‘Iron Man 3’ Director Shane Black Defends The Mandarin

Shane Black has been discussing the controversial approach he deployed in Iron Man 3 for Iron Man’s deadliest foe, The Mandarin.

Warning, major spoilers are featured ahead, if you’ve yet to see the film you probably shouldn’t read.

Black made us think that Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin would be the antagonist for the third instalment to the Iron Man series. However, it is revealed half way through the film that Kingsley’s character is actually an English actor by the name of Trevor Slattery, who has been employed by Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian.

“I would say that we struggled to find a way to present a mythic terrorist that had something about him that registered after the movie’s over as having been a unique take, or a clever idea, or a way to say something of use,” remarked Shane Black.

He went on to add, “And what was of use about the Mandarin’s portrayal in this movie, to me, is that it offers up a way that you can sort of show how people are complicit in being frightened. They buy into things in the way that the audience for this movie buys into it.”

Black then concluded, “I think that’s a message that’s more interesting for the modern world,” continues Black, “because I think there’s a lot of fear that’s generated toward very available and obvious targets, which could perhaps be directed more intelligently at what’s behind them.”

Black’s decision was alway going to be divisive and loyal Iron Man fans have reacted furiously to his abuse of the source material, venting their frustration via Twitter and various other social network sites.

The director conceded that there was a method to his madness though, revealing, “And hopefully, by the end you’re like, ‘Yeah, we were really frightened of the Mandarin, but in the end he really wasn’t that bad after all’. In fact, the whole thing was just a product of this anonymous, behind-the-scenes guy.”

What did you think of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3?