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Old 01-30-2012, 09:36 PM   #26
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

I get the racist argument, what I don't get is that it's inherent to the character.

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Old 01-31-2012, 12:29 AM   #27
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

The thing is that Chinese themselves make martial arts movies that are based in Chinese mysticism with supernatural elements. You see many Chinese characters with long moustaches or beards, long hair and nails. Even in non supernatural movies, you still get the ancient sagely, white-bearded master trope who even appears in Quentin Tarantino movies.

If the Chinese embrace these things themselves (which could easily be seen as racist stereotypes) and aren't offended, then why should the Mandarin be considered offensive? It doesn't have to be Yellow Peril like Fu Manchu. I've always thought of the Mandarin as more in line with those tropes you get in these classic Kung Fu movies, not some Communist Yellow Peril villain.

As an Asian myself, I find this whole Yellow Peril racist argument ridiculous. I want to see the Mandarin in Iron Man and consider him a cool villain, not some politically incorrect racist stereotype.

It's like never having a black person be a villain in a movie or tv series, in case audiences think that it is a case of racial prejudice against blacks to assume that they are always criminals.

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:16 AM   #28
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

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Actually, him using the trappings of Chinese mysticism makes it not racist, and actually quite intelligent on the part of the character. Regardless, it can be changed and changed easily.

Unless having a Chinese man being a bad guy is racist, these arguments hold no more water than a bullet riddled cartoon character.
I can sort of see where DrCosmic is coming from, but he is so over board with the 'culturally aware/PC rubbish' that he can't comprehend any interpretation that's both true to the character of Mandarin and not offensive to modern audiences. Or that as stated he can't picture a scenario in Dr. Strange where Wong (or probably any ethnicity other than white) is subservient to Strange without it being inherently racist.

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Old 01-31-2012, 10:45 AM   #29
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

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I can sort of see where DrCosmic is coming from, but he is so over board with the 'culturally aware/PC rubbish' that he can't comprehend any interpretation that's both true to the character of Mandarin and not offensive to modern audiences. Or that as stated he can't picture a scenario in Dr. Strange where Wong (or probably any ethnicity other than white) is subservient to Strange without it being inherently racist.
Whoa, buddy. This was a civil thread before you started insulting my intelligence. My comprehension and ability to picture things is pretty danged prolific. I don't have the restraint to refrain from characterizing your misinterpretation of my arguement as a lack of mental power on your part, so please, address the argument and not who you think I might be.

If you're so sure, hit me, how can you be faithful to Mandarin without making him Fu Manchu 2012? Perhaps others can 'comprehend' your answer.

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The thing is that Chinese themselves make martial arts movies that are based in Chinese mysticism with supernatural elements. You see many Chinese characters with long moustaches or beards, long hair and nails. Even in non supernatural movies, you still get the ancient sagely, white-bearded master trope who even appears in Quentin Tarantino movies.

If the Chinese embrace these things themselves (which could easily be seen as racist stereotypes) and aren't offended, then why should the Mandarin be considered offensive? It doesn't have to be Yellow Peril like Fu Manchu. I've always thought of the Mandarin as more in line with those tropes you get in these classic Kung Fu movies, not some Communist Yellow Peril villain.

As an Asian myself, I find this whole Yellow Peril racist argument ridiculous. I want to see the Mandarin in Iron Man and consider him a cool villain, not some politically incorrect racist stereotype.

It's like never having a black person be a villain in a movie or tv series, in case audiences think that it is a case of racial prejudice against blacks to assume that they are always criminals.
Yes, Asians make movies based on acutal Chinese mythology, not based on fake Chinese Mysticism. Mandarin doesn't use Chi, Kung Fu, or anything actually Chinese. He uses racist chinese caricature stuff. Dragon decor. Weird magic. Even in the comics, he dervies it from Makluan science, not Chinese mythology, because it's not actually Chinese, it's Chinese caricature. What he does and what real Asians actually embrace have no common ground. That's why it's racist, because he's written to make it seem like he's actually Asian-like.

Notice how in non-Supernatural movies you don't have Asian characters with supernatural powers. You have martial artists, like The Bride's Master, in martial arts movies. See how that doesn't set Asians apart as weird mystical types that can't compete? And for Kill Bill, what did Tarantino call his production company? Fu Manchu. A purposeful send up of the caricature, just like Black Dynamite was a fully aware send up of blaxploitation films. In both cases, they made the racist caricature both more ridiculous - to highlight how ridiculous it's always been - and then made them badass, so the movie would still be cool. These people are culturally aware and use the racial context of these caricatures to entertain, they don't just play it straight and say "Well, I don't see how this racist caricature is racist, so...nyah!"

