May 10


Recently I went with a few friends to check out my favorite Marvel Superhero do his thing in Iron Man 3 – I won’t lie, the movie lover in me enjoyed it…  It was a nice love story. I got so caught up in the whirlwind of Pepper and Tony’s love that I didn’t realize how far the Iron Man himself had swayed from the one I grew up with.

The original Iron Man was created for a specific reason–like most super heroes that helped to push war propaganda–but to the kids buying and reading the comic books he was something to look up to. Tony Stark may have had an invincible suit of armor at his disposal but he was one of the most vulnerable heroes of the Avengers. His injured heart that was ravaged with shrapnel was spared due to friendship and ingenuity. His fight with alcoholism and depression, womanizing playboy ways, and enormous ego added more baggage to his personal life but when it came to being a hero, Tony Stark was front and center.

The facade of being invincible was a parallel that many men understood. You could have your issues but the world told you to “dust it off and get back in the fight”, we are made to seem strong and unyielding despite our injured hearts and destructive vices… see where I’m going with this? Stark was flawed but to outsiders he was as iron clad as the suit that protected him

Iron Man was a nerd’s hero through and through, having no alien super powers, no super-soldier serum and no radiation blessings from Gamma rays or spider bites. What he had, he built himself, which was a remarkable suit of armor, a ridiculous fortune and an arms-tech empire. The Iron Man was a Capitalist’s super hero and someone who showed us that being smart and resourceful was enough to take on anything that the universe had to throw at you.

“It was a nice love story”

Somehow in this last movie, the Stark I knew was changed to something much, much less and I wonder if our current climate is the reason.

Spoiler Warning: Though Iron Man 3 was a good story it really differed from the classic Iron Man in both it’s portrayal of Pepper Potts and in the things that Stark had built. The invincible suit – the legacy of a brilliant man, was made to melt away and fracture with what seemed like the most ill-conceived attempt at a villain. His former secretary turned lover now standing between he and the thing that has always been his work – developing the armor.

tony-flyingWe see Stark’s ego get the best of him and force him to lose everything that he had worked for, not to be overcome by what has always worked for him (his brain), or his badass military best friend Rhodes, but a super version of his woman, come to save him at his most vulnerable. Great romance story… but not a great Iron Man story.

By the time the movie ended and Stark, ever the charismatic, semi-douchebag that he is utters the lines “I am Iron Man”, I realized that the man who once represented our worst had become tamed, modernized, and safe. The womanizing, boozing, cocky superhero of the Avengers had become a good boyfriend, with a whole heart, and none of his toys to aggravate his darling Pepper. His “I am Iron Man” sounded more like a guy saying “I am retiring to my man cave”… the invincible armor of my hero had in fact melted!

We lament the fall of the alpha-male in movies and in television, all to the moans of people who claim that it is for the greater good. But has aggressive, macho, drive for success–despite the flaws of vice and injury–become such a foreign thing to us that we need to reinvent the champion of it?

I seriously hope that a few of you feel the way I do about the change in direction with the genius Tony Stark…  and that the Iron Man can once again be portrayed as invincible, strong, and brilliant instead of the “bad boy” nerd who finally got a girl to love him that this franchise has devolved into. God knows we have had that storyline forced down our throats enough.

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