November 05, 2008

Who should be "Iron Man 2's" villain?

Word has it that a big (major?) part of "IM2" will be how Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) succumbs to alcoholism. This would be consistent with two major storylines from Iron Man comics, the first in the late 70s and the second in the mid-80s. The latter took place over some 30 issues and Stark was literally living on the streets.

If Stark does fall prey to the bottle, this would open the door for new-Jim Rhodes Don Cheadle to assume the role of Iron Man as War Machine. But 'ya gotta have a villain. Who should it be?

Educated choices:

1) The Mandarin. Already alluded to in the first film (the terrorist organization known as "The Ten Rings"), Mandy would be the natural choice. But the Mandarin is Chinese (hence the name, duh) and the head baddie in "Iron Man" wasn't. Calling him "Mandarin" wouldn't make sense, but without the "Mandarin" name, what will fans think? What other moniker would suffice? "Ring Guy?" An all-out battle with Mandy would be kickin' though -- Stark and his armor (and brain) trying to fend off the multiple threat of Mandy's fingerwear.

2) The Crimson Dynamo. Originally a Soviet counterpart to the American Iron Man, it should be easy enough to rework the Red baddie/hero as a Russian (not Soviet) character. The question would be, though, how would the two armored heroes tussle -- since the US and Russia are largely allies now? And battling another armored character wouldn't be that much different from the first flick, when IM took on the Iron Monger.

3) Fin Fang Foom. Some websites have this big green dragon making an appearance in the sequel as the Mandarin's lackey. For me, this would be a mistake as in my view, the best Iron Man villains are technology-based. As Tony Stark/Iron Man frequently exclaims in his comics, "I hate magic." And FFF is too close to "fantasy" rather than hard science fiction.

4) Ultimo. Also once a minion of the Mandarin, this huge gleaming android is a doomsday device that was created by an alien race. Iron Man vs. Ultimo in the comics has been all-out donneybrooks and some of the best continued-story issues in Iron Man's 45 year history. Using Ultimo as a pawn of Mandarin could be killer (literally)!!

5) Justin Hammer & Spymaster. Combined together because dastardly businessman Hammer has frequently employed Spymaster to do his [evil] bidding. Hammer is one of Stark's ominous business rivals who'll stop at nothing to defeat and crush Stark. He used Spymaster to steal some of Iron Man's secret technology which Hammer then sold to the highest bidder(s). Thus began the classic "Armor Wars" (Iron Man #225-231). The problem with this is that we already saw a fair share of "corporate intrigue" via Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane in "Iron Man," so a full sequel about it might not be very satisfying.

Posted by Hube at November 5, 2008 04:54 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Easy choice as far as I'm concerned: Hammer and Spymaster! They would provide a great challenge for Stark in both his identities: as billionnaire businessman AND as super-hero. Also, they are much more rooted in reality than the others and would make more credible villains.

I never liked the Mandarin, he lacks a clear and consistent purpose and his origin is... well... a little out there. Ultimo and the Foom are a bit weird too. As for the Dynamo, it was a great concept for the cold war but it would not be as interesting now.

So even though I know I won't get my wish, I still say Hammer and Spymaster...

Posted by: Prof Solitaire at November 5, 2008 05:11 PM

I always preferred Whiplash.

Posted by: steve Newton at November 5, 2008 10:18 PM

Per Hollywood laws the villain will be:

1. Right wing Republican
2. Oil Company
3. Fundamentalist Christian
4. White guy
5. Evil Corporation
6. The CIA

Pick any two.

Posted by: Duffy at November 6, 2008 09:11 AM

LOL, Duff! That means Justin Hammer is PERFECT for the role since

1. He's white
2. He can easily be a Republican
3. It's surely a given he owns at LEAST one oil co.
4. That co. is "evil," of course
5. He probably has several "rogue" CIA agents in his pocket.

Only your #3 wouldn't fit Hammer.

Posted by: Hube at November 6, 2008 09:18 AM

"Only your #3 wouldn't fit Hammer."

Yes, but Hammer could pretend to be a fundie Christian to garner support for his big evil energy project or whatever, then be revealed to be evil later in the story. Think T. Boone Pickens but add a "God gave us stewardship over his creation" vibe.

Me, I'd go with the Mandarin as a cutout for the ChiComs in a plot to poison dog food, milk, children's toys, etc. No wait, they already did that. How about a plot to make US financial markets totally indebted to the Chinese government, so that they wait, they did that too. Anyway, I'm all for making the ChiComs the big baddies, but with the subtext being that the Mandarin is secretly trying to take control of the Chinese government.

Posted by: G Rex at November 6, 2008 09:48 AM

" would the two armored heroes tussle -- since the US and Russia are largely allies now?"

HUBE! I had to double-check who wrote the post to make sure it was actually you! "Largely allies"? Maybe for about 15 minutes several years back (when Bush was looking into his soul...or whatever the hell he was doing), but now? The Russian Bear is alive and well and, with Putin's plans to resume the presidency and their designs on former Soviet satellite states, I think the Crimson Dynamo is a perfect threat for Iron-Man II.

I could also imagine a squadron of Iron-Man's minor (yet still memorable) villains coming together to cause trouble...such as the aforementioned Whiplash, plus Blizzard and Firebrand. Maybe these guys could be villains Tony faces and makes quick work of in the opening act to establish his superhero "bonafides".

More substantial "main villain" choices could also be Madame Mask (if they wanted to continue along the "international espionage" track) or something a little more freakly like MOKOK (and AIM) or importing an Avengers foe like Ultron.

Posted by: Mark Engblom at November 6, 2008 03:06 PM

Guilty as charged, Mark. It's a ... "strained" relationship, but it certainly ain't what it was (enemy-wise) like back in the Cold War.

I like your Dynamo premise; however, I feel it would be too much like the IM-Iron Monger scrap in "IM-1."

And who's "MOKOK??" ;-)

Posted by: Hube at November 6, 2008 03:10 PM