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Actually, him using the trappings of Chinese mysticism makes it not racist, and actually quite intelligent on the part of the character. Regardless, it can be changed and changed easily.

Unless having a Chinese man being a bad guy is racist, these arguments hold no more water than a bullet riddled cartoon character.
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I get the racist argument, what I don't get is that it's inherent to the character.
It's pretty tightly wound together. I suppose if he were really a superior technological force who simply used the racist perception of chinese mysticism to his advantage, that could be cool, but then it'd be a bit of a rehash of Sherlock Holmes, where tech is mistaken for magic, and Robert Downey Jr has to deduce so. That's the only spin I can think of that doesn't reinforce the Fu Manchu - to make him not actually a Fu Manchu. But that makes him, in many ways, a new character.

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Old 01-31-2012, 11:38 AM   #30
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

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Yes, Asians make movies based on acutal Chinese mythology, not based on fake Chinese Mysticism. Mandarin doesn't use Chi, Kung Fu, or anything actually Chinese. He uses racist chinese caricature stuff. Dragon decor. Weird magic. Even in the comics, he dervies it from Makluan science, not Chinese mythology, because it's not actually Chinese, it's Chinese caricature. What he does and what real Asians actually embrace have no common ground. That's why it's racist, because he's written to make it seem like he's actually Asian-like.
I disagree that dragon decor is racist. Lots of Chinese embrace that. This year is the year of the dragon, and I'm sure there will be many Chinese using that symbolism.

The Mandarin doesn't have to be racist at all while still remaining true to his character. Any symbolism he uses he might derive from Chinese culture as part of his heritage. If you imagine him first without the rings. He might very well embrace ancient Chinese culture with all of its ceremonial garb because he has a passion for it, either because he's a historian or... that he simply enjoys it as an Asian man. That part there doesn't make him racist.

Now add onto that a potential interest in magic. Maybe he delved into the dark arts somewhere along the way. He's now just a Chinese man who practises magic. He's still not a racist caricature.

Now this magic-practising Chinese man discovers some rings that are alien technology. He puts them on and uses them to his own advantage to try to subjugate the earth. He's still not a racist caricature. His Chinese culture and magic comes from way before he ever became a supervillain with rings. It's just part of his background. All of his background and imagery come from who he is but combine now into this single concept we know as the Mandarin. None of this has to be chinese caricature or with even any reference to Fu Manchu.

If people think that Fu Manchu is the only literary figure associated with Chinese culture and cinema, then they have a very limited view of things.

Just imagine if Dr Doom were Chinese instead of Latverian. Think about Doom: he has delusions of grandeur, is a dictator, embraces his cultural heritage, practises magic and plays around with techology - pretty much all that the Mandarin does. All of this combines to form the person we know as Doom. None of these in Doom are a racist stereotype. Doom is certainly not someone who can't compete with Iron Man with regard to technology. Some of it may even be superior. Yet, he still chooses to use magic and mysticism as well. Now, once you substitute one culture for another, and just because Doom happens to be Chinese instead of Latverian, and wears Chinese garb doesn't suddenly make him a racist stereotype.

Doom himself would make use of the rings if he had them in his possession. It's not that he has to rely upon them, but that they aid his quest, just as he would make use of the Infinity Gauntlet if it came across his path. The rings are essentially just a substitute for the Gauntlet when you think about it. It gives the wearer additional power. Doom with the gauntlet... Doom with the Makulan rings... Doom being Chinese instead of Latverian. All of it can be incidental. Same with the Mandarin.

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Notice how in non-Supernatural movies you don't have Asian characters with supernatural powers. You have martial artists, like The Bride's Master, in martial arts movies. See how that doesn't set Asians apart as weird mystical types that can't compete? And for Kill Bill, what did Tarantino call his production company? Fu Manchu. A purposeful send up of the caricature, just like Black Dynamite was a fully aware send up of blaxploitation films. In both cases, they made the racist caricature both more ridiculous - to highlight how ridiculous it's always been - and then made them badass, so the movie would still be cool. These people are culturally aware and use the racial context of these caricatures to entertain, they don't just play it straight and say "Well, I don't see how this racist caricature is racist, so...nyah!"
I mentioned Tarantino because you might be more familiar with the imagery from his films than actual Chinese-produced martial arts movies. However, Tarantino didn't come up with the imagery he uses in Kill Bill. It's all ripped off from actual martial arts films. The white haired "mystic" is a common trope in these movies. He might use some supernatural (or seemingly supernatural) methods but is also more than a match skill-wise for the heroes. Classic films such as "Secret Rivals" or "Invincible Iron Armor" star martial arts master Hwang Jang Lee aka The Silver Fox (the villain in the classic Jackie Chan movies, Drunken Master and Snake in the Eagle's Shadow) dressed up in precisely that same get up that Tarantino has ripped off.

