The Big Picture: The Big Spoiler: Iron Man 3

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The Big Spoiler: Iron Man 3

Massive spoilers concerning Iron Man 3 ahead so consider yourself warned.

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A fair argument. I think it was similar to the scene with Tony and the kid; you'd think you would hate it, but in actuality, you end up liking it.

I actually prefer the realism and I hate when comics just drop all pretense of any kinda good story just to do something that will sell. You and me Bob have very different tastes, you just like to see shit happen I like development.

Though I agree on the Mandarin thing for this movie since it makes more sense from a logical perspective.

I absolutely loved this twist! It was completely unexpected, and was absolutely hilarious, yet kind of terrifying all at once!

"Oh no, not the hammer!"

Hah, yes! This definitely needs to happen. Someone get Marvel on the phone right this instant, because whatever they've shot of Avengers 2 has now become garbage.

NOOO DAMN YOU BOB HOW COULD YOU SPOIL IRON MAN 3 FOR ME? I HAD NO IDEA THERE WOULD BE SPOILERS! lol

anyway, as someone who hasn't read the comics, obviously I didn't see the twist coming, but I thought it was great, the only disappointing thing in the movie I think was that James Rhodes became the Iron Patriot, I know it was never likely but if we couldn't have Norman Osbourne I was hoping they'd use Captain America as the Patriot, although again I always knew that was very unlikely

I had my issues with some other parts of the film, but the Twist was actually really well done, I just wish they'd developed Pierce a bit more, since he suffers from the same Green lantern "weak man gets power goes evil" BS.

Conveniently cuts before we can really hear your british accent impression, good editing.

Anyways, thanks for that video. I seriously had no idea who the Mandarin was, I get why fans if his would hate the twist. I compared the feeling before with how I felt about Ra's in Batman Begins, which you also brought up. But even though you rationalized, I still imagine the disappointment felt the same to many.

good video but im surprised that alot of people are not talking about the satire in that plot point, it mirror the way al lot of country used known terrorist as hate figures to force public opinion. i guess because it was pretty well layed out in the film they dont feel the need.

A Chinese supervillain with magic rings would probably be more interesting then a fire breathing arms dealer but i still loved this twist. One of the few things i didn't like about Iron man 3 was how the Mandarin was just a Chinese Bin laden. I don't think terrorist make for good villains in fiction so he annoyed me, i'd rather have ''another guy in suit'' then him. The scary terrorist really being a nearly drunk, clueless idiot pleased me a great deal. That and he's just funy.

Its just a shame the real villain turned out to be even more boring then the archtypical terrorist.

The main reason I don't like this twist is because they do such a good job at building up this character of the Mandarin, they surround him in a lot of mystery, and then when he just turns out to be some drunken douchebag playing the Mandarin, it felt like an enormous let down. I guess Killian's reasonnig makes sense: rule the world from behind the scenes, because otherwise you'll make yourself a target, and just create a face that doesn't exist. Sure, but I still feel like they could have done something more interesting with this.

Loved the twist because as he said it himself, "You'll never see me coming."

I personally loved the plot twist in Iron Man 3 and I really loved Bob's idea for Avengers 2. The last part of this video made my day.

Am I the only one that saw Killian more as Fin Fang Fum? The fire breathing, the dragon tattoos, the him "making" the Mandarin. (because his rings were from Fin Fang Fum's crashed ship)

Loved the pitch at the end - and while unlikely to happen, then I can definitely imagine quite a few fanfic writers taking up the torch on that one

Xelien:
Conveniently cuts before we can really hear your british accent impression, good editing.

FYI, that's a pretty typical Boston accent from anyone who grew up somewhere other than the couple of suburbs populated largely by people who moved in from elsewhere. It's not British, and he's not putting it on, either. Rather, he cuts the accent once he actually goes into his radio voice.

