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Old 05-07-2013, 07:52 PM   #121
The Overlord
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,628
Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

Originally Posted by Doc Samson View Post
I believe that most arch enemies in comics (or in general) usually are some sort of evil doppelganger to the hero/protagonist. I don't think it's as much about what they do as it is the contrast they represent ideologically, embodying the yin/yang dynamic.

In the same way Luthor represents business & big industry as the antithesis to Superman's good ol' boy American values, or how the Joker's crazed anarchy is a stark contrast to Batman's rigid code of justice, The Mandarin's use of magic in tandem with technology shows a different spin on Stark and how he uses technology & science. Not to mention his appearance (at least originally) of ancient, mystical, Oriental regalia stood in contrast to Stark's modern, American sophistication.
Okay, but it does seem like Lex Luthor and Joker have a larger array of good stories behind them then Mandarin does, that's the big point here. Joker and Lex Luthor seem to have better motives and better connections to the heroes then Iron Man and Mandarin, Batman created Joker, Lex Luthor has Metropolis' favorite son before Superman showed up. Mandarin wanted to take over the world for some reason one day and Iron Man decided to stop him, that is not nearly as personal or interesting then any of the other characters mentioned.

Plus ancient, mystical, Oriental regalia vs. modern, American sophistication doesn't work anymore, it might worked in the 30s, but now it seems like an old, out dated and possibly racist. That's the problem, if you went for that contrast you might as well kiss the Asian market good bye and deal with a ton of complaints at home. That is not good business and it would be fool hardy to think Marvel or Disney should do that. It seems you are giving reasons not use Mandarin with that description, it fits the "Yellow Peril" villain almost completely. Its far easier to use Joker and Lex Luthor in a modern context then it is Mandarin, otherwise the writers wouldn't be struggling to use the character as much as they have in the past.

Also magic vs. technology is an okay contrast, but it is doesn't seem as meaty as the other contrasts you mentioned. Its pretty thin on its own and Mandarin just hasn't got the same level of writing as those other villains you mentioned to make it work. Plus misuse of technology is a constant theme in the Iron Man comics and movies, if Mandarin is just a magical character, he doesn't really fit in with that theme, does he? The fact that Mandarin has not really fit in with a lot of the themes that were developed in the 80s has kinda locked him out of many of the more iconic Iron man stories. If there were not problems with the Mandarin character, wouldn't David Michelinie have used him back in the 80s?

Originally Posted by Doc Samson View Post
On top of that though, making The Mandarin actually Killian doesn't really make him all that different from Obadiah Stane or Justin Hammer in this movie universe. Just another disgruntled genius trying to get revenge on Tony for some type of perceived slight. I think a more faithful adaptation of The Mandarin would have been more interesting.
But how would you adapt Mandarin without making him stepped in ancient, mystical, Oriental regalia, because that is what holds him back and that is what would the thing that wouldn't work for a modern audience. Its not the 1930s, you can't have Mandarin be a Fu Manchu character and expect modern audiences to like it.

Besides if Shane Black didn't like the Mandarin, would the studio forcing him to use the Mandarin have been a good idea? It would have been Venom in Spider-Man 3 all over again.

Last edited by The Overlord; 05-07-2013 at 08:12 PM.
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