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Hey, I admit my partisan affiliations. Yes: I, personally am -- I freely acknowledge it -- a Marvel zombie. Make Mine Marvel! But I'd like to think my reviews are more or less equally applicable to DC fans.

Edited by Michael Todd

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Persona   

Bumped, cuz I just wanna see Iron Man in music next to Iron Man in film just ONE, LAST, TIMEā€¦ :)

PS. Michael -- that was awesome...

And thanks for the ending, Peter. Very cool.

Edited by stef

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The product placement in this movie is overbearing and obnoxious -- Audis and Burger King for everyone! -- but this sort of thing has become so common that it barely registers. I hadn't thought much about the fast-food tie-in, but I think a small storm may be brewing:

Burger King is now giving away toys for children as young as three to promote "Iron Man" a movie with "intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence" (according to the Motion Picture Association's rating board) and opens with a joke about the main character having sex with twelve different Maxim cover models. These toys are intended to get kids to want to see the film. They are also intended to encourage parents to think that the movie is appropriate for children. Oh, and the movie has some jarring and intrusive product placement when the main character says what he most wants when he returns home is a cheeseburger and we next see him holding something that says Burger King.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has called on Burger King to stop giving Iron Man toys to children.

This from a woman who rated the film a "B+."

Edited by Christian

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The product placement in this movie is overbearing and obnoxious

Agreed. It was a big turn off and it was not the least bit subtle. Besides Burger King and Audi, I watched a zoom in on a Dell computer when Pepper is in Tony's office. There were several seemingly blatant shots of the Chevy logo.

Also, are TV shows in a movie product placement? Is a television show a product? Many years ago, I remember seeing the McLaughlin Group being watched in movies like Independence Day and Dave, and it did not seem contrived, but how long was that scene with Jim Cramer? Also, am I wrong or did I see Nancy Grace playing in the background during one of the scenes in the movie.

Of course, I have never read Vanity Fair, but I thought it was a fashion magazine, so I was surprised that the magazine had a reporter attempting to ask hard questions to a weapons making magnate.

Because I have never watched Mad Money, Jim Cramer makes me think of this.

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FWIW, the male "geezer" here worked as a writer on the 1960s Batman. My favorite quote: "This bad guy, compared with most movies, is such a two-bit bad guy. I mean, SMERSH, at least, in the Bond movies, wanted to control the world. This bad guy, he's very mean, he kicks people when they're on the ground, but all he seems to do is terrorize one village. And there's one line saying, 'Ah, if I had this, I could control Asia.' I don't believe this guy could control East Orange, New Jersey."

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opus   
My review, FWIW.

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FWIW, the male "geezer" here worked as a writer on the 1960s Batman. My favorite quote: "This bad guy, compared with most movies, is such a two-bit bad guy. I mean, SMERSH, at least, in the Bond movies, wanted to control the world. This bad guy, he's very mean, he kicks people when they're on the ground, but all he seems to do is terrorize one village. And there's one line saying, 'Ah, if I had this, I could control Asia.' I don't believe this guy could control East Orange, New Jersey."

I think the woman on this video made a good point about how "hero" movies seem to make it out that regular, work-a-day folk don't seem to be able to take care of themselves. It reminds me of a piece I saw many years ago, where David Brin compares the elitism of Star Wars to the egalitarianism of Star Trek.

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Here's a kind e-mail I received this morning. :)

A pitiful and inaccurate review of Iron Man. I grew up reading the Marvel comics and the story line of the movie is consistent with the magazine presentation of that era. Marvel presents the characters such as Tony Stark as fault fill, lacking in virtue or dissimilar to the the hero that they become. i.e. Thor, Iron Man, Spider Man and so forth. This is escape fiction and should not be analyzed and evaluated into a reality scenario. In other words, what made the magazine successful was the ability of the reader to use their imagination, of which you must be lacking.

You need another job!

My review doesn't comment on the movie's faithfulness to the original comic, so the argument is a non sequitur. I'm just happy someone's reading, even if they think my reviews are worthless.

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It reminds me of a piece I saw many years ago, where David Brin compares the elitism of Star Wars to the egalitarianism of Star Trek.

That may be the worst essay I've ever read.

While pretending to be a defense of "the masses" against "the elite", Brin's real sympathies are the opposite. He is in fact a defender of the current elites; the elites he rails against are their defeated elite enemies in the past ("aristocrats", "mighty kings") and, from a power perspective, their decidedly non-elite current critics ("post-modernists", the "politically-correct", "literary elites").

For Brin, criticism of the current order is permitted only as long as its aim is to strengthen it. "The Federation", which Brin and everybody else see as the current order's stand-in in Star Trek, is "basically good-natured". Films can show faults in the "American institutions", but they should still be shown as "functioning well enough" to be worth "fixing them". "Institutions" must not be shown as "inherently hopeless". Criticism is good, provided it adheres to its function which is to perfect "the institutions", in which "whistle-blowers" "fight outbreaks of incompetence and corruption". Authorities can be defied, but only to "overcome their mistakes" or "expose particular villains". What criticism of "the institutions"must not do is suggest that there is anything fundamentally wrong with them; they must not raise the idea that any of "the institutions" are by their very nature exploitative, dangerous, or parasitic.

About "Star Trek" Brin says "the big ship is heroic and the cooperative effort required to maintain it is depicted as honorable." What he doesn't say is that said effort is all about following orders within a rigid military heirarchy where everyone has a paricular specialty and a job, none of which is the job of questioning where the ship is going. Brin says that Star Trek teaches that education is "a great emancipator of the humble" and holds up as his example its school of military indoctrination: "Starfleet Academy".

For all of Brin's stated objections to Star Wars, his real objection is, I think, that it glorifies revolutionaries; the rebels don't acknowledge that the Empire is "basically good", they don't participate in the "heroic ... cooperative effort required to maintain it". Brin's concern is that audiences might identify the Empire with "the institutions". He worries, I think, that people might see some similarity between, say, the destruction of the planet Alderon in Star Wars and the destruction of the city of Hiroshima in real life, which could in turn lead them to very unwelcome reflections on the nature of "the institutions". Instead of sharply differentiating "The Empire" from "The Federation", they might see disturbing similarities between them, and have very negative reactions to statements like that of one high-ranking official in The Federation/Empire: "We're an empire now ... We're history's actors, and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." When Brin asks the reader "[W]here would you rather live, assuming you'll be a normal citizen and no demigod? In Roddenberry's Federation? Or Lucas's Empire?" What he emphatically does not want is readers who will answer: "Neither."

Edited by bowen

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When Brin asks the reader "[W]here would you rather live, assuming you'll be a normal citizen and no demigod? In Roddenberry's Federation? Or Lucas's Empire?" What he emphatically does not want is readers who will answer: "Neither."

You raise excellent points. I do not wish to defend Brin, for I can barely tolerate his own fiction. What the old woman in the video says, which is what prompted the link, is that there is something which I see as Homeric in Superhero films, where the "average" person seems helpless, and waits for the hero to come. On some level, there may be truth in this, but it chaffs me that those with special powers are hailed, whereas those without are shown impotent.

Regarding the efficacy of institutions, whether Federation or Empire, this is something I've been ruminating on quite a bit this Spring. Since The Wire prompted most of those thoughts, perhaps we should move the discussion to that thread.

Edited by Michael Todd

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What the old woman in the video says, which is what prompted the link, is that there is something which I see as Homeric in Superhero films, where the "average" person seems helpless, and waits for the hero to come. On some level, there may be truth in this, but it chaffs me that those with special powers are hailed, whereas those without are shown impotent.

I agree this is an issue. There is an inherent tendency, in stories about the main character moving from passivity to action, to reduce others to passivity as a consequence. Each of the first two Spider-man movies (as well as the second Superman movie) showed awareness of this and sought to counter it by showing crowds of ordinary people taking the hero as a model rather than just a savior, but within a story like that, it can't be pushed too far without de-centering the story.

A superhero story can morally benefit the audience when it moves them to emulate his heroism, but it can hurt them if it instead causes them to look for someone else to emulate him. Our Lord urges us to follow Him, not just admire Him.

Regarding the efficacy of institutions, whether Federation or Empire, this is something I've been ruminating on quite a bit this Spring. Since The Wire prompted most of those thoughts, perhaps we should move the discussion to that thread.

