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View Poll Results: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...
Love it! 92 36.51%
It's okay... 56 22.22%
Hate it! 104 41.27%
Voters: 252. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-14-2013, 05:18 PM   #426
Doc Samson
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Imagine something for a moment — imagine if in the movie they’d cast a Chinese actor to play Killian, and it was revealed that he merely created the decoy Mandarin etc. With all of the other similarities to the character in the comics, would fans still be angry? Or would they more easily see that this is basically the same thing that “Batman Begins” did with Ra’s, having a smaller character from the comics (Ducard) turn out to be the REAL Ra’s al Ghul, and the foreign guy was just a decoy. Meanwhile, Ra’s was changed from an eco-terrorist sort of dude to a ninja-army vigilante. Ra’s was no longer immortal, lacking one of his most powerful and defining elements from the comics (the Lazaras pits), and he was turned into the man who trained Batman. Yet the Ra’s in the film was awesome and ultimately faithful to the core concept of the character, and most fans understand why the changes were made and totally accept it.
Astute post, but I have a small contention with this part of it. A big reason for the change to Ras Al Ghul were the same reason for the changes to Bane, Scarecrow, Joker etc. It had more to do with the tone Nolan was trying to set, and more importantly, it was consistent for the most part. No, those movies weren't realistic, but they were made to be viewed in a plausible & grounded world.

The decoy was a wink to the fans that Ras Al Ghul could be immortal, not in the literal sense but metaphorically as a symbol passed down through generations similar to how Batman as a symbol is passed down in Rises. Bane & Talia are the physical rebirth of Ras Al Ghul once again as a symbol of evil much in the way Blake will be as a symbol for good. And it was also used for dramatic purposes, not as a joke.

With IM, there's really no discernible reason why a genius scientist with magical rings can't exist. His lineage and ethnicity isn't a huge hurdle for most people to get over, I don't think anyone who's upset with the twist is saying that's the crucial part that's infuriating to them. For me, there's no reason why The Mandarin as portrayed by Trevor couldn't have been the real one. It comes off as a twist simply played for comedy or for the sake of it, and that's the main issue I have with it.

It doesn't matter how much of a fan someone is of the character or not, it feels disrespectful on multiple levels that they saw fit, for whatever reason, to tarnish a Mandarin re-imagining that looked to be pretty cool, just for laughs. It seems as though the people who thought it was really funny are the ones who have no issue with it, but to me, it was just goofy & corny. IM1 did comedy with action & drama for a winning formula, these last two films IMO have skewed way too far on the comedic side to almost being borderline silly. When your comic relief provides neither comedy or relief, I tend to not welcome it so much.

Not to mention that Killian really doesn't come off as The Mandarin at all to me, while other posters have tried to say otherwise. He seems like any other Extremis soldier in the movie, and that's not enough for his threat to seem as dangerous as it should. It's not about being upset over changes, changes happen all the time in comics, it's the only way these characters can thrive and continue for decades. But it is a problem when those changes simply don't work, and for a lot of people, this is one that just didn't work, whether you were familiar with the Mandarin prior or not...

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Old 05-14-2013, 06:34 PM   #427
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Killian wasn’t just “upset” at Stark over some minor perceived offense. Killian THANKS STARK and repeatedly tries to get Stark to team up with him — he doesn’t hold a grudge, really, and only tried to kill Stark after Stark directly threatened to attack. But even then, he later keeps Stark alive and offers him a role in helping AGAIN. The importance of Stark dissing Killian in the past wasn’t that it made Killian hate him, that’s just fans totally misunderstanding the point of the scene and thinking it’s always got to be about the villain hating the hero for some simplistic reason. When Stark left Killian alone on that roof, the point is that Killian felt worthless and almost killed himself out of a sense of realization that his death wouldn’t even matter to anybody because nobody even really knew he was alive — but then he had an epiphany that this actually made him a mirror of Stark, an opposite side of the coin, with Stark being so public everybody knew him and targeted him while Killian realized that with anonymity he could accomplish anything so long as he used his anonymity to his advantage the way Stark conversely used his stardom to his advantage. Killian wanted power, he wanted to amass power without ever drawing attention to himself, THAT was his motivation, NOT “I’m gonna get back at Tony Stark for being mean to me once.”

The twist doesn’t fly in the face of Iron Man at all. The Ten Rings existed for many years, Killian has been building it up to create a new global terrorist threat to help him get more government money, more Extremis soldiers, etc. He was creating a supervillain version of Al Qaeda, basically, one that would require super-solutions like Extremis. The goal was to get more and more money to fund more and more research, and to create more and more Extremis soldiers who were actually loyal to HIM, Killian. And he’d have put a new president in office, giving Killian control over the White House. He’d literally control both sides of the global war on terror’s second stage of super-powered villains and soldiers. But he’d always be behind the scenes, controlling everything as the unseen hand of fate while the government and terrorists and other threats etc went about their business as the public face of things.

Killian is the Mandarin. The movie basically just changed him from being Chinese to being a white guy. And the reason for changing him is brilliant — in the comics, do you know how the Mandarin was originally created? He was created during the Cold War, after the Korean War and during the start of the Vietnamese conflict when the U.S. became gripped with fear that Chinese Communism was going to spread across Asia and take over the world. The paranoia was intense. Mandarin was created as a representation of the country’s fear of the Chinese and of Asian Communism in general, he was a Cold War stereotype basically. So, what did the film do? Had a white man create a fictional foreign stereotype villain to represent the country’s current biggest fears — foreign terrorists.

The Mandarin in the comics was literally created by white men as a representation of people’s fear of a foreign “menace,” and the Mandarin in the movie was created by a white man as a representation of people’s fear of a foreign “menace!” The *actual* Mandarin is also in the film, mind you — Killian is a man who was brilliant but unappreciated and who didn’t have the money or power to achieve his goals and was angry because of it, but who obtains advanced technology and grows in power, a man who becomes strong and superhuman in his abilities, a man obsessed with obtaining power to control the world and obsessed with obtaining technology to achieve his goals. At one point in the comics, the Mandarin carries out some of the same plot as in the film — using Maya to help him make an army of Extremis soliders, while simultaneously building a terrorist army around the world.