Damn it Bob, you've reminded me that it's been waaaaaaay too fuckin' long since I've seen Big Trouble in Little China. That, and now I want to see Ben Kingsley as David Lo Pan.

aba1:
I actually prefer the realism and I hate when comics just drop all pretense of any kinda good story just to do something that will sell.

What?

Wait...

What?

So, in your mind, a story won't be good if they deviate from realism?

This isn't to be a dick, I just don't understand the logic behind what you just said. Please explain this.

aba1:
I actually prefer the realism and I hate when comics just drop all pretense of any kinda good story just to do something that will sell. You and me Bob have very different tastes, you just like to see shit happen I like development.

Though I agree on the Mandarin thing for this movie since it makes more sense from a logical perspective.

Are you equating realism with great story-telling? If so, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE.

Fiction is a boundless ocean where execution is king. Anything can be made into a good story and "development" isn't exclusive to realism (or whatever idea you have of realism).

I agree with you about the Ultimates comic lines... such a disappointing project.

As a longtime Mandarin fan I am happy to say I actually enjoyed the twist.

unacomn:
Am I the only one that saw Killian more as Fin Fang Fum? The fire breathing, the dragon tattoos, the him "making" the Mandarin. (because his rings were from Fin Fang Fum's crashed ship)

No, I TOTALLY saw him as an adaptation of Fin Fang Foom. He's got the dragon imagery, powers, fire-breathing... I loved it.

In fact, I'm surprised so few "fans" have caught on that a huge number of characters are actually in the movie in subtle ways. Radioactive Man was the doctor operating on Tony Stark; Coldblood was Adrich's right-hand man; the overt Fin Fang Foom imagery with Adrich; the shoutout to Pepper as the heroine Rescue... even the President was a character from the comics given a new role in the movie's story.

Concerning the twist... I love it. And you'd think I'd hate it. But, no, I love it.

Yes, they turned Iron Man's Joker or Lex Luthor into a total joke... but it's a HILARIOUS joke. Yeah, I wanted to see The Mandarin as "the Mandarin" and not a fake, but at the same time they commit to it 110%. They knew it was ballsy, but once they said "we're doing this" you can see just how much fun and love they had in setting it up, manipulating Tony Stark (and the viewers), and then going into the grand reveal that Trevor's a total drugged-out moron whom Sir Ben Kingsly is playing with such sincerity that you can't help but go from hating him as a villain to loving him as a comic relief.

And I think it also creates a message that goes over some people's heads; "The Mandarin" totally exists, but not as a singular person but as a theme or an idea. It's as subtle as naming a villain "The Red Scare". It's not about him as a person, but what the title and figurehead represents. It's a surprisingly smart satire of our own views, where we "need" to pin a face to a crime, a face to an idea, a face to a terrorist organization. We need a Bin Laden or Saddam to give a form to our hate, a focus to our anger and fear, even if others are just as involved and culpable.

And that's what made the villain so great. He manipulates the whole world into focusing on some drunk, womanizing, drugged-out buffoon and convinces them that he's the threat while he goes about manipulating the war on terrorism to his own profit. He's a brilliant and smart villain (at least until his Bond-villain weaknesses start causing him to make some pretty silly decisions). My only major complaint is I wish we'd seen more of how he turned from idealized weak nerd into ruthless, power-mad terrorist... but I'll buy the "power corrupts" excuse. His weaknesses was that he changed himself completely, made himself rich and strong and ruthless, yet he was still hung-up on his insecurities from his past (Pepper and Tony, mostly).

I thought it was a great movie and a great twist. I even loved the ending with Trevor being arrested and him sort of realizing that he's inadvertently living his dream of becoming a sort of celebrity with the media and finding some measure of joy in doing so. It's pitiable yet still funny and clever.

Orekoya:

aba1:
I actually prefer the realism and I hate when comics just drop all pretense of any kinda good story just to do something that will sell.

What?

Wait...

What?

So, in your mind, a story won't be good if they deviate from realism?

Please explain this.

I think he means right at the end, during the credits, when he was doing his Ben Kingsley impression.

