Iron Man 3, Trope Buster
If you didn’t get the notice, there will be spoilers all over this post so don’t read this shit unless you’ve seen the movie!
Did you see it? Alright, you can stay. I’m not going to do a full review but I will talk about two specific aspects of the movie that I thought were absolutely brilliant, Mandy and Pepper. First up, let’s get this Mandarin discussion out of the way.
Hi, I’m Trevor.
I’ve never liked the Mandarin. He’s a terrible caricature of an “Oriental” villain from period of time when the “Far East” was a thing to be feared and mocked. The Mandarin is fucking awful and hearing the news that he would be the villain in Iron Man 3 made me bristle a little.
When word dropped that Ben Kingsley was going to play him, I thought it was an interesting choice. Normally, you’d expect me to rail against the white washing of a clearly Chinese character. Yes, I know Kingsley is part Indian, but when was the last time you met a Mandarin Indian. Still, since I didn’t give a shit about the character to begin with, I didn’t really give a fuck about ethnic authenticity.
Then the trailers hit and I couldn’t stop laughing. Every time I saw him or heard him I thought, man, how the fuck am I going to take this shit seriously? He looks like the third member of LMFAO, he sounds like a fucking idiot, his rings are cheap costume jewelry. Is this really the big bad of what could potentially be the biggest comic book film yet?
AND THEN TREVOR!!!!
Holy fuck, what an awesome reveal! The trailers had me completely fooled and I fucking loved them for it! I loved how meta it was. The trailers make it seem like he’s our big bad. We barely see any of Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian in any of the trailers. Yet he turns out to be the big bad! The trailers hid it from us just like Killian does in the film. Oh, so brilliantly meta!
That turn alone would have made my film. But it’s really Pepper Potts that had me cheering in my seat.
Though Pepper has been established as one of the most intelligent women in the Marvel movieverse, in the first two films she is very much the damsel in distress. And even though we finally get to see her in the armor (damn the trailers for spoiling that moment), she was still distressing pretty hard throughout the film until the last awesome reveal of her Extremis powers. God, such an awesome save!
The best part is that she has to become the ultimate trope, the trophy damsel, in order to turn it all on its head. If Killian hadn’t kidnapped her as his prize and given her Extremis, Tony would be completely fucked.
I’m so glad neither of these reveals were dropped in any of the trailers. I thought those turns really elevated the story telling and made for a much more compelling film. Now I want to marathon all three to see it all come together.