Imagine something for a moment — imagine if in the movie they’d cast a Chinese actor to play Killian, and it was revealed that he merely created the decoy Mandarin etc. With all of the other similarities to the character in the comics, would fans still be angry? Or would they more easily see that this is basically the same thing that “Batman Begins” did with Ra’s, having a smaller character from the comics (Ducard) turn out to be the REAL Ra’s al Ghul, and the foreign guy was just a decoy. Meanwhile, Ra’s was changed from an eco-terrorist sort of dude to a ninja-army vigilante. Ra’s was no longer immortal, lacking one of his most powerful and defining elements from the comics (the Lazaras pits), and he was turned into the man who trained Batman. Yet the Ra’s in the film was awesome and ultimately faithful to the core concept of the character, and most fans understand why the changes were made and totally accept it.

Well, the same thing was done with the Mandarin, but fans are mistakenly thinking the Mandarin didn’t exist and the Ten Rings organization wasn’t “real.” But Mandarin WAS in the film, and the organization WAS real, it just had a decoy to distract everyone from the REAL Mandarin, who had many elements from the comics. But he couldn’t be portrayed exactly the same, because that character was problematic for various reasons including how he was first created. So instead, the film said, “Well let’s literally create him the same way — let’s make a guy who is an INTENTIONAL stereotype, created by the REAL Mandarin as a ‘menace’ who looks and sounds like what we EXPECT the villain to be, as a distraction from the real threat!” And it worked, and it’s one of the most original and surprising twists on a villain in comic book films, although we SHOULD have realized it since it’s been done before — why didn’t we realize it this time, though? Because it fed into our expectations of fears and menace, that’s why. The film KNEW we’d assume he was the real Mandarin, because he looked and sounded like the stereotyped cliche of foreign terrorist menaces that we have in our minds. The film made us come face to face with those biases and expectations, and showed how a smart enemy could subvert our expectations and use us without us realizing it until it’s too late.

Tell me, how many superhero movies try that hard to make a story and villain so relevant to our modern world and to offer us a commentary on how villains can subvert our expectations to defeat us? How many superhero villains show that a really smart supervillain might be the one pulling the strings from behind the scenes without us every realizing it, and that if we let our biases and narrow expectations cloud our vision we won’t see the threat until it’s too late — like what happened to Tony in the film! This isn’t a film that disrespects or insults fans, it’s a film that has higher expectations for the characters and the fans, and expected everyone to see the narrative themes and understand them and think about them deeply. Watch the film again, think about this stuff while you watch it, and see if you don’t come out with an “ah ha! now I see the point!” moment, while also seeing a lot more clearly how Mandarin is really in the movie after all, and that they just made a brilliant alteration to help more literally represent the character’s comic book origins as a stereotyped villain who represented the “fear of the day.” The second time I saw the movie, I caught even more references and little nuances that fueled the whole concept, it’s great! And remember those great Chinese dragon tattoos on Killian’s chest, haha!

I hope this clears some of this up and you are able to think about it some more and come to at least appreciate what the film tried to do, even if you still don’t personally like it as much as if they’d just done a straight-up adaptation of the character as-is from the comics.

Wow! Very nice first post IronAvenger, and you make alot of valid points regarding the film and the statements it was trying to make regarding stereotyping and biases in the world today, and in that way I think the film was successful. However, on the other hand I don't go to see Iron Man 3 necessarilly expecting to see an overly thought provoking movie like Zero Dark Thirty either. I go to see movies like Iron Man to see Comic Book's and their characters come to life. But, I digress because my gripe is not really with the movie as a whole, I actually thought it was very good in many ways, and I even enjoyed the twist. My frustration is that they could have called Trevor Slatery (insert terrorist name here) and had Killian at the end of the movie say I am (insert terrorist name here) and the movie would have worked just as well. Why, because neither of them were a close enough embodiment of the Mandarin from the comics that it would have mattered. My point is if they wanted to use the Mandarin then they should have used him rather then using his name and giving us a character that only has some very minor resemblances to the (look, attributes, history and psyche) of the original character. Now I am not suggesting that changes don't need to be made for film, but what we got in my opinion was not even close to resembling the character from the comics, with the exception of perhaps his psyche. I am sorry, but to me it is like someone saying they have beach front property and they live on a swamp. Not the same!

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Old 05-14-2013, 06:36 PM   #428
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

That's a good way of putting it, Surfer.

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Old 05-14-2013, 07:04 PM   #429
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Originally Posted by Surfer View Post

[BLACKOUT]Trevor Slattery as Mandarin


Look - 20 out of 25 - I am giving him this because I felt they did a very good job of translating his look from the comics while trying to avoid racial overtones. However, there is part of me that would have still prefered the more comic accurate interpretation of his look, but of course I say this while meaning to offend no one.
Bullpucky. The Mandarin is not a shriveled little decrepit nerd. He's a tall, athletic, brute. Putting Kingsley in a green robe does not make him look like The Mandarin. It makes him look like a little old nerd buried in a Mandarin costume.




Quote:
Killian as Mandarin

Look - 5 out of a possible 100 - I am giving him this because of the dragon tattoo and the comic picture that shows him shirtless and wearing pants was similar to the movie.


Attributes - 5 out of a possible 100 - I am giving him this because he did have powers in the movie, although I didn't feel they were remotely similar to his powers in the comics.
He karate-chops Iron Man's armor to pieces. He looked extremely Mandariny doing that.


Quote:
History - 15 out of a possible 100 - I am giving him this because despite the history being a lot different from the comics, I did like the fact that they suggested he was responsible for everything that happened back in Iron Man 1 and 2.
There's more to it than that: comic Mandarin spent all of his people's money becoming a scientific genius and a superhumanly skilled martial artist. He was obsessed with achieving perfection of mind and body and didn't care who he hurt along the way.

Killian is obsessed with perfection of mind and body, and wastes taxpayers dollars to achieve it.


