Join Date: May 2007
Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1
Originally Posted by The Overlord
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?
Well no one is confusing Mandarin as having the same stature that Lex Luthor or the Joker enjoy, that's for sure. But in terms of IM, I think Mandarin does share enough of that doppelganger quality to make him an interesting foil. As far as racism goes though, almost every character created during the 60-70s is somewhat racist. Black Panther, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, you name it, there's probably some sort of racial undertone present. If Red Skull is still acceptable, period piece or not, then why not Mandarin? But speaking of the undertones, why then, would Killian create & then adopt a name of such Orient descent in this new contemporary vision of the character? They could've just called him something else entirely and all problems are solved.
Also Killian's motivations for issues with Stark are no more solid or meaty. He was slighted at a party? That's it? And what's the deal with Air Force One and attacking the President? Because the VP wants him to or he wants to use the VP as a puppet? Isn't his beef supposed to be with Stark entirely? He becomes a super powered entity from Extremis, what threat would the military or the government be to him? His whole thing is for Tony to help with Extremis, but say Pepper accepted his offer early in the film, then are we to believe the Ten Rings organization and everything he's been planning, presumably since IM1, was for naught?
Originally Posted by The Overlord
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.
That's the thing, they were well on their way to reinventing him for present times. Re-imagining him as a terrorist of indiscriminate origin, while still being reminiscent of his comic appearance somewhat, was genius. And the crux of his dichotomy with Stark would still be intact.
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Last edited by Doc Samson; 05-07-2013 at 09:46 PM.