None of that is considered a racist stereotype though by the Chinese themselves. It's not like they're bowing down to Western audiences with these images in the hope to entertain them, because these films weren't even made for Western audiences (and aren't even probably known to many of them either).

Incidentally, Hwang Jang Lee looks like he would've made a great Mandarin back in his prime. He was so villainous (and probably the most recognised villain of the Kung Fu genre) and has such presence, and was always more than a match for Jackie Chan and any other heroes.












Now imagine someone who looks like Hwang Jang Lee with all of his martial arts skills (and embraces the asian culture) turning into a dictator like Dr Doom, who uses both magic and technology. Then imagine he later finds some alien rings.

You have your Mandarin. Nothing racist there.

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Old 01-31-2012, 12:45 PM   #31
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

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Whoa, buddy. This was a civil thread before you started insulting my intelligence. My comprehension and ability to picture things is pretty danged prolific. I don't have the restraint to refrain from characterizing your misinterpretation of my arguement as a lack of mental power on your part, so please, address the argument and not who you think I might be.

If you're so sure, hit me, how can you be faithful to Mandarin without making him Fu Manchu 2012? Perhaps others can 'comprehend' your answer.
Yeah, I don't have to convince you. If you're that determined not to see the possibility because you're 'culturally aware' then I'm not going to waste my time.

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:58 PM   #32
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Yeah, I don't have to convince you. If you're that determined not to see the possibility because you're 'culturally aware' then I'm not going to waste my time.
I've suggested possibilities and you haven't, so perhaps you should be equally sensitive of wasting other people's time, rather than telling me I'm determined to not see things that I've been plainly talking about. :ugh

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I disagree that dragon decor is racist. Lots of Chinese embrace that. This year is the year of the dragon, and I'm sure there will be many Chinese using that symbolism.
Symbolism, yes, not decor. They wont have it all over their houses, regardless of their wealth. Because real people don't do that, caricatures do.

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The Mandarin doesn't have to be racist at all while still remaining true to his character. Any symbolism he uses he might derive from Chinese culture as part of his heritage. If you imagine him first without the rings. He might very well embrace ancient Chinese culture with all of its ceremonial garb because he has a passion for it, either because he's a historian or... that he simply enjoys it as an Asian man. That part there doesn't make him racist.

Now add onto that a potential interest in magic. Maybe he delved into the dark arts somewhere along the way. He's now just a Chinese man who practises magic. He's still not a racist caricature.

Now this magic-practising Chinese man discovers some rings that are alien technology. He puts them on and uses them to his own advantage to try to subjugate the earth. He's still not a racist caricature. His Chinese culture and magic comes from way before he ever became a supervillain with rings. It's just part of his background. All of his background and imagery come from who he is but combine now into this single concept we know as the Mandarin. None of this has to be chinese caricature or with even any reference to Fu Manchu.

If people think that Fu Manchu is the only literary figure associated with Chinese culture and cinema, then they have a very limited view of things.

Just imagine if Dr Doom were Chinese instead of Latverian. Think about Doom: he has delusions of grandeur, is a dictator, embraces his cultural heritage, practises magic and plays around with techology - pretty much all that the Mandarin does. All of this combines to form the person we know as Doom. None of these in Doom are a racist stereotype. Doom is certainly not someone who can't compete with Iron Man with regard to technology. Some of it may even be superior. Yet, he still chooses to use magic and mysticism as well. Now, once you substitute one culture for another, and just because Doom happens to be Chinese instead of Latverian, and wears Chinese garb doesn't suddenly make him a racist stereotype.

Doom himself would make use of the rings if he had them in his possession. It's not that he has to rely upon them, but that they aid his quest, just as he would make use of the Infinity Gauntlet if it came across his path. The rings are essentially just a substitute for the Gauntlet when you think about it. It gives the wearer additional power. Doom with the gauntlet... Doom with the Makulan rings... Doom being Chinese instead of Latverian. All of it can be incidental. Same with the Mandarin.
Giving reasons for the caricature attributes doesn't change the origin and intent of the attributes. All you've done is justification, and as with most justification, you wind up with contradictions. It doesn't make sense as a whole, because it's not organic. He doesn't have three (four? Five?) different conflicting driving passions because it's a natural or interesting character arc, he has those because he has to become an faux-asian mystical supervillain aka a Fu Manchu.

