Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1
I personally felt IM3 was...ok.
Where to begin? I will say there were some good comedic moments in the movie, and I was diggin' the Mark 42 armor. I also felt like the relationship between the young Tennessee boy and Tony was a highlight of the film, as we see that Tony hasn't completely grown up, and still has a bit of boyish rogue going for him.
That being said...
I wasn't really onboard with the Tony-PTSD portrayal. It felt very strange, and forced. I certainly hope we aren't going to see a depressed Cap and a stressed out Thor in the coming movies. Frankly, I got the general feeling from Tony that after New York, he would never be a hero again, and that's just not the Iron Man I want to see.
I felt like the portrayal of AIM was butchered at best, slaughtered at worst. They did the same thing they pulled with the Whiplash/Crimson Dynamo mix-n-match in Iron Man 2, and it doesnt work in my opinion. AIM was a completely different kind of opponent for Iron Man, with The Controller, MODOK and the science aspect of the Marvel Universe, while the Mandarin is more of a history and magic angle. Mixing the two just felt forced.
Then there is the Extremis story. While there were certainly elements of Extremis in the movie, I much prefer the comic book story, and Tony's use of Extremis to take his game to another level, along with it being the primary method of defeating Mallen. Instead, we got an Extremis-in-name-only story, with bits and pieces cobbled together for effect.
I have 2 other points of contention. First is the lack of SHIELD. Granted, this was supposed to be a non-Avengers story...however, the President is kidnapped, you have a super-villian blowing stuff up all across the country, and yet, other than a mention of Tony using their database, it's as if SHIELD doesn't exist. Don't get me wrong, I feel this needed to be an Iron Man centric story, however, I fel like they went out of their way to make SHIELD invisible in the movie, and it ultimately did a disservice to the film. I feel there could have been ways to incorporate SHIELD into the plot of the film, while still leaving this as Tony's problem to solve.
Finally, there is the relationship between Rhodey and Tony. Is it just me, or did it feel like Rhodey and Tony were more "passing aquaintences" than real friends and heroic partners in this film? In the final fight, War Machine isn't even hardly involved, and the majority of the movie the two of them are apart. Furthermore, there isn't even a single instance of Tony questioning why War Machine didn't have his back in New York. Heck, in the bar scene they could have had Tony giving Rhodey a bad time for missing the battle with the Chitauri and that would have been not only a nod to the Avengers, but also tie up the question of why War Machine was non existent in the attack.
While it might seem I'm picking the movie to shreds, I will say I did enjoy myself. It was a good film to kick back, relax and enjoy some Iron Man, but I do feel it could have been better, and it certainly didn't deliver (at least for me) as strongly as The Avengers did.
On a scale of 1-10, I give IM3 an 8.