Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death…
Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot…
This Marvel Comics-based film will be a delight for lovers of adventure. Robert Downey shines as reformed entrepreneur Tony Stark. After inheriting the world’s largest weapons manufacturing complex, Tony is kidnapped by a Middle Eastern terrorist and sees first hand the carnage his weapons produce in the hands of the wrong people, with hundreds of civilians and US soldiers killed. He escapes by producing an ingenious iron suit, and upon his return vows to stop making arms and produce goods for peace. However, he must face his second in command opposed to such change, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Obadiah, seeing only financial ruin in Tony’s plan to beat “swords into plowshares,” pretends to go along with his superior, but plots in secret to overthrow him.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Tony’s chief assistant Pepper Potts, as fiery a character as her name. Although the film, like most of its comic book-derived kind, accepts violence as the means for combating evil, the film itself delivers its two hours of excitement and adventure.
Jeff Bridges character is so unusual that I read again (for the first time in over 20 years) the little book of Obadiah to see if the writers had chosen that name with any of the book’s content in mind. I suspect that theirs was not a random choice, the prophecy of destruction being leveled against the nation of Edom. The Edomites had taken advantage of Judah when Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed, so now “the day of the Lord” is to be visited upon them: “For the day of the Lord is near against all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Ob. 1:15). It is not every super hero film that sends one to Holy Writ!
For reflection/Discussion 1) Why do you think comic books have become such a rich source for filmmakers? How are super heroes. in this supposedly the age of science and reason, the replacement for the mythological heroes of ancient days?
2) How is the depiction of Arabs in keeping with popular prejudices? How are US soldiers depicted? Do you think their impotence, when compared to Iron Man, could be a reflection of our view regarding the disappointing results of our invasion of Iraq?
3) How is Tony’s conversion like the Damascan Road conversion of Saul? Compare him to the Nicholas Cage character in Lord of War.
4)How does the reaction of the public, as well as Obadiah, reflect what might actually happen were the head of a major US corporation to renounce its defense contracts and produce only goods for peaceful usage?
5) What do you think of the possible use of the Old Testament prophet’s name for the US villain?
6) Like virtually all superheroes. Iron Man embraces force. How do you feel about this? Do you think that there are ways of fighting evil without violence?