Originally Posted by MichaelChen
Disagree. The Mandarin's powers are that he is a brilliant schemer, mad scientist, and superhuman martial artist.
The rings are not his powers, and in fact they are kind of shark-jump-prone, even in the comics. They are kind of like venom for Bane. Bane started out as this genius strategist(could beat Ra's Al Ghul at Chess), martial artist, and athlete. Venom was just a tool that boosted him from having almost superhuman strength to slightly superhuman strength. Venom was nice, it was nifty, but it was way less than 10% of what made Bane dangerous. Yet later writers made Bane into the Hulk, a ****tard who completely revolved around venom. Bane jumped the shark because of writers focusing too much on venom.
The rings are a lot like that. You look in early stories, and the rings kind of suck. The most impressive thing they can do is kind of parlor tricks like create a bunch of illusions of Mandarin, which Mandarin uses as a distraction to karate-chop Iron Man because Iron Man doesn't know who to dodge. The karate-chop is the bread-n-butter of his personal attacks. And scheming and mad science are what he's about more than personal attacks anyway.
In fact, I'd note that what both Mandarin and Bane share is that serious portrayals of them dropped the most shark-jump-prone weapon in their arsenal. Movie Bane has no venom, so his strategy, martial-arts, and athleticism get to shine through. Movie Mandarin has no rings, so his scheming, mad science, and superhuman martial arts abilities shine through.
I was with you until the very last sentence. Movie Mandarin had no power rings, but it wasn't the same as with Bane. you can attest to two theories here in this discussion:
1) Movie Mandarin wasn't really the Mandarin, had NO SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS and was just an actor
2) The Mandarin was an amalgamation of multiple characters with a different set of powers provided by the Extremis that included health regeneration and fire-breathing.
If you go with #2, you are right that you get to see the master strategist, scientist and hand-to-hand combatant, but you can't say he didn't have any special abilities, like Bane in TDKR.
Other than that, I think your concept is right.