More importantly, that justification/story you gave can't be communicated in a film. He will, from the outset be an Asian villain in ancient garb with some mysterious mystic quality about him. At no point will be analyzed as some guy 'way before he became a villain' because he was never conceived of that way, and will never be presented that way.

Finally, Doom is from a fictional nation, and so we can't really be racist against it. See how context changes something like racism from integral (Mandarin) to impossible (Dr. Doom). It's very important. Most of your argument seems to be based on taking things out of their context and showing how they're okay if we don't know anything else.


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I mentioned Tarantino because you might be more familiar with the imagery from his films than actual Chinese-produced martial arts movies. However, Tarantino didn't come up with the imagery he uses in Kill Bill. It's all ripped off from actual martial arts films. The white haired "mystic" is a common trope in these movies. He might use some supernatural (or seemingly supernatural) methods but is also more than a match skill-wise for the heroes. Classic films such as "Secret Rivals" or "Invincible Iron Armor" star martial arts master Hwang Jang Lee aka The Silver Fox (the villain in the classic Jackie Chan movies, Drunken Master and Snake in the Eagle's Shadow) dressed up in precisely that same get up that Tarantino has ripped off.

None of that is considered a racist stereotype though by the Chinese themselves. It's not like they're bowing down to Western audiences with these images in the hope to entertain them, because these films weren't even made for Western audiences (and aren't even probably known to many of them either).

Incidentally, Hwang Jang Lee looks like he would've made a great Mandarin back in his prime. He was so villainous (and probably the most recognised villain of the Kung Fu genre) and has such presence, and was always more than a match for Jackie Chan and any other heroes.
I already illustrated how taking faux-Asian mysticism and putting it on the evil side of a Western tech movie is an old racist tactic. Martial artists in martial arts movies with Asians on both sides of the conflict using equal amounts of actual mythology is simply not the same thing.

I also illustrated how when a good filmmaker, like Tarantino, uses that imagery outside of such a film, they are not played straight, but are acknowledged as the caricatures they are.

Again, context, context, context.

Quote:
Now imagine someone who looks like Hwang Jang Lee with all of his martial arts skills (and embraces the asian culture) turning into a dictator like Dr Doom, who uses both magic and technology. Then imagine he later finds some alien rings.

You have your Mandarin. Nothing racist there.
A dictator like Dr. Doom? Who's race/nationality isn't apparent? Who isn't from China, because he has his own country? Who doesn't wear ancient clothing? Who is above getting his hands dirty with things like martial arts? Sounds pretty awesome, but that's not really Mandarin, is it?

But if you want Dr. Doom *except* when it interferes with being like Fu Manchu, then yeah, that's building on a very old racist caricature. Adding Dr. Doom on top of it won't make it any less ridiculous, trite or offensive.


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Old 01-31-2012, 11:39 PM   #33
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

Alright, the who "Mandarin is/isn't racist" argument is getting pretty boring.

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Old 02-01-2012, 03:35 AM   #34
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I've suggested possibilities and you haven't, so perhaps you should be equally sensitive of wasting other people's time, rather than telling me I'm determined to not see things that I've been plainly talking about. :ugh
Ok, take a hint. I'm not going to go back and forth with you because it's not my job to convince you. I'm not interested in the argument, my first post wasn't directed at you. If it was then I'd probably be up for going at it point for point like Dark Raven is. You seem to deal in absolutes (it's certainly how you present yourself), so I'm not going to pretend that I can somehow make you see otherwise.

Oh and I wasn't trying to insult your intelligence, just point out the absolute nature of your opinions, but then after reading your response I was less keen to point that out.

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Old 02-01-2012, 05:47 AM   #35
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Symbolism, yes, not decor. They wont have it all over their houses, regardless of their wealth. Because real people don't do that, caricatures do.

Giving reasons for the caricature attributes doesn't change the origin and intent of the attributes. All you've done is justification, and as with most justification, you wind up with contradictions. It doesn't make sense as a whole, because it's not organic. He doesn't have three (four? Five?# different conflicting driving passions because it's a natural or interesting character arc, he has those because he has to become an faux-asian mystical supervillain aka a Fu Manchu.

More importantly, that justification/story you gave can't be communicated in a film. He will, from the outset be an Asian villain in ancient garb with some mysterious mystic quality about him. At no point will be analyzed as some guy 'way before he became a villain' because he was never conceived of that way, and will never be presented that way.

Finally, Doom is from a fictional nation, and so we can't really be racist against it. See how context changes something like racism from integral #Mandarin# to impossible #Dr. Doom#. It's very important. Most of your argument seems to be based on taking things out of their context and showing how they're okay if we don't know anything else.