Quote:
Psyche - 20 out of a possible 100 - I am giving him this because I thought his personality was great, highly intellectual and does lots of strategizing to take out his targets. I would have given him a 25%, but I felt like he spent to much time worrying about his appearance.
He was full of rage, just like comic Mandarin is full of rage. He tried to be a chessmaster, but he was too much of a maniac to pull it off, just like comic Mandarin. And he was obsessed with a macho version of being perfect in mind and body like The Mandarin.

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Old 05-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #430
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Bullpucky. The Mandarin is not a shriveled little decrepit nerd. He's a tall, athletic, brute. Putting Kingsley in a green robe does not make him look like The Mandarin. It makes him look like a little old nerd buried in a Mandarin costume.

Well I don't disagree with you regarding his muscularity, but in my mind I was considering more his costume when I was talking about his look, since that is mostly what you see. Even you said perhaps accidentilly "buried in a Mandarin costume", which refers to the fact that you also think Trevor Slatery's costume is somewhat Mandarinish (if that is even a word). Lol




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He karate-chops Iron Man's armor to pieces. He looked extremely Mandariny doing that.

Unlike with his 10 rings (which make him special), there are many characters within the Marvel Universe that can hit, punch or even Karate Chop, while doing that kind of damage, therefore I don't see that alone as being something that identifies him specifically as the Mandarin. If anything I think Killian closer resembles a Daniel Rand gone evil.


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There's more to it than that: comic Mandarin spent all of his people's money becoming a scientific genius and a superhumanly skilled martial artist. He was obsessed with achieving perfection of mind and body and didn't care who he hurt along the way.

Killian is obsessed with perfection of mind and body, and wastes taxpayers dollars to achieve it.

Fair enough, and I don't necessarilly disagree with you, but I feel like this falls under his psyche more then anything, and I did gave Killian a 20 out of 25 for matching Mandarin there.


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He was full of rage, just like comic Mandarin is full of rage. He tried to be a chessmaster, but he was too much of a maniac to pull it off, just like comic Mandarin. And he was obsessed with a macho version of being perfect in mind and body like The Mandarin.

Once again no argument from me there, because this relates to his Psyche, and as I stated before, I feel there was a close similarity there between the 2 characters, but that was about it.




I mean let's say your a fan of Baseball and you go to see a movie about Babe Ruth, and they have a person like John Goodman (who has a similar build) playing him. Now over the course of the movie he is wearing a New York Mets Uniform and a Chicago White Sox Uniform, but you know darn well he played for the New York Yankee's and the Boston Red Sox (as well as the Braves for one year). Wouldn't you be upset that they are not being more true to his look.


Now as the movie is progressing they don't show Babe Ruth hit even one Home Run (despite it being his largest attribute in baseball), and it is later discovered it is because the director felt it would be more interesting if he lead the league in base hits.


As for Babe Ruth's history well they decide that it is more profound if he grew up under the scrutiny of his father Thomas Edison, who felt that George Herman Ruth was just throwing his life away by chasing a dream of hitting a ball. So, this story is all about him overcoming his personal demon's.


As for Babe Ruth's psyche, well they nail it. I mean seriously John Goodman couldn't have personafied Babe Ruth better if he was Babe Ruth himself.


So, now the question is even if this ficticious movie was great and very well recieved by audiences, wouldn't you feel like you didn't really get Babe Ruth in the movie? Well that is how I feel about the Mandarin.


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Old 05-14-2013, 09:52 PM   #431
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Well I don't disagree with you regarding his muscularity, but in my mind I was considering more his costume when I was talking about his look, since that is mostly what you see. Even you said perhaps accidentilly "buried in a Mandarin costume", which refers to the fact that you also think Trevor Slatery's costume is somewhat Mandarinish (if that is even a word). Lol
It's similar to a costume he wore for about 1/5th of his existence, sure.







Quote:
Unlike with his 10 rings (which make him special), there are many characters within the Marvel Universe that can hit, punch or even Karate Chop, while doing that kind of damage, therefore I don't see that alone as being something that identifies him specifically as the Mandarin. If anything I think Killian closer resembles a Daniel Rand gone evil.
The rings don't make him special. In fact, they are a lot like Bane's venom, a plot-device weapon that sometimes gets over-focused on to the detriment of those things that actually make the character cool. Which is why even in the comics some writers de-emphasis them or get rid of them entirely.

There have been versions of the Mandarin who didn't use the rings at all, prefering to depend entirely on science gizmos or martial arts.

There have been other versions that used the rings, but treated them as trivial compared to the power of his mad science, scheming, and martial arts. Basically the rings were like Joker's acid spewing flower, nifty but not really important.

And there have been versions where the rings were treated as godly, cosmic weapons of vast power.

And here's the thing, the stories where the rings are hugely powerful kind of suck. The rings in such stories drown out the scheming and mad sciencing and superhuman martial arts that actually make Mandarin cool. It's a bit like making Joker's flower into a city-destroying blaster. It drowns out what actually makes Joker cool.





Quote:
Fair enough, and I don't necessarilly disagree with you, but I feel like this falls under his psyche more then anything, and I did gave Killian a 20 out of 25 for matching Mandarin there.





Once again no argument from me there, because this relates to his Psyche, and as I stated before, I feel there was a close similarity there between the 2 characters, but that was about it.




I mean let's say your a fan of Baseball and you go to see a movie about Babe Ruth, and they have a person like John Goodman (who has a similar build) playing him. Now over the course of the movie he is wearing a New York Mets Uniform and a Chicago White Sox Uniform, but you know darn well he played for the New York Yankee's and the Boston Red Sox (as well as the Braves for one year). Wouldn't you be upset that they are not being more true to his look.


Now as the movie is progressing they don't show Babe Ruth hit even one Home Run (despite it being his largest attribute in baseball), and it is later discovered it is because the director felt it would be more interesting if he lead the league in base hits.


As for Babe Ruth's history well they decide that it is more profound if he grew up under the scrutiny of his father Thomas Edison, who felt that George Herman Ruth was just throwing his life away by chasing a dream of hitting a ball. So, this story is all about him overcoming his personal demon's.


As for Babe Ruth's psyche, well they nail it. I mean seriously John Goodman couldn't have personafied Babe Ruth better if he was Babe Ruth himself.


