Ben Kingsley Talks The Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3′

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iron man 3 mandarin ben kingsley Ben Kingsley Talks The Mandarin in Iron Man 3

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

Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is officially underway, and so far it’s been a success, thanks to Iron Man 3. Co-writer and director Shane Black was given the unenviable task of following up filmmaker Joss Whedon’s Avengers home run; however, with help from cast members Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, the Lethal Weapon screenwriter has delivered a superhero movie that’s pleased most critics (read our review) and passed the half-billion mark at the worldwide box office after just a few weeks.

That said, if there’s one aspect of Iron Man 3 that’s prompted more grumbling than praise in general, it’s Black and co-writer Drew Pearce’s take on The Mandarin, as played by Oscar-winner Sir Ben Kingsley. The film’s version of Tony Stark’s famous nemesis – whose appearance in the MCU has been teased since the first Iron Man - is controversial, for reasons that will require us to divulge some pivotal Iron Man 3 plot points, in order to properly discuss and analyze.

We’re now entering SPOILER territory for Iron Man 3. You’ve been warned…

iron man 3 poster ben kingsley Ben Kingsley Talks The Mandarin in Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 introduces The Mandarin as an Osama bin Laden-type figurehead in the Ten Rings. The same terrorist organization was also responsible for ambushing and kidnapping Tony in Afghanistan – when it made a secret pact with Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) that helped the latter in his (failed) power grab at Stark Industries – back during the first Iron Man cinematic installment.

However, in the third Iron Man movie, it’s Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) head Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who turns out to be the secret puppet master – having recruited a loopy British actor to play the Mandarin in a series of broadcasts, where the (fake) terrorist takes credit for “bombings” around the U.S. In reality, though, these explosions are due to malfunctioning patients in A.I.M. and scientist Maya Hansen’s (Rebecca Hall) Extremis program.

Kingsley, in an interview with The Huffington Post last week, answered the sticky question about whether or not he would’ve still accepted the Mandarin role had the Iron Man 3 script not featured the aforementioned twist, as follows:

“Totally. Because the way that [screenplay writer] Drew [Pearce] and Shane constructed those political broadcasts, they’re very well thought through. The attack on Western iconography, cultural values, historical context of imperialism — all that weaponry at his command to manipulate and terrify his viewers with these broadcasts with which he interrupts the airwaves were very compelling indeed. I forgot all about the twist until I got to it in the script. I just read it page by page. And I totally would have accepted The Mandarin as The Mandarin, actually.”

As far as controversy or back lash against the film’s version of The Mandarin goes, Kingsley isn’t too worried:

“… It doesn’t enter my thinking at all. It may be a lot to do with the fact that I was a Shakespeare actor for 15 years and played roles that everybody in the audience knew. Some members of the audience even knew the lines of the character. My training is to inhabit a very famous character like Hamlet and make him surprising. So I’m kind of used to that approach to work: Make it fresh, you know? Make it surprising.”

mandarin iron man 3 Ben Kingsley Talks The Mandarin in Iron Man 3

The negative response to Iron Man 3‘s version of The Mandarin can be attributed to the following problems (in my humble opinion, naturally):

  • Black’s film, as Kingsley mentioned, sets up the antagonist as a foil to Tony Stark; that is, his flamboyant costume mocks racial and cultural stereotypes – see: the Mandarin character in his most infamous comic book form – and feels as much like “armor” as one of Tony’s Iron Man suits. However, rather than give a nuanced motivation and backstory to the person behind the Mandarin facade, the movie takes the “safe” route and makes him a foolish proxy for an evil U.S. businessman/scientist.
  • Iron Man 3 aims to, but falls short of bringing things full circle back to the first Iron Man. By comparison, the source material – the “Extremis” comic book mini-series – better deals with the unresolved issues setup by previous Iron Man movies and The Avengers - by having Tony seek redemption for his past as a weapons manufacturer, reach a deeper understanding of his Iron Man identity, and deal with life in a post-Avengers initiative world.
  • If both the Mandarin and the Ten Rings were real threats that Tony helped to create in the past, it might’ve allowed Black’s movie to be more satisfying as both an Iron Man standalone film and a trilogy conclusion. However, Killian’s personal conflict with Tony not only prevents that from happening, it’s also less compelling; not to mention, his storyline is more than a bit too similar to Jim Carrey as The Riddler in Batman Forever (for its own good, that is).