I already illustrated how taking faux-Asian mysticism and putting it on the evil side of a Western tech movie is an old racist tactic. Martial artists in martial arts movies with Asians on both sides of the conflict using equal amounts of actual mythology is simply not the same thing.

I also illustrated how when a good filmmaker, like Tarantino, uses that imagery outside of such a film, they are not played straight, but are acknowledged as the caricatures they are.

Again, context, context, context.

A dictator like Dr. Doom? Who's race/nationality isn't apparent? Who isn't from China, because he has his own country? Who doesn't wear ancient clothing? Who is above getting his hands dirty with things like martial arts? Sounds pretty awesome, but that's not really Mandarin, is it?

But if you want Dr. Doom *except* when it interferes with being like Fu Manchu, then yeah, that's building on a very old racist caricature. Adding Dr. Doom on top of it won't make it any less ridiculous, trite or offensive.
Actually, as an Asian person myself, thinking about your persistent argument (and Shane Black's) that Mandarin (or any Chinese/Asian villain really, especially one who wears ancient robes or practises some kind of mysticism) can only be seen in terms of Fu Manchu/Yellow Peril sounds rather racist and narrow minded itself.

It's almost a subtle form of racism itself because it's disguised in so much apparent political correctness fluff, and even something you yourself many not even realise you're doing. It's also a kind of reverse descrimination by trying to say that you can only think of any kind of Chinese villain in those racist caricature terms and therefore wish to exclude them completely. That in itself wreaks of ignorance and small mindedness by not being able to envision any other kind of possibility in which the Mandarin could work and retain enough of his familiar elements to be still considered essentially the same character.

It's like if one were to completely exclude any Asian actors from playing "regular" roles in a Western film/TV production on the grounds that Asians can only ever be associated with martial artists by default, and you wish to avoid that stereotype. So therefore, Asians can't even be envisioned in terms of a hero/villain who doesn't do martial arts but uses guns, or as a romantic lead or in a drama in case someone says "oh look, it's Bruce Lee!" It's also like a Westerner never employing any Asians, supposedly for fear that, since they'll be the employee, they'll naturally be in a more subservient position to the employer, and they wish to avoid that stereotype.

All of that is in fact a subtle form of racial descrimination because ultimately, the people are still excluded. It's excluding someone by pretending to try to avoid racial stereotyping when in fact that is precisely what the excluder is doing himself in his own mind because he can't see beyond the stereotype. That sounds exactly what you're doing here: trying to "champion" the supposedly politically correct route when in fact you keep coming back to this Fu Manchu/ Yellow Peril stereotype rather than seeing any other alternative.

Filmmakers change aspects of literary characters all the time. Saying that if you get rid of the "Fu Manchu" aspect of the Mandarin it will mean that he's no longer the same character is complete bollocks. First of all, Fu Manchu is only an early 20th century creation. It's not like Asian villains only originated with him. You seem to forget about Genghis Khan, for example, upon whom the Mandarin is partially based (he even makes reference to that name sometimes). There have also been other evil emperors and dictators throughout Chinese/Asian history, none of which were associated with "Yellow Peril" because they preceded it. Secondly, it has been decades since any kind of Fu Manchu adaptation has been made that he may not even be that familiar to modern audiences, particularly those who have only grown up in the last 20 years. It's not like Fu Manchu is constantly in your face in all kinds of advertising or movies so that he is such a household name these days. People won't even necessarily make that connection with the Mandarin, especially if you don't keep trying to draw that comparison. Do modern audiences, for example, constantly think of the new Wo Fat in Hawaii Five-0 as some kind of Yellow Peril/ Fu Manchu trope (which is how he may have been conceived in the 60s series)?

Imagine if you could never have a black villain again in any movie because filmmakers fear that they'll be automatically racially stereotyping blacks as troublemakers or criminals. Or a Muslim villain for fear that they'll automatically be branding all Muslims as terrorists. That in itself sounds ignorant because you get evil men among all races who can operate on their own agenda.

As an Asian, I find your comments rather offensive, because by saying "oh look, it's Fu Manchu" it's not that different from saying to any regular chinese "oh look, it's Bruce Lee" and then making these mocking growling cat-like sounds that Bruce Lee made - as if all Asians as a whole amount to are just these stereotypes and nothing else.

