The Mandarin appears in Iron Man 3 as the main villain opposite Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark. A familiar face from the comics, The Mandarin has often been called the archenemy of Iron Man but what will Oscar winner Ben Kingsley bring to the character?
The Mandarin has traditionally been of Chinese descent and primarily uses ten power rings on his fingers to blast and beam his foes into oblivion. These magic rings were forged from alien technology of a crashed spaceship. However new Iron Man 3 director Shane Black has confirmed that though Ben Kingsley’s incarnation of the villain does indeed have fingers full of jewellery; they will not be magic, from space or capable of shooting flames or ice and any other substances. For that matter he is no longer Chinese either so fan boys expecting a very literal interpretation of the character of the comic should think again.
Martial arts skills
Despite this, The Mandarin should be a force to be reckoned with. In the comics he is a genius scientist and has martial arts skills of superhuman levels. Whether the approaching 70 year old Kingsley will be able to handle complex and incredible fight scenes without the need for a great deal of computer generated trickery is open to debate. However Marvel superhero films are full of spectacular effects and a showdown between The Mandarin and Iron Man could be created through immense amounts of digital rendering. Expect at least one fight
The Mandarin is also known for being an intellectual genius in the field of science. With the addition of Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, there could be the potential for a team up to take down Iron Man. Killian is the man behind Extremis, a super soldier serum that could unleash of an army of superhuman villains against Stark and his alter ego. The Mandarin is likely to be involved with such a nefarious plan and two scientists would make a perfect fit for each other and a credible threat to our hero.
Both Kingsley and writer/director Shane Black have hastened to appease those expecting magic fire shooting rings by promising an altogether more sinister and crucially more real version of The Mandarin. An assortment of anti-American iconography, The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 uses media manipulation to cause terror. He hacks phones, broadcasting networks, has an Bin Laden style beard and sends anti American videos out with jihad style logos on them. He has the appearance of an American nightmare come to reality and works hard to promote this image to the world.
With the crew of Iron Man 3 reportedly applauding Kingsley on his last day on the set of shooting the film, what we can certainly look forward to is an outstanding performance from Sir Kingsley. Just because The Mandarin is not everything you had expected from the comics, does not mean he cannot be iconic and memorable villain for the Iron Man franchise.
What do you think about Ben Kingsley’s appearance as Iron Man’s latest nemesis?