So, now the question is even if this ficticious movie was great and very well recieved by audiences, wouldn't you feel like you didn't really get Babe Ruth in the movie? Well that is how I feel about the Mandarin.


Surfer
I'd say a better comparison would be, you'd be fine with a guy who looked and acted nothing like ruth, but who dressed like Ruth did one time in a picture of him attending a famous costume party, and who carries a carpenter's hammer because Ruth was a carpenter for part of his life.

Killian is a mad scientist, just like comic Mandarin.

Killian has superhuman martial arts abilities, just like Mandarin and karate-chops the armor to pieces, just like the Mandarin.

Killian dresses in a business suit, just like certain versions of Mandarin do.

Killian runs around shirtless showing off his dragon-tattoos, just like some versions of Mandarin do.

Killian spends the people's money making himself perfect in mind and body, similar to how Mandarin did. Mandarin spent a feudalistic fiefdom's money and Killian spends America's, but the core idea is similar: robbery of the people to achieve personal perfection.

Killian tries to be a chessmaster, but comes across as a raving maniac because he is too much a raging barbarian at heart, just like the Mandarin.

Is it really all about the rings to you? Is that really the heart of it? Because to me that's like hating on Ledger's Joker because he didn't have the flower that shoots acid, or hating on Bane because he didn't have venom.

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Old 05-15-2013, 12:03 AM   #432
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

If your central villain is a raving barbarian in the source material, you need to change that in your adaption. You can keep him a barbarian...a cultured barbarian. Someone who is intellectual but enjoys partaking in brutality to teach a lesson or get the point across.

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Old 05-15-2013, 12:40 AM   #433
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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If your central villain is a raving barbarian in the source material, you need to change that in your adaption. You can keep him a barbarian...a cultured barbarian. Someone who is intellectual but enjoys partaking in brutality to teach a lesson or get the point across.
*shrugs* Maybe. Maybe. But that's a separate issue. What I'm arguing against is the idea that they didn't capture comic Mandarin's spirit in this movie. I believe that they did capture his spirit very successfully. They gave us the mad scientist, super-martial-artist, barbarian running around shirtless with dragon-tattoos. That's comic Mandarin.

Now if you want to argue that maybe they should not have captured his spirit, that maybe they should have given us a "Mandarin" who is more like Yellow Claw or Ra's Al Ghul than comic Mandarin, well now that's a very different subject that has nothing to do with what I have been talking about.

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Old 05-15-2013, 02:48 AM   #434
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Killian wasn’t just “upset” at Stark over some minor perceived offense. Killian THANKS STARK and repeatedly tries to get Stark to team up with him — he doesn’t hold a grudge, really, and only tried to kill Stark after Stark directly threatened to attack. But even then, he later keeps Stark alive and offers him a role in helping AGAIN. The importance of Stark dissing Killian in the past wasn’t that it made Killian hate him, that’s just fans totally misunderstanding the point of the scene and thinking it’s always got to be about the villain hating the hero for some simplistic reason. When Stark left Killian alone on that roof, the point is that Killian felt worthless and almost killed himself out of a sense of realization that his death wouldn’t even matter to anybody because nobody even really knew he was alive — but then he had an epiphany that this actually made him a mirror of Stark, an opposite side of the coin, with Stark being so public everybody knew him and targeted him while Killian realized that with anonymity he could accomplish anything so long as he used his anonymity to his advantage the way Stark conversely used his stardom to his advantage. Killian wanted power, he wanted to amass power without ever drawing attention to himself, THAT was his motivation, NOT “I’m gonna get back at Tony Stark for being mean to me once.”

The twist doesn’t fly in the face of Iron Man at all. The Ten Rings existed for many years, Killian has been building it up to create a new global terrorist threat to help him get more government money, more Extremis soldiers, etc. He was creating a supervillain version of Al Qaeda, basically, one that would require super-solutions like Extremis. The goal was to get more and more money to fund more and more research, and to create more and more Extremis soldiers who were actually loyal to HIM, Killian. And he’d have put a new president in office, giving Killian control over the White House. He’d literally control both sides of the global war on terror’s second stage of super-powered villains and soldiers. But he’d always be behind the scenes, controlling everything as the unseen hand of fate while the government and terrorists and other threats etc went about their business as the public face of things.

Killian is the Mandarin. The movie basically just changed him from being Chinese to being a white guy. And the reason for changing him is brilliant — in the comics, do you know how the Mandarin was originally created? He was created during the Cold War, after the Korean War and during the start of the Vietnamese conflict when the U.S. became gripped with fear that Chinese Communism was going to spread across Asia and take over the world. The paranoia was intense. Mandarin was created as a representation of the country’s fear of the Chinese and of Asian Communism in general, he was a Cold War stereotype basically. So, what did the film do? Had a white man create a fictional foreign stereotype villain to represent the country’s current biggest fears — foreign terrorists.

The Mandarin in the comics was literally created by white men as a representation of people’s fear of a foreign “menace,” and the Mandarin in the movie was created by a white man as a representation of people’s fear of a foreign “menace!” The *actual* Mandarin is also in the film, mind you — Killian is a man who was brilliant but unappreciated and who didn’t have the money or power to achieve his goals and was angry because of it, but who obtains advanced technology and grows in power, a man who becomes strong and superhuman in his abilities, a man obsessed with obtaining power to control the world and obsessed with obtaining technology to achieve his goals. At one point in the comics, the Mandarin carries out some of the same plot as in the film — using Maya to help him make an army of Extremis soliders, while simultaneously building a terrorist army around the world.

Imagine something for a moment — imagine if in the movie they’d cast a Chinese actor to play Killian, and it was revealed that he merely created the decoy Mandarin etc. With all of the other similarities to the character in the comics, would fans still be angry? Or would they more easily see that this is basically the same thing that “Batman Begins” did with Ra’s, having a smaller character from the comics (Ducard) turn out to be the REAL Ra’s al Ghul, and the foreign guy was just a decoy. Meanwhile, Ra’s was changed from an eco-terrorist sort of dude to a ninja-army vigilante. Ra’s was no longer immortal, lacking one of his most powerful and defining elements from the comics (the Lazaras pits), and he was turned into the man who trained Batman. Yet the Ra’s in the film was awesome and ultimately faithful to the core concept of the character, and most fans understand why the changes were made and totally accept it.

Well, the same thing was done with the Mandarin, but fans are mistakenly thinking the Mandarin didn’t exist and the Ten Rings organization wasn’t “real.” But Mandarin WAS in the film, and the organization WAS real, it just had a decoy to distract everyone from the REAL Mandarin, who had many elements from the comics. But he couldn’t be portrayed exactly the same, because that character was problematic for various reasons including how he was first created. So instead, the film said, “Well let’s literally create him the same way — let’s make a guy who is an INTENTIONAL stereotype, created by the REAL Mandarin as a ‘menace’ who looks and sounds like what we EXPECT the villain to be, as a distraction from the real threat!” And it worked, and it’s one of the most original and surprising twists on a villain in comic book films, although we SHOULD have realized it since it’s been done before — why didn’t we realize it this time, though? Because it fed into our expectations of fears and menace, that’s why. The film KNEW we’d assume he was the real Mandarin, because he looked and sounded like the stereotyped cliche of foreign terrorist menaces that we have in our minds. The film made us come face to face with those biases and expectations, and showed how a smart enemy could subvert our expectations and use us without us realizing it until it’s too late.

Tell me, how many superhero movies try that hard to make a story and villain so relevant to our modern world and to offer us a commentary on how villains can subvert our expectations to defeat us? How many superhero villains show that a really smart supervillain might be the one pulling the strings from behind the scenes without us every realizing it, and that if we let our biases and narrow expectations cloud our vision we won’t see the threat until it’s too late — like what happened to Tony in the film! This isn’t a film that disrespects or insults fans, it’s a film that has higher expectations for the characters and the fans, and expected everyone to see the narrative themes and understand them and think about them deeply. Watch the film again, think about this stuff while you watch it, and see if you don’t come out with an “ah ha! now I see the point!” moment, while also seeing a lot more clearly how Mandarin is really in the movie after all, and that they just made a brilliant alteration to help more literally represent the character’s comic book origins as a stereotyped villain who represented the “fear of the day.” The second time I saw the movie, I caught even more references and little nuances that fueled the whole concept, it’s great! And remember those great Chinese dragon tattoos on Killian’s chest, haha!

I hope this clears some of this up and you are able to think about it some more and come to at least appreciate what the film tried to do, even if you still don’t personally like it as much as if they’d just done a straight-up adaptation of the character as-is from the comics.
Excellent post. I saw your article on CBM and was gonna post about it just now in this thread to mention how it perfectly worded my thoughts on the matter. Then I saw you had already posted it here and got happy haha

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Old 05-15-2013, 06:18 AM   #435
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Killian wasn’t just “upset” at Stark over some minor perceived offense. Killian THANKS STARK and repeatedly tries to get Stark to team up with him — he doesn’t hold a grudge, really, and only tried to kill Stark after Stark directly threatened to attack. But even then, he later keeps Stark alive and offers him a role in helping AGAIN. The importance of Stark dissing Killian in the past wasn’t that it made Killian hate him, that’s just fans totally misunderstanding the point of the scene and thinking it’s always got to be about the villain hating the hero for some simplistic reason. When Stark left Killian alone on that roof, the point is that Killian felt worthless and almost killed himself out of a sense of realization that his death wouldn’t even matter to anybody because nobody even really knew he was alive — but then he had an epiphany that this actually made him a mirror of Stark, an opposite side of the coin, with Stark being so public everybody knew him and targeted him while Killian realized that with anonymity he could accomplish anything so long as he used his anonymity to his advantage the way Stark conversely used his stardom to his advantage. Killian wanted power, he wanted to amass power without ever drawing attention to himself, THAT was his motivation, NOT “I’m gonna get back at Tony Stark for being mean to me once.”

The twist doesn’t fly in the face of Iron Man at all. The Ten Rings existed for many years, Killian has been building it up to create a new global terrorist threat to help him get more government money, more Extremis soldiers, etc. He was creating a supervillain version of Al Qaeda, basically, one that would require super-solutions like Extremis. The goal was to get more and more money to fund more and more research, and to create more and more Extremis soldiers who were actually loyal to HIM, Killian. And he’d have put a new president in office, giving Killian control over the White House. He’d literally control both sides of the global war on terror’s second stage of super-powered villains and soldiers. But he’d always be behind the scenes, controlling everything as the unseen hand of fate while the government and terrorists and other threats etc went about their business as the public face of things.

Killian is the Mandarin. The movie basically just changed him from being Chinese to being a white guy. And the reason for changing him is brilliant — in the comics, do you know how the Mandarin was originally created? He was created during the Cold War, after the Korean War and during the start of the Vietnamese conflict when the U.S. became gripped with fear that Chinese Communism was going to spread across Asia and take over the world. The paranoia was intense. Mandarin was created as a representation of the country’s fear of the Chinese and of Asian Communism in general, he was a Cold War stereotype basically. So, what did the film do? Had a white man create a fictional foreign stereotype villain to represent the country’s current biggest fears — foreign terrorists.

The Mandarin in the comics was literally created by white men as a representation of people’s fear of a foreign “menace,” and the Mandarin in the movie was created by a white man as a representation of people’s fear of a foreign “menace!” The *actual* Mandarin is also in the film, mind you — Killian is a man who was brilliant but unappreciated and who didn’t have the money or power to achieve his goals and was angry because of it, but who obtains advanced technology and grows in power, a man who becomes strong and superhuman in his abilities, a man obsessed with obtaining power to control the world and obsessed with obtaining technology to achieve his goals. At one point in the comics, the Mandarin carries out some of the same plot as in the film — using Maya to help him make an army of Extremis soliders, while simultaneously building a terrorist army around the world.

Imagine something for a moment — imagine if in the movie they’d cast a Chinese actor to play Killian, and it was revealed that he merely created the decoy Mandarin etc. With all of the other similarities to the character in the comics, would fans still be angry? Or would they more easily see that this is basically the same thing that “Batman Begins” did with Ra’s, having a smaller character from the comics (Ducard) turn out to be the REAL Ra’s al Ghul, and the foreign guy was just a decoy. Meanwhile, Ra’s was changed from an eco-terrorist sort of dude to a ninja-army vigilante. Ra’s was no longer immortal, lacking one of his most powerful and defining elements from the comics (the Lazaras pits), and he was turned into the man who trained Batman. Yet the Ra’s in the film was awesome and ultimately faithful to the core concept of the character, and most fans understand why the changes were made and totally accept it.