When it comes right down to it I just don't buy that after kersmashing an invincible space army in the last movie a dozen Iron Mans get cut to ribbons by the apotheosis of Jersey Shore (muscly, stupidly-tattooed mullet man whose super power is spontaneously turning bright orange). It feels like a let down.

I liked Ben Kingsley's Mandarin. You liked Ben Kingsley's Mandarin. Just imagine how much better Iron Man 3 would have been if they'd just stuck to their guns and actually let him take on Tony Stark. Y'know, a smart, legitimately scary political figure who doesn't care about any of the Iron Man bravado and really just wants to destroy Stark and everything he stands for. That sounds like a damned entertaining match-up to me.

unacomn:
Am I the only one that saw Killian more as Fin Fang Fum? The fire breathing, the dragon tattoos, the him "making" the Mandarin. (because his rings were from Fin Fang Fum's crashed ship)

...THAT'S GENIUS! Why didn't I think of that? And it all fits as well. His extremis powers mimic his powers in the comic. The making of the Mandarin. His behind the scenes work. Heck, his extremis powers might have continued to grow to where he could have looked like a dragon. You sir, just blew my mind.

Absolutely loved that twist. Did NOT see it coming. On the other hand, I found that to be a much less shocking plot twist than the fact that

No commentary about that, Bob? Seems to have some pretty damn big implications...

Aw man.. I actually look forward to Big Picture on Tuesdays and I can't watch.

Spoilers Below:

I'm not surprised Bob liked this twist because it pretty much matched his liberal sensibilities, moving away from a real enemy that would be especially relevent today given rising tensions with China, their racism, military build up, and the way that they have a rich ruling class living in huge, modern, cities while the rest of the population labours in sweatshops, shares beds with other people, and lives alongside it's livestock (which is how SARS got started). The stereotype of something like "Fu Manchu" or "The Mandarin" has become increasingly relevent today in a way it hasn't been for decades, as it pretty much epitomizes everything wrong with China, which is actually extremely antagonistic towards the USA (note an article right here on The Escapist about Chinese cyber espionage). The change in Iron Man being largely a "hey, let's not antagonize The Chinese and pretend there isn't a problem" fueled desician, while they re-directed the villainy onto something a bit more liberally appropriate, namely American military arms manufacturers.

I understand the political gesture in turning "The Mandarin" into a giant gag, but in doing so they ruined a potential for much needed social commentary, as well as pretty much destroying one of the all time great super-villains, more or less ensuring we won't see a proper version of a character just begging for some major FX treatment for a while to come.

For those that read this far, Bob seems to also sidestep the OTHER, less politically charged storyline which was ruined by this movie. That is the "Extremis" storyline. These "fire guys" Iron Man is fighting are supposed to be the result of the Extremis project from one of his more classic, fairly recent, storylines, which was popular enough that it got a motion comic adaption, and is also one of the big jewels in the crown of Warren Ellis. The idea of Extremis was that a weapon could only go so far without improving the person using it. Iron Man ran into a bad guy who was so heavily augemented that he simply could not take him with a suit of powered armor, having his body inside the armor ultimatly give out. For those who read Iron Man, he's pretty much the good version of a human supremicist, sort of like Batman, he very much believes in humanity, and it's a point of pride to compete with those with freak powers as an ordinary man using gizmos (Batman takes it further than Iron Man does though, if you pay attention to some of his internalized ranting about Superman in some comics). This was a guy who in the "Earth X" elseworlds story locked himself in an enviromentally controlled building to avoid being given mutant powers by the release of the Terragin mists. As a result, Iron Man coming to the realization that in order to stop this guy and save everyone was going to have to augement himself as the pilot rather than just improve his armor was kind of the point of the story.

So understand "Iron Man 3" pretty much gutted not only one of the all time great super villains in general, but also in it's quest for throwing out as many comic-relevent buzzwords as they could, decided to pretty much ruin he entire "Extremis" concept and storyline.

