Least Favorite Comic To Screen Adaptation
Do you know the feeling you get when you learn your favorite comic book character is going to appear in the next MCU film? You get so excited, only to have your heart sink when it turns out, that character’s nothing like the comics. I’ve only had to deal with that on rare occasions because Marvel’s good at getting things right. There is one example, though, that I consider the worst comic to screen adaptation ever.
One job, you had one job Marvel, and you messed it all up. Back in the original Iron Man film, Marvel looked like they were planting the seeds for the appearance of one of Iron Man’s greatest enemies, the Mandarin. In the comics, Mandarin is a powerful supervillain and Iron Man’s archenemy.
The fact that he’s a master martial artist and scientific genius makes him dangerous as it is. It’s the rings he wears on his fingers that make him a world-class threat. Salvaged from an alien ship that crashed in China centuries ago, they let the Mandarin control everything from ice to matter to dark matter. Despite his power, Iron Man has stopped him time and again.
The MCU made references to the Mandarin back in the first Iron Man, with the Ten Rings terrorist group being a direct reference to the character. I think it was implied that he was the leader of the group and that he would appear in a future film. Then we got Iron Man 3, and the man we thought was the Mandarin was a fraud.
So, instead of giving us a superpowered terrorist leader, we got a washed-up actor hired. An actor hired by a businessman to cover up the screw-ups for whenever his illegal, genetic experiments blew up. The actor doesn’t even realize what he’s covering up.
As fun as the climax of Iron Man 3 was (Iron. Legion), the reveal that the Mandarin was a fake was a letdown. It’s one of the few mistakes that the MCU has made, and a waste of a good villain. Even the MCU’s real Mandarin was mad about his name being used.
There is hope, though. Kevin Feige has said that the real Mandarin may still appear in the MCU, even though Tony Stark is now dead.