The Big Picture: The Big Spoiler: Iron Man 3


A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
Jan 24, 2009
Stormtyrant said:
Also, Bob, your fake English accent is hilarious. Few people can do one well.
If you can still say that after watching his review of Black Swan, you truly have more formidable ears than me. His accent in that was cringeworthy, but here it seemed a lot better (probably because he said like 4 words).

On topic, I really liked this twist. 'Twas the second twist this year to take me completely by surprise. Even though I kinda guessed that the Mandarin didn't really shoot that oil CEO guy (we never saw his body on screen), I still didn't see that twist coming at all. And I've also been thinking that Trevor could stumble on some alien technology, get his ten rings, go completely batshit bonkers (he seemed half-mad already) and don the Mandarin role for real.

Kataskopo said:
Ugh, I really disliked the twist. I mean, from the first 5 minutes you know Killian is going to be the bad guy, and then this Mandarin guy shows up and kills this oil CEO, he's not to be fucked with.

I mean, yeah he was just a sort of terrorist amalgamation, but he was unknown.

But then nope, it was Killian all along. And I didn't found it funny when it was discovered, I was just thinking really? This is the great villian, they wasted this for this stupid shock twist?

To be fair the scenes leading to that was awful as well, Tony Stark just waltzing through his "secure" place.
I think for those who read the Extremis comic the twist was way harder to guess, since we didn't know how closely the movie would follow its plotline and Killian's character is completely different in the comic, since
he's only seen for like 5 panels before blowing his brains out
And after Captain America sneaking into a heavily guarded Nazi base in his outfit I found Tony's James Bond antics way easier to swallow. It was one of those moments took me out of the movie, but I let it slide.


Something something....
Mar 30, 2011
I honestly found Ben Kingsley one of the best parts of the movie he was fun to and interesting to watch "Killian" whom ever played him well not so interesting, and well most of the cast were just well boring... If anyone don't know good acting well watch Kingsley he made the movie specially at the twist part...

I would not mind seeing more of him, specially with the same character traits of this "mandarin"...


New member
Sep 9, 2010
Bob, I was sort of hoping to hear your opinion about the future of Iron Man. If Iron Man 3 was the last of the films, it would work well as a conclusion, as you said in your Escape to the Movies episode. But since we know there's at least one more Iron Man appearance in Robert Downey Jr.'s future, what form do you think it'll take? Tony Stark rather definitively destroys his suits at the end of IM3, and doesn't seem interested in building any more. I mean, obviously he's capable of building a new suit or ten if Nick Fury calls him up and says that Thanos is making trouble, but that seems like it'd cheapen the ending of IM3.

Is it possible that we'll see a new version of Iron Man in Avengers 2?


New member
Jul 13, 2010
Sorry Bob but you are rationalizing. If you have to create external story elements to make the internal ones okay, the movie failed.

But more significantly, the issue is that they didn't need to use the Mandarin to make this plot point work. There is very little upside to this decision. For the people who didn't know the character, they weren't going to be bothered one way or the other with whoever the enemy was so long as it worked to facilitate the story. For the people who do know who the character is and were excited to see him, at best you get people willing to excuse the transgression and at worst you get people who are pissed because they feel lied to.

Why alienate all those people that were really excited to see a movie version of the Mandarin just to preserve a twist that isn't all that great to begin with? Killian's motivation is weak, the metaphor is well trodden ground, and the twist, while surprising to most, wasn't anything thought provoking. It was just a "really...?" moment for most of those that didn't see it coming and a letdown that they actually went through with it for those that did.

It also didn't help that several of the other aspects of the movie were disappointing as well. Perhaps if they had delivered on some good action that involved Iron Man, you know, in a suit that actually worked for more than 5 seconds, people might have been more forgiving of other disappointments. But there really wasn't much to distract you from the rest of the muck. Even the end battle, which should have been fucking epic given the set up, was pretty bland.

To contrast, I think its worth looking at how well the Avengers worked. The premise was ridiculously simple and the plot pretty weak, but it was unapologetically comic book. It embraced who the characters were, threw in some campy one liners, and then just let them be. This movie seemed afraid of its source material and that is why it just isn't very good.


New member
Nov 7, 2010
Therumancer said:
As a result, Iron Man coming to the realization that in order to stop this guy and save everyone was going to have to augment himself as the pilot rather than just improve his armour was kind of the point of the story.
The entire point of Extremis was that it doesn't matter how much you upgrade the armour, if the pilot doesn't become more than he was before you'll still lose, correct?

....They did that in IM3. It might not have been replacing body parts with augmentations or injecting himself with nanites but we see Tony go through a journey and improve all the same.