That said Iron Man 3 pretty much seemed to be going down a check list of things they shouldn't have been doing in one of these movies, and putting them on screen. They went out of their way to minimize the amount of time we got to see Iron Man as you know... Iron Man, in favor of us seeing Tony Stark strutting around without armor, or partial armor, with the entire thing contrived to find reasons why they could do this. Right up there with the whole "WTF is Spider Man doing without his mask" thing that you would expect people to have learned from. Then they decided to of course bring in a little kid to apparently act as a youth Audience surrogate, who mostly served no purpose other than to have a kid paling around with Iron Man... and whose mother is dismissed with like one line of dialogue and we're supposed to entirely forget about the passage of time otherwise and Tony dragging this kid around to dive bars and such. So yeah, they decided to bring out the annoying tacked on kid trope into the movie along with everything else. Something that is as well appreciated as a potential annoucement that we will have Wendy and Marvin make an apperance in the inevitable "Justice League" movie they seem to be preparing.

In short "Iron Man 3" was just "okay" as a movie, I don't think it was great. Pretty much a victim of sequelitis, and I believe corperate meddling to prevent it from being too politically "edgy", and to play better with children by attaching a kiddie audience surrogate that your not supposed to think too much about. This movie is pretty much what I'd have expected from Disney doing an "Iron Man" movie to begin with, and I guess we're pretty lucky it took until the third installment for the cracks to start appearing like this.

Oh and FYI Marvel/Disney, if you *must* give Iron Man a sidekick... Squirrel Girl. If you actually know your material you should know why! :)

K_Dub:
I absolutely loved this twist! It was completely unexpected, and was absolutely hilarious, yet kind of terrifying all at once!

Yeah, It was seriously one of the best movie twists Ive sen in a long time.

JarinArenos:
Absolutely loved that twist. Did NOT see it coming. On the other hand, I found that to be a much less shocking plot twist than the fact that

No commentary about that, Bob? Seems to have some pretty damn big implications...

I loved the twist, although more for "Meta" Reasons

Funniest Scene in the Movie?
For me, despite the fun performance by Kingsley as Trevor, the...second of third Mandarin Video, in wich he raves on about Fortune Cookies being American and then crushing some with all the intensity of a 90ies MTV Metal Video.

The only thing better than having an unintentionally hilarious super-terrorist hamming it up to the n-th degree is actually somewhat ACKNOWLEDGING what an over-the-top ridiculous caricature this super-terrorist is and making fun out of it.

Whether that was the intention or not, it's amazing : D.

WanderingFool:

I like your ideas for the Mandarin's revival, Bob. Maybe not Avengers 2 but have super-powered drunken Ben Kinsley be the head or part of the Masters of Evil for Avengers 3.

I definitely agree with Bob on his points regarding the reveal with one exception. I was into the Ultimate Marvel universe line for the majority of it (I still find the Bendis/Bagley run of Spider-Man and the two Millar/Hitch runs of Ultimates to be the best) up until Ultimatum came along and then I abandoned ship (Thanks a bunch, Jeff Leob).

I truly enjoyed Iron Man 3 and the twist that came from it took me by surprised but it didn't ruin the experience for me. While I can understand the outrage by the comic book fans, I'm rather OK with it. Mostly because the twist was done perfectly imo and partly because my view of it comes from years of watching these comic book movies and learning to deal with certain elements not making it onto the big screen. I will admit that, during production of the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie, I was one of the many who signed the online petition to ditch the organic web shooters and keep the original mechanical ones. I felt that it was a crucial component to his origin and leaving it out was total blasphemy. On the other hand, I wasn't totally upset over the Green Goblin's "Power Ranger" outfit. Yeah, I wished they kept the facial mask in the comics (especially after seeing that recent video of the prototype Goblin mask on YouTube) but upon thinking it over, the classic Green Goblin costume wasn't going to translate properly in the movie (try picturing the purple stocking cap, matching curly-toed boots, and man purse without thinking of any gay jokes or references). Plus you have to consider that this was roughly 4 years after the whole Batman and Robin debacle so its easy to understand why movie studios cringed in the thought of putting these characters in anything remotely similar to their Technicolor costumes (look what happened to the X-Men in their movie debut). Thankfully, we got Spider-Man in his classic red & blue tights and while not every detail was 100% faithful (going back to the organic web shooters), the movie turned out great.