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So, how about it – what did YOU think of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3? Let us know in the comments section!

———

Iron Man 3 is now playing in theaters around the world.

Source: The Huffington Post

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TAGS: iron man, iron man 3

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  1. I hated this twist. It felt like a wasted opportunity to give the film a timely, relevant villain.

    To be honest, it reminded me of what they did to Venom in Spidey 3, only way worse.

    • That’s exactly what this was! I don’t walk into a comic book movie and hope to watch a political commentary, or romantic comedy, or anything else besides a COMIC BOOK MOVIE. If those other things end up being tied in there, fine, but the reason I paid to see Iron Man was to watch a hero struggle against a Chinese guy with crazy alien power rings, which would have been awesome. I really don’t care if people thought it was a good twist. It wasn’t in my humble opinion, but more importantly, I think those same people would have been just as satisfied if it actually were just a big awesome explosion of fan service. Instead of Iron Man 3, I would have named it Iron Man PTSD, Iron Man vs. the water (he almost drowned like 3 times), or even Remote-Control Man, since any of those titles would have warded away people who wanted to watch a cool movie about a rich smart guy in a power suit and an evil Asian ring bearer.

      • Hater? More like Whiner…

    • I think the writers were lazy I dont know is just me …personally very disappointed, all the rumors of an epic scene between Iron man and Mandarin …smh dont get me wrong I like the movie specially the suits oh well …MAN OF STEEL will kick ass this summer !

      • How can you say MOS will be great when it hasn’t even been released yet?

        • …same way people said the same thing about IM3.

          • Yet you still complain about the movie even though you set yourself up for disappointment by have godlike expectations.

            • Wanting a GOOD, well-made, interesting, connected third film in the IM trilogy is having “godlike expectations”?

              Wow, you have reeeeeally low standards for your divine figures, don’t you?

              To each, his own…

              • Funny because it was a GREAT, well-made, interesting film in the IM series to a lot of people. So yeah, you probably have godlike expectations since you are saying it’s a “BAD film” as a known fact and anyone who thinks otherwise have bad taste or doesn’t know anything about a great film.

                • …merely stating my opinions, as are they…as are YOU.

                  Problems?

  2. My biggest question from IM3 is whether Jillian was involved with the Ten Rings at the time of the events in the first movie.

    • When the Mandarin twist was revealed it actually pulled me out of the movie. I was enjoying it up to that point. The first thing that came to my mind was what the hell ?? I would have been fine with the Mandarin contracting A.I.M to make him living weapons. I have been waiting to see the Mandarin on the big screen since they first announce the first Iron Man movie. The trailers had me excited to see Ben Kingsley. I guess ill watch the trailers if i want to see the real Mandarin. I loved the movie but i was disappointed at the same time.

      • I so agree with your sentiment. It was a “Check your purist hat at the door movie” that was very enjoyable and well orchestrated, BUT the changes to Mandarin and Extremis were not what fans were expecting. It definitely left the long time fans with a bitter taste in our mouths. :-/

        When Killian finally says “I am the Mandarin” there should have been some sort of transformation, and not into yet another Extremis subject. Even if it just showed him wearing the Rings. I have no problem with Kingsley having been the Face & Puppet Scapegoat, but there should have been a better reveal on the “real” Mandarin.

        At the same time, I was disappointed with Extremis; however, they aluded to it being resurrected for its original Comic Book potential in the ending wrapup where he said he Fixed Pepper and Himself. Could he have used the now “fixed” Extremis to modify his “implants” to get the better interfaces? I definitely think that was an Easter Egg for Avengers or even an Ironman 4.

