Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 2
I think if you want, you could kind of take it as a political commentary. Like, Killian knew that Americans would accept a vaguely foreign, Bin Laden-looking guy as the terrorist (even though, IMO, he was a pretty obvious fake) more readily than the white corporate dude.
On a less controversial note, I think your reaction to the twist depends on how much you actually cared about the Mandarin to begin with. I personally was never that familiar with him from the comics, and frankly I thought he looked kind of ridiculous in the movie to begin with, so the twist made total sense to me. But I can understand why people who really loved the character would be upset by it. I'm a Batman fan, and if they did something like this with, say, the Joker, I probably would be pissed also.
"You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won't kill you because you're just too much fun."
"Oh, I'm not gonna kill you...I'm just gonna hurt you really, really bad."