Perhaps the most funny of the Marvel One-Shots, “All Hail the King” features one of the MCU’s most funny characters, Trevor Slattery (played by Ben Kingsley).
We are re-introduced to the lost and confused druggie/actor in high-security prison after being arrested for his role as the puppet to Guy Pearce’s villain in Iron Man 3. Having impersonated the Mandarin (a famous terrorist/super-villain of Marvel lore), only to be unmasked as a foolhardy and reckless actor from Britain with little understanding of the world around him, Slattery is somehow worshipped in his new prison environment as the coolest of all the criminals. He creates his own little posse and has even found a man willing to be his “butler.” His approach to the prison dynamic is hilarious to watch; Ben Kingsley is, just like all the great actors, a fine comic as well as a fine dramatic character actor. The script is full of innuendo of prison sexuality and “theater boys”, impersonations of former characterizations, drug humor, references to past films, jokes of British formality, and even pondering moments of self-reflection. In all, this is one worth watching.
Perhaps the most telling reason why this short film is worth all the time is because it does something that none of the other Marvel One-Shots do: it leaves us an open-ended story, with potential for more stories to come. I won’t spoil the ending of this one for you (as I have the other short films), but you should check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.
Iron Man 3 was, for the first hour and a half or so, on pace to be the best of all the Marvel superhero movies. I think a lot of people agree with me. It had a formidable bad guy that was just as much style as he was substance. It had a great script, and it featured more Tony Stark than ever before. The middle sequences with the boy in the small town helping him as he tinkered with his crippled armor are some of the finest sequences in the MCU. Because of this, however, a lot of people still have a bad taste in their mouth for Trevor Slattery and “The Mandarin.” His unmasking was funny, for sure, but it also ended up giving us one of the most disappointing bad guys, and, therefore, one of the most disappointing finales, in the MCU. Seeing Slattery steal the show in this Marvel One-Shot can act as a little bit of a breath-mint for you. You won’t forget the bad taste in your mouth, but you can certainly get rid of it after a while.
Next: #16: “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter” (2013)