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Move over Iron Man: Armored Monkey King wants to be China’s favorite superhero

But it looks like Marvel fans aren’t buying it

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

A superhero is coming to China. Clad in electronic armor, he flies through the air to fight villains, revenging the murder of the love of his life.

Looks familiar? Armored Monkey King (top) versus Iron Man (bottom). (Picture: Tencent Video/Marvel Studios/Fairview Entertainment)
No, that wasn’t Tony Stark. But he looks close enough that outraged Marvel fans in China are turning out in droves on social media, ridiculing Armored War God Monkey King -- an aspiring blockbuster debuting exclusively on Tencent Video this Tuesday.

Tencent, China’s social and entertainment giant

“I have only one question… Isn’t that shameful?” said one Weibo comment that’s been liked more than 1,900 times.
“This makes me want to swear. I mean Tony is still trapped in space, ” wrote another, referring to a teaser for next year’s Avengers: Endgame that begins with Iron Man dying in space.

Armored War God, based loosely on the 16th century Chinese classic Journey to the West, is co-produced by Beijing’s Daishu Movie and Guangzhou’s Grandmet Presentation. It follows the story of the Monkey King as he traverses the parallel universes of heaven and hell, where habitants have “mastered the technology of armoured suits and developed scientific instruments for cross-universe travel.”

The production team claimed they were inspired by Iron Man, as well as Transformers and Japanese robot franchise Gundam. A behind-the-scene promotion video says “We can make armored heroes that belong to China. No matter how difficult the process is, we’ll carry with us our childhood dreams, presenting to the world a Chinese-made smart armor.”

The blatant attempt at patriotic pandering didn’t help.

One popular comment mocked the nationalistic fervor by repeating a viral Chinese meme: “I will turn Monkey King’s artistic image into a source of positive energy, promoting Chinese culture.”
Another popular comment said, “Stan Lee passed away not that long ago. How dare you?”

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It’s hardly the first time that a studio in China has been accused of taking design inspiration from elsewhere. A teaser poster for a movie called Captain China earlier this year looked suspiciously similar to art from the shooter game Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Accusations of plagiarism are also common in China’s gaming world, where you can find plenty of clones of hot global titles like Rainbow Six Siege and PUBG.

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