Ben Kingsley Talks The Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3′

Published 2 years ago by

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).


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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  1. I didn’t care for how they portrayed the Mandarin in this movie. The movie trailer was completely misleading regarding the Mandarin. I had the impression this movie was going to be epic. I was duped. I should have known that since Ben Kingsley was cast as the villain. That there might be a twist since he’s quite old and short. And not much of a physical match for tony starks. So I guess marvel opted to ignore the traditional comic book lore. And combine the scientist character and the mandarin to create the villian for the movie. I feel marvel dumbed this movie down and played it safe with cutesy comedic elements to make this a family film.

    • All I wanted was to watch the Mandarin use power rings… What I got was a political and anxiety-riddled disappointment sandwich. Also, a kid saving tony stark like…. multiple times?! Did not need that at all.

      • you username just says it all…

    • I don’t think we can let the trailers’ depiction of the Mandarin make us feel disappointed by what we got. It would be best if movies didn’t have trailers at all so we could avoid all of this mess.

      • well yes youre right we cant exactly compare a movie to its trailer, however, trailers are used to set a tone as to what can be expected in the film. the trailer set a darker tone with an ominous villain. it is one thing to have a twist but something else entirely to create a tone and film completely different than is presented. like going to see a deep thriller and it ends up being a romantic comedy. so in a very liberal sense the trailer was false advertising

        • Agreed. When the ‘Mandarin’ was busted, everything I expected from the movie disappeared and I was unable to enjoy the rest of the movie. I got out of the cinema with a feeling of “what did I just watch, what happened?!” Though for the sake of minimizing the idea of threat from terror (IRL), the twist with the mandarin is a good thing.

    • I loved the movie and i thought the twist was wonderful. Movie trailer is to get you to watch the movie, what do you want? You want the trailer to just ruin the twist for you?

  2. Describing Aldrich Killian as Jim Carrey’s Riddler is 100% spot on, I actually turned to one of my friends and said:

    “You were supposed to understand…I’LL MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND…”

  3. HORRIABLE….. The Raj a goul’d the Mandarin

    • Horrible* They Ra’s al Ghul*’d the Mandarin.

      If you’re referring to Christopher Nolan’s Ra’s al Ghul I disagree. At least that character, while changed for the film, was far more true to the intended character than the mandarin. The mandarin was made into a joke and a pointless poorly executed twist

  4. I’m just gonna say it. Marvel sold out, big time. They sold out to Maximize international Profits by selling out to China, they sold out their creative control to Shane black, they sold out to gwyneth Paltrow so she can actually be relevant, and worst of all they sold out to loyal comic book fans. Iron Man has yet to present one decent formidable villain. Shame….

    • Selling out to china is the correct one. Having a seperate cut just for china thatd nothing buy advertise for chinese milk. Pathetic. Should of beem faverau’s movie

      • Agree ! just what I thought

    • well i think it was correct move to finally give Pepper more action and role. She deserves it in this male-ruled superherofilms. Pepper is great and important to Tony. She is the suit was great :)

    • But how is “giving control” to Shane Black “selling out”? Isn’t that sort of the opposite of selling out?

    • I’ve heard this point thrown around a lot and not sure that is even the issue here. The mandarin was originally asian yes but they changed him to middle eastern for the movie so china shouldnt be an issue. the issue is they made the Mandarin into a joke.

      • Exactly, Josh…YES.

  5. My biggest gruble with the movie is that Tony didn’t take Extremis.

    • yes Somebody Noticed

    • THANK YOU. I mean, among many other issues – but yes, that was a big one.

    • Wasn’t the ending with the surgery and narration a hint that he did after tinkering with it?

  6. Can iron man have one, bad ass villain, for once? Why should you people prop up a film that could have and should have been better?

    • Well said, Don Leopoldo…

    • Like which “bad ass” villains?

  7. @Don

    To an extent i agree with u, especially with not presenting a formidable villian. The transalation of Mandarin was simply a disgrace and i think IM3 would’ve ;argely benefiteed from leaving him out completely and expanding more on Killian’s role as Guy Pearce actually performed well with the screen time that he had.

    • I agree with this one. Guy Pearce did an effective job with what he was given….but he needed more. The rooftop stuff didn’t do it for me. This is why I’m so torn over this movie….I thought stuff like the scenes with the kid were fun but it was taking away from time that could be used to develop our (real) villain or give series favorites something interesting to do (It felt to me like Pepper and Rhodey were barely in this movie; I mean, I know they were but it felt like the script was scrambling to find something for them to do).

      • The mandarin from the comics is a discrace. In this movie, its just a different interpretation.

  8. hate it…think they just cut corners coz doing mandarin is too ambitious and they can’t finish it on time…its a lame alternate for the mandarin and fin fang foom….

  9. I was totally on board with this movie until the big reveal, then it lost all credibility with me. This was very unfortunate and I hope it doesn’t speak for the rest of phase 2.


    (To quote Jeremy Jahns)

    SO NO

    • haha I was thinking that too.. love that dudes movie reviews.