By contrast, as an Asian too, I don't find the Mandarin to be offensive, because I can see beyond the Fu Manchu stereotype you seem to be so fond of comparing him to. In fact, when I even first came across the character years ago, it never even crossed my mind to think of him in that way, because I've seen other examples to which he can be compared. You seem to impose upon Asians what you believe they would all think based upon your own stereotypes, when in fact you don't know that they would all think in that way. I've even given you an example of Dr Doom with rings as how Asians themselves might see the Mandarin, but you seem to completely miss the point there and get caught up with the minutae of Doom's particular characteristics.

Like I said before, you (and Shane Black himself) may not even realise you are coming across as racist yourself by trying to advocate this PC view, because it is something so subtle. However, this is something you should reassess because it's almost a kind of backhanded racism like a backhanded compliment.

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Old 02-01-2012, 06:33 AM   #36
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

*sigh*...and it continues

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Old 02-01-2012, 06:57 AM   #37
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*sigh*...and it continues
Well since you reminded me. Even though I had said earlier that I'd like to see Titanium Man, I just thought that might seem a bit too repetitive and audiences might not appreciate another armour on armour fight. Mind you those were perhaps the parts of both movies people felt let down with.

Even if you don't go with another armoured villain I still believe he/she has to be able to fight Iron Man personally to provide a good climactic battle. Not that I simply want a physical threat only, but the plot has to be balanced with some good action.

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Old 02-01-2012, 07:10 AM   #38
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Well since you reminded me. Even though I had said earlier that I'd like to see Titanium Man, I just thought that might seem a bit too repetitive and audiences might not appreciate another armour on armour fight. Mind you those were perhaps the parts of both movies people felt let down with.

Even if you don't go with another armoured villain I still believe he/she has to be able to fight Iron Man personally to provide a good climactic battle. Not that I simply want a physical threat only, but the plot has to be balanced with some good action.
I agree and that's why I think Living Laser or Madam Masque (especially the latter) would make great villains for Iron Man 3.

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Old 02-01-2012, 07:21 AM   #39
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I agree and that's why I think Living Laser or Madam Masque (especially the latter) would make great villains for Iron Man 3.

I think Madam Masque would make an even better choice for villain than Mandarin. Or anybody else. Marvel could really "push the envelope" by offering a femme fatale for a change --- hasn't really been done in superhero movies before, except as henchwomen (Catwoman doesn't count, because both Pfeiffer and Hathaway play second fiddle to a different Bat-villain). It would be refreshing to see the superhero having to fight a powerful woman; especially when it introduces a classic love triangle into the mix.

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Old 02-01-2012, 09:56 AM   #40
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

Mandarin is actually Mongolian, but continue.

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Old 02-01-2012, 10:30 AM   #41
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Ok, take a hint. I'm not going to go back and forth with you because it's not my job to convince you. I'm not interested in the argument, my first post wasn't directed at you. If it was then I'd probably be up for going at it point for point like Dark Raven is. You seem to deal in absolutes (it's certainly how you present yourself), so I'm not going to pretend that I can somehow make you see otherwise.

Oh and I wasn't trying to insult your intelligence, just point out the absolute nature of your opinions, but then after reading your response I was less keen to point that out.
Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. I do feel that when you make absolute statements you should back them up. I've backed up my absolute statements about the subject, but you've made absolute statements about me just cuz you can, with no reasoning or basis. I think that's pretty low, but I can't really do anything about it so, whatever.

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Actually, as an Asian person myself, thinking about your persistent argument (and Shane Black's) that Mandarin (or any Chinese/Asian villain really, especially one who wears ancient robes or practises some kind of mysticism) can only be seen in terms of Fu Manchu/Yellow Peril sounds rather racist and narrow minded itself.

It's almost a subtle form of racism itself because it's disguised in so much apparent political correctness fluff, and even something you yourself many not even realise you're doing. It's also a kind of reverse descrimination by trying to say that you can only think of any kind of Chinese villain in those racist caricature terms and therefore wish to exclude them completely. That in itself wreaks of ignorance and small mindedness by not being able to envision any other kind of possibility in which the Mandarin could work and retain enough of his familiar elements to be still considered essentially the same character.

It's like if one were to completely exclude any Asian actors from playing "regular" roles in a Western film/TV production on the grounds that Asians can only ever be associated with martial artists by default, and you wish to avoid that stereotype. So therefore, Asians can't even be envisioned in terms of a hero/villain who doesn't do martial arts but uses guns, or as a romantic lead or in a drama in case someone says "oh look, it's Bruce Lee!" It's also like a Westerner never employing any Asians, supposedly for fear that, since they'll be the employee, they'll naturally be in a more subservient position to the employer, and they wish to avoid that stereotype.

