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Shane Black explains his version of The Mandarin

Whether or not you were a fan of Ben Kingsley’s take on seminal Iron Man antagonist The Mandarin, there’s no denying that his portrayal provided one of the major talking points surrounding Iron Man 3 .

For those who have yet to see the movie, turn back now, as the discussion gets a little spoilery from here on in...

While many were delighted by the switcheroo that revealed the fearsome terrorist to be a drug-addled old luvvie simply playing a part, others were predictably horrified by the diversion taken from the source material.

“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,” says director Shane Black, defending the direction in which his film took the character.

“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.

“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.”

For our money, Kingsley’s turn was always going to be a divisive one, but was undoubtedly one of the most entertaining parts of the film. And when an increasingly well-worn genre such as the superhero movie manages to surprise you, that’s surely something to be celebrated...

For more spoiler-y Iron Man 3 discussion, check out the TF team's video below:

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