Beard: ‘Iron Man 3’ taps into comic book beginningsWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, here in the third film, Iron Man’s greatest foe takes the stage. The Mandarin first appeared in 1964’s Tales of Suspense No. 50, a Chinese “super-menace” who went on to bedevil Tony Stark time and time again over five decades. The character began as a throwback to the “Yellow Peril” villains of the pulp era, but with the added Red Scare paranoia of the early 1960s. Since then, the Mandarin’s been fleshed out to be a living, breathing opponent for the Armored Avenger, now doubly so through actor Ben Kingsley. Iron Man’s fans have waited for the mastermind’s appearance in the films catching since the barest hint of him in the first installment, and it looks like they’ve gotten their wish — in spades.
Another factor of “Iron Man 3” stems from a more recent development in the comics, although a major one nonetheless. Tony Stark’s mental manipulation of his armor in the film has it origins in comic book writer Warren Ellis’ groundbreaking 2005 Extremis storyline. In it, our hero was injected with a serum that allowed him to contain his armor’s “undersheath” in the hollows in his bones and to call the outer protective pieces to assemble around him by sheer force of will. “Extremis” became a popular and permanent part of the Iron Man mythos, one that obviously suited “Iron Man 3’s” screenwriters.
By utilizing these comic book building blocks, the Iron Man films and their Marvel brethren have created a rare synergy between the source material and the mass-market movie medium. Little wonder then why they’ve been so successful — and why it appears that “Iron Man 3” will be equally so.
Read more: Summer Movies Preview 2013