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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Who should Iron Man battle in ‘Iron Man 3’?

So it’s $128 million for Iron Man 2 over its first weekend in North America: that’s down more than $5 million from the Sunday estimates, but it’s still good enough to trump Iron Man’s $98 million opening two years ago. (IM2 dropped 52 percent in the U.K. over its second weekend there, but still easily retained the No. 1 spot at the box office.) If Iron Man 3 wasn’t already inevitable, it is now. Which prompts the question:

Who should Iron Man battle in Iron Man 3?

Director and big ol’ geek Jon Favreau has already gone on record as saying that he’d like the next villain to be the Mandarin (this means nothing to me; I’m totally unfamiliar with Iron Man story history). From MTV:

“You’ve got to do the Mandarin,” Favreau said of the next “Iron Man” baddie, a martial-arts expert who has superhuman powers that can tear apart Iron Man’s suit with his bare hands. “The problem with the Mandarin is that the way it’s depicted in the comic books, you don’t want to see that.

“He has 10 magical rings — that just doesn’t feel right for our [franchise],” the director reasoned. “So it’s either tech-based, or the rings are not really rings. But maybe with Thor and all those others, you’ll introduce magic to that world and it won’t seem so out of place.”

As Favreau hints there and goes on to note, everything is necessarily still up in the air regarding the content of an Iron Man 3:

” ‘Iron Man 3,’ to pay it off, there’s so much left to understand about what the world is going to be like then,” the filmmaker reasoned. “You’ve got ‘Thor,’ ‘Captain America,’ ‘Avengers’ all happening with different directors before ‘Iron Man 3,’ and that’s all going to affect ‘Iron Man 3.’ ”

What advice/suggestions/pleadings would you have for Favreau for Iron Man 3?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • The Mandarin was a product of the Cold War era of the 1960s from which the Marvel mainstays arose. A Chinese descendant of Ghengis Khan raised during the early years of the Communist takeover, he had gained alien-based “magic” powers (Clarke’s Third Law) via 10 rings (the Ten Rings terror group from the first film was a reference to him) that allowed him to be more than a match for Iron Man, and indeed is considered Iron Man’s arch-nemesis. Problem is that he’s more of a Fu Manchu knockoff and in these enlightened times he’d be considered a racist stereotype. Which is why the first two movies promoted villains (Iron Monger, Crimson Dynamo/Whiplash hybrid) most fans would call second-tier bad guys. It’s like making a Batman movie where the major villains were Killer Moth and Calendar Man.

    If Iron Man had to face a major opponent in the third film, I’d go with these guys:

    1) Hulk. There have been some major clashes between Iron Man and Hulk (Stark built Hulkbuster superarmor suits for such battles). It’s doable: an out-of-control Hulk against a control-freakish Iron Man. Could tie in to the Avengers film.

    2) Madame Masque. Sometimes lover/sometimes enemy of Tony Stark. Mentally unstable. Like Stark she has access to technology such as advanced armor, mimicry/disguises (like Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible films) and what seems to be cloning technology to create duplicates of herself. She could be in the film series an bio-tech rival of Stark Industries tasked to ‘grow’ a clone army, and in the process uses the clone army to seize control of Arizona. Good for her.

    3) …that’s about it. Every other villain on the Wiki list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Iron_Man_enemies look like has-beens and knock-offs of other heroes’ rogue galleries. MODOK is possible, but a giant floating head? The MST3K crowd would shred that film in a heartbeat…! So it’s looking like they’ll have to go with Mandarin for the next film… now they just need to ‘clean him up’ of any ethnic stereotyping… and that could get messy. :-/

  • Jakob Garner

    Madam Masque could work. A Hulk tie-in might work too but it’ll depend on where they plan to go with Hulk in the ongoing Marvel series of movies. I would have liked to see Hawkeye introduced but I think that’s probably off the table with the way they brought Black Widow in, as a SHIELD agent from the start. I’d love to see the Sub-Mariner but that might require a bit too much backstory or neglect of backstory. He would, though, present the most complicated villain seen in a Marvel movie yet.

  • JoshDM

    MODOK is possible, but a giant floating head?

    You obviously haven’t seen the recent Hector Hammond snaps from the upcoming Green Lantern film. It’s like he stepped out of Mask.

  • drewryce

    What, no love for “Fin Fang Foom”?

    Dragon that is actually a space alien. Great CGI potential.

  • the rook

    if they’re going to go the space alien route, they should introduce the skrulls. granted, they are really fantastic four baddies, but they’ve appeared in other marvel comics and ought to be appropriate for iron man to fight.

  • CB

    Obviously, Iron Man should be pitted against other ferrous foes!

    Lore Sjöberg’s Wired Alt Text (audio) covers the possibilities as well as anyone could.

  • I’m pretty sure that at the end of the last Hulk movie, it implied that Banner had the Hulk more under control, so I’m guessing IM vs Hulk is not the route they plan on taking. Unless, of course, Iron Man treats Banner’s love interest the way he treats most other women, in which case, HULK SMASH.

  • Knightgee

    “The problem with the Mandarin is that the way it’s depicted in the comic books, you don’t want to see that.

    “He has 10 magical rings — that just doesn’t feel right for our [franchise],”

    Really, Jon? A character that’s pretty much a stereotypical racist Yellow Peril villain and his magical origins are what you find most problematic about him?

  • Jakob Garner

    To be fair to Favreau, he probably didn’t want to come out against the guys who created Iron Man, this cash cow he’s fallen in with, as racists. I think it’s implied in the first line you quoted that there’s more to the problem with the Mandarin than the rings. I don’t think that the worry is the rings as much as the way he’s depicted.

  • Ogami Itto

    MODOK is possible, but a giant floating head?

    With a few modifications to his appearance and backstory I think MODOK could work. Basically he’s a grotesquely deformed cybernetic organism with lots of firepower.

    Since Stark and the Iron Man armor exist in a sort of symbiosis MODOK would just be a more extreme, darker version of Stark/Iron Man, a portent of what might happen to Stark if he becomes too reliant on his technology.

  • hdj

    Mandarin is more of a Dr.Strange Villain.But if the Hulkbuster doesnt come out in the Avengers film then it should in IM3

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