Iron Man and The Iraq War Movie

Iron Man, based on the popular comic book character, is a thoroughly entertaining film. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) runs a weapons development corporation. After he is captured by the Taliban while delivering the latest weaponry, a doctor/scientist/engineer, also a captive, gives him a new heart to replace the one that is damaged during his capture. He witnesses civilians being killed during attacks by his company’s weapons used by the enemy. He then resolves to develop target-sensitive weapons and to find out how his company’s weapons are getting into enemy hands. To escape, Stark and his new friend invent an Iron Man suit that allows Tony to fly. He returns to LA to find out who is selling his weapons to the enemy, make the target-sensitive weapons, and finesse his Iron Man suit.

Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man.

I knew Iron Man had to have had military backing because the only entity in the film without a moral crisis is the military liaison played by Terrence Howard. Now it’s really obvious. The thing is, knowing that the military was involved in the film is a real let-down. How moral dilemmas have changed, how the moral premise of stories have changed. The article in today’s LA Times (see link below) really deflates Tony Stark’s hero status.

Take this and the way the latest version of The Incredible Hulk ends (this means you have to stay until the last credit rolls to find out) affirms that maybe super-hero movies aren’t what they used to be. They are no longer about character (although I thought The Incredible Hulk was very good until that ending…) but propaganda pieces.

Marshall McLuhan was right: the medium is the message and media massage us into … what?

Lots to think about.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-armyfilms7-2008jul07,0,2815991.story

 

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