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« Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures San Diego Comic Con 2013 | Main | Chronicle Review »

Finally Tony takes on the Mandarin...Sike! Iron Man 3 Review

So May 3rd started off a bit ruff for me. Not only was I unable to score Mondo's latest release of Martin Ansin's beautiful Iron Man 3 limited edition poster (pictured left). After watching Ironman 3 later on that night, I could not help but to feel...cheated...fooled...swindled into thinking I was going to be completely satisfied with the film. I will say first of all Robert Downey Jr. sells the film as usual by portraying the billionaire Tony Stark with accuracy. Which brings to me to the bad news, atleast bad news for those of us who are familiar with the Marvel Universe. When I first heard Ben Kingsley was cast as the Mandarin I accepted it with open arms, he does not look oriental in any way compared to the classic Mandarin villain. Yet, I was willing to compromise, being that he is a great actor. What follows can be labeled as SPOILER!! material. A while back Marvel went on record stating they were not sure how they were going to address the Mandarin as a villain. I figured they had it in the bag since he was clearly displayed in the trailers, Ten Rings and all. So it was bit of a thwarted surprise when the Mandarin's character is simply a decoy in the film. Yes a decoy! Ironman's greatest archenemy was used as bait. Bait for all of those with any knowledge of who the Mandarin really was to feel that excitement of seeing Ironman square off against his deadliest foe. Is that not what they were selling in the trailers? For those with no knowledge of who the Mandarin is will most likely go on about their day without noticing any wrong doing. The action is great, character chemistry is present much more than the previous Ironman 2 film. My gripe is the way they treated the Mandarin villain. The Mandarin is simply a diversion in order to bring to light the real villain of the film...Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Are you kidding me Marvel? Aldrich Killian, a character known in the Marvel universe as a cripple scientist who commits suicide after letting his work get into the hands of a terrorist group. I understand Marvel's approach to keeping story fresh and new but if you can imagine a Batman film in which the Joker is used merely as a decoy to bring on the real villain of the Scarcrow....Nope that will not work. The anticipation for the Mandarin has been built and as far as I'm concerned Marvel did not deliver the Mandarin the way he should have been brought to the screen. Instead we get Pearce's character breathing fire while having tattooed dragons on his chest. Oh and if your looking for the Ten Rings I hope your ok with just quick glimpse of Kingsley's knuckles because besides that, they are not mentioned at all in the film. Yet Killian manages to mutter to Stark "You wanted the Mandarin Tony?, I am the Mandarin" and we are supposed to swallow that Marvel? If they were looking for a twist they got but it came at a price. No one who invested time in reading Ironman books would appreciate the neglected Mandarin that was force fed to us in this film. That said, Shane Black did a good job at putting Tony Stark through situations without his armor that still managed to highlight Stark's intelligence and skill with mechanics. All hope is not lost though, even with all that transpired a clever writer can bring back the true Mandarin at a later point in the saga and give it the respect the character deserves.

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