The Mandarin we deserved

You'll never see him coming! (Photo Courtesy of cofphoto)

Seeing Sir Ben Kingsley take on the iconic role of Tony Stark/Iron Man's greatest enemy the Mandarian was probably my most anticipated performance of the entire year.  In the pantheon of super villains Mandarin isn't as great of a villain as The Joker or Dr. Octopus, but he has grown to be one of the better villains of the Marvel Universe and one I have grown quite fond of and learned to appreciate, especially after Matt Fraction's last volume of Iron Man. Getting a chance to see an actor of Ben Kingsley's quality portray what looked to be an updated and realistic super terrorist that would push Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man to his limits was probably the thing I was most eagerly anticipating about the much hyped Iron Man 3, especially since the Mandarin backed terrorist organization the Ten Tings is semi responsible for pushing Tony Stark to become Iron Man after the events of the 1st Iron Man film.  All the ingredients were there, so what happened? And what should have happened? Find out after the break.....


Seeds of Tony Stark Vs. the Mandarin have been set since Iron Man 1,
notice the ten rings terrorist flag in the background.

If you have seen the film (and judging by the $700 million this film has already made at the box office odds are you probably have) you know that Sir Ben Kingsley is not the Mandarin, but in fact actor Trevor Slattery, an actor employed by the “real” Mandarin Aldrich Killian, played by Guy Pearce.  While twists like this can make for brilliant writing, especially coming from a writer and director as talented as Shane Black, in my personal opinion it didn’t work for two reasons.  Reason number one being that when the reveal was executed it was used for comedic effect, revealing Kingsley's character as an idiotic drunk. This reveal would have worked much better if it was handled in a more serious manner manner, similar to how Christopher Nolan handled a similar situation to this in Batman Begins.  Reason two being that Guy Pearce’s already important character, A.I.M scientist Aldrich Killian, is literally the actual Mandarin.  Rather than using Pearce’s character as the idea or mentality of the Mandarin, which would have been brilliant, Shane Black had to give Pearce dragon tattoos and just go ahead and make him the Mandarin.  I realize movie versions of comic book characters are going to be different, but this was too much.  Pearce’s character of Aldrich Killian was already an extremely important part of the Iron Man mythos, and there was no reason to make him two characters. It just really didn't make any sense.  I have heard several writers across the blogosphere claim that doing a true version of the Mandarin would have been racist, so Disney/Marvel’s brilliant answer to this quandary is to simply to make him a white guy.  Way to go Marvel Studios!

Making the ten rings magical, would have worked better than
what Shane Black actually did to the Mandarin character!

How about a gift from Thanos?
Now that I have outlined my thoughts on how it didn't work, let’s move to a magical world where Shane Black actually understands the Iron Man characters.  No it’s not Asgard! Instead of completely wasting the talents of Sir Ben Kingsley, how about letting the audience see the true magic of this talented actor come to life in the form of Shell Head’s greatest foe.  Imagine if in the opening scene, we see Death giving the Mandarin the magical ten rings comic book fans love so much.  By this point Thanos has tried the Loki led Chitauri alien army in the Avengers, so why not go with a more traditional threat such as a terrorist with magical abilities and attempt to take out one of the Avengers front men.  Think about it this way: what if Osama Bin Laden got the means of Thanos magic? I know, pretty scary!

Yea I guess this bad ass version
of the Mandarin is just to lame or racist
for Shane Black's taste, "PLEASE"!
However, given my dream Mandarin scenario, how could you justify not calling in the entire Avengers team to take out Mandarin? Simple, since Mandarin would play himself as traditional terrorist in our scenario, this would seem like a more earthly threat that Stark can handle.  At some point Mandarin has to make the reveal of the magical rings given by Thanos as being behind his attacks.  This gives Tony Stark the perfect outlet to seek out the other big brains of the Marvel cinematic universe in order to ultimately foil Mandarin’s plan.  Big brains such as: Bruce Banner, Eric Selvig, and potentially even Hank Pym.  While they don’t team with Tony in a fight against the Mandarin, he could use the likes of these brilliant men to find a way to defeat the Mandarin leading to the foiling of another Thanos plot while at the same time creating a greater sense of the Marvel shared cinematic universe than what we got in the real Iron Man 3.

I'll take an Infinity Gauntlet
over 10 Rings any day, too bad
we have to wait to 2015 or beyond to see it!

An Iron Man 3 in which Thanos gives Mandarin the ten magical rings and he fails could be the perfect set up for the Avengers inevitable clash with this all time Marvel baddie.  After two attempts (Loki and the Mandarin) maybe Thanos decides it is time to literally take things into his own hand and seek out the Infinity Gauntlet.  You could even use Thanos' search for the Infinity Gauntlet as a story in The Guardians of the Galaxy film.  A story like this would also avoid the messy bookend type ending that Shane Black dealt Joss Whedon to deal with in Avengers 2, and we can even save the Extremis story line for a potential Iron Man 4 during phase 3!

I may not live at 10880 Malibu Point 90265, but you get the idea MARVEL!

Disney/Marvel, Shane Black, and Joss Weldon this is pure unadulterated Marvel Fandom and if you ever want my help, I’ll even give you my address: twitter @thereelbradbell


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