No-holds barred, no punches pulled SPOILER CONVERSATION is about to ensue.
After watching Iron Man 3, I think director Shane Black pulled one heck of a shell game on Iron Man comic & movie fans. But along those same lines, this movie also modified franchise lore just enough to create a digestible movie experience for the non-comic fan. And both demographics combines, is a tricky hoard to try and please.
So keeping in mind that comic book fans are probably a small percentage of the movie fan base, thinking as the long-time comic fan that I am, I have some questions as a movie fan and I’ve been seeing questions online from fans and organizations alike.
So here goes a quick attempt at touching on a few issues from Iron Man 3 regarding The Mandarin, The Avengers, Extremis, Pepper Potts, and quick homages paid to the original Extremis comic and MODOK and such.
Where’s The Avengers?
So here we are in a post-Avengers movie. We now all know about the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.. So why does everyone keep asking about where are they?
Marvel and DC have been running solo titles forever and over time pulled together various characters into group titles. All the while, the characters continued their own story arcs.
But if you must have some explanation in your back pocket, try this one:
Everyone could very well be busy with their own issues. And maybe, just maybe, because the events in this movie took place over a few days at most, no one had time to respond.
Meh… I had no problem with no other character being in the movie and I hope that Marvel/Disney doesn’t have to defend this point with every Phase 2 movie that comes out.
(BTW: May 4th is free comic book day at many or most comic book dealers. They’ll be giving away things. Check out each store online. Some are only giving away 2 free titles, some 5, others 10. Plus cool swag.)
In the comic book franchise, Tony turns to the Extremis tech to help fight an Extremis-powered bad guy and save himself. (He had his ass handed to him in a fight with one and he had to upgrade to save himself and to become strong and fast enough to be on equal footing with him.)
In the movie, Tony invented his own process of networking with his updated armor, and it’s pretty cool.
The Mandarin in Iron Man 3: Well Played or Bad Trick?
After all these months of expecting the Mandarin to be the force of evil to be reckoned with, I think this was the largest disappointment from the movie, and a huge disservice to the fans of the comic franchise.
Iron Man 3 made this character a shell or mockery of what he could have been and all those trailers were nothing more than a huge shell game.
Yet on the other hand, kudos to the creative team for this huge subterfuge. Well played, considering that Aldrich Killian was using the made up character of the Mandarin to distract law enforcement, allowing Aldrich to lay low and fly under the radar.
But seriously, except for the bait this character provided, it was a confusing sensation of feeling like the rug was being pulled out from under me when we discover that the Mandarin’s real name is…
And Trevor was a street junkie who was hired to play the role of the Mandarin.
If you recall, the first trailer for Iron Man 3 had us all wound up (in a good way) about the Mandarin. And at least for me, I was distracted from the Extremis threat while I wondered just how Mandarin fits into the picture. (Sound familiar from the movie story line?) And on top of that, Ben Kingsley would be playing this ICONIC COMIC VILLAIN. Sigh.
The other disservice was to the movie fans.
In IM 1, the terrorists were The Ten Rings, an allusion to the ten rings of power that the Mandarin wears. So we were expecting the big man himself. In IM 2, there was at least one reference to The Ten Rings, and that was the courier who delivered tickets and passport paperwork to Whiplash in Russia at the beginning of the movie. (I believe the direct reference was cut from the theater product.)
And then Shane Black went and did this.
On one hand, you truly could say this was brilliant. Because we were initially focused or distracted on the idea of the Mandarin. On the other hand, it felt like we just got zinged on a very bad shell game with some cheap slight-of-hand.
A year ago, Kevin Feige and Shane Black were asked about Pepper’s armor, called Rescue. They said they had thought about it but it wasn’t the right time.
So fans would think she has no hand in any action. But wow, did they twist that potential up when Aldrich kidnaps her and injects her with Extremis. But as anyone whose seen the movie can attest to, injecting Pepper was a very bad move.
The Clips and Trailers Disservice
I have to say this just one more time…
Showing Pepper getting saved by wearing the armor should have been left out of the marketing and left in rumor-ville. As so too, the Iron Legion.
Both of these events would have been the talk of the town after the movies. They could have been wonderful, eye-opening surprises. Instead, a few of the coolest moments from the movie were put out there and used as marketing plots.
But Did You Catch the References…
Big Brain: When Aldrich was showing Pepper his 3D air art and Happy said he was showing Pepper his big brain, that brought me back to the character of MODOK, an agent of AIM, from the comics.
Blasting the heart from an Extremis soldier: On the airplane, Tony blows the Extremis soldier’s heart out with a chest beam blast. In the comic, to beat the Extremis character Mallen, Tony cups Mallen’s head with both his hands and lets loose with his replulsors.
Yes, we see that the Iron Patriot armor was stolen and used to attack the president. And in the comics franchise, Norman Osborn originally built the Iron Patriot armor.
That’s all I have for you.
Again, in all honesty, this was a great movie that yet again, helps legitimatize comic book characters on to the big silver screen. And it was more about the man than the armor.
So sure, armor fans were possibly slighted pretty badly… especially when Stark self-destructs all his different armor versions just because Pepper would want that. But more so that there wasn’t any real long-time quality armor time in the movie for Tony. It was him chasing bad guys as himself, improvising on the go, and trying to get that quirky model-42 version working right. Though they did have fun with Tony jumping from suit to suit in the finale. But I would have slightly preferred Tony being in one suit, the new one or a newer one, and opening a can of whoop-ass with it through out the movie.
But that’s just me.