Warning! Plot Spoilers for Iron Man 3 follow. Proceed with caution.
Iron Man 3 comes swaggering into US theaters on Friday, but for those lucky enough to have already seen the movie, one topic has dominated discussion: 's portrayal of the Mandarin and the twist that occurs about half way through the movie. I won't give away what happens, but I will say it's one of the bravest big-screen representations of a comic book villain I've seen, but also one that is sure to anger a lot of fans of the character.
In an interview with Huff Post Entertainment, Kingsley talked about the unique interpretation of the Mandarin and how thrilled he was to land the part. When asked if he would have been just as excited if the Mandarin had been a more straight-forward villain, Kingsley reponded:
Totally. Because the way that [screenplay writer] Drew [Pearce] and Shane constructed those political broadcasts, they're very well thought through. The attack on Western iconography, cultural values, historical context of imperialism -- all that weaponry at his command to manipulate and terrify his viewers with these broadcasts with which he interrupts the airwaves were very compelling indeed. I forgot all about the twist until I got to it in the script. I just read it page by page. And I totally would have accepted The Mandarin as The Mandarin, actually.
I though Kingsley's performance at the beginning of Iron Man 3 was absolutely stunning. His portrayal of a "teacher" who wants to terrify and manipulate his viewers blew me a way, which makes the decision by the film makers to totally turn the character on its head even more astonishing.
Kingsley also revealed how he learned the true identity of the Mandarin:
I was told by Kevin [Feige]. And reading the script, I didn't know when the reveal would occur. And I was delighted when it did, it's timed beautifully. So it's just a great role. And the team are wonderful: They're very competent, they're very well disciplined, and they welcome new members to the team so graciously. It was a pleasure to join them and to work with them.
I thought the Mandarin was the best on-screen comic book villain since the Joker in The Dark Knight, but I also understand why it could really p**s off hardcore fanboys, who might see this as a wasted opportunity to utilize a really kick-ass villain from the Marvel Universe.
I want to hear your opinions on this. For those that have seen the movie already, what are your thoughts on the Mandarin in Iron Man 3?