You may have heard, but Marvel really went balls deep when it came to partnering up with China for “Iron Man 3”. As a result, Chinese audiences will be getting a China-specific cut of the film that, reportedly, included lots of footage not available in the International (re: every where else outside of China) cut of the film.
If you’re one of the many people who saw “Iron Man 3” in theaters yesterday, or plan to see it this weekend (joining the bazillion other people who have already seen the film, since “Iron Man 3” is poised to break the bank at the box office), and was wondering what you will be missing from that Chinese version. Turns out, you’re not missing very much. In fact, you’re probably better off for not seeing the longer Chinese cut of the film.
So what did Chinese audiences get that the rest of the world didn’t? A super important part by Chinese actor Wang Xueqi (pictured, above with ol Shellhead)? Maybe not so much. Kotaku breaks down a particularly odd (and not at all China pandering sequence, nope) from the movie:
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.”
And oh, you also missed out on some product placement, too!
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.
But wait, what about Fan Bingbing’s character (pictured, below)? We were told she was Wu’s wife or something, but it’s definitely a worthwhile appearance, right? She is pretty famous over there, after all, you’re not just going to put her in the movie for, I don’t know, a 30-second cameo, are they? Well yes. Apparently, Bingbing’s character doesn’t even have a name in the movie.
If you saw the International cut of “Iron Man 3”, you know that ol Tony Stark decides to get that shrapnel from “Iron Man” remove, and goes to China and Doctor Wu for the operation (cause they’re apparently the only people who could do it, or something). This is where Fan Bingbing’s character comes in. She assists Doctor Wu to perform the operation and then, well, Tony Stark goes home.
Basically, all the Wu/Chinese scenes are completely unnecessary, and seems to have been added in purely so the Chinese Government can feel good about the importance of China, which, uh, makes absolutely no sense because China doesn’t play a role in the film’s storyline at all (aside from the Mandarin, played by the very non-Chinese Ben Kingsley). From reports, it sounds like even Chinese audiences were rolling their eyes at these Chinese content.
So go ahead and watch “Iron Man 3” this weekend, and don’t worry about that Chinese cut. Even the Chinese think it’s stupid. The best way to look at this cut is how actors go overseas to do embarrassing commercials. The money’s great, and chances are, no one back home will ever see it. Of course, that was before the Interwebs…