        • It definitely was not a purist movie but it was entertaining.
          I thought the whole part of Killian breathing fire might have been the “transformation” they gave us more than anything. Reminiscent of a dragon perhaps?
          What got me the most is the Extremis gave the guys super strength and all but they never fully got into how. Unless I missed it big time they seemed to cut to other things happening during explanations so it was alittle all over the place with that. bEcause all of a sudden Pepper is all badass? No I say. she would just be awkward pepper with super strength if that is all it did by what they said. Explanations needed on this since it wasnt the comic version of Extremis!
          This movie could have just been called “Tony Stark” since he didnt really spend any time in the suit at all. He remote controlled them.
          I dont know.. Im going to see it again because I feel like I missed some stuff so hopefully it will be better the 2nd time. It was more of a popcorn flick than a diehard fan film

    • I believe he created them yes, using the ten rings to arm dissidents and at the same time acquire gov contract for AIM. So in a way, he indadvertedly created ironman

  3. It is not that the twist itself was a bad idea however the execution was awful. Removing Kingsley from the movie all together and then finding out Killian would be the Mandarin would have been much better story telling. But they completely gave up on that part all together.

  4. The third bulletin is my feelings exactly. Its not like I was completely against anything that happened it just had opportunities that could enhance the film. It was good when it could have been great, it could have been deeper. Oh an it is really like jimmy Carrey’s The Riddler I just forgot all about that film.

  5. I disagree with the problems withnthe Mandarin you put forth.

    Killian is actually the Mandarin (as he says at the end, and implied by the dragon tattoos he has and martial arts skills). Lillian is the perfect foil for Tony. Tony is a businessman and superhero who is grandiose and very public, not even having a secret identity. Killian believes in the power of anonymity, even having another person take on a super villain role to distract from him so he can rule without anyone knowing. This makes him the perfect Iron Man movie villain.

    Killian said “it was him from the beginning”. This implies he was also behind the Ten Rings organization (also implied by the Ten Rings logo in the videos and the rings used by Stane, Trevor and the Ten Rings leader). The implication is that Killian was behind everything that made Tony Iron Man.

    Ben Kingsley didn’t play the Mandarin. Guy Pearce did. And when you think of it that way, he was an awesome Mandarin. :-)

    • I took it more as Yeah I was behind all the explosions and people dyeing. I don’t at all believe he was behind the ten rings thing because it wasn’t at all implied. Plus you would think Tony would be a little more shocked or surprised if so, he didn’t really care after saying that. When he said he was the mandarin to me it meant he was the guy he was looking for from the beginning of the film.

      • You need to re-watch the movie then, Killian clearly stated that he was the Mandarin (and therefore behind the 10 rings) the “whole time”.

        • @FILTHpig

          Um, unfortutely it was never said that “The Mandarin” was behind the ten rings “the whole time.” The whole point of inventing The Mandarin according to this movie is to cover up the explosions so he can sell the Extremis project as a successful venture. There’s no need to actually INVENT a whole terrorist organization when all he had to do is USE one already in the forefront of people’s minds as a diversion to what is really going on. It’s like if someone had a real project they are trying to sell but it causes those explosions. Do they need to start from scratch and invent a whole organization of terrorists, or could they simply invent a new figure head and claim they are part of Al Qaeda?

          To claim that Killian was behind it the whole time wouldn’t make sense in that they were trying to acquire weapons in the first IM movie, when Extremis is Killian’s weapon. He wouldn’t need to build, steal, or buy weapons from others… The whole point is to make Extremis the weapon…

          He simply said he was behind The Mandarin the whole time, it was never said that The Mandarin was behind the 10 rings the whole time, Mandarin was never mentioned in the first IM movie…

    • Well said!

      • He says im the manderin… he never said i kidnapped you, i made you ironman. You clearly stated that the manderin doesnt have to be from the comic books you all said that he wasnt. Why assume the manderin(?) Is behind the ten rings. Your drawing at straws that arent there.

        • Because he was. It’s not even debatable. You’re the one grasping at straws now.

          • Nowhere does it say that. I could easily say that killian used the ten rings because he knew it would strike tony the most. Not once did tony state the ten rimgs in the film. How would killian start a terrorist group in the middle east? Without any extremis virus? Which would have been in the first film if this was the case. Killian clearly used the ten rings as a rouse to angst up tony even more.