All of that is in fact a subtle form of racial descrimination because ultimately, the people are still excluded. It's excluding someone by pretending to try to avoid racial stereotyping when in fact that is precisely what the excluder is doing himself in his own mind because he can't see beyond the stereotype. That sounds exactly what you're doing here: trying to "champion" the supposedly politically correct route when in fact you keep coming back to this Fu Manchu/ Yellow Peril stereotype rather than seeing any other alternative.

Filmmakers change aspects of literary characters all the time. Saying that if you get rid of the "Fu Manchu" aspect of the Mandarin it will mean that he's no longer the same character is complete bollocks. First of all, Fu Manchu is only an early 20th century creation. It's not like Asian villains only originated with him. You seem to forget about Genghis Khan, for example, upon whom the Mandarin is partially based (he even makes reference to that name sometimes). There have also been other evil emperors and dictators throughout Chinese/Asian history, none of which were associated with "Yellow Peril" because they preceded it. Secondly, it has been decades since any kind of Fu Manchu adaptation has been made that he may not even be that familiar to modern audiences, particularly those who have only grown up in the last 20 years. It's not like Fu Manchu is constantly in your face in all kinds of advertising or movies so that he is such a household name these days. People won't even necessarily make that connection with the Mandarin, especially if you don't keep trying to draw that comparison. Do modern audiences, for example, constantly think of the new Wo Fat in Hawaii Five-0 as some kind of Yellow Peril/ Fu Manchu trope (which is how he may have been conceived in the 60s series)?

Imagine if you could never have a black villain again in any movie because filmmakers fear that they'll be automatically racially stereotyping blacks as troublemakers or criminals. Or a Muslim villain for fear that they'll automatically be branding all Muslims as terrorists. That in itself sounds ignorant because you get evil men among all races who can operate on their own agenda.

As an Asian, I find your comments rather offensive, because by saying "oh look, it's Fu Manchu" it's not that different from saying to any regular chinese "oh look, it's Bruce Lee" and then making these mocking growling cat-like sounds that Bruce Lee made - as if all Asians as a whole amount to are just these stereotypes and nothing else.

By contrast, as an Asian too, I don't find the Mandarin to be offensive, because I can see beyond the Fu Manchu stereotype you seem to be so fond of comparing him to. In fact, when I even first came across the character years ago, it never even crossed my mind to think of him in that way, because I've seen other examples to which he can be compared. You seem to impose upon Asians what you believe they would all think based upon your own stereotypes, when in fact you don't know that they would all think in that way. I've even given you an example of Dr Doom with rings as how Asians themselves might see the Mandarin, but you seem to completely miss the point there and get caught up with the minutae of Doom's particular characteristics.

Like I said before, you (and Shane Black himself) may not even realise you are coming across as racist yourself by trying to advocate this PC view, because it is something so subtle. However, this is something you should reassess because it's almost a kind of backhanded racism like a backhanded compliment.
Yeah, honestly Raven, I don't think you're listening. I've talked about a very specific 'china is evil' stereotype that Fu Manchu and Mandarin both propagate, which I've detailed extensively and you have the gall to say I'm discriminating against quote "any kind of Chinese villain." That just plain old doesn't make sense, my friend. If you find my comments offensive, I suspect that it's because you are selectively reading them. And, as you know, I don't speak for Shane Black, so it's not honest to attribute my breakdown of the stereotype to his statement that Mandarin is a racist caricature.

But since I'm not coming across, maybe TV Tropes can better explain why Mandarin is a Yellow Peril character and why that's bad, and how to actually sidestep it instead of just pretending it's not there because you personally don't see it.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YellowPeril -> Mandy is of course listed under the 'Comic Books' section of this article.

And again, I've suggested alternatives. Since twice I've been told I don't see them (to support ad hominem arguments) - off the top of the dome ways to do Mandarin without furthering the old mystical Asian villain stereotype, and all it's associated implications...
  • Fuse Mandarin with Ghost, just like Crimson Dynamo was fused with Whiplash. Superior techie, beef with Corporate America, fused with his suit.
  • Have Mandarin use the mystical Asian villain stereotype to his advantage by cloaking his tech in a veneer of magic. Extra points if he lampshades Stark's ignorance of real Chinese mythology
  • Tell a Mandarin story throughout the film, where we meet him before he became mystical or a villain.
  • Make it comical, where he's a ridiculous caricature that happens to be badass, and this fact is openly acknowledged, lampshaded and ribbed on
Now, I don't feel that the first two are really Mandarin, or the last two are likely in an Iron Man film, but others may feel differently. Your mileage may vary.