The Tony Stark of IM1/2 and maybe even Avengers wouldn't have did what he did in IM3. After his house was destroyed and the suit got disabled he'd probably have said fuck it and gone for a drink and let someone else handle it. Outside the suit he's just a "billionaire playboy philanthropist", not a fighter.

We see him broken and scared, hiding in his bunker with dozens of new suits, using them as a crutch to avoid dealing with what happened. Being stripped of that crutch we see him panic and realise that he's defenceless and weak but he picks himself up and fights, even though his power is gone. He's grown to realise that Iron Man is more than just the tech involved but the guy inside it.

Sure they didn't go down the route of physically changing Tony - that wouldn't work because at it's core the IM films are about an ordinary guy who uses technology to fight rather than being a superhuman - but they followed the idea of 'improve the pilot to improve the machine' quite well.


New member
Jan 5, 2012
speccy4i said:
In my experience from what other people have said, there seems to be two reasons why people didn't like this version of the Mandarin: The comic purists that wanted The Mandarin from the comics as is and the people that didn't like it because they felt tricked.

I can understand the people interested in keeping the integrity of such a serious, realistic character, they just want the comics on the big screen, to quote Stephen Fry about the Hitchhiker's movie: "there are those that won't be happy unless the movie is just a camera focused on the book with somebody turning the pages every forty seconds."
I understand where they're coming from, I just think that they're wrong. If an alteration to an established character works within the context of the story being told then it's fine by me. Execution is almost always King.

The second group mystifies me. I don't understand people that don't like feeling tricked or lied to by a film. My best guess is that in this age of every single piece of information being made available on the internet beforehand, people have gotten used to walking into a cinema knowing exactly what they were going to get and any big surprises shake that feeling. It's why I've weaned myself off reading movie spoilers, I'd rather go in not knowing.
There's a third very vocal group in the form of the conservative wanks that want a racist amalgamation of Al Qaeda, North Korea, China and all that stuff as an easy villain to hate on. They say it's some liberal peace-nick bias in movies but in reality it's that they got denied an additional popular opinion approved xenophobic figurehead for their fiction. I guess they'll have to stick to watching the Dark Knight Rises, Stallone movies and both versions of Red Dawn to get their anti liberal fix for the time being.


New member
May 1, 2012
I had no problems with the twist at all and actually enjoyed it as well. All in all that was a nice summation of how I felt about it MovieBob. However I have a different thought on how the twist could be used for a future Iron Man movie.

I can't be the only one who sees this version of the Mandarin as a great launching point for the real one? Looking at this movie as a part of the Marvel universe instead of a singular movie one could grasp a greater story in the works or at least a possibility of one.

The Mandarin name has been tarnished; and I could see a descendant of the ancient Chinese Emperor adviser take this to heart. He sees not only this false Mandarin but also Tony Stark as aggressors in need of punishment. It seems a bit cliche but with the set-up in Iron Man 3 it could turn out great. It gives an actual reason for their to be Chinese Mandarin and also a good reason to fight Tony Stark. I would even have the New Mandarin, kill Ben Kingsley's Mandarin within maybe the first 30mins of the movie.

Well anyways that's at least what I could see being done; but it's probably very unlikely to happen.


New member
Dec 24, 2008
Why is a racist caricature a problem? We are talking about a country where this stuff is actually still believed in and things we consider ridiculous are reality. Having erection problems? Visit this 93 year old fu-man-chu moustached sage who will rub your dick with rhinoceros horn paste. Now get back to your sweat shop and work for the next 14 hours of remaining daylight.

A caricature can work if it is an actual threat. Mandarin wants to go back to the glory days of Emperor Dynasty-era China, having lost everything because of the communist revolt. He also is in the habit of turning the weapons of nations on their own and is a grand puppeteer of sorts. The plot of "put foreign guy in front of camera to be a villain" is clever and says quite allot on it's own about the attitude to foreign "threats".

However this twist hinges on one thing and only one thing. The Mandarin shown is not the actual Mandarin. Meaning that this twist could all still be done... with the Mandarin, rather than evil business guy. They could literally have had the Mandarin pulling the strings and some other guy playing a fake version as a diversion for a much bigger scheme, rather than the cliche Metal Gear Solid war for war's sake thing.

What if the Mandarin was trying to provoke an all out world war by setting up terrorist groups coaxing the US into attacking other nations, the actions of the US souring diplomatic relationships causing international tensions leading to all out war? It could be even his intent to draw the US into destroying China where he would eventually assume power as a new figure head in the government.

There could even be a sideplot about the Mandarin tricking Iron Man into becoming a war criminal when the attacks and terrorist threat becomes so huge that he has to resort to drastic measures whilst going after the false decoys, all the while dealing with the events from Avengers basically making Stark a PTSD wreck. This to keep him from getting to close to the actual plan.