    • Considering the “Mandarin” is just a name and not an a risk person, it is a symbol. So saying it symbolically is pretty much like Tony Stark saying “I am Iron Man”

      People complaining about this are exactly like kids bitching after finding out there was no Santa, totally missing the fact their parents went through all this trouble to make them happy, live them and gave them double the gifts the while time, making them great parents. All they can focus on is: they’re not as cool
      as the Santa I believed!

      Killian was a great villain because of what he pulled off. That makes him the Mandarin.

      • What about people complaining about all of the OTHER faults of the movie (there were plenty)?

        • Only a minority think there are a lot of faults. The majority of audience loved the movie.

          • You might want to look up the word “minority”…at least as related to this site. By the way, the entire audience with which I saw the movie was dead silent at its end. This is the ONLY time in about a decade I’ve observed this for a comic book movie.No one look happy or amused…

            • Your kidding right? Screenrant doesn’t make up even 1% of the audience that went to see the movie. Your saying the majority of the audience’s reaction is based off the local theater that you went to and some random website. Ok then…

              • I didn’t say anything about the world’s population. If they want to praise a movie I found to be dumb, that’s their choice. When crap is ALL they get because studios know not to try anymore (after all, WHY should they bother, right?), then, hopefully, that worldwide majority will feel satisfied…but probably not.

                As for the theater I went to, that was just an example of a drastic (and, in recent history, previously unheard of) indicator in a localized population…You DO know what an example is, right?

                • “When crap is ALL they get because studios know not to try anymore”

                  Except most people are saying it’s a great movie. The only ones that hate it go on the Internet just to complain and saying it’s crap and acting like it’s fact.

                  • Wow. You just completely missed the whole point point of what I wrote. In the process, you confirmed the very real, unfortunate possibility (probability? I hope not) of my supposition coming true.

                    Ummm, thank you…?

                    • Sigh…of course, there should be a closing parenthesis after the first question mark.

                    • NM…saw it.

      • Killian, as presented in this film, was NOT a good villain…he was, at his core (and not including the stupid Extremis powers), a poor man’s Lex Luthor.

  11. I haven’t seen the entire movie yet, but the few scenes that I did get to see made me think Mandarin bounces between a clown, and a really badass terrorist. And then there is the whole rivalry thing with that other character. From the scenes, it looks like there are too many fillers and side stories that keeps Iron Man from moving in a forward direction. However, of the people that have seen the movie, that I’ve asked, have all enjoyed the movie and said it was great nonetheless. Something tells me that Iron Man is going to fall to Marvel’s usual movie lapse: great in the theaters, but terrible 4 years after its release (Spiderman is a good example of this).

  12. This is why DC has more success with their movies (except for *cough Green Lantern *cough) they push the boundaries of the family style element to CBM with meaningful story arcs and memorable Villains. Marvel is to scared to pull the trigger, and its a shame because before the twist they had a fantastic villain and could of done so much with him, but instead they pandered to Disney and 12 year old kids who correlate Iron Man with RDJ instead of understanding the characters rich history. to make it worse they did so with Iron Man’s arch Nemesis which ruined the movie for me. and honestly I wasn’t a huge Iron Man comics fan to begin with. I can’t imagine how a fan of the comics would react to this film, if any of you are, I’m truly sorry you had to get mind raped by Disney/Marvel.

    • Excuse me, while I am a big Marvel/DC fan, the recent Dark Knight trilogy was extremely held back because of realism.

      I’ll be honest: while I did like the performances of Cillian Murphy and Heath Ledger, I hated the way Scarecrow and The Joker were written. Why? Scarecrow has MASSIVE potential to do things no ordinary villain can do and The Joker is much more than what they made him out to be.

      • The joker was written perfectly for that incarnation. He talked with such intellect and insight its unreal.

    • CMON clown, you really believe that DC’s 1 character had better movies?? YEP YOUR JUST ANOTHER DC SLAPPY….. DC’s movies OTHER THAN TDK w/ the Joker was the ONLY good DC movie! AND honestly most ppl just think it a NOLAN movie and not a dc movie so YOU ARE SADLY MISTAKEN in your assesment that DC makes better movies…. MAYBE THEY MAKE BETTER ANIMATED FILMS but as for a REAL MOVIE IM3 was still better than any Batman movie

      • Yeah right keep dreaming.

      • With that last statement, you lost ALL credibility…forever.

      • LOL. your kidding right? well at least with the last statement. Dark Knight Rises was better than any Iron Man movie. and Dark Knight Rises was the weakest entry in the dark knight trilogy! Dont get me wrong though, Iron Man 1 was fantastic, Iron Man 2 was horrible and boring, Iron Man 3 was above average. I enjoyed Iron Man 3 however. They had so much potential with that movie if they had used the Mandarin how everyone thought he was going to be portrayed. what a wasted opportunity.

        • You three do know that he was just trolling you guys. And you guys fell for it.

          • Actually, he wasn’t. Look at his several other comments…

            Nice try, though.

            • The post is still a troll post.

              • It really isn’t…He really believes the garbage he’s typing. I fail to see what’s so hard to understand about that.

    • Ur kidding right? Marvel movies trump dc any day! Superman sucked, the dark knights were over rated, green lantern sucked! Marvel has done well, captin America, the iron mans (I liked 3 hated manderian’s though) thor, the xmen films, blade, thor, Incredible Hulk, and avengers. Screw dc, no one cares about those movies cause dc’s character can’t translate to screen, cause their characters aren’t interesting

      • The dark knight films are critically acclaimed so its your opinion its overrated. The dark knight is still the most well recieved comic book film on any review site. And makes pretty much every top 100 film of all time.

