Why Iron Man 3 has the Worst Twist in Comic Book Movie History

***Spoilers for Iron Man 3 and Captain America:Winter Soldier below***

The final installment in Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man trilogy was received poorly among fans and for good reason. Despite the film being decent if not great in some ways, there is a major reason it is hated still to this day. I recently watched the film again for the Road to Infinity War and enjoyed it for the most part. That said I still cannot stand the twist and you all know what I am referring to.

For months the film was advertised as the main villain being the Mandarin. We saw a more middle eastern terrorist approach to the character. While this isn’t the traditional way the Mandarin is portrayed in comics, it was a change I was perfectly fine with and was actually quite excited for. Ben Kingsley as Iron Man’s greatest nemesis? I prepared myself by reading up on the Mandarin, watched an animated film with The Mandarin as the main villain and was pumped for the film. You can criticize me for over hyping all you want and you would be right but it doesn’t make me wrong. Marvel actively deceived their fan base and somehow thought it would be received positively.


Can you imagine if The Dark Knight had been advertised as a Joker movie and then we showed up to the theater only to learn that Heath Ledger was actually just some dude in makeup and the real villain was The Court of Owls? Sure, the Court of Owls are great and all but the Joker vs. The Court of Owls? No contest.

Likewise, Extremis is an interesting idea and a villain I was happy to see Iron Man face. I honestly believe that Iron Man 3 would be rated much higher and thought of in much higher regard if the Mandarin twist had not been there. Trevor could have still existed as an actor who was playing a terrorist but they could and should have made up a character or used an obscure villain that people weren’t as attached to. I personally would have been disappointed still because I love Ben Kingsley and didn’t like his character being a joke. I wanted to see Kingsley as the main antagonist but I totally understand that Killian was trying to create a ruse. I think I am in the minority on that and believe that most people would have liked the film if Trevor was acting as someone other than the Mandarin. Think of the twist in Captain America: Winter Soldier. We thought the film’s main antagonist was the Winter Soldier but he was being controlled by Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. was completely dismantled in the film. It’s not like the film changed the Winter Soldier to be a completely different villain than was advertised. Instead he remained involve while Hydra and Robert Redford’s character were set up as the true villains.

When I watched the film recently I did my best to not care about the twist and watch it more objectively. It is a fun Marvel film and Aldrich Killian is a decent villain. He isn’t deep in character development like Loki or Killmonger from Black Panther but he is acceptable. Guy Pierce did a great job with the role but was overshadowed by a terrible plot twist that honestly left me so angry that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the movie when I watched it for the first time. It was the only time I left a Marvel film saying I was upset I spent my time watching the movie. Even Age of Ultron didn’t let me down that severely even though it is near the bottom of my list as far as Marvel movies are concerned.


Luckily Marvel has learned their lesson and hasn’t made the same fatal mistake since this massive fail. If Marvel does one thing well it is that they listen to their fans. The fans sent the message loud and clear that this twist was a betrayal of our trust and that we won’t eat everything up just because it says Marvel. The recent Inhumans show is further proof that we fans won’t put up with trash just because it has the Marvel logo in front of it.

What do you Cruchers think? Am I being to sensitive? Am I being too forgiving, just right? Let us know.

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