Originally Posted by BatLobsterRises
I definitely relate to the deflating feeling of going from that sense of dread whenever Mandarin's videos popped up and feeling like the movie was leading towards an epic confrontation between him and Iron Man, to the sudden realization that it wasn't going to happen. It does feel like the twist was more at the service of a sociopolitical message than it was the characters and the story. I think there were ways they could have reduced the importance of Kingsley's character and made Killian the central villain without making him into a walking punchline. I don't mind Killian being the main villain because he was great, I just kind of wish Kingsley's character wasn't reduced to a one-note joke.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I think Kingsley was hilarious post-twist, it was just hard to shake the feeling that the movie was denying you payoff for something it had set up really well and laughing about it. I completely get what they were going for, but I completely get the backlash too. Marvel had to know there would be some blowback for this. So yeah, I think my issue is not so much that Killian was the true main villain, just that they really went the extra mile to make a joke out of "The Mandarin".
Also, does anybody know what scene the "Do you want an empty life or a meaningful death?" line was cut from? I don't remember hearing it in the movie.
I thought it was a great way to handle things. Tony fighting his way to the Mandarin expecting an epic battle...and then realizing that all this time what he was fighting was just an illusion. That the "real" Mandarin had outsmarted him.