Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man
Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
(number 411)

Disclaimer: I dislike Iron Man greatly. I will be exploring that in my review. Iron Man is the Batman of the Marvel Universe, but he doesn’t have all the lovely Batfamily surrounding him, which is one of the best things about Batman – his Robins and Alfred keep him human and grounded, Tony just has Pepper who does absolutely everything he tells her because he literally pays her to do so.

The very first thing we learn about Tony Stark is that he drinks. The second thing is that he makes quips and the third thing is that he sleeps with a lot of women. This last point is re-emphasised a number of times in the first ten minutes, so you’re really, really sure that he sleeps with women and then leaves them alone to be tossed out of the house by Pepper Potts in a very cold, clinical way. His private airline is staffed with women who dance and perform on a pole for him, he drinks! He sleeps with women and drinks and makes guns! He is the ultimate American man, obviously.

Ramirez: No, you intimidate them.
Tony Stark: Good God, you’re a woman! I honestly, I couldn’t have called that. I mean, I would apologize, but isn’t that what we’re going for here? I thought of you as a soldier first.
Ramirez: I’m an airman.
Tony Stark: Well, you have actually excellent bone structure there. I’m kinda having a hard time not looking at you now. Is that weird?

Here’s my problem with Tony Stark: He’s a total and complete jerk asshole. And somehow I’m supposed to care about him because he makes jokes? Because someone tried to kill him once? I just don’t get it. I’ve had a lot of people address my concerns with his casual misogyny and horrible attitude by saying ‘but he’s so funny!’ or ‘But I love Robert Downey Jr!’

I don’t think that these are excuses for having such a totally sexist and abusive white jerk be a hero. My best come back for those ‘but he’s so funny/sexy/whatever’ arguments are ‘well, when we have a movie about a woman who is a millionaire who treats men like scum, is a total jerk and is still the hero then I’ll change my mind.’

After his imprisonment Tony does have a change of heart, he tries to stop his company manufacturing and selling weapons, he tries to accept that he has feelings for his assistant and… okay that’s it. But it is something.

Does it make me love the people? I love Jarvis. But he’s not technically people until Age of Ultron, and even then sort of not. I dunno, I guess watching this again I didn’t hate Tony as much, but I still think he’s a shitty superhero.

There’s a certain lack of tension in the climactic fight, for me, which may just be my general boredom with action sequences at the moment, but I guess… it’s very hard to believe that they’ll kill off Tony.

Bechdel test: In the first few minutes Christine talks to Pepper but the second line establishes the conversation is about Tony and a power play between the two women on who ‘gets’ him.

Best line:

Jarvis: The render is complete.
Tony Stark: A little ostentatious, don’t you think?
Jarvis: What was I thinking? You’re usually so discreet.
Tony Stark: [gazes at a 1930s hotrod] Tell you what. Throw a little hotrod red in there.
Jarvis: Yes, that should help you keep a low profile.

State of Mind: Like, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. I am still very annoyed at a lot of the characterisation of Tony and the idolising of him but.. it was a good relaunch of the Marvel movie brand. I am not that sure I want to watch it again any time soon, although I do have the third one on this list as well so… more to come.

Watched movie count

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6 thoughts on “Iron Man (2008)

  1. I get where you’re coming from, but I wonder whether there’s a deeper vein to it. Are we supposed to love Tony despite his bad habits or because of them? Tony is tapping into some pretty core fantasies for CIS males here – rich, womanizing, smart, funny, super-powered…

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  3. I think this movie really exemplifies the trope of superhero as Dick Who Wants To Act Like A Jerk And Still Be Loved Anyway – there’s a lot of it about in the modern superhero genre. It makes me crazy nostalgic for Quantum Leap and MacGyver and Star Trek: Next Generation and Greatest American Hero, the good old days when the protagonist was the nicest guy in the room, you know?

  4. And I have very little time for Pepper Potts, either. Her main character trait is that she likes Stuff – backless dresses, modern art collections, high performing companies… and Tony even calls her on her willingness to work for a weapons developer no questions asked. At best, she’s Lawful Neutral, and Lawful Evil isn’t that big a stretch, but we’re supposed to like her because she dresses nicely and is in love with the protagonist.

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