Towards the beginning he asks, “Is it better to be feared or respected? And I say, is it too much to ask for both?” I would argue this is Iron Man’s basis. He is feared by his enemies and respected by his followers.
After he is taken, his captures describe him as a villain. They call him “the most famous mass murderer in the history of America.” However, he does not like this title. He thinks he is a hero for American until he discovers his weapons in the wrong hands. Therefore, he becomes a hero to be what he wanted, feared and respected.
Tony Stark earns respect and fear with his new suit when he comes barreling out of the cave. He is bullet proof, has great strength, fires rockets, uses flame throwers, and can fly.
When he is back home, he starts perfecting his original design to make it better. After figuring out how to fly and his company has been “double dealing under the table”, he demonstrates what his new suit can do. Adding target shots and laser hands to the mix, he is practically unstoppable. Who better to strike fear and respect into the hearts of people than a “visionary, genius, American patriot” rocking out to ACDC?
Now we have seen how his suit and inventions should create fear and respect, but how do they in actuality? Well for one, when he saves the families from the bad guys in the desert, he strikes fear into his those enemies and earns respect from the people by saving them.
To keep the respect in his home country, he does the unexpected, like showing up to the Stark party at the Disney Concