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Wednesday, May 12, 2010 

Why would Iron Man's foes be "too dated" for the movies?

The Iron Man movie sequel has already premiered and has gotten almost as much praise as the first, and certainly took the numero uno spot at the box office. But the Nashua Telegraph seems to think that the reason why some of Iron Man's most prominent rogues' gallery members haven't been used yet is because they're "too dated":
If you’ll recall, the first Iron Man movie featured a villain who is also B-list or below: Iron Monger, a one-shot villain who committed suicide in 1985. So where are Iron Man’s biggest foes? I’m afraid the answer is that they’re too dated.

Without a doubt, the Armored Avenger’s longest-running and most serious threat – his Joker, if you will – is the Mandarin. This cunning and super-powered Asian warlord probably made a lot of sense when he was created in the early 1960s, when Red China was considered an enemy, and memories of Fu Manchu were still fresh. But while the “yellow menace” has a long history in comics, the movies are a different and more politically correct medium – so it’s uncertain we’ll ever see a cinematic Mandarin.
Oh really? I'm not sure I agree with this. First, in regards to China: they're still communist, the government controls the press there, the one-child policy is still in effect, and to make matters worse, they've formed a strategic alliance with Iran and North Korea (H/T: Weasel Zippers). Why then wouldn't the Mandarin make for a good supervillain?

And regarding Russia, under Yeltzin, things may have improved for a time, but since Putin came to power, which he still holds as a "prime minister", the country has been backtracking considerably, putting local media outlets under government control, and 2 years ago, they attacked Georgia. And Forbes recently reported that totalitarianism is making a comeback, Russia included. Why then shouldn't the Soviet-style nemeses like the Crimson Dynamo be worth using?

Maybe at one time, these prominent foes of Iron Man were "dated", but as recent world events show, they may have become un-dated, and their backgrounds more relevant again. In that case, to say they're dated is rather exaggerated. And yet, if they are dated, did it ever occur to these writers in the MSM that what ought to be done is to rework the backgrounds of the villains so their countries of origin will be more fictionalized? Mission: Impossible had plenty of fictionalized countries featured during its 1966-73 run, and if Marvel were to do something similar, it's possible that these supervillains could hold up much better in use. Indeed, I've sometimes found it odd that Marvel chose to use real life countries for some of their stories when they could've featured fictionalized ones instead, and they certainly do have some, like Latveria, Wakanda, and Symkaria. I guess it's strange that they didn't think to retcon some of their writings so that the real life countries could be exchanged with more fictionalized ones that would hold up better in retrospect.

I honestly hope the Mandarin does get used as a villain in another Iron Man movie, if there'll be one, but if not, I have an idea why: it's possible the studio wouldn't use this major member of IM's rogues' gallery because they don't think they could sell it in China! Is that possible? Maybe, and if so, it's a shame that they've succumbed to political correctness.

Speaking of which, that's the problem with the Nashua Telegraph article: it's very weak in it's reference to the movie medium, because it suggests that PC-ness is okay. And, it ignores current world events that strongly suggest China and Russia are still menaces, and that's why Iron Man's rogues' gallery isn't as "dated" as they must want to think.

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Nashua Telegraph = Made of Fail

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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