Warning: there may be spoilers for Iron Man 3 in this review. Or rampant speculation. Either way, if you’re worried about even the possibility of being spoiled then don’t read these reviews because they might give something away. Or maybe LEGO is just messing with us.
Since obtaining the Marvel license, this is LEGO’s second foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the excellent minifigures but only so-so sets of The Avengers, LEGO is back at it with Iron Man 3 sets – even though the movie doesn’t come out for another two months!
Iron Man vs. the Mandarin: Ultimate Showdown is the smallest set in the Iron Man 3 series. With only 91 pieces, the $12.99 price point makes this an expensive little set – but there are two huge pluses in it. First, it includes Iron Man and the Mandarin in a single, cheap set. The other benefit is that both characters are exclusive to this set.
The Iron Man in this set is the Mark XLIX (that’s 49 for those keeping score) which is being called the Heartbreaker armor. Resembling the suit Tony built during Avengers vs. X-Men to blast the Phoenix (which didn’t work); the Heartbreaker has some unique touches to set it apart.
First is the helmet. Now, if you still haven’t gotten over the oversized craniums that both Iron Man and Batman have in the LEGO-verse, you’re going to stay disappointed. The design is here to stay. The helmet is a repaint, but what a repaint it is! The golden faceplate has black outlined eyes, silver chin and extensive detailing. The suit just looks good.
Flipping up the faceplate reveals Tony Stark’s smirking face. It has two different expressions: smiling or gritting his teeth. The rest of the Heartbreaker is recognizable by the giant arc reactor chest piece to fire a unibeam. On the figure, this is accomplished solely by painted details that go beyond intricate. The armor as a whole looks great, but still looks like Iron Man. For accessories, Iron Man comes with two studs and two round bricks to stand in for his repulsors.
The other figure in the set is the Mandarin. Portrayed by Ben Kingsley (this marks his second time appearing in LEGO form after being in Prince of Persia). An international terrorist, I’m intentionally keeping myself in the dark on this version. But as someone who grew up with the ten-ringed, green-skinned version from the Marvel Action Hour, this one doesn’t quite feel like my Mandarin.
Gone is the ornate robe (and the rings!) and instead Mandarin looks like he belongs in a LEGO Harry Potter set. His combed back hair and long beard are okay, but give the figure an odd haphazard appearance – I think the fact that each of the dwarves in The Hobbit got unique beards spoiled me. Like Tony, Mandarin has a double-sided head but the expressions aren’t that different underneath the beard.
Also hidden on the figure is his dark green torso which is a striped vest with a handkerchief and ammunition lined belt. It’s a great looking torso, but doesn’t feel like the Mandarin.
The build of the set is some weird looking flame throwing go-kart that would be right at home in a racing game. I have no idea what the Mandarin is doing driving such a pimped out vehicle. Like it doesn’t make any sense to me. It feels like a vehicle that Playmates would have released in the early 90s for TMNT.
I mean, look at it! The green and yellow color scheme screams “evil” in Marvel (right up there with purple) and the giant flame-throwing arm is coming out of the back. Including two flick and fire missiles, the whole vehicle feels like a parts quota more than anything. A gun is attached to the side just in case.
If the actual final battle in Iron Man 3 is Iron Man vs. the Mandarin driving a go-kart, I will be very disappointed.
While the build itself isn’t anything spectacular, Iron Man is an excellent little figure and Mandarin isn’t bad either. The assortment of parts in the go-kart is nice with fire, the long hose and the wheel. It’s a weird set, but the price point makes me like it far too much. Also, LEGO is dastardly for making both these figures exclusive.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
Captain America’s Avenging Cycle
with Captain America, Alien Foot Soldier & Alien General
Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape
with Hawkeye, Iron Man Mark VI and Loki
Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown
with Wolverine, Magneto & Deadpool
Hulk’s Helicarrier Breakout
with Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye & Loki
Quinjet Aerial Battle
with Iron Man Mark VII, Thor, Black Widow, Loki & Alien Foot Soldier
Doc Ock’s Ambush
with Ultimate Spider-Man, Iron Fist & Doc Ock