Well, the same thing was done with the Mandarin, but fans are mistakenly thinking the Mandarin didn’t exist and the Ten Rings organization wasn’t “real.” But Mandarin WAS in the film, and the organization WAS real, it just had a decoy to distract everyone from the REAL Mandarin, who had many elements from the comics. But he couldn’t be portrayed exactly the same, because that character was problematic for various reasons including how he was first created. So instead, the film said, “Well let’s literally create him the same way — let’s make a guy who is an INTENTIONAL stereotype, created by the REAL Mandarin as a ‘menace’ who looks and sounds like what we EXPECT the villain to be, as a distraction from the real threat!” And it worked, and it’s one of the most original and surprising twists on a villain in comic book films, although we SHOULD have realized it since it’s been done before — why didn’t we realize it this time, though? Because it fed into our expectations of fears and menace, that’s why. The film KNEW we’d assume he was the real Mandarin, because he looked and sounded like the stereotyped cliche of foreign terrorist menaces that we have in our minds. The film made us come face to face with those biases and expectations, and showed how a smart enemy could subvert our expectations and use us without us realizing it until it’s too late.

Tell me, how many superhero movies try that hard to make a story and villain so relevant to our modern world and to offer us a commentary on how villains can subvert our expectations to defeat us? How many superhero villains show that a really smart supervillain might be the one pulling the strings from behind the scenes without us every realizing it, and that if we let our biases and narrow expectations cloud our vision we won’t see the threat until it’s too late — like what happened to Tony in the film! This isn’t a film that disrespects or insults fans, it’s a film that has higher expectations for the characters and the fans, and expected everyone to see the narrative themes and understand them and think about them deeply. Watch the film again, think about this stuff while you watch it, and see if you don’t come out with an “ah ha! now I see the point!” moment, while also seeing a lot more clearly how Mandarin is really in the movie after all, and that they just made a brilliant alteration to help more literally represent the character’s comic book origins as a stereotyped villain who represented the “fear of the day.” The second time I saw the movie, I caught even more references and little nuances that fueled the whole concept, it’s great! And remember those great Chinese dragon tattoos on Killian’s chest, haha!

I hope this clears some of this up and you are able to think about it some more and come to at least appreciate what the film tried to do, even if you still don’t personally like it as much as if they’d just done a straight-up adaptation of the character as-is from the comics.
Posts like this are the reason why I continue to check out these boards.

Excellent post.

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Old 05-15-2013, 06:35 AM   #436
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

It doesn't matter how much Killian says he's "the REAL Mandarin", he really isn't. You can't just put dragon tattoos on his chest and say "his the real Mandarin". In fact, the plot itself has nothing to do with terrorism. Killian isn't a terrorist. He is a scientist and an industrialist with a grudge towards Tony Stark

Yes, Killian was the master mind. But Killian was the master mind of a whole different thing. "Mandarin" did bombings, Killian did science that was unstable so everyone of those bombings was a mistake, not a part of his grand plan. Everything that made "Mandarin" the character he was is entirely different of what made Killian the character he was, so simply revealing Killian as the real master mind doesn't equal of him being "the real Mandarin". I'd like to see someone prove me wrong. Don't you dare bring the Ra's Al Ghul thing up, he still was the real thing after the reveal. Same idealism, same motives and so on

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Old 05-15-2013, 07:23 AM   #437
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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everyone of those bombings was a mistake, not a part of his grand plan.
The Chinese theater bombing seemed pretty intentional to me.

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Old 05-15-2013, 07:25 AM   #438
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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It doesn't matter how much Killian says he's "the REAL Mandarin", he really isn't. You can't just put dragon tattoos on his chest and say "his the real Mandarin". In fact, the plot itself has nothing to do with terrorism. Killian isn't a terrorist. He is a scientist and an industrialist with a grudge towards Tony Stark

Yes, Killian was the master mind. But Killian was the master mind of a whole different thing. "Mandarin" did bombings, Killian did science that was unstable so everyone of those bombings was a mistake, not a part of his grand plan. Everything that made "Mandarin" the character he was is entirely different of what made Killian the character he was, so simply revealing Killian as the real master mind doesn't equal of him being "the real Mandarin". I'd like to see someone prove me wrong. Don't you dare bring the Ra's Al Ghul thing up, he still was the real thing after the reveal. Same idealism, same motives and so on

Good lord there's not enough face-palm in the world for that post.

Comic Mandarin is not a bomber. He's not a bomber. Comic Mandarin is a mad scientist and a superhuman martial artist. He schemes, he performs weird experiments, and he karate-chops stuff really, really hard. What appears to be bombings turning out to be the side of effect of weird mad science experiments makes him more truly the Mandarin, not less!!!

In fact, I'd say that's part of the genius of the whole thing. The movie at first makes it seem like they have re-envisioned Mandarin as a terrorist instead of the mad scientist/superhuman martial artist he is in the comics. But then once everything is clear, it turns out that the Mandarin hasn't been re-envisioned at all: he's almost exactly the sort of mad scientist he is in the comics, and he even has the super-armor-smashing-karate-chops of the comic character.


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Old 05-15-2013, 08:35 AM   #439
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

Comics are nothing more than inspiration; this is where slavish devotion to the source hurts the film. Its fine to capture these aspects of comic Mandarin; leaving the film character at simply those aspects is bad writing. If you're happy with flat characters, there's nothing I can say at this point to convince you otherwise, MC.

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:12 AM   #440
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

You guys do know that the Mandarin in IM3 is a 'modernized' version of the Mandarin in the comics right? The Mandarin in the comics was based around the Vietnamese War and Cold War. Iron Man 3 is set sometime around our present day and they just made it so that a white guy played it while the decoy was what many of us see as a terrorist: a middle-eastern looking mofo.

