Did you know that Marvel created a special version of Iron Man 3 for Chinese audiences? Well, they did. Apparently, it's filled with all sorts of pandering to what executives thought would be more appealing to the Chinese, as well as blatant product placement for some Chinese milk drink. And the Chinese fucking hate it. And, really, what the hell did Marvel expect?
Normally, here at The Outhouse, we'd probably make up some ridiculous parody of what the Chinese scenes feature, but, honestly, there's nothing we could say that would make it funnier than it already is. Here's Kotaku's summary:
In Dr. Wu's office, you can see Tony's Iron Man on a TV screen, surrounded by Chinese children and what looks like...Dr. Wu. The good doctor then calls Tony, but J.A.R.V.I.S., the A.I. butler, answers. It's worth noting that in even in the subtitled version, there are no subtitles in this sequence; J.A.R.V.I.S. speaks in Mandarin Chinese. While speaking with J.A.R.V.I.S., Dr. Wu actually says in Chinese, "Tony doesn't have to do this alone—China can help."
There's also this extra long shot of Dr. Wu awkwardly pouring a glass of Yili brand Chinese milk. But it's pure product placement. Before the movie starts, there are two China specific ads: One of them is a Chinese milk commercial that, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, asks, "What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?" (The answer is a Yili milk drink.) The second commercial is for a Chinese manufacturer of tractors and cranes.
We'd love to believe this whole thing was just a misguided attempt to make up for the fact that the movie's main villain, The Mandarin, is one of the most offensively stereotypical Asian characters of all time, but clearly, it was simply motivated by greed and a lack of respect for the Chinese audience. In response to the controversy, many Chinese moviegoers are speaking out against the condescending nature of the extra scenes on blogs, which goes to show that maybe American movie studios should just have faith in the quality of the movie they're making and not try to use embarrassing pandering to a culture they clearly don't understand in an attempt to squeeze a few more dollars into the box office take.
In response to this criticism, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige allegedly told the press, "look, we don't want to offend anyone, and Marvel Studios always strives to be sensitive to other cultures. We would never intentionally use racially offensive stereotypes in our movies."
Okay, fair enough. It sounds like this was an innocent misunderstanding, and we should all give Marvel the benefit of the...
"Especially when you're talking about the Chinese," he added, folding his hands together and bowing repeatedly. "We wouldn't want them to use their genetically innate martial arts and computer hacking skills to launch a kung fu cyber attack on us or anything like that. We so sorry! We so sorry!"