        • +10000

      • DC’s characters don’t suck. And we don’t know how most of them translate to film because we’ve only seen 3 of them done. Marvel is campy in both film and comics that doesn’t appeal to me but I like them anyway. The marvel films are all overrated text book movies that are being churned out by Foxconn. All from the same mold.

        • +10000

      • Right, because Batman is just in a puddle of non-interest…

        Seriously dude. Just admit they both have their equal shares of ups and downs. Don’t take sides on a war that never existed. I like Spider-Man, Batman, The Hulk, The Flash, Iron Man, and Superman. Why can’t you like things on both sides?

        I’m gonna be frank: I thought the Blade series was bleh, I thought The Punisher was bleh, I thought Thor was bleh (just because I don’t like Marvel’s Thor to begin with, only his universe), I thought Iron Man 2 could’ve been better, and Captain America just screamed “I was rushed to put out The Avengers ASAP”. And if you want to talk overrated films, ladies and gentlemen: The Avengers.

        Each side is equal. Stop trying to start something stupid like a which is better contest

  13. Im not a huge comic book reader so the “twist” di not bother me AS MUCH as some ppl!
    But the more and more I read these comment I think that ppl are more pissed that they got “DUPED” by the trailers than anything, EVERYONE was under the assumption that the Mandarin was the “REAL” villian and when the movie made ppl feel like they have been fooled it just burned their asses… PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE BEING FOOLED and it shows with this movie,
    YES im bummed that he was not the “REAL” Mandarin but for a CBM it worked, MARVEL DOES NOT FOLLOW the COMICS like ppl want them to and this movie WAS NO DIFFERENT.
    People went into this movie thinking they were finally getting something they knew and when it turned out not to be the case they are wounded by that…. I will bet that 9 out of 10 ppl that are complaining about how bad the movie is and how much they hated it THEY WILL STILL BUY IT ON DVD/BLU-RAY AS SOON AS THEY CAN, therefor making the total $$$ Marvel made on this movie GO UP! AND yet again Marvel comes away the winner with another BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE!

    • You are not Iron Man; you are CAPtain America

      • I like what you did there.

        • Lets face it had it been the mandarin with the rings people would have complained just as much for it being too fantastical or ridiculous. You cant win with comic book fans. They are vocal, but they are the minority. The general public has no clue who the mandarin is and proof is that people are loving this movie around the world.

          • My problem with the movie had little to do with the Mandarin twist. My problem with the movie was that it sucked on so MANY levels…

            • @archaeon and that perfectly fair. There were alot of choices I felt were made that didn’t help the film rise to anything more than its predecessor. The movie didnt have much momentum, just something teying to be to many things at once. did i like, yes, but nothing was sone that raises the bar story wise. just another episode type deal. It just bugs me when people say they hate it simply because of how mandarin was done.. Or stranger still because the post credit button didnt feature GoTG?! Lol

            • HEEL, ARCHAEON! It’s just opinions :p

              • Amen, brother!

              • I was simply giving my own opinion…not allowed?

                YOU heel. I didn’t jump on anyone.

                • ;)

          • fantastical and ridiculous? the dude breathed fire what is that if not ridiculous

            • As rediculous as being able to heat up one’s appendages to say, melt the metal support leg of a water tower.

              As one of the highlighted flaws with this imperfect version of extremis is the generation of excessive heat (which is why they want Tony to perfect it) then the expulsion of the excess heat through an available orifice is just as logical as any of the other extremis powers exhibited.

              Maybe if he farts he’d take of like a rocket…..

              Besides, flame breath is one of the extremis powers from the comic book although if I recall correctly it’s caused chemically and is tied with the electrical powers (which aren’t shown in the movie).

    • I don’t think the fact that people were upset with the Mandarin had anything to do with the movie not staying true to the comic book. In my personal opinion, and I don’t think I’m alone, they took one of the best aspects of the films and completely destroyed it. Think about if this would’ve happened in any other movie without the Marvel brand attached to it. If an ordinary movie set up a terrorist figurehead, or any antagonist, that turned out to be a joke people wouldn’t like it. So like I said before people were not against the twist because they are fanboys it’s simply because it is was a poor choice that crippled the plot and the overall tone of the movie.

  14. In all the speculation leading up to IM#3, no one was calling for hanson, Killian, or half a dozen other character’ names. They were calling for mandarin. That makes me think an awful lot of us harken back perhaps to even the early comics of the 60s and 70s (I do) when most of these names were not bi characters. We the older fanbboys were recalling our comic roots–which includes mandarin. So–that means we likely would like to see mandarin portrayed as he was earlier on: A “Fu Manchu” world dictator-type,flying about with his rings zapping away, be they magic or science technology, or whatever…and in a one on one battle against Iron Man. That is not what we got. Instead we got the one-tow-three-four punch of mandarin’s rings are not powered, he does not really duke it out mano/mano with IM, he is not even Chinese, and he is not even the Mandarin! Well, that is disappointing all the way down the line. Who is this roody-poo? And who created this NEW character the way he is in the film? What a broadside to us fanboys, a move that certainly did not keep the faith, a bad gamble all around that will earn no thanks. The only saving grace is some of the other action looks pretty good, although there appears to be a little bit of armor switch and bait going on that I do not think lent much to the film, either. Therefore: some aspects of the film are great, but others say, “Oh my gosh, time for a reboot!”. Except reaslitically, not all the wizards at marvel and DC together could revamp this to make it what it should have been without critical collateral damage. I like parts of this flick, don’t get me wroing, but oh so disappointed in some other aspects. I guess it is like I still loved Christmas when I was a child, but found out there was no Santa Claus…still love Christmas , but some of the whimsical fantasies were gone!

