mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

  • Mood:
  • Music:

maybe this is my iron man review?

in response to sigaliris' iron man review.

"This is pretty well reasoned on a lot of points. I don't think it is quite as squeak-worthy as you, & I really liked the movie, but let me make a defense of it. Simply this: Iron Man, Tony Stark, is a white male. Now, I'm willing to 100% agree with you that the proliferation of white males in comics is the result of systematic racism & sexism over the course of three-quarters of a century. Both characters & professionals. It is only now (actually, I'd say maybe it started with the original Crisis in a big way) starting to change.

The corollary to this is that...well, if you want to make a movie with Tony Stark as the main character, he's going to be a white male. You could argue that they could have made a Rhodes Iron Man movie, but why not start at the beginning? With Tony, with the actual text of the comic. You could argue that they could have race-swapped Tony like they did with Nick Fury, but then what is the movie? "My dad the WWII weapons dealer" doesn't make sense, & then you could argue that the portrayal of the character as a jerk would be a negative representation of whatever ethnicity you switched him for. Besides all that, the further you diverge from your source, the more danger of collapse you get into.

So looking at Pepper & Jim as "subservient" is I think a little disingenuous. Yes, they are support roles, but they are support characters. They aren't the main protagonist of this film. Yes, that is because of a legacy of discrimination. As far as specifics go, though, I'm not going to cry foul.

Sure, the reporter gets treated like trash. Doesn't she come back later & punch Tony Stark's ticket? He treats her like a sex-hole, & she comes back & while he's expecting her to be "an angry ex" or whatever, she's pissed at his corporate practices. I thought that was an interesting tweak in the power dynamic.

Speaking of women & the power dynamic: Pepper gets herself out of trouble. I'm not saying Pepper is a super positive feminist archetype-- she's a secretary-- but I certainly don't think she's a negative one. The same goes for Jimbo-- you know, he doesn't get as much attention, & he does get dominated by Tony, but at the same time, when the chips are down, he tells Stark to go fuck himself. So does Pepper, when Tony tries to schmooze her.

Tony Stark is portrayed as a highly charismatic asshole who slowly becomes less asshole. You know what, the idea that soldiers might be vulnerable to star factor? Um, yeah. Soldiers aren't magical war robots, & I think that did a lot to humanize the situation. Instead of just dudes in uniforms getting blown away, the movie managed to make some kind of connection with them.

As to Iron Man as agent of violence against outsider forces-- well, isn't that the whole premise of the genre? One individuals actions succeeding where a authority group fails? One person fighting crime, or aliens, or whatever? You know? Iron Man shows up & yeah, he beats up "Terrorist Bad Guys." & sure the fiction element is strong there-- but wouldn't it be nice if there was an easy "Iraqi Bad Guys" group to fight?

As to your statement that Brown Men have the "right to kill" provided it is handed to them by the White Man, uh...I think actually the text totally supports that reading...& demonizes it. I think, yeah, it is pretty overt that what you'd call the white guy is what the movie represents as Western Military Industrial Complex in the form of Stane & pre-change Stark. Sure, putting on your fighting robot suit to stop mis-use of arms isn't a reasonable solution, & maybe you disagree with the argument that weapons dealing in any form is unethical-- the film addresses those complexities (Tony Starks shutting down the arms dealing till he can "figure out" what to do with it) while yeah, at the same time providing a simple answer (just beat up the bad guys) as this is fiction & we're looking for a satisfying story.

Oh & calling Jim Rhodes a shuck & jive sidekick? Woah. I don't see that anywhere in the film. That is a pretty crazy statement-- when does that happen? I mean, the rest of your racial critique I can get behind to one degree or another, but Rhodes doesn't come across as a racial stereotype at any point. It sounds to me like inflammatory language used to reinforce a point, but to me it just undermines your other arguments."

edit:in reply to kim's comment.

"Kim-- oh man, Tony Stark yelling at his robots is maybe the best, BEST part of the movie. He's so mean to his robot! "ROBOT YOU ARE BARELY CAPABLE OF PERFORMING CYBERNETIC CARDIO-ELECTRAL SURGERY! STUPID ROBOT!" "ROBOT! GET OUT OF MY WAY, YOU ARE BARELY ACCEPTABLE HELP AT BUILDING THIS AMAZING FLYING ARMOR SUIT! ROBOT I AM TRYING TO SOLDER!" & the robot's comeuppance with the extinguisher? & redemption with knocking the thing into Stark's lap? Actually-- is that a microcosm of the comeuppances that occur through-out the film?"
Tags: meta

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.