Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man & Politics

I mentioned the politics of Iron Man briefly before. I'd like to go into more detail.

--------- SPOILERS ------------------------

A couple of minutes into the movie Tony Stark has a life-changing experience. He is blown up by one of his own company's missiles.

So what does he do? He builds a new weapon and breaks out. When he gets home he announces that his company is going to stop making weapons but not because he has suddenly been transformed into a pacifist. His concern is that the wrong people are getting hold of the weapons.

His solution - build a better weapon and take over personally.

I'd like to point out that this isn't a comic book where heroes don't kill. Iron Man kills lots of terrorists. Some of them are faceless like the crew in the tank. Others he targets and blasts without a trace of remorse.

He's fighting a war with the terrorists. When he flies through a no-fly zone and has to take on a couple of American jets, he doesn't fight them, he just tries to avoid one, eventually having to save a pilot.

Eventually the big villain turns out to be an American - Stane - but Stane is a traitor. He is selling weapons to the enemy.

The US government, as embodied by SHIELD, supports what Stark did and would have arrested Stane if he hadn't gotten his Iron Monger armor working first.

There is never any suggestion that US policy is at fault. No snarky comments about how everything is W's fault. No suggestion that the military is anything but dedicated. When he returns, Stark tries to get his military liaison to help with the armor.

In the opening part of the movie, Stark is grilled by a liberal reporter who hits him with leading questions. He answers all of them and seduces her for good measure. He never shows any signs of backing off of the sentiments expressed. It is unlikely that, even before he was injured he would have approved of selling arms to terrorists. The main difference is that after his injury he started taking matters into his own hands.

I've seen a conservative or two complain about the movie. I don't see this. I suspect that the person complaining is so used to liberal Hollywood productions that he assumed there must be a liberal message hidden in Iron Man somewhere.

Not here.

Iron Man took in over $100 million its first weekend for the second biggest non-sequel opening. The way things have been going, the just-announced sequel will bring in even more.

This is the first movie to show Taliban-style terrorists as the bad guys and Americans (except for Stane) as the good guys. It's opening weekend gross was higher than the last several anti-US movies put together. Coincidence?

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