    • It made me feel like my dad was Santa Claus, but then I found out that my dad was actually not my biological father, which was not helped by the fact that I also found out on Christmas morning that he was a drunk and addicted to heroine. In the end, I’m wondering why I didn’t just walk out on Christma… I mean the movie.

    • we ALL know Goldiclown here is a DC slappy everyday and twice on sunday SO DONT give his words on any marvel film any thought at all!
      I wont even waste my time because he would bash on ANYTHING Marvel just because it is not Batman

      • And yet you’re here doing it. I think it’s time for you to leave any and all boards concerning this film you bring nothing but craptastick fanboi biases. Marvel dropped the ball now go back to your crying corner.

  15. For a week and a half I saved my wages and tips to go and see this film, to say I was disappointed was an understatement. Without touching on the mandarin character whatsoever to begin this, I found the film to be such a let down. It was as though Shane black had never watched the first 2 IM films or the Avengers, the usual pomp and arrogance that made Tony so great as a character and truly what Downey jr. Brought to the role in the first place was gone, replaced by someone who seemed completely lost after the incident in N.Y. This man was held at deaths door for months at the hands of a terrorist group and NOW he feels the finite limits of life and death and their binds constricting? Seems unlike Tony to me. Secondly the suits… In the avengers, Iron man disabled a god, kept a monster on a leash, defeated (to an extent) a super soldier, and just generally played a pivotal role in an alien genocide, wiping out the entire invading species in one move. In this film I wouldn’t trust Iron man to be able to take my rubbish to the bin at the end of my garden without falling over for sheer comedy value! In Avengers, the suit (mark 7 or 8 by the way) flies out of stark industries and catches Tony as he plummets to earth… In IM3, the suit, mark 42 (some 35 versions later I might add) is unable to locate Tony successfully around a small statue behind which he is standing… SERIOUSLY??? As for The mandarin/Killian/Extremis situation… I LOVED BEN KINGSLEY… The overwhelming feeling of disappointment on my face when he turned out to be a comic character, I can only liken to that of a parent and a insolent child. Kingsley played his part initially with menace and instilled fear, I genuinely did not think iron man would be able to defeat him in an encounter, especially after he showed such little remorse in the shooting scene, but to turn out to be a puppet on the end of a string was a huge let down. ESPECIALLY when the string he was controlled by was so worn and limited, I GENUINELY believed that Guy Pearce was a Shaun White lookalike that walked onto the set. The idea that he was behind the 10 rings and was the mastermind behind the deal struck between Obie Stane and the 10 rings in the first film was laughable! My interpretation of affairs was that he used the image of the 10 rings to get to Tony on a personal psych level. If I’m absolutely honest though to compare this movie to batman forever is a very accurate viewpoint. Good in places but let down by shoddy direction (Joel Schumacher would’ve done a better job) and bad screenwriting… Imagine if Kingsleys mandarin was a Ra’s Al Ghul type character with several lookalikes, never showing their full face, and he was, in fact using Killian and AIM (in a Dr. Crane/Scarecrow role) to do his bidding, utilising the Extremis virus to draw Iron man into battle… Yes the plot would’ve been similar to IM2 in certain respects and for that matter Batman Begins but it would’ve still been a much more believable story arc and would’ve made the movie on the whole a much less bitter pill to swallow, unfortunately, I’m sat here writing about it, NOT GETTING MY MONEY BACK… That is unless I ever meet Shane Black…

  16. I gotta say that I loved this twist. It gave me what I wanted out of a comic book movie, which is to be surprised. They’re all so same-y and predictable at this point that it’s hard to surprise us. Shane Black is the first person to truly surprise me in a comic book film in years.

    You can read about it in my review:

  17. LOVED it loved it LOVED IT! Finally something original! It wasn’t just a straight forward terrorist blowing crap up like the first two Iron Man movies…I thought it was brilliant and entertaining and Kinsley deserves an Oscar. Will see it at least one more time in the theatres

    • You’re serious?!?


      • Oh, goody…a brain-dead oaf. Woo-hoo…

        • The Muppet Statler is funny.

          You? Not in the slightest.

          • You ceased to be worth my time. Babble on to the ether, fool.


            • Troll much Archaeon?

              • Actually, I NEVER troll. I say (or at least very clearly imply) exactly what I mean. All of the above responses were to a poor excuse for a human who has since been banned after insulting my deceased mother with pathetic sexual innuendo/attacks. I thought my responses had also been deleted, since they make no sense without his comments. You might have asked about the reason for so many non-sensical lines…especially since you’ve been on this site long enough to have seen my previous postings.

                Any other snide remarks you wish to make?

                • John…

                  I’ll have to assume you’re not talking to me, because anyone on this thread who would call me a troll having just come into the discussion and not having any clue what occurred earlier or what he’s talking about would simply being showing himself to be pathetic and exceedingly foolish.

                  …but that is not you, right?

                  • Hey dude, like…I get that you didn’t like the film. I think everyone gets that you didn’t like the film. You made your point, so why are you still here?

                    Do you honestly care THAT much?

                    • Bruce…Do YOU care? You’re on a site called SCREEN RANT. Is there some confusion about its meaning? I come here to discuss/RANT/debate/praise various upcoming and already released films and shows. Out in the real world, I maintain a much more subdued persona.

                      Any more questions?

                    • Rant implies that you go off about a subject that you feel strongly about, not snobbishly attacking everyone who has a different opinion from you. Not only is it immature but incredibly arrogant.

                      Do you have any more questions, your excellency?

                    • BruceStark…

                      I didn’t have have any in the first place (EXCEPT to ask you if you do), so your question is pointless. As for attacking everyone, I did not.

                      I DID get a tad bit irritated with ooliboofoo and John when they called me a troll after coming into this thread and seeing my responses to a dolt who had (for a little over a week) been insulting my mother (and, to a lesser extent, another guy’s) and had to be kicked off and banned by Paul because he refused to stop. His comments were deleted, but my responses to him, for some reason, were not. Those two really sweet responders above took it upon themselves to call me out on those out-of-place comments, assuming they had ANY idea what they were talking about. Now, YOU have decided to join them…also without having ANY clue what had happened earlier.

                      How darling…how very observant…


                    • Okay. So they insulted your mother. You’re really going to get butt hurt and make this an issue that dominates the entire discussion?

                      I’m trying to read people’s reactions of the Mandarin, not your personal vendetta with a few posters.

                      You’ve made your point with each of your 11 paragraph responses. Your determination to have the last word isn’t interesting.

                      Nobody cares.

                    • BS (appropriately enough)…

                      Thank you for showing how rude and slow you truly are. You’ve confirmed for me the fact you are not worth any more wasted time.

                      Good bye…good riddance…good grief.

  18. SPOILERS – Part of me wishes that the Mandarin was maybe a man who had lost his family to war, blames it on Tony and is on a personal vendetta tying in the first movie. While we’re at it lets go all the way with the Osama-esque Mandarin. Give Rhody a bigger role in the movie and let’s really play up him and a S.H.I.E.L.D seal team six like man hunt for the Mandarin. I thoroughly enjoyed that moment when the Mandarin shoots the banker anyway, let’s substitue the banker for a national monument he destroys even after his demand is met – pick one. Now the banker, he lives in this version, only to show how corrupt politics are and how in bed they are with the banks. So now we’ve got a demoralized and scared US thanks to the monument, and let’s pepper it with some class warfare enraging the public against Tony Stark. Now we’ve got a real compelling reason for Tony to lay low for half the movie. Instead of giving the kid a new lab, let’s have Tony bring one of his production facilities from abroad and put it in a desolate Detroit as a reward to the people for hiding him and as repentance to the public. Let’s keep the extremis “bombs” …but turn them into suicide bombers. Maybe the media covers them as “brown” or muslim extremist (lol…extremis…extremist?) but in actuality they’re seemingly normal citizens mixed amongst the population, soldiers disgruntled over their inability to get medical assistance or find their way in a country they fought for…that might be a tough sell…and a little insensitive but I think if you add some PTSD in there it might work. Not talking about soldiers that are suddenly anti-america just have given up on life. I think it focuses on two important issues, the treatment of our war vets and racial profiling. I think it would also be cool if the Mandarin was a bit gaudy like Uday Hussein…and stumbles upon the rings by chance and doesn’t realize the power they rings posses until the end of the movie after he’s defeated. In this version Killian can still be the main villan, he’s stronger than the Mandarin (without the rings) because of extremis, so the Mandarin is still his pawn. Maybe he’s crippled by Killian himself after disobeying orders, uses extremis to heal, finds the rings and is plotting his return. Oh quick back track… I think it would be an awesome moment if after the public turns on Tony they send Iron Patriot to “find” Mandarin, similar to the assault on Osama’s compound – let’s have people begin tweeting sightings of Iron Patriot, slowly videos start circulating in real time, the national news is reporting it and we get to watch him fail and be captured. I know what you’re thinking…”but what about the scene with the President and Iron Patriot being a trojan horse” …yeah that would have been great if we didn’t already know that wasn’t Rhody. So we can easily substitute an extremis soldier or two for corrupt/fake CIA secret service. I don’t know those are my thoughts. Like much of the movie I thought the Mandarin was extremely hollow and underdeveloped.

    • I really enjoyed reading your line of thinking. It would have been a riskier story but I think if done right the film would reach a new level that few other films in the genre have done so.

  19. I’m gonna tell you guys something that makes every movie I see infinitely better. Don’t watch the trailers. Don’t look at the set pics. Click on no articles about the movie until after you’ve SEEN the movie.