I have no wish to pursue my response on a political level to the Brin article farther than I have (not that I insist that nobody is allowed to respond to me); I posted it here because the link to the article was posted here, but don't want to totally derail the thread as a result.

Edited by bowen

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Re: David Brin, see also his comments on Tolkien, which we excerpted in the 'Tolkien Racist?' thread five years ago:

Now ponder something that comes through even the party-line demonization of a crushed enemy -- this clear-cut and undeniable fact:
Sauron's army was the one that included every species and race on Middle Earth
, including all the despised colors of humanity, and all the lower classes.

Hmm. Did they all leave their homes and march to war thinking, "Oh, goody, let's go serve an evil Dark Lord"?

Or might they instead have thought they were the "good guys," with a justifiable grievance worth fighting for, rebelling against an ancient, rigid, pyramid-shaped, feudal hierarchy topped by invader-alien elfs and their Numenorean-colonialist human lackeys?

The problem with Star Wars, as ever, is that it loves to blow stuff up but never suggests what we should REPLACE that stuff with. The Republic is corrupt? Destroy it! The Jedi are corrupt? Destroy them! The Empire is corrupt? Destroy it! And so on, and so on. So you can say "Neither" in response to "the Federation, or the Empire?" if you like, but you've got to propose an actual positive workable alternative.

And the series never REALLY comes to grips with the fact that Obi-Wan and Yoda are, in a sense, if not the villains of the piece, at least the enablers of the villains, or deeply problematic characters in their own right. The final scene in the final movie ends with the ghosts of Yoda and Obi-Wan smiling at Luke, but they never acknowledge that the reason Luke succeeded in redeeming his father is because he IGNORED them and DEFIED them repeatedly, despite their constant efforts to trick him into perpetuating their errors.

But oh, yeah, that IS a tangent now.

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The Republic is corrupt? Destroy it! The Jedi are corrupt? Destroy them! The Empire is corrupt? Destroy it! And so on, and so on. So you can say "Neither" in response to "the Federation, or the Empire?" if you like, but you've got to propose an actual positive workable alternative.

I'm not sure that proposing a positive workable alternative to the problems afflicting the U.S. society and government is a very workable operation for a movie forum post, but I will point out that the ills that bother me are ones that have not afflicted in the same degree all societies and all governments at all times, nor even the U.S. in the same degree at all times, so I reject the idea that where we happen to be and what we happen to do must necessarily be the best that we can be and the best that we can do. To take a very specific example, I don't accept that the U.S. attacked Iraq because there was no positive workable alternative.

And yes, I guess I am taking this thread even further on a tangent, but the requirment that a positive workable alternative be proposed did seem to be a fairly direct request for a response.

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bowen wrote:

: I'm not sure that proposing a positive workable alternative to the problems afflicting the U.S. society and government is a very workable operation for a movie forum post . . .

Well, I don't think that's what I was looking for in the first place. You responded to Brin's affirmation of "institutions" by saying that, given a choice between the Federation's institutions and the Empire's institutions, you'd take "neither". But you have to have SOME sort of "institution". That's all I'm saying.

And the problem with the Star Wars franchise, taken as a six-movie whole, is that it sees problems in every single institution and destroys every single one of them and offers absolutely nothing in their place, apart from some ad hoc "rebellion" that loses its raison d'etre the moment the Empire has been destroyed. (Or, worse, the Empire HASN'T been destroyed, just the Emperor, which leaves "the regional governors" in "direct control over their territories", and thus results in an even more chaotic state of affairs, with the galaxy being carved up by various feuding warlords, etc.)

But, y'know, as long as "balance" has been restored to the Force, I guess it's all good.

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And the problem with the Star Wars franchise, taken as a six-movie whole, is that it sees problems in every single institution and destroys every single one of them and offers absolutely nothing in their place, apart from some ad hoc "rebellion" that loses its raison d'etre the moment the Empire has been destroyed. (Or, worse, the Empire HASN'T been destroyed, just the Emperor, which leaves "the regional governors" in "direct control over their territories", and thus results in an even more chaotic state of affairs, with the galaxy being carved up by various feuding warlords, etc.)

But, y'know, as long as "balance" has been restored to the Force, I guess it's all good.

You won't get a general defense of Lucas as a thinker, politlcal or religious, from me.

I do think, though, that the original trilogy was basically constructed as a fairy tale,and when we read it that way, we aren't supposed to worry about what happens politically after the Emperor dies than we do about inheritance and property ownership issues that arise after the sleepers wake up in Sleeping Beauty. That just isn't what it's about. Once Lucas extends the series with the prequels though, he hugely complicates this reading of the story by having thrown in all this Trade Federation stuff and whatnot; all of sudden it isn't a fairy tale, it is a political saga and the ending of the original trilogy can't bear the weight.

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bowen wrote:

: I do think, though, that the original trilogy was basically constructed as a fairy tale,and when we read it that way, we aren't supposed to worry about what happens politically after the Emperor dies . . .

I would agree, EXCEPT that Lucas used to say, at the time, that the original trilogy was the middle part of a three-trilogy storyline. After finishing Episodes IV to VI, he was going to do the prequels, and then do three sequels showing the rise of the New Republic, or whatever. But then when he finally DID get around to making the prequels, a couple decades later, he said that the story was now only going to be six episodes, not nine. So he expanded the fairy tale in one direction -- giving us even MORE institutions that needed to be destroyed -- but not in the other, where he would have had a chance to construct something more positive.

: Once Lucas extends the series with the prequels though, he hugely complicates this reading of the story by having thrown in all this Trade Federation stuff and whatnot; all of sudden it isn't a fairy tale, it is a political saga and the ending of the original trilogy can't bear the weight.

Yes, and as Brin points out, Lucas also complicates matters by making everything hinge on a "prophecy" that turns out to be utterly irrelevant. Supposedly, Darth Vader finally balances the Force when he kills the Emperor ... except the Emperor would have died anyway when the Death Star blew up. The redemption of Anakin Skywalker is very interesting from the perspective of Luke's spiritual journey, and Luke's spiritual journey IS what drives the original trilogy, but once you reframe the story as one of a prophecy and its fulfillment, it turns out the fate of Anakin's soul and the fate of Luke's soul are ultimately neither here nor there. And, what's worse, the prequels raise the distinct possibility that Anakin NEEDED to help the Emperor crush the Jedi Order and the Old Republic and the corruption brewing within them, all as part of "bringing balance to the Force".

But anyway. Back to Iron Man. :)

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Link to our thread on The Avengers.

And you thought the Nick Fury cameo was setting something up!

- - -

Captain America's Shield Found in Iron Man?!

The scene in which you can see the shield is after Iron Man returns from Afghanistan after fighting with the Mark III red/gold armor for the very first time. Right after he fights the two F-22 fighter jets, it shows him back in his lab trying to remove his armor but having trouble. Right as Pepper Potts walks down into his lab and asks him "what is he doing?", the shield can be seen sitting on one of his tables behind him in the lower left corner. This happens around 1 hour and 30 minutes into the movie.

FirstShowing.net, May 9

ironman-cptamerica-shield.jpg

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Link to our thread on Iron Man 2.

Link to a deleted scene which seems to serve the same basic purpose as that scene in The Dark Knight

in which Bruce Wayne takes a bunch of ballerinas to Hong Kong as a "cover" for his alter ego's activity

.

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It can be fascinating, sometimes, to go back and read three-year-old articles like this one:

Marvel Enterprises took care of the past, future and present Thursday as it declared independence by pacting with Merrill Lynch to produce a slate of films that will be distributed by Par and, separately, agreed to pay iconic comicbook creator Stan Lee a $10 million settlement.

Merrill Lynch's collateral -- a batch of 10 Marvel characters, including Captain America, the Avengers (actually a team of superheroes) and Nick Fury. Should the slate prove a bust, Captain America and the others would find themselves suddenly owned by a staid Wall Street financial house.

During an earnings call early Thursday, Marvel Studios chair-CEO Avi Arad said Marvel's ability to produce its own films would be revolutionary.

Marvel also will have creative control. This will eliminate difficult situations with studios that are producing films based on Marvel characters, such as New Line and "Iron Man."

Arad told Daily Variety on Thursday that "Iron Man" is being pushed back from 2006 to 2007 because New Line has refused to close a deal with director Nick Cassavetes, whom Marvel wants on the project. . . .

More items for the what-if file!

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