Just like to correct team Favreau and his movie team on something many people believe Mandarin to be. Comicbook Mandarin isn't necessarily "Magic"
“You got to do The Mandarin. I think I’d do The Mandarin,” he tells MTV. “The problem with The Mardarin is, the way it’s depicted in the comic books, like you don’t want to see that. And then, also, he has ten magical rings; it just didn’t feel right for our thing. So it’s either tech-based, or the rings are not really rings. But maybe with ‘Thor’ and all those others [‘Captain America’ and ‘The Avengers’] you’ll introduce magic to that world and it won’t seem as out of place.
Mandarin's toughness and kungfu does have that whole mystic... chi... flying around doing spining kicks like a supernatural powered video game character
but his rings are not Chinese magic....it's easy to get the impression they are magic but they are not magical
They are alien science,
ring story begins when this reptile/dragon alien dude crash landed his UFO in China. Mandarin found the UFO and stole/scavenged/borrowed the ten rings and the weird science from the spaceship
Mandarin is a deadly opponent to Tony on 2 levels
He is a old school battle master, knows the subtleties of battle, the art of war and his mystic kungfu has hardened him to such a level he doesn't need a suit to be as tough as Ironman
Second point Mandarin has mastered a chapter of science Tony never really got to learn, he has spent years mastering the alien science from the spaceship, it takes Tony a lot of effort to crack Mandarin's evil schemes/inventions because some of them are alien based and each alien Ring has enough kick ass firepower to destroy anyone
oh yeah and Mandarin is insane, he once took Tony's Extremis, turned it into a weapon and wanted to nuke the Earth with it killing 97% of the Earth's population. Not sure why he wanted so many dead Invincible Iron Man #25, maybe he does it just to prove he can be more crazy than Genghis Khan ever was
We don't need to wait for Marvel to introduce magic to the movie audience
Mandarin is ready to go as he is
Lose the stereotyped Fu Manchu look
and go with the more modern badass old guy look you find in HongKong movies or IM # 25
Finally we will have a villain that literally kicks Ironman's ass