    I’ve been doing this for about four years now. The minute I know I’m going to see a movie, and for a sequel like this, it’s before the movie is even announced, I go on a media black out. I got sick and tired of misleading or overly-spoilerly trailers. In fact, it was Terminator Salvation that pushed it over the edge, with it’s NIN trailer that was both better than the movie AND revealed a major mid-act spoiler.

    I’ve seen the IM3 trailer, but I didn’t see it until after I saw the movie. And the trailer is one of the most misleading things I’ve ever witnessed. It goes so far as to includes shots of the rings that don’t appear in the film at all and a bunch of trailer-only monologue. I’d be pissed, too, if I went into the movie expecting the one that trailer promised.

    But I went in black. And I enjoyed the heck out of the film.

    • The problem is that there some of us who care nothing about any twists or “misleading” trailers or anything else of that nature…We’re simply aggravated by the stupidity of the movie. It was just BAD.

      • Baboon.

        • Not too bright, are you? Sad.

  20. complete waste of an opportunity to finally bring a memorable villain to the IM movies.

    the mandarin was a great choice but they completely screwed it up in the worst possible way. what would have been so difficult about giving us the actual mandarin? ten super charged rings, a genius level intellect and ridiculous hand to hand combat skills. that is what I don’t understand, why the need for this uninspired,cliche plain vanilla character that does zero to help the franchise give fans what many of us had hoped for…a villain that mattered.

    it was right there for the taking, but Black and co. still somehow managed to turn it into a complete cluster.

    i just don’t get it…

  21. Alright. Here’s how they could’ve fixed my disappointment in the way the Mandarin was portrayed. Fifteen seconds at the very end of the film. Just 15 seconds. Fade in, show a flowing green robe, pan out, and it’s Kingsley sitting on a throne in a dark cave, and we see a sh*t eating grin on his face. Misdirection of the misdirection. He is in fact the Mandarin. Kind of a Keyser Soze type character. These 15 seconds would’ve made this movie better than the first two combined. Wish in one hand…

    • You had somewhat the same thought as I had. I just thought what if what we saw was just a setup for the real Mandarin on down the road in a future installment.

  22. I loved the movie and liked the Mandarin twist (but did not love it). Part of me would love to see what would have happened if Ben Kingsley actually was the Mandarin. However, I have a question for the die hard comic book fans here.

    Over the past couple of years I have seen many comic books fans express sheer disappointment/anger whenever Hollywood tweaks a comic book character/origin/story. I always found this odd because comic books themselves do this from time to time (and I am not just talking about the New 52 and Marvel NOW). I myself am a comic book fan, and I understand that the change to the Mandarin was pretty large, and I also understand why many of you may have not liked it (as Sandy very intelligent laid out for us in the article). So, my question to the die hard comic book fans is: why is there so much resentment when Hollywood changes anything about a comic book? This question is not meant to incite any animosity, so, if you cannot answer without being rude, please refrain from responding. I would also love if Sandy or any other Screen Rant writer would comment as well.

    • it’s one thing to tweak a character in a way that makes sense for a movie audience.

      for example, adding Azog into the first hobbit movie as the primary villain was a good choice by Peter Jackson,even though in the source material he had long since been dead. but it gave the movie,and the series, a bad guy to anchor to, audiences could better identify with the dwarves and bilbo via Azog’s relentless pursuit of them.

      even though Azog was added into the story, he was still the Azog, still recognizable to fans of Tolkien’s work and that made his addition viewed as a positive by even the purists.

      in IM 3 the Mandarin, wasn’t the Mandarin, wasn’t even a reasonable facsimile, you could have called him john doe and nobody would have went “hey, that’s really the Mandarin in disguise”. Black took away everything that made the Mandarin a great villain in the IM comics, no alien tech power rings, no genius level intellect and no super human hand to hand combat skills. instead he went the route of turning him into a walking cliche, unmemorable and uninspired.

      see tinkering around with a character for the sake of a movie is fine, in fact it’s to be expected most of the time. but at least make sure that what makes the character great, what makes him worthy of appearing on the big screen in the first place remains intact.

      with the Mandarin Black failed miserably, in fact it seems as if he didn’t even try and just wanted to use the name to help hype expectations.



    • I loved the movie, too, even the Mandarin plot twist; the “plastic surgery” Kingsley’s character spoke of is enough of an explanation for me to keep a door open for Kingsley’s return as a different iteration.

      I also kinda liked that the movie completely subverted the trailer, though I would have liked a closer adherence to the Extremis comic arc, since there are so many changes that weaken what could have been a strong metaphor for Tony actually BEING Iron Man, inside and out. The literal expression of this as the heat and fire of the Extremis-Soldiers (basically, what can harm Iron Man the most on the physical level) misses an opportunity to add the psychological level to the physicial threat, especially when in the original story the metaphor was so much richer and symbolically sound. The movie ended nowhere near where I expected it to and surprised me constantly, outsmarting it’s trailer, that I enjoyed it immensely.

