Mandarin was not the right opportunity to use that idea. Iron Man 3 was ripe for introducing magic after the events of Avengers 3, it would’ve made perfect sense. It would’ve taken it up a level and taken Tony Stark up a level, it would’ve shown he handle things beyond technology. It would’ve made sense. I don’t get why people are afraid of seeing Technology and magic clash, they do it in the comic books, so why not in films? It just needs to be done right. And all the “tech” stories are starting to bore me: creating imaginary particles, exploding humans, I find myself having to suspend my belief even more.

    That’s why oddly enough, I don’t even think the Mandarin twist was what ruined Iron Man 3, it was actually Guy Pierce’s villain, or more accurately the plot (drug that turns people into human fire balls…oh boy…) that was the low point for me. Iron Man 1 was still the best, and I’d be willing to wager that The Wolverine, Dark World, and Amazing Spider man 2 will all over shadow this stale piece of mess.

    Oh yeah, and the joker wasn’t in “Dark Knight Rises” :P

  16. I understand them not wanting to introduce magic BUT the Mandarin’s rings are NOT magic! It’s ALIEN tech that was found on a crashed spaceship. After the Avengers we now have aliens and gods for crying out loud. What’s wrong with magic? It makes me wonder how they’ll treat Malekith in Thor 2…


  18. If anything, the main bad guy was more like “the melter”.

  19. People don’t get the importance of the character and the story itself. If you wanted to tell the extremis story then you should have left the Mandarin for another Iron Man Film. The characters were underdeveloped. The best example is Maya Jansen. A character that wasn’t given the treatment it deserved. The humour was also another drawback. It’s ok to use humour to allow the film and the audience to breath but in some scenes that were supposed to be dramatic, they kill the drama with a funny line.

  20. To tie into the Avengers sequel they could have had Thanos give the Mandarin his magic rings. That could have worked instead of having them come from Fing Fang Fum.

  21. um… wack. just, wack. weak, wack, and just, wrong. horrible idea. it was like they threw some words on a bunch of pieces of paper, and said,

    “ooooh. this is a script.”



  23. I agree with shane character that the original madarin character has racist aspects. in general there are several older characters that have this aspect. Like speedy Gonzales but for some reason there are making a live action movie about it.

  24. I dislike when a director only has one style, and it is prevalent in all their movies, Black’s “main character telling a story” narration style was good in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but to do it with IM3 was too far from what the iron man universe we know and love is. A marvel film needs to be a real time action flick, having one stand out as IM3 does will put a chink in the chain for me, it skews the timeline the movies follow. When exactly did this stuff happen? I had high hopes for the film, and the trailers WERE misleading I def agree with that. They could have done a truer mandaran with out racism, they didn’t try, it was Black saying he doesn’t like Marvel character’s, I’m gonna do it myself. Also some other key points for me. Where were the other Avengers? If you mess with one, shouldn’t another at least come to help? Also, If Tony had all of those other suits he called near the end, why did he keep using the malfunctioning mack 42 or whatever through out the movie? He had so many more to call. He didn’t need to McGyver up that stuff to invade the compound. Overall the movie was still good, it just didn’t fit very well for me.

  25. I completely disagree with the Authors notion that the story’s context in which The Mandarin, presented by Shane Black, had no relevance in the story. Shane Black had used a controversial and heated topic to cleverly create the mystery of The Mandarin and how he was able to mask himself simply by using fear instead of a costume. In my opinion, it made the film less campy and less of a comic book-style video game story. That was a brilliant move and kudos for being clever and creative. No one gave any thought about the deep psychological process of pain and vengeance that was presented in Nolan’s version of Batman. In fact, it made the character more the reason why fans of Batman and audiences alike, liked the films itself.

    Shane Black did a great job. It’s quite obvious this is a Commercial Film in every sense of the word, but he saw an opportunity and took a creative spin on a franchise that sells itself.

    Sorry Amy Nicholson. This ain’t your Daddy’s Saturday Morning Cartoons.

  26. They could still salvage the Mandarin for an Iron Man 4. I know what I want to see: Slattery really is the Mandarin, his rings do have power, and he was playing everybody from the start — right from the time Tony escaped the cave (of course he’s a down-and-out actor; who would suspect that?). So he sided with Killian and AIM to get his hands on their most top secret project — MODOK! Mandarin would confront Killian, vaporize him, take control of AIM, and finally go after Tony. Kingsley could come back, and play a total 180 from what he did in 3. Everything will have been a ruse perpetrated to get closer and closer to Stark (more and more shovels of dirt, one more nail in the coffin of Iron Man, you see). I’d even throw in Arthur Parks and Don Gill as scientists working on variations of Extremis that turn them into Mandarin’s henchmen, Living Laser and Blizzard. There are ways around it all to make it right.

    As far as what they did with Aldrich Killian, my main gripe is that he was even more of a composite than Rourke’s Whiplash. Pearce was basically a hodgepodge of Killian, leader of AIM, Firebrand (IM’s requisite anarchist with fire-based powers), and Molten Man (a Spider-Man enemy with lava for skin) who called himself the Mandarin! Black went further than Favreau did in 2.

    I’m sure if Joss Whedon had directed Iron Man 3 we would’ve have gotten all the above, and more. He’s a guy who gets it; let him direct Iron Man 4 and pull out the stops. Whedon can be — and is indeed on his way — to being Marvel’s answer to Nolan.

  27. At first I disliked what they did to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, but I then developed the following theory about this incarnation of the Mandarin: Neither the British actor nor Killian are the TRUE Mandarin, and that the TRUE Mandarin will appear later down Marvel’s cinematic road. Killian was just a puppet. He only claimed to be the real Mandarin out of arrogance, much like Stark confessed to the world that he was Iron Man in the first film (even though the latter was clearly not a bluff).

    Remember, they haven’t yet introduced magic into the Marvel cinematic universe (Doctor Strange would be a great gateway into this element of the Marvel universe), and the ten rings were alien artifacts to begin with.

    Given the nature of Phase 2 (see the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and the hinted Thanos at the end of Avengers), I’d say there are plenty of opportunities to exploit there, coupled with the cinematic introduction in Iron Man 3 of AIM. That should make Marvel’s cinematic universe interesting enough in the coming years by itself, let alone the plethora of other superhero films Marvel has in the works.

  28. I was very surprised to see the mandarin playing the some what non villian and very happy with the story line! What an awesome twist!