OK, maybe what I or Bob had to offer isn't going to take the sting off those who felt cheated by this revelation. But perhaps its time for fans to come to terms that not everything is going to turn out as we anticipated. Besides, there are way worst things to be upset over than a comic book villain not living up to our hype. So lets try to put this in perspective, OK?

It worked for me because Stark busted him without the armor. It was a moment when both characters were at their weakest and Kingsly was absolutely charming in this role. And I also had the same thought about him taking up the mantel after the next Avengers. Something like he just happens upon one of the rings of power or something.

Trishbot:

unacomn:
Am I the only one that saw Killian more as Fin Fang Fum? The fire breathing, the dragon tattoos, the him "making" the Mandarin. (because his rings were from Fin Fang Fum's crashed ship)

No, I TOTALLY saw him as an adaptation of Fin Fang Foom. He's got the dragon imagery, powers, fire-breathing... I loved it.

In fact, I'm surprised so few "fans" have caught on that a huge number of characters are actually in the movie in subtle ways. Radioactive Man was the doctor operating on Tony Stark; Coldblood was Adrich's right-hand man; the overt Fin Fang Foom imagery with Adrich; the shoutout to Pepper as the heroine Rescue... even the President was a character from the comics given a new role in the movie's story.

Concerning the twist... I love it. And you'd think I'd hate it. But, no, I love it.

Yes, they turned Iron Man's Joker or Lex Luthor into a total joke... but it's a HILARIOUS joke. Yeah, I wanted to see The Mandarin as "the Mandarin" and not a fake, but at the same time they commit to it 110%. They knew it was ballsy, but once they said "we're doing this" you can see just how much fun and love they had in setting it up, manipulating Tony Stark (and the viewers), and then going into the grand reveal that Trevor's a total drugged-out moron whom Sir Ben Kingsly is playing with such sincerity that you can't help but go from hating him as a villain to loving him as a comic relief.

And I think it also creates a message that goes over some people's heads; "The Mandarin" totally exists, but not as a singular person but as a theme or an idea. It's as subtle as naming a villain "The Red Scare". It's not about him as a person, but what the title and figurehead represents. It's a surprisingly smart satire of our own views, where we "need" to pin a face to a crime, a face to an idea, a face to a terrorist organization. We need a Bin Laden or Saddam to give a form to our hate, a focus to our anger and fear, even if others are just as involved and culpable.

And that's what made the villain so great. He manipulates the whole world into focusing on some drunk, womanizing, drugged-out buffoon and convinces them that he's the threat while he goes about manipulating the war on terrorism to his own profit. He's a brilliant and smart villain (at least until his Bond-villain weaknesses start causing him to make some pretty silly decisions). My only major complaint is I wish we'd seen more of how he turned from idealized weak nerd into ruthless, power-mad terrorist... but I'll buy the "power corrupts" excuse. His weaknesses was that he changed himself completely, made himself rich and strong and ruthless, yet he was still hung-up on his insecurities from his past (Pepper and Tony, mostly).

I thought it was a great movie and a great twist. I even loved the ending with Trevor being arrested and him sort of realizing that he's inadvertently living his dream of becoming a sort of celebrity with the media and finding some measure of joy in doing so. It's pitiable yet still funny and clever.

Well said. =)

I woke up with a pounding headache this morning, then I hear Bob's treatment for Avengers 2. My headache is gone, this must happen, and it has to be the cheapest and trashiest beer cans all over. Make it so, Marvel!

I'm now envisioning Jack Burton as an Avenger.......and I can't stop smiling at the premise.

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