      I feel in this particular instance that Shane Black discarded certain key elements of the story for what seems to be “putting his mark on the franchise”; it feels like he felt he had to change key elements in order for him not to use the original story as a glorified storyboard, and that feels shoehorned in. Wouldn’t Tony and Pepper dealing with being (techno-organic) Extremis infected could have hit so many different beats and made others much stronger, maybe Marvel should have a tighter grip next time out. I loved the way this movie worked on so many levels, but I do think Marvel should have gone all-in and introduced magic in the MCU through their most important franchise after Avengers. Especially with Thor following it. Seems to me IM3 was already locked and set when Marvel made Whedon MCU overseer, and he’s nothing if not a team player so his “approval” of the script might have been more politics than anything.

      It bothers me when there’s a better story or arc in the original story and elements of it are sacrificed for no discernible reason, for weaker substitues. And it bothers me that this movie didn’t even set up A.I.M. very well as an actual force in the MCU. I expect certain changes in translation and often welcome them, but there are certain stories themselves that are part of comics (like Watchmen or V for Vendetta, or The Dark Phoenix Saga or Days of Future Past for that matter) that are in and of themselves iconic. I hate when a filmmaker’s ego gets in the way of telling a good, not just clever, story. That kind of change is what bothers me, you don’t mess up the formula for something like Les Miserables or Game of Thrones, you just find an interesting new way of showing it that surprises.

      Except for the non-ending – I even liked them removing the shrapnel – which leaves Tony feeling super c**k-blocked by Pepper, I liked some of the changes, but except certain things to be retconned back to their best iteration.

  23. Here’s why the Mandarin twist didn’t work–and by that I mean why it wasn’t a good idea in the grand scheme of things, not why it wasn’t effective or funny, which it was:

    Comic book lore aside, the Mandarin was clearly set up to be a grand foil to Tony–and he absolutely succeeds as such. Why? Because unlike the villains from 1 and 2, he’s *not petty.* He’s a deeply committed fanatic who’s willing to sacrifice everything for his cause–a cause that goes far beyond personal or even national vendettas. Tony, on the other hand, struggles constantly with pettiness and selfishness. It’s his defining character flaw, if not overall trait. That rivalry–a selfish, petty hero vs. a selfless, high-minded villain–struck a powerful note with me from the earliest trailers. I couldn’t wait to see how it would play out–would Tony get the Mandarin to admit that his schemes weren’t as lofty as he believed? Or would the Mandarin force Tony to acknowledge that maybe the world didn’t revolve around him as closely as he believed?

    When I heard rumors of a “wild,” “massive” twist regarding the “origin” of the Mandarin, I suspected with dismay that the deck would be unfairly stacked in Tony’s favor so as to wrap things up quickly and leave room for new villains. What actually happened in the movie felt like a sucker-punch. Not only was the Mandarin a complete fiction, but the villain that takes his place couldn’t be more petty in his motivations. Rather than a villain who swats Tony aside in a bid to control the world, Killian seems to try to take over the world as a way to get back at Tony. And rather than having to search inside himself for the strength to fight back, Tony saves the day by *quitting* his naval-gazing and simply ordering in a thousand more suits to back him up. In fact, his presence is barely required–much like the Mandarin, he’s just required to show up a few times and “put a face” to what otherwise amounts to random mayhem. Boo.

    • I think you make a great case for why Killian isn’t the effective foil that people claim he is.

      I found him to be a slightly improved Justin Hammer from IM2. A petty, jealous industrialist… reminiscent of Tony before his experiences at the beginning of IM1.

      He didn’t feel fresh or interesting or grand in the way that I thought Ben Kingsley’s character would turn out.

      • That’s exactly right, he was very much in the mold of Justin Hammer–except at least with Hammer you had someone who was trying to pursue his goals in a rational manner.

        Really, the character who suffers most from it all is Tony–he’s beaten four villains now and there’s been so little progression to his (flesh-and-blood) character.

  24. Aw look at all the famous movie critics here … oh wait my bad y’all are just a bunch of disgruntled fan boys , lol its a movie meant to bring in the dollars one way or another why no one on the comic forums can see this is beyond me like just sit back and enjoy for sh*t’s sake and this is why no one likes comic book nerds y’all take sh*t way to seriously.

    • …and yet, YOU are here too, Gus. What’s YOUR excuse?

  25. I’m probably one of Marvel’s biggest fans like many of you on here but I am very disappointed in them for what they have done with this movie and I fear them getting “laxed” an too cocky to do “whatever” because of the success of the Avengers. Iron Man 3 fell short of it’s potential because they failed to tie up all the ends like they were supposed to. THE MAJOR problem was not providing a full on climax and resolve with Iron Man’s arch nemesis with the Mandarin. Marvel had the opportunity to convey the political message that they were trying to convey, while at the same time also creating a fitting end for this franchise, however, now they have to clean this up some how because of the plot holes and unnecessary twist.

    If the twist is there to continue on the story with the Mandarin and that the Mandarin in his true form does exist, then it would make the twist WELL WORTH IT and allow the movie to tie up the ends in the future. ALSO, THERE ARE CONTEMPORARY VERSIONS OF THE MANDARIN. There are newer versions of the Mandarin involved in the corporate world, who wears suits and IS NOT A FU MANCHU caricature. Marvel even said that they ha planned on using a contemporary Mandarin who was pulling the strings all the time and failed because they didn’t go with their first thought on keeping it as close to the “SM” as possible. They still have an opportunity to fix this by showing that the real Mandarin is still out there, it would fix this mess that they have allowed to be created. It can easily be done with some reshoots for an after credits scene after Thor:TDW, they still have time. I hope they see how disappointed most of their fans are and fix this.

