"The U.S. Senate voted to keep us out of the World Court. A wise decision I believe. Let Europe fight their own battles, and let them pay us what they owe us for the last war. There is a bill pending now to take the profit out of war by making munitions manufacturers sell their products to the government in war-time without profit. This is a good bill. War, to my mind, is wholesale murder, national insanity and proof that we are not yet civilized. Governments give it romance, color, with bands playing, uniforms, big humanitarian slogans (which are all baloney), and make us patriotic by propaganda. The real true experience of the people, however, results in suffering, death, destruction, licentiousness, a breaking down of the social order and setting us back in all our activities that takes lifetimes to rebuild if at all."
Twice, a better use for all the money, time, technology and energy spent on weapons was almost guiltily suggested in the film. They both involved babies: making baby hospitals and baby bottles. I'd like to say, um, why not, Mr. Stark? Why can't healthcare be "inevitable"? Lest I be accused of conversing with a Marvel Comics character Murphy Brown/Dan Quayle style, it's just so scary, knowing us Americans (and young Americans) are watching this. We Americans who are so good at blending reality and fantasy in reality, and oversimplifying what cannot be even simplified. No one makes the case for nonviolence in "Iron Man." It's just good violence against bad violence. As a 60's folk song asked: "When will they every learn?" I guess peace just doesn't sell.
A rather random, but not unAmerican, scene has "Iron Man" flying from Malibu to a little Afghan town to blow up some ammo and save a family. Then back to Malibu.
In "Iron Man" on the screen and on "Iron Man" behind the scenes, the U.S. military collaborates (stay for the credits). As I watched a civilian (Tony Stark) in Afghanistan, it reminded me, eerily, of Blackwater Security in Iraq and other less visible players who are "running the world."
The larger issues are never framed. What does the USA want? What does the Taliban want (and why are they being so cruel to the Afghan villagers?) What are we fighting for here? I guess we're just supposed to know from reality.
The parts I fear most men will like: the swaggering, the bimbos, the invincibility, the destruction, the explosions, the gadgets, the projectiles, the superhuman powers, war. The parts I liked: the hard rock, the moral discourse, the jokes, the fast car and the good acting.