Saturday, May 11, 2013

Iron Man, the Donald Trump of 1963?

I was persuaded to see Iron Man 3 this week by an eight-year-old. I knew very little about the whole Iron Man concept, but was dragged along grudgingly.



I was thinking about super heroes and Marvel comics, but as a kid I had singularly missed out on this quintessential slice of boy's own nerdism. So my Iron Man education has been retroactive.

In the film Robert Downey Jr. rather amusingly plays Tony Stark, aptly assisted by Gwyneth Paltrow his love interest. Already this idea engaged me - fortysomethings are the heroes and heroines of this movie. We are not over the hill; we are fighting people who turn into lava and blow up.

The bad guy is rather effectively played by Guy Pearce, the Australian actor who was born in Cambridge, England just a couple of weeks after me. Pearce is the only character I am aware of who successfully escaped from the straightjacket of the Aussie soap opera Neighbors with the exception of Kylie Minogue.

I read a piece in Wired which explained how Iron Man 3 is an empowerment movie for women; to my mind it's an empowement movie for middle aged people. Life is sure to begin at 40, as soon as I have thrown off this nasty cough.

In reality Iron Man is rooted in another era.

In 1963 story plotter Stan Lee had been toying creating a businessman superhero. It's a matter of some relief he wasn't around doing the same sort of thing today or we may have ended up with Trump Man, a portly, obnoxious super hero who does battle with his enemies by unleashing the power of his terrible comb over.

Back in the 1960s Stark was depicted as a character who suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapper in which his captors tried to make him build a weapon of mass destruction (not to mention planting it in the deserts of Iraq).



Instead Stark used the suit to protect the world as Iron Man. Through his corporation Stark Industries he produces weapons to fight crime. Iron Man was apparently a vehicle for Lee to explore Cold War themes.

He explained: "I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military ... so I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist. I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him..."

So there's the irony for all those people who love Tony Stark. You were meant to hate him dudes. He represented the arms race, Nikita Khruschev and all that malarky.









24 comments:

  1. Lol @ Life is sure to begin at 40, as soon as I have thrown off this nasty cough.

    I love Iron Man in the movies! Didn't know the story behind the comics, so thanks for this. :)

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    1. Hey no worries Dee - yep life begins at 40 - I am still trying to tell myself..

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  2. I have to admit I do like Iron Man, and I;m looking forward to the third installment. It's also nice to know that life doesn't end once you hit the big 4-0.

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    1. yep you should check it out mshatch :)

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  3. I think we might go to see it this week, I quite enjoyed the other movies. I didn't know Guy Pearce was born in the UK....Jason Donovan escaped relatively successfully too :)

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    1. true Ro - mind you I had forgotten about him; he was sort of big, then he wasn't..

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  4. My elderly husband and I strayed into the cinema one wet evening whilst on holiday and it was an Iron Man film. We were totally puzzled and still smile when it is mentioned. Obviously too old to appreciate it. :0)

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    1. lol Carole - well there are certainly things I find too perpexing and 'young person'

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  5. I'm seeing a lot of people on FB giving it two thumbs up. I just never got into superheroes or comics and all, that's why I've been hesitant to go.

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    1. well me too JoJo but there's always a first time..

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  6. I haven't seen this one, but saw the earlier one. Not my cup of tea, I'm afraid, but I might see it anyway as a change of pace.

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    1. yay Daisy - you should give it a go..

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  7. I haven't seen Iron Man 3 yet but I've seen the others and The Avengers. I adore Iron Man and waaaaaay hotter than Donald Trump

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    1. oh come on Gillian - nobody is as hot as Donald Trump ahem..

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  8. I went to see it at IMAX last night in 3D, my first 3D film. I loved it....just didn't love the guy next to me, texting, kicking and elbowing me and I wasn't crazy about the 3D thing either.....

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    1. aw I hate that ADD guy in the next row thing - would agree this is not the best film for 3d - cool that you saw it

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  9. I'm not into any of it, but I do like the idea of life beginning at 40...or 46 or so.

    xoRobyn

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    1. yay for that Robyn - it sure does (sorta) xo

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  10. I've seen the first two and enjoyed them. I haven't seen this one yet, but will get around to it eventually. The forthy-something business guy is a nice change up from the usual superhero backstory, and being a forty-something myself, makes it more enjoyable to watch with my kids who like the movie for all the action bits.

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    1. I think so - good to see people with achy joints kicking ass Jean..

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  11. Thanks for the history behind Iron Man. I had no idea and am now intrigued and want to see the movie.

    And, having been there, 40 is just a number. Hope you get over that cough. There's something going around--again. Ah, the joys of air travel and souvenirs!

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    1. yup doesn't get better than that Kittie :)

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  12. I can see how Tony Stark was meant to be hated but ends up being loved at the same time.

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    1. yep Cherie - a love/hate figure for sure..

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