    • Agreed my fellow screenranter!! The fight between Mandarin (Aldrich) and Tony was so unemotional. It would have been beter if it was Tony versus the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). They wasted such a great opportunity for an amazing villain. Such a shame. The trailer was false advertisement. And Marvel sold out to China! they ruined the mandarin for us juts to gain more profit from those damn chinese that dont even like us. Shame.

  26. I think that after their first encounter, Killian (disappointed) wanted to eliminate Stark, but after the creation of the Iron Man suit, he tried again by recruiting Ivan Vanko. This one also failed, so after the events of The Avengers, Killian started using the Mandarin (who in the previous installments was not even mentioned or known by the government(s) or the members of the Ten Rings).

    It is worth noting that Raza-the terrorist leader that kidnaped Tony in the fisrt Iron Man film-was NOT killed by Obadiah Stane, just paralized for 15 minutes. Also, Raza was very interested in having Jericho missiles; ¿why does Killian need those missiles? To make (read: steal) money for his researches and porpouses, perhaps.

    But the fact is, as I see it, it’s that Killian didn’t know about the negociations between Obadiah and Raza, that Tony was being held by “his” terrorist organization, that he created the Iron Man suit, prior to the televised “I am Iron Man” phrase, or the relation between Vanko and the Ten Rings, is because (contrary to what I said at the beginning) he has nothing to do with the organization, he simply used their symbol.

    Note that there is almost no asian or Middle East people in the movie that could be related to the Ten Rings. In Iron Man 3, even though Tony thought going to the Middle East, he doesn’t do it; not even the goverment considers to check that part of the world. It all happens in the USA. Also, if the organization was really involved, the plot would’ve been different. Don´t consider the China scenes, they are not important.

    Althoung Killian wants to eliminate Stark in the movie, he is not interested in the Iron Man suit (Raza does); he is more concerned about destroying Tony’s world, that’s why he uses Maya Hansen and her Extremis program. Actually, that’s one reason, the other being to gain control and power with his company, AIM. That’s why he wants to kill the president, to inflict terror in the country and get a profit out of the situation.

    Killian says in the movie that the best gift Stark gave to him was anonimity, those explaining the Mandarin twist, and the fact that he won’t be discovered and taken to justice for his actions, because he is practicly unknown, in spite of being a scientist and having his own company.

    Now, regarding the “fake” Mandarin, I was expecting more of the character, but I still liked the twist.

  27. I was let down by Mandarin, not because I was expecting his magic rings, but because I was expecting a true, terrifying terrorist. Having him just be ‘Trevor’ at the end was extremely disappointing because it ruined Kingsley’s entire performance.

    • +1

  28. This movie was above average because of all the action.

    • I really loved how this movie straight jumped into action. Since it was the third entry in the franchise we knew all the characters and how they got to where they were during the movie hence the action at the start of the film. I usually tend to choose DC over Marvel but Iron Man has always interested me(Iron Man 2 sucked btw). I had high hopes for this movie because of how they chose to portray The Mandarin, making him a bin Laden esque character. However, I was aware of his origins from the comics. It didn’t bother me how they chose to make him a middle eastern terrorist, but the twist ruined it for me, Aldrich Killian IS Aldrich Killian, not the Mandarin. They should have at least kept him as a foreigner not a caucasian!! Putting dragon tattoos on his chest don’t make him The Mandarin, what a joke. That ruined it for me and alot of other people. I don’t care what Marvel fangirls say about how great it was. The movie went from being great to just above average. What a waste of a great villain. The Mandarin could have been the Joker of Marvel.
      I knew Mandarin wasn’t going to have power rings but they should have made him gain powers from Extremis. Now that would have been a spectacle, Iron Man versus the Mandarin.

  29. I saw Iron Man in the theatres. It was a good movie, however a missed opportunity. All is not lost. They can still introduce the real Mandarin and the ten rings with another director in the next installment. They can make everyone ignore the threat from the Mandarin because they remember the hoax with Killian. There could be whisperings of a rising threat out of China. Seemingly unrelated events could be linked to an archeological dig of an ancient chinese city. The opportunity could be used to explore some of China’s rich history (If they are afriad of China’s reaction they can have the Chinese government -ministry of tourism etc., appoint a consultant-with the money this film has made I am sure people can be motivated if it presented in the right way). Maybe a Chinese nobleman started dabbling in the dark magic as a means to repel the invasion of the Khans or some other threat. Maybe while searching for an ancient Chinese holy site he stumbles on the alien craft that contains the ten rings and the rings end up suspending him in time. When he is uncovered he could precieve that China and the world have lost their way and only he can return China and the world to anicent glory. These and other themes could be expanded and thus you can keep the continuity with this Iron man 3 and still introduce a new major villian into the MCU. These franchises will be around for a long time (Iron Man has already grossed half a billion dollars in 2 weeks) and therefore there is no need to rush anything. All that needs to be done is reveal the Mandarin in a later installment. That would place Iron man 3 as just another enjoyable chapter in the saga of Tony Stark/Iron man.