Friday, May 02, 2008

Iron Man: Learning to be Responsible

This afternoon, I took my family to see Iron Man, a new movie based on the comic book series. As usual, I enjoyed it. I nearly always like summer action movies based on comic books.

In this movie, we meet Tony Stark, the head of a major manufacturer of weapons called Stark Industries. Tony is a super-smart, super-rich playboy who has never grown up. He develops all kinds of weapons for the U.S. government, but does not think about how they may be used or misused. In fact, he thinks of no one but himself (as can be seen in the way he uses women for his pleasure and treats them like trash afterwards).

Early in the movie, Tony is ambushed in Afghanistan by a group of terrorists who demand that he build a powerful weapon known as the Jericho missile. During his capture, the terrorists injure his heart and another captured scientist creates a device to keep his heart pumping. Soon Tony learns that his weapons are being bought on the black market by terrorists. His inventions are not making the world safer; they are being used as tools in the hands of evil men to harm the innocent. As the two scientists pretend to assemble the missile, they are actually building an Iron Man suit which they plan to use in an escape attempt.

During the escape, the other captured scientist loses his life to save Tony's. Before he dies, he urges Tony, "Don't waste your life." The entire experience changes Tony Stark in profound ways. He ceases to be the self-absorbed brilliant playboy and becomes a man. He embraces his responsibility to protect the people who had been placed in grave danger by his earlier irresponsibility. The rest of the movie tells the story of a man who has finally grown up.

I liked the message of Iron Man and look forward to buying it when it is released on DVD.


Allen's Brain said...

So then, the other scientist's dying comments are like Tom Hanks' character's dying words in "Saving Private Ryan," "Earn this." Seems like lots of superheroes are motivated by guilt.

Terry said...

Iron Man resembles Batman in some ways. Both Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne are smart, rich playboys. However, their motivations for beginning their careers as superheroes are different. Wayne becomes Batman out of the desire for revenge. Stark becomes Iron Man out of a sense of guilt for how his irresponsibility has harmed people. Neither of them has superpowers, but their technology and training make up for it.

I never saw "Saving Private Ryan," but it does sound like the scenes may have been similar. When I heard, "Don't waste you life," I thought of the book by John Piper with that title. It was a very thought-provoking book for me.

Terry said...

Of course, Spider-man may be the best known superhero driven by guilt. It is a common theme for many of them, isn't it?