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Old 05-15-2013, 12:03 PM   #441
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

If Killian needed/wanted Tony's help then why kill him?

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Old 05-15-2013, 01:32 PM   #442
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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It's similar to a costume he wore for about 1/5th of his existence, sure.


I understand that there were many different versions of the Mandarin costume in the comics (including one similar to what was worn by Trevor in the film), and I would even go as far as to say that Killian dressed up all business like or Killian with Dragon Tattoo's and slacks could closely represent a different version from the comics. However, for me it all goes back to what makes the core character different from everybody else in the comics, and for me as far as looks go, the garb worn by Trevor was considerably more unique to the character then business attire. Now I am not saying I didn't want Killian to have a business look because it fit well with the film and the twist, but what if Trevor's look was based on Killian's love for artifacts and the culture of Ancient China. So, over the course of the movie you have Killian being the business man / mad scientist character with an interest in Ancient chineese Artifacts and perhaps they show him bare chested with the dragon tattoo foreshadowing the end of the film, but in the mean time Trevor appears to be the Mandarin as was shown in Iron Man 3. Then after the twist is revealed Killian wants Tony Stark dead once and for all and he gets ceremonial about it by putting on clothing that represent a costume that is more unique to the comic Mandarin then slacks. I just feel like when Marvel makes their films they need to look at what seperates each of their characters Look, Attributes, History, and Psyche from all of their other characters. So to me slacks are so common that it doesn't help to identify him as the Mandarin versus another character. It may seem silly to some, but to me because comics are such a visual medium getting the characters look right in a movie to me is very important.


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The rings don't make him special. In fact, they are a lot like Bane's venom, a plot-device weapon that sometimes gets over-focused on to the detriment of those things that actually make the character cool. Which is why even in the comics some writers de-emphasis them or get rid of them entirely.

While, I don't think his 10 rings are the only thing that make Mandarin special, they are definitely something that makes him unique. Unlike his mad sciencing and Martial Arts, where many marvel villians share in those attributes.


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There have been versions of the Mandarin who didn't use the rings at all, prefering to depend entirely on science gizmos or martial arts.

There have been other versions that used the rings, but treated them as trivial compared to the power of his mad science, scheming, and martial arts. Basically the rings were like Joker's acid spewing flower, nifty but not really important.

Okay, but show me a version where the character didn't have the 10 rings on his hands then we will talk. The way I see it is that while the Mandarin has this unique weapon he may not always choose to use it, because his psyche enjoys the mad sciencing and the martial arts part of battle, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want it at his disposal if he needs it.


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And there have been versions where the rings were treated as godly, cosmic weapons of vast power.

Yeah I know, and what a treat that could have been on the big screen to see a battle of Mandarin with his 10 highly powerful rings against Tony's 40 plus suits of Armor. Don't get me wrong, I wanted him to fight hand to hand also, but it could have easilly been choreographed him fighting Iron Man himself hand to hand while blasting other suits of Armor out of the sky, making him in my opinion a total bad @$$.


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And here's the thing, the stories where the rings are hugely powerful kind of suck. The rings in such stories drown out the scheming and mad sciencing and superhuman martial arts that actually make Mandarin cool.

So, let me understand this, you are blaming a writer's ability to tell a good story on a characters powers. A good writer should be able to balance all of a characters attributes, while writing a complex story. So, I feel this is not the fault of the character's powers, but just poor storytelling.

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It's a bit like making Joker's flower into a city-destroying blaster. It drowns out what actually makes Joker cool.

I didn't need Mandarin's rings to be over the top powerful like Joker's flower in your statement above, but yes I think it would have been nice if they had included his 10 rings of power. Also, Joker's flower is not the greatest example, because he very seldomly uses it, where as Mandarin's rings (while not always used) are used a lot more commonly in the comics.

Also, my problem with Killian being the Mandarin is not entirely because he doesn't have the 10 rings or the unique Mandarin garbs. My problem with Killian being the Mandarin also stem from what attributes he has gained from the Extremis virus. I mean the guy can shoot fire out of his mouth. I don't recall the Mandarin in the comics ever doing that. He, heals like Wolverine once again I am at a loss as to when Mandarin did this in the comics, and he heats up to like a molten type core, and I unfortunately am still drawing a blank as to when this happened to the Mandarin in the comics. I mean seriously, in my opinion they just threw whatever powers at him they wanted with no respect for what his powers were really like in the comics. They should have had the attributes gained from the Extremis virus be unique to each character just like the super soldier serum effects. They could have made Ellen Brandt's character heal, Savin's character turn into a molten core and shoot fire, and then with Killian they could have given him the ability to control the elements & some types of matter, while not entirely the same as the comics it would have still been alot closer to the rings powers then what we got. Also, by doing this they could have made it seem like Killian was a cut above the rest and not just another extremis soldier with the same powers.



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I'd say a better comparison would be, you'd be fine with a guy who looked and acted nothing like ruth, but who dressed like Ruth did one time in a picture of him attending a famous costume party, and who carries a carpenter's hammer because Ruth was a carpenter for part of his life.

Killian is a mad scientist, just like comic Mandarin.

Killian has superhuman martial arts abilities, just like Mandarin and karate-chops the armor to pieces, just like the Mandarin.

Killian dresses in a business suit, just like certain versions of Mandarin do.

Killian runs around shirtless showing off his dragon-tattoos, just like some versions of Mandarin do.

Killian spends the people's money making himself perfect in mind and body, similar to how Mandarin did. Mandarin spent a feudalistic fiefdom's money and Killian spends America's, but the core idea is similar: robbery of the people to achieve personal perfection.

Killian tries to be a chessmaster, but comes across as a raving maniac because he is too much a raging barbarian at heart, just like the Mandarin.

Is it really all about the rings to you? Is that really the heart of it? Because to me that's like hating on Ledger's Joker because he didn't have the flower that shoots acid, or hating on Bane because he didn't have venom.

Sorry that you didn't like my analogy, but to be honest I don't even understand yours, so I guess that makes us even. As for the rest of it, I think alot of that has to do with his psyche as a character and as I have said before I agree that Killian's psyche was pretty much the Mandarin. The other parts are talking about Killian's similarities to Mandarin's attributes, and while I agree the sciencing and Martial Arts are similar. There are several attributes that are dissimilar about the characters, so lets count.