Yes it's on the nose but it's not like the current commentary is subtle.

Not to mention all the little details they just forget about. For example the suit being powered by the reactor in Starks chest in the first movie and now it's just not anymore? Now he has like 30 individual armours that all have their own power-sources and can be destroyed with a wireless signal? Which is really stupid because anyone could hack into that and basically blow up the suit with Stark in it! Why is Iron man beaten by 3 helicopters? He fought fucking aliens in the last movie!

But these are all nit picks in an otherwise good movie that I didn't much care for. I get why people like it, I just didn't care much for it after I started thinking too much about it.


Better than Vash!
Oct 20, 2009
i'm normally not affected by spoilers but damn this one kinda hit me pretty hard. i'm the kind of guy that prefers the journey over the destination.

But having seen this before actually seeing the movie, i can at least sit back and thoroughly enjoy the ride instead of trying to figure out what is going on while watching the movie.

So thanks Bob.


New member
Jul 16, 2011
Danial said:
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.
You haven't paying attention to the movie have you? Pierce was weak yes but he didn't go evil because he got power, he went evil because of tony stark. He even said it himself, that it was desperation, it was when tony stark blew him off and send him to the roof top to wait (and ignored) that he realized how fucked up and unfair the world is. He even thought of jumping off but instead went and blew shit up! AND GET PAID FOR IT! And I loved it!!

It wasn't bullshit at all and it was very well done. It is something alot of us working class(especially salesman) and dreamers can relate to. Pierce was a very well done character.


New member
Apr 18, 2011
MovieBob said:
The Big Spoiler: Iron Man 3

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

Watch Video
I love the Big Picture no matter the topic, and your movie reviews are good even when I don't agree with your opinion, but when you talk about comics (and the things based on them) you really shine. That may just come from my love of comic books and everything about them, but your comic book themed Big Pictures are my favorites.


New member
Sep 10, 2009
Best twist in a LOT of years!!!
I LOVED THE SHIT out of this movie!!!!!!!!

So good, just... damn!

Alex Koelmel

New member
Sep 7, 2010
I thought the Mandarin twist was fine.
I had far more trouble with the magic plant powers than anything else.


New member
Jul 7, 2011
I could go either way on the Mandarin. I'm glad they went the direction they did with him though, which acknowledges the role of such racial caricatures in society, and it was really well done. On the other hand I think they missed out on an opportunity to capitalize on a modern "yellow peril" thing. I mean what better time than now, what with China growing economically, and now with this hacker business to play on some of those fears. Of course you wouldn't have a Fu Manchu, you'd modernize it: businessman who's maneuvering against Stark Industries on the surface while maybe dabbling in a few less than acceptable ventures. In my head I even imagined a whole thing where Tony would try to flaunt himself by speaking Cantonese or something and the guy would respond I only know Mandarin to keep with the name dropping of their comic book names instead of outright stating them (Iron Monger, Warmachine, etc).

Also while bob acknowledges that the Marvel universe has a lot of the "chessmaster" type villains, since Dr. Doom is still with Fox, there's a void that the Mandarin could fill, and you'd give each of the main three a big villain for a possible villain team up (Red Skull, Loki, and... Justin Hammer? Just doesn't seem right).

unacomn said:
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)
It's my understanding that fire breathing is a power of Extremis in the comics, but yeah you still have the dragon tattoos.
Feb 28, 2008
I genuinely thought of this as well; they can have their cake and eat it if they then have Kingsley's character become the actual Mandarin. Or, heck, even have someone inspired by him and become a copycat terrorist, only for real this time. They've done it in such a way that they could create a great and genuinely interesting twist, but at the same time not weld the door shut.

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
Favorite part of the video was the giddy rambling about how awesome it'd be to have the Avengers fight a drunken low-life super villian. xD


New member
Jan 27, 2011
JarinArenos said:
WanderingFool said:
If I remember correctly, They managed to remove the Extremis nano-machines from her at the end.
He said he'd "fix" the problems, like the potential instability, I thought. Especially since he's very obviously using the extremis on himself to use the regeneration to survive the shrapnel-removal. I never took that to mean he'd removed it from her entirely. And why would he? Hell, she made a comment only a few minutes earlier about kinda wanting to keep it. And remember his whole "I have to protect you" thing? Yeah, her being able to protect herself goes a long way there.
I saw no evidence of Tony using Extremis to help with the shrapnel removal. I don't recall any orange glow


New member
Dec 19, 2008
Sometimes you scare me Bob. I had that exact same thought process.
From thinking of the context of the movie universe, to comparing it to the Batman movies(although I was thinking more of Bane), to having the idea that there will be a "real" Mandarin who actually has the Makulan rings.