CinemaBlend Defends Iron Man 3’s Mandarin

This is filled with spoilers – well, sort of. Look away now!

Ok, not exactly news, and other people’s commentary isn’t generally the sort of thing I’m interested in commenting on, but I ran across this yesterday, and I think it may be the most misguided, laughable thing I’ve ever read on the internet. That deserves a moment.

First off, you have to admit going in that to one degree or another, complaints about The Mandarin, in the “true to the character in the comics” sense, are going to fall on deaf ears much of the time. Iron Man isn’t quite Batman or Superman, and the general public isn’t as aware of his universe, and doesn’t especially want to be.

That said, there are a lot of complaints circulating when it comes to The Mandarin, basically because the film throws the character away. It pretends to have him, builds that up in the trailers, and then doesn’t actually have him. You might not be a fan of the comics, and you may well have never heard of the character before, but for those who do know him, his use in Iron Man 3 is bewildering to say the least. For some, it’s an outright travesty.

I tend to agree actually. If we make another Batman movie, and decide to include The Riddler, but show up to the film to discover that the character we call The Riddler bears no resemblance at all, we probably have a legitimate complaint.

But, there are two complaints in play from critics and fans alike. One is that it is bizarre and horrible to pretend to have a character, only to alter the entire Iron Man universe by declaring that there is no such character. The other complaint is that, even if you have no connection to The Mandarin at all, and expect nothing, the way it plays out in the movie is just stupid. Frankly, I have both of these complaints.

The response on, to the idea that people are complaining is…

But they’re wrong. The film never loses sight of the nature of the character, and not only helps make Iron Man 3 a better movie, but actually adds more cohesiveness to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

To be honest, I don’t think anything could be further from the truth. This quote alone is so befuddling that if it said, “The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 is The Mandarin from the comics,” it wouldn’t be more confusing. The nature of the character? By somehow, sort of, melding “him” into another character? Another character that actually exists in the comic universe, and also has little resemblance to this one? What?

The article goes on –

A quick history lesson: The Mandarin, created by Stan Lee, was first introduced in 1964. The character was of Chinese descent and trained in science and martial arts from a young age before stumbling upon ten rings that came from a crashed alien spaceship. Each of the rings had its own abilities, and he harnessed them to begin a quest for power, fueled by intense megalomania. It was when The Mandarin began plans for world domination that he first encountered Iron Man, and the two became arch-nemeses.

Fans upset about Iron Man 3’s reversal of the Mandarin seem mostly hung up on the aesthetics. Could any Iron Man fan say that the Mandarin, a man with a genius-level intellect, wouldn’t devise a plan involving a shadow terrorist leader who hides the identity of the true mastermind? For those who believed that the “magic” element wasn’t explored enough and were disappointed that the character didn’t have ten rings with individual powers, was it not enough that Aldrich Killian/The Mandarin could spit fire, had superhuman strength and regenerative abilities? With control over a massive conglomerate with Advanced Idea Mechanics as well as a widespread terrorism organization, can you argue that he didn’t have the same kind of clout and influence? If those are the characteristics that make The Mandarin, the only complaint that people have is that he looks like Guy Pearce instead of Sir Ben Kingsley.


I’m completely lost here. This also seems to make no sense whatsoever. I’m going to have to answer those questions in a negative way, but I have to deny they make any sense to ask in the first place. Well, you didn’t like the fact that the character did not find “magic” rings, but Killian could spit fire (which was stupid), so what’s the problem? What?

I’d love to get other thoughts on this, and be sure to check out the full article.

via Get Over It: Iron Man 3’s Version Of The Mandarin Is Great –


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Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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