Similar Attributes


Sciencing
Martial Arts



Dissimilar Attributes


No 10 rings of power
Healing ability
Molten Core ability
Breathing Fire ability


So, as you can see while there are some things that link Killian to the Mandarin from the comics in the way of attributes, there are more things that do not.


At least that is how I see it.


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Old 05-15-2013, 01:43 PM   #443
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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If Killian needed/wanted Tony's help then why kill him?
Because he kept saying no and trying to stop him?

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Old 05-15-2013, 03:02 PM   #444
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Because he kept saying no and trying to stop him?
At the time of the destruction of the house at no time did Tony say no or try to stop him

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Old 05-15-2013, 03:44 PM   #445
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

He needed to have the pseudo-Mandarin respond to Stark's verbal smackdown for the public eye. It's not that he was seeking him out for help the whole movie-- it's that once he had him locked up he figured he may as well give him another chance to get in on the action, not unlike how Green Goblin offered to join forces after fighting for so long in SM1.

Mandarin's not really thinking about Tony during his plotting; Tony just keeps popping up to interfere in one way or another.

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Old 05-15-2013, 04:44 PM   #446
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Good lord there's not enough face-palm in the world for that post.

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Comic Mandarin is not a bomber. He's not a bomber. Comic Mandarin is a mad scientist and a superhuman martial artist. He schemes, he performs weird experiments, and he karate-chops stuff really, really hard. What appears to be bombings turning out to be the side of effect of weird mad science experiments makes him more truly the Mandarin, not less!!!

In fact, I'd say that's part of the genius of the whole thing. The movie at first makes it seem like they have re-envisioned Mandarin as a terrorist instead of the mad scientist/superhuman martial artist he is in the comics. But then once everything is clear, it turns out that the Mandarin hasn't been re-envisioned at all: he's almost exactly the sort of mad scientist he is in the comics, and he even has the super-armor-smashing-karate-chops of the comic character.
Just because he does karate chops and is a mad scientist doesn't make him the Mandarin. There's more to it than that. For example his background has nothing to do with either movie Mandarin or comic book Mandarin. Then also the ideology has nothing in common with the movie version of comic book version. He is not asian like the comic book Mandarin (Kingsley's Mandarin wasn't asian, but at least he had tons of Chinese iconography to compensate).

So while some of the actions (karate chops, sciency evil stuff) are vaguely similar, it's not the character doing them. Killian as a character is still just an white guy industrialist with a personal grudge against Tony Stark. They can't retcon that by adding tattoos and making him doing karate

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Old 05-15-2013, 05:19 PM   #447
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

Theres no need to retcon because the MCU is a separate universe/medium from the comics. Like it or not, the canonical Mandarin for the MCU, now and for all time, is Aldrich Killian. They are one and the same.

Marvel has basically nailed the Heroes. They have stayed faithful to their roots in the comics. Heck, I'd even argue that RDJ's performance is an improvement over most of the characterizations of Tony in the books. They can do whatever the hell they want with the villains as long as they make sense within the movie.


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Old 05-15-2013, 06:45 PM   #448
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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At the time of the destruction of the house at no time did Tony say no or try to stop him
That's because at that point, *Maya* needed Tony's help; Killian didn't.

The movie begins with Killian approaching *Pepper* for financial backing for Extremis, since he has a longer and better history with her than with Tony (whom he probably regards as nothing more than a rich and pompous *******). Pepper turns him down, and Killian goes on his way.

Meanwhile, one of Killian's goons is getting sketchy in LA, failing to "regulate" and all that, and he happens to accidentally self-detonate at the same time Happy Hogan is sniffing around. Killian drags out Fake Mandarin and does the usual schtick --- pretends the explosion was caused by a Ten Rings terrorist bombing instead of an Extremis experiment gone wrong. This leads Tony, in turn, to blame (Fake) Mandarin for Happy nearly getting killed (not to mention the people who *did* get killed); which leads, in turn, to Killian merrily taking up the gauntlet that Tony throws down (ill-advisedly).

While all that happens, Maya finds an old nametag Tony Stark used at the NYE99 party and discovers that he pretty much solved the Extremis Problem in a formula he idly scribbled on the back. So she goes to his house for help --- right at the same time the helicopters are attacking.

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Old 05-15-2013, 06:46 PM   #449
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

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Originally Posted by TheWallCrawler View Post
Just because he does karate chops and is a mad scientist doesn't make him the Mandarin. There's more to it than that. For example his background has nothing to do with either movie Mandarin or comic book Mandarin.
and how do you know that when comic book Mandarin's background is something manufactured?


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Originally Posted by TheWallCrawler View Post
Then also the ideology has nothing in common with the movie version of comic book version.
ruling the world?

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Originally Posted by TheWallCrawler View Post
He is not asian like the comic book Mandarin (Kingsley's Mandarin wasn't asian, but at least he had tons of Chinese iconography to compensate).
and that's really what it comes down to. you're hung up on his ethnicity. you don't even get that Trevor was mocking people who think like this with the chinese iconography. and if tha'ts enough compensation for you then why don't you count Killian's dragon tattoos?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWallCrawler View Post
So while some of the actions (karate chops, sciency evil stuff) are vaguely similar, it's not the character doing them. Killian as a character is still just an white guy industrialist with a personal grudge against Tony Stark. They can't retcon that by adding tattoos and making him doing karate
industrialist? i'm not sure that you understand what A.I.M is. Killian had the vice president by the balls. he was setting him up to be his personal puppet. he had an army of extremis soldiers at his command. and he was very much behind those terrorist attacks, in the movie. he just wasn't asian.

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:49 PM   #450
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Default Re: The Mandarin in Iron Man 3...Love it or hate it? - Part 1

I can't say that I was outraged by the way they did it.Kingsley was hilarious.I do suppose that I'm somewhat disappointed that for all the build up (Oscar worthy actor,delivering epic lines,etc) it turns the Iron Man's arch enemy into a spoof of the character.It wouldn't be tolerated for the arch enemy of any other hero.

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