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Old 02-03-2012, 01:19 PM   #42
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Yeah, honestly Raven, I don't think you're listening. I've talked about a very specific 'china is evil' stereotype that Fu Manchu and Mandarin both propagate, .

The Mandarin has never been about how China is evil. In fact, China is the most common target of his conquests, when he's not trying to take over the world as a whole. The Mandarin is a half ethnic Mongol, half British villain who the Chinese fear because he lives in their backyard and usually goes after them first. Heck, there's even a story where The Mandarin is blamed for the Chinese not achieving economic success faster because so much of their budget is devoted to keeping The Mandarin in check.

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Old 02-05-2012, 09:06 PM   #43
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

It was 1959. China was, by all western accounts, an evil communist entity. Mandarin was introduced as someone who China wanted to help them menace the world. Even years later in 1965, with the half Ethnicity retcon (Kyle Rayner anyone?), China was still a mystical place that wanted to start world War 3, with Mandy's help. Marvel has made more and better strides to remove Mandarin from the whole Yellow Peril thing, but saying he didn't start that way is pretty revisionist.

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Old 02-05-2012, 10:01 PM   #44
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

China was and is a communist dictatorship. Presenting them as trying to hire a supervillain mercenary is not the same as saying the Chinese are inherently evil. The soviets and nazi's and even secret rogue sections of the American government are presented as doing the same thing, all without the suggestion that Americans/Russians/Germans are inherently evil and racially conspiratorial.

Yellow Peril requires more than the government of an Asian Dictatorship hiring super villains. Yellow peril had at its heart the idea that there was this vast conspiracy of all the "yellow race" to overthrow the white race. Fu Manchu wasn't yellow peril simply because he was evil and Asian, he was yellow peril because he was at the head of a vast conspiracy of the "yellow man" to overthrow the white man. Inherent in Fu Manchu stories is this view of races as monolythic and inherently internally loyal and conspiratorial. The guy doing your laundry was inherently and automatically part of a conspiracy that stretched all the way to the highest levels of power on the other side of the world, simply because of his race. THAT'S the core of the Yellow Peril villain, and what distinguishes it from a villain who just happens to be Asian.

There was never a suggestion of The Mandarin being a part of a racial conspiracy of the "yellow man" to overthrow the "white man".

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Old 02-05-2012, 10:16 PM   #45
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

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It was 1959. China was, by all western accounts, an evil communist entity. Mandarin was introduced as someone who China wanted to help them menace the world. Even years later in 1965, with the half Ethnicity retcon (Kyle Rayner anyone?), China was still a mystical place that wanted to start world War 3, with Mandy's help. Marvel has made more and better strides to remove Mandarin from the whole Yellow Peril thing, but saying he didn't start that way is pretty revisionist.
I don't think anyone's denying that he started off as a Yellow Peril type. What people here, myself included, have been arguing is that he doesn't have to be introduced in that way in a future Iron Man movie. He can still retain enough of the familiar attributes that make him the Mandarin, even including ancient Chinese robes, without people automatically associating him with that.

The ancient Chinese imagery traces back well before the Yellow Peril period. Since Fu Manchu isn't even something that commonplace these days, especially amongst contemporary audiences, they are more likely to associate his garb with imagery they've seen in movies like Forbidden Kingdom or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The fact that he is the villain and Iron Man happens to be a caucasian isn't going to suddenly automatically place him in the Yellow Peril category these days. It all depends on how he is written. You get villains of all races all the time. Does that mean that in movies like Die Another Day, where there was a North Korean villain pitted against Bond that the villain was a Fu Manchu type or that he was even in the back of people's minds while watching the film? Or what about Wo Fat against McGarrett in the new Hawaii Five 0?

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Old 02-27-2012, 11:03 AM   #46
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

I think using the Extremis story would be pretty good way to go too, if not for IM3, at some point.

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Old 02-29-2012, 09:37 AM   #47
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

I'm willing to bet Marvel will go with Ezekiel Stane for the villain of IM3.

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Old 03-01-2012, 01:39 PM   #48
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

They should go with Mandarin and Ezekiel Stane.

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Old 03-01-2012, 01:55 PM   #49
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

Although he's a different character, another Stane seems like a retread of Iron Man 1. I prefer someone else: Mandarin, Madame Masque, Living Laser, Titanium Man. Any of those would do. Or maybe Firepower and Edwin Cord.

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Old 03-01-2012, 06:47 PM   #50
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Default Re: Who should be the villain in the next Iron Man movie

Didnt favreau straight up say in the commentary for im2 " mandarin is the villain in im3"? I know he isnt directing but ge is still involved and they have subtle and not so subtle foreshadowing to that end.

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