There are spoilers ahead, and not just for Iron Man 3.
Back in 2005, Warner Bros. released Batman Begins, the first of Chris Nolan’s three excursions to Gotham City. The villain of the piece was Ra’s Al Ghul, and to this day, Ken Watanabe takes the credit for playing that role on The IMDB, while Liam Neeson is credited only as Ducard.
Pfft. Most of us know now how that actually pans out in the movie.
The movie tricks us, to some extent, by using the most ‘oriental presentation’ of Ra’s al Ghul as a decoy for a less bold one. It seeks to use, I think, stereotyping against us.
And it might be that Iron Man 3 is playing a similar game with us. Similar, though as you’ll see, not necessarily quite the same.
Showbiz 411’s Paula Schwartz spoke to James Badge Dale recently. Dale is playing Eric Savin in Iron Man 3, and very possibly takes on the alias of Coldblood. But here’s what he had to say about the power structure of the film’s villainous hierarchy:
Ben Kingsley is the mouthpiece. Guy Pearce is the brain. I’m the muscle.
Just a mouthpiece?
Guy Pearce has previously said his role in Iron Man 3 is just “a cameo.” Mind you, he said more or less the same thing about Prometheus, denying he’d appear for more than a minute or so.
Of course, if Dale’s comments really can be taken in such a way and he has let slip that The Mandarin is more puppet, less master, then we’re moving off-text a little when it comes to adapting the comics. Would Marvel do that?
Well, maybe – it could certainly help them address the “representation issues” that have dogged The Mandarin in the comics, the things that led Iron Man 3 director Shane Black to call the character, as he appears in Marvel’s strips, “a racist caricature.”
But going off-comic can make the fanbase so angry. I’m not sure they’d want to take this risk…
I suggest we should probably assume for now that Dale’s comments are not supposed to be taken in any way that undermines the power of this “mouthpiece,” and that he didn’t mean to let the air out of The Mandarin so completely.
Let’s assume, appropriately enough, that in this case, Dale’s mouth got a little ahead of his brain.
Incidentally, the headline of the Showbiz 411 story tells us that Dale has now been cast in a movie called Parkland:
set between the time JFK was killed by Oswald and Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby in November 1963.
Dale is going to play Oswald’s brother, who I know nothing about at all. The title would seem to refer to the Parkland hospital where both JFK and later Oswald died – and, indeed, Jack Ruby died there too, coincidentally, just over three years later.
Conspiracy theorists have even claimed that doctors at the Parkland killed Oswald, to explain his dying from a “minor” shot to the stomach. I doubt that this will be the subject of this film, though one never knows.