This weekend, my wife and my kids had a Mighty Marvel Movie Marathon. After we took the kids to Captain America: Civil War on Friday, we decided to start the Marvel Cinematic Universe films in order starting with Iron Man. I enjoyed revisiting these films and waxing nostalgic about a time in our lives when we didn’t have an MCU. I even got the same rush I felt when the movies got to the after credit scenes and I could recall how excited I was thinking about what was coming with the next movie.
One of the movies that tends to divide movie fans and especially, Marvel movie fans is Iron Man 3. Co-written and directed by Shane Black, the movie follows elements of the Extremis storyline in the comics written by Warren Ellis. The movie takes place 6 months after the events of Marvel’s The Avengers. Many people have complained about the fact that Tony Stark is barely in the armor for most of the movie. There were complaints about the villain Aldrich Killian and most of the complaints were leveled at the twist involved with the character of The Mandarin.
Shane Black recently gave an interview to Uproxx where he talked about the making of Iron Man 3 and issues that he had with the studio and specifically with Ike Perlmutter, who was running Marvel Studios at the time. Definitely click the link and check the article out yourself because he also talks about his new movie The Nice Guys. During the interview, he discusses the fact that the movie was changed for some really superficial reasons. I liked the movie enough when it came out and the Mandarin thing didn’t really bother me, but the direction that Shane Black was originally going to take the script seems much more interesting. That direction has something to do with an 80’s television show called Remington Steele.
Remington Steele was a TV show that aired on NBC from 1982 – 1987. Created by Robert Butler and Michael Gleason and starring Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, the show was about a female private detective named Laura Holt who opens an agency under her own name and cannot get clients because of the fact that she is a woman. She creates a fictional male superior and names the agency after him calling it Remington Steele Investigations. Brosnan’s character is a professional thief and con man who used the name Remington Steele to escape from his past and Laura Holt allows him to work at the company as the face of the agency, while she retains the skill and the actual power. Sound familiar?
Many of these elements can be found in the Iron Man 3 script, especially the creation of the Mandarin character to hide the activities of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M). What’s interesting is that Black wanted to take the concept one step further. Two characters are introduced in the film that are in the Marvel comics universe and how those characters are handled seemed wrong to me. Black explains in the Uproxx article that part of the reason why is because Perlmutter decided that the villain character wouldn’t sell toys because the original villain of Iron Man 3 was a woman.
If you remember the character of Maya Hansen from the movie, you remember that she was with Tony Stark in Switzerland at the beginning of the movie and she took a card from Aldrich Killian because she was looking for funding for her research into bio-technology. She ended up working for A.I.M after Stark leaves her room the next morning and her creation, Extremis, is integral into the entire plot of the movie. What happens to her in the movie? She is shot in the third act for trying to stop the experiment that she initiated. In the movie she is played by Rebecca Hall and if you have ever seen her as Sylvia Tietjens in the HBO mini series Parade’s End, you know that she can play an effective villain.
Imagine if she had taken over A.I.M from Killian and was using him as the face of the organization while she manipulated events. If you really think about her character in the movie vs Killian and their respective motives for taking on Tony Stark. Hansen was involved and jilted by Tony Stark who didn’t take her research seriously but was necessary to the stabilization of Extremis. Then you have Killian’s motive which was being tricked into going to the roof of a hotel and being left there alone. Which character had the stronger motive?
Marvel Comics Aldrich Killian vs Movie Aldrich Killian
The next character was Ellen Brandt, played by Stephanie Szostak. Her character is actually the ex-wife of the character Man-Thing and an A.I.M agent. She had a long history in the comics and her character was reduced in the movie to a hired thug who gets killed in the second act. Two examples of strong female characters from Marvel comics reduced to almost nothing and eliminated.
Can you imagine the reveal that the character that everyone had been using for their own ends was using them all in service to her agenda? Personally, while I still enjoy the movie, I do wonder what could have been had the studio decided allow Shane Black to film the movie that they had written. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .