Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Iron Man is too relevant to be escapist

I found Iron Man really uncomfortable to watch, despite Robert Downey Jr., not because of the standard preposterous superhero-movie ridiculousness, but because of the war. Parts of the movie are set in Afghanistan, and it perfectly captured the American-movie portrayal of war, which, I think, means it also perfectly captured the American understanding of actual war.

Meaning: you can identify the bad guys because they are always glowering with narrowed eyes and half-shadowed faces, or else yelling angrily in foreign languages, and they have darker skin than the not-bad-guy foreigners.

Also: if the bad guys are in possession of a boatload of American-made weapons, it's not because the United States supplied them arms in the '80s when we considered them "freedom fighters"; instead it means that [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] some other bad guy sold them to them in a super-nefarious scheme whose revelation will be a shock, shock! to our hero, because even when he was just a soulless playboy millionaire weapons dealer he certainly never sold weapons to bad guys, because he loved his country.

And: if the bad guys are attacking innocent civilians in a village somewhere, it is all over the American news because this happens so rarely, and our hero will set it right.

And of course: our hero will be able to set it right because of advanced American military technology, which allows him to identify and take out the bad guys with pinpoint accuracy while leaving the innocent civilians unharmed and grateful.

I didn't even have enough energy leftover to get indignant about Gwyneth Paltrow being Robert Downey Jr.'s lovelorn, chaste, not-a-hottie-until-she-takes-her-hair-out-of-the-bun assistant. Sigh.


lacochran said...

Cliche mania, huh? Sadly, we get most of our mindset from movies like this. Ah, mother culture.

Jason Levitis said...

Analogy time:
Iron man is to escapist
This blog post is to brain candy.