            • Trey. why do you even watch movies? You p*ss and moan about EVERY movie.

              • Thor, ironman and the avengers all movies in this specific genre (marvel) i liked.

          • @FILTHpig and @Jamie Bautista – I agree with @Trey.

            Aldrich Killian used the Mandarin and the Ten Rings as a cover-up for his mistakes with A.I.M. At no time did I believe that Killian was in charge of the Ten Rings terrorist organization. The explosions happened and someone needed to be blamed. So, Killian claimed to be the Mandarin in the final fight scene…that did happen. I believe that is because he created the persona to be portrayed by Trevor Slattery and was the reason for the recent bombings…not because he was actually the leader of middle-eastern terrorist organization that was at one time hired by Obadiah Stane to kill Tony Stark.

            I think Shane Black created a good stand-alone film. I enjoyed it. I didn’t mind the twist. I understand that the movie universe can’t mirror the comic book one exactly. But with a few minor changes here and there, Shane Black could have made it obvious that Killian was behind the Ten Rings from the beginning. Then, this film would have been an excellent end to the trilogy. Instead, we got a decent action filled stand alone film.

    • That’s a very well-put and thoughtful reading of the film – but I still, respectfully, disagree. :-)

      • i disagree with you… the guy gave a better explanation than you and he, actually probably knows more about the film than you. he blew you comment out of the water so just accept it.

        • your so happy.

          • you’re*

            and yes i am happy

            • Dear sir:

              You never start a sentence with ‘And.’

              ‘yes i am happy’ has all kinds of problems; namely capitalization and punctuation. It should read:

              Yes, I am happy.

              Or more emphatically:

              Yes! I am happy!

              Variants of this configuration could be used, based on desired tone.

              TL;DR – Don’t be a grammar Nazi if you won’t use the same standards by which you are judging.

              For comedy and back to the point of this thread:

              And they wasted the mandarin in my opinion

              • Hey, Greg. You neglected to capitalize Mandarin after ripping someone for pointing out ONE grammatical error.

                • um, i think he was being ironic, as he also started his sentence with and.

              • I agree they wasted the Mandarin. The trailers were def. misleading. He appeared to be such a bad ass “You’ll Never See Me Coming” [Malibu Attack]. Such a lead up for him to be a British actor portraying a bad ass.

            • @Corey

              Sorry to do this to you, but since you’re going to play that game with others, it’s only fair that you play by the same rules:

              “i disagree with you… the guy gave a better explanation than you and he, actually probably knows more about the film than you. he blew you comment out of the water so just accept it.”

              “I” needs to be capitalized.

              The “t” in “the” needs to be capitalized.

              There shouldn’t be a comma after “he” in “the guy gave a better explanation than you and he, actually…” It should read: “The guy gave a better explanation than you, and he actually…”

              The “h” in “he blew you comment out of the water…” should be capitalized.

              And it should be “your comment” not “you comment.”

              And then in your reply to Trey you didn’t capitalize the a in “and” and you didn’t capitalize the “i” again.

              Also, there is no ending punctuation in that sentence.

              Before you cry about me being a grammar nazi, remember that you started it.

              Yes, I intentionally didn’t capitalize the “n” in nazi, just so you know…

    • I mean seriously “I made you ironman, I hired a group of terrorist to kidnap you because you stood me up on a roof” seriously poor motives for something as large as kidnapping and imminent death.

      • well, do you think all sociopaths think logically about their motives, or “imagined slights”? no, because they are f’ing crazy!

      • Killian didn’t hire a group of terrorists to kidnap Stark. Stain did. He also didn’t tell them WHO they were kidnapping, after all he “paid them trinkets to kill a prince”

    • I agree man, Digital High five!

    • First of all I loved the twist. People shouldn’t take to seriously the twist :P

      Now about the whole Killian being behind everything all along since the first Iron Man is taking this too far. I don’t believe he would go so far as to making Tony his prisoner. It would make no sense at all!

      He clearly just took a known terrorist organization that existed in the IM Movie Universe ( The Ten Rings) and gave it a face via Trevor the actor. It was never implied that Killian was the head of the ten rings, only that he was behind the actual Mandarin persona. Of course he had to do some research and make his terrorist mastermind linked to some real terrorist organization that already existed!

      • If the Ten Rings is an actual terrorist group in the MCU, and if Killian was exploiting the name for his own end but not really associated with the group, don’t you think they would have tried to find him and shut him down as well as Tony/Iron Man? Isn’t it possible killian was behind the group the whole time, that the cell in IM1 was just that, a cell, and reported back to killian, or “the master”, it was just never shown.
        I also wonder if they (TR) will be a reoccurring threat on the new S.H.I.E.L.D. show?

        • It is safe to assume that the Ten Rings was wiped out when Stain killed there leader and took the Mk1 as he had his security force exicute the soliders (those that survived Tony’s escape anyway).

          Killian used the Ten Rings as a cover for his “Mandarin” and as bait to get Tony involved as they need him to perfect Extremis.

          When that didn’t work they kidnapped Pepper as explained by Mya.

          @ Sandy. The extremis subjects weren’t malfunctioning they were deliberately exploded as evidenced at the Chinese Theater where the “bomb” was given an extremis overdose.

    • That is exactly what I thought too. At first I was surprised when we find out Kingsley isn’t actually anything, but I thought it was great after a couple seconds. Killian was without a doubt the Mandarin, considering the fact that mandarin is I think just the foil to Iron Man, which people appear to forget. It wasn’t my favorite movie, but so far it’s one of the better ones for the marvel universe.

    • And here I was so worked up because of the “twist” I honestly didnt stop to think that way…

      My mind=Blown

      I will think of it that way next time I see it

    • +1 well said. Yup i believe he was there from the start as well. His ten rings created ironman. And help AIM most likely acquire gov contracts etc. he was prob hoping that to y would die in that cave though fulfilling his revenge.

    • That’s what I thought too. I’m surprised others aren’t seeing it. When he was breathing fire I thought it was a (bit over the top) nod to fing fang foom. Then when he had the tatoos, I thought he was pretty much the Mandarin. So when he finally said he was, that sealed it in my mind.

      Now, was he connected with the ten rings. I don’t know and that wasn’t really made clear. I don’t think so. The reference in the first movie and Ben Kingsley’s rings are probably unconected easter eggs.

      Now if this extremis virus repairs DNA, why would it restore tatoos, scars, and fancy haircuts? It’s a movie I guess.

  6. OMG! I HATED THE MANDARIN AND I HATE THE MANDARIN IN THE ULTIMATE COMIC EVEN MORE CAUSE THEY ARE NOTHING LIKE THE ORIGINAL MANDARIN!

    HOW DARE THEY CHANGE THE CHARACTER! HOW ****ING DARE THEY!

    MARVEL WILL FEEL MY WRATH!

    the movie was brilliant and the mandarin twist was great. they change the character and they did it amazingly. seriously! the mandarin in the ultimate is a computer…

    • again that isn’t even the only problem presented in this article. It clearly states that there was at least 3 reasons why the mandarin twist wouldn’t work. One being that is cause its a comic change. The others were completely logical and all about personal preference. Staying towards the source material for some would add depth in the film instead of have a villain with weak motives and result in underdevelopment. Its a sequel to ironman many believe it should follow the predecessors and tie them all together.

    • I agree.

      At the end of the movie, they had the shot of him being arrested. So I feel the movie left potential for the real Mandarin to materialize. With the cosmic (GoTG) and magic (Dr. Strange) side of the Marvel about to take center stage I would keep an eye out.

    • Corey…IM3 was nowhere near anything that could remotely be called “brilliant”.

      • Nincompoop.

        • Clearly a boob.

  7. Sometimes you have to trick the audience and the comic book readers too.

    Like what if Mary Jane died and Gwen Stacy lives? I’d like to see that b/c it would shock everyone.

    • Agreed I would like it as long as its done well. Rachel dyeing was great as was two-face. I love when surprises happen but to me this surprise didn’t enhance the film in any way. maybe if they went for more of an emotional punch instead of a funny joke. Idk.

      • Exactly…the “twist” was done purely for shock value.

  8. I didnt like the movie…the twist made me want to walk out of the theater…the whole movie was in fact was what they made the mandarin out to be…a joke

    • Look at mandarin in the comics.. How can that dude NOT be a joke? He’s a terrible villain.

  9. I loved the twist. The Mandarin is a terribly unrealistic character for a realistic movie so it was good to see them do something a bit different. And it was absolutely hilarious.

    • How is ironman realistic? Muppet!

    • Realistic????? Really?

    • Thor, Captain America and iron man are terribly unrealistic. So is zantanna Dr. Who and Wolverine. The manderian could’ve been great but wasn’t.

  10. I only wish there was more Of Sir Ben Kingsley. I mean from the moment he walked onto the “scene” when Tony finds him was brilliant. I was dumbfounded for a few minutes waiting for the boo to drop then I was like someone just dropped the biggest bomb on me and I couldn’t stop laughing every time Kingsley showed up. It just kept getting better. They need to find a way to get Kingsley back and involved more.

    • ***err, “boom to drop…”

  11. That movie was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It was one f you after another to any fan of the of the ironman myth.

    • Dude, I couldn’t agree more!

    • Go read your comics books then. Its totally in keeping with ironman its just its own thing.

  12. I personally thought the twist was a great idea. Sure, it took some of the expectation out of seeing a big comic book-style Iron Man-Mandarin showdown, but I think a direct adaptation would’ve been impossible – magical rings? Stereotypical villain? No. Instead, they took the stereotypes and flamboyance and turned it into a puppet show – so he’s not that way because some screenwriter arbitrarily decided to make him look like every stereotypical terrorist ever, but because Killian knew that such images would better grab the attention of the US. To put it bluntly: it’s smart AND it’s more politically correct.

    The other reason why I liked the twist was because Kingsley’s Mandarin just didn’t impress me. I know I’m in the minority here, but what was so great about what little we saw? He had a weird voice that I just couldn’t process (sounds like he was going for something of a blend, or something distinct like Bane’s, but failed) and he had an awesome costume. That was it. Not a whole lot to sell there.

    I kept trying to imagine how the final fight between Tony and Kingsley’s Mandarin would go – couldn’t picture it. Would he suit up too? No. Maybe he’d be Extremis-infected (like Killian was) and take Tony down bare-handed? Maybe, but that was another part of the movie that nearly stretched it too far for me (and let’s not even talk about that ridiculous fire-breathing part). So yeah, I think that not only did the writers dodge a huge bullet, they actually turned it in favour of the story.

    • The final fight could have just been The Mandarin and his huge Ten Rings army go on a all out assault on Tony and use realistic military weapons just like the first movie. By making the scene like you could still include the scene when Tony uses all of his Iron Man armours.

  13. Absolute joke, I watched it as soon as it opened in the UK, want my money back!

  14. I was a bit disappointed seeing as though, up until the point we discover the twist, Ben Kingsley had given such a menacing and convincing performance. i was looking forward to a climax that involved more of his performance but instead was left with a much less interesting (yet, entertaining) character.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, that was my main problem with the twist
      Personnally i wanted a second twist and have the mandarin from the start come back for the final fight (maybe with extremis, or somehow controlling the extremis soldiers (say 10 of them, magic rings wouldnt work) then the finale might have been better, could of had tony need a different suit to take down each of the soldiers for a chance to see what was actually different between all the suits)

      Hats off to Kingsley though, thought he was brilliant with the part that he had, just wanted more of the menacing mandarin

  15. The Mandarin will be back. If you didn’t like the twist, fine, I didn’t like it either. That doesn’t take away from the rest of the movie. It was better than IM2,and was a great way end the trilogy.

  16. I liked the twist, I think it was brilliant! Because like this it turned out that Killian was the actual Mandarin. So it’s not like there’s no Mandarin at all, he just used an actor to hide behind. He used his anonymity to do what he wanted while he dangled a target before people’s eyes. He was subtle and smart and didn’t make stupid mistakes, he hid in the shadows and he was a true puppet-master, so he was the most dangerous villain in the trilogy.

    Killian was a brilliant villain. So the way I see it the thing they changed from the comics is that in the comics there was a separate Killian and Mandarin, but in the MCU they are one and the same.

    The Chinese dragon tattoos on Killian’s chest is also something that strengthens this. Not to mention the moment where he literally yells that “I am The Mandarin”.

    Trevor the actor was the fake!Manradin. Killian is the REAL Mandarin.

    That’s how I see it. He was still Tony Stark’s arch-nemesis, he was still one of the worst people Tony ever had to face, he was STILL The Mandarin, only he started out as a scientist named Aldrich Killian.

  17. The twist was perfect. I’m surprised Kingsely would have taken the role without the twist. The whole point was to refute the idea that the Middle East is full of bad guys and show the truth; that sometimes so-called homegrown enemies can be just as bad, if not worse, than any ‘scary’ foreigner. I understand how fans of the Mandarin might be upset, but unfortunately this is the nature of adaptation. Things have to be different, it’s just how it works, and here things were different in a fantastically progressive and self-aware, not to mention hilarious, way. Props to Black and all involved!

    • Its not enough to simply be satisfied that there was a villain named Mandarin… The world deserves to see what made him and Iron Man great. This is what ppl r complaining about. Everyone is arguing their personal opinion but it all comes down to the SIMPLE statement made at the beginning of my comment

  18. The movie wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very good either. To me it’s a standard action movie and nothing more.

    If they had stuck with the character of the Mandarin they built up in the trailers then perhaps it would have been better, but never mind.

    • Agree ! Agree ! Agree !

  19. The twist threw me because I kept waiting for him to revert back to terrorist mode. Just like in the original Die-Hard. When John McClane comes across Hans Gruber. But he never did. That’s when I felt let-down but it didn’t ruin the movie for me. And then to have Killian breathe fire the only thing I could think was Fing-Fang-Foom and not the Mandarin.

  20. I guess ultimately, way back a long time ago on Screen Rant when casting rumors behind Kinglsey’s character were up and about, they weren’t lying when they said he wouldn’t be playing the Mandarin.

  21. Honestly, I don’t know why people are whining so much about how Iron Man 3 was ‘disrespectful to the Mandarin and made him look like a joke’. It didn’t. Because Ben Kingsley isn’t the Mandarin. Ben Kingsley never was the Mandarin. The Mandarin was, and always had been, Aldrich Killian and he certainly doesn’t come off as a joke in this movie. He comes off a fantastic villain for Iron Man. The Mandarin wasn’t made into a joke. The Mandarin’s body double was made into a joke.

    Admittedly, I didn’t actually like the twist, but that had more to do with Kingsley’s phenomenal performance in the first half of the movie, than any sort of ‘disrespect to the Mandarin’.

  22. hmmm. I would say that the Mandarin was used effectively in the film. The Mandarin in the movie was supposed to be the bad guy and everyone bought it up until the twist so, great job, i think. The actor sold the whole “I’m the ultimate bad guy” role pretty well. Movie Mandarin was great on its own but if you would force your self to keep believing that it should have been exactly like comic book Mandarin, then you will really be disappointed.

    loved IM3 , definitely better than IM2 especially the fight sequences.

  23. Did anyone else forget that this was the same tactic used in Nolan’s Batman verse, or have we already long since forgotten?

    By doing the whole Killian-is-the-Mandarin-not-Ben-Kingsley thing it also downplays the dangers of yellowfacing the character. It brought a clever twist and made Killian all the more sinister.

    • It was but it was executed differently in Batman Begins. Liam Neeson’s Henry Ducard trained Bruce and had an important and classical relationship with Bruce. When they introduced us to Ra’s it was in a couple scenes where he ended up dyeing. From then on Liam Neeson was the only villain and it was bittersweet cause he trained Bruce it was the classic grasshopper defeats the master. In this film it was a joke, the switch was for comedy purposes. From then on Killian just popped up and wasn’t prominent for the whole first portion of the film (like Neeson was. I felt Killian was severely underdeveloped and lacked poor motives. We knew a ton about Ducard before the switch was made and he had clear motives that worked for his character.

      Wiping out all evil in Gotham? or getting stood up on the roof? take your pick I suppose.

      (granted Iron man is far more fun than Batman Begins)

      • but whatever the motives, they (Ra’s & Killian) were both sociopaths with a god complex. it may look like killian started all this over being stood up, but maybe that was just the proverbial straw. killian was probably mocked and made a joke of his whole life due to his disability, we just didn’t see it, but it’s pretty implied.

    • Yes, it was exactly the same method used in in “Batman Begins” with one MAJOR difference: In BB, it actually was done well and effectively. Here? Not so much…

      • Sigh…should be only one “in”.

  24. Ben Kingsley is a phenomenal actor and Shane Black turned him into a joke. This was a horrible handling of an antagonist.

    Iron Man, the movie, took a C level superhero and catapulted him to an A level talent. Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 returned him to his C level status. I have no desire to see the character again unless it is in an Avengers movie.

    • LOL back to C status? Tell that to the billions of dollars that were hauled in.

      • Clearly Thomas doesn’t know what an A-list status means.

  25. This hasn’t come up yet in the Mandarin discussion, but as long as “political correctness” is in the discussion, let’s consider that.

    Sir Ben Kingsley was cast to play a villain with an Asian background. I have read theories that casting an Asian actor in the vein of a legitimate comic book adaptation was off the table, simply because Disney/Marvel were shooting, heavily marketing and releasing Iron Man 3 in China. Now, I assume the corporate thinking was something along the lines of, “China is a big market…we don’t want to offend those our international viewers by making the villain resemble them.” It’s a fair concern, I agree, but one possessed by PR people who only fret about how offensive art can be.

    But what I kept wondering as I watched Kingsley crack open a Budweiser was, isn’t a parody of such a culturally distinct villain MORE offensive to that international audience, as is showing that character to be manipulated by white overseers? Why not make a film with a phenomenal villain (chilling, intelligent, scheming, a “foil” as several have discussed)?

    If the villain is effective in his antagonism, an intelligent theater audience will not complain or join focus group discussions about the race of the actor portraying the character (unless the character speaks or behaves in an overt misrepresentation of a culture, which, from my interpretation, was not true of the Mandarin).

    And yes, I know that any traces of Asian culture was well-erased in Shane Black’s film. Kingsley was the Mandarin by name only, and rather resembled a terrorist with Middle Eastern roots. This is just my opinion, but I think those themes and stereotypes have grown stale by now. In 2008 (May release of Iron Man) the Iraq War was still three years from its end, and Osama bin Laden was still active in terrorism until 2011. The terrorism theme was very relevant back then, whereas I think by 2013 it’s evolved into something much different than portrayed in Iron Man 3.

  26. Not a fan of the twist. I was kind of hoping we would get the real Mandarin with his actual rings since they stated that the world was now aware of aliens existing after the Avengers and they could rationalize the rings as alien technology. And for those arguing that Killian was actually the Mandarin, I like the idea expressed in the easter egg article that he was actually a proxy for Fing Fang Foom (between the dragon tattoos and the fire breathing).

  27. I liked the twist. Seriously, fanboys are never happy when ANYTHING gets changed.

    I kept up with production articles more than I probably should have, and NO WHERE did anyone even SUGGEST that the Mandarin character would turn out this way. It was always suggested that Sir Ben would be the main antagonist, and that Guy Pierce’s character would be kind of a secondary character, possibly setting him up to be used more in future movies. Got Ya!

    That was awesome to see that twist, because NO ONE saw it coming! In this digital age it’s pretty impressive to see a production company keep such a big secret so the audience has some surprises from watching the movie. Good job!

  28. I think you could still use this character. Maybe Thanos could use his powers to turn the Maderiian into the villain from the comics because he sees the evil in him. It could work because we know Thanos has Mistical powers and people would not think Manderian was the loser he was. It would be a great plot twist for Avengers 2. It would explain why Joss would say Avengers 2 would be dark. Tony would face more of his past demons.

  29. Safe to say I was extremis-ly disappionted.
    I agree that the source material was much better at dealing with the underlying issues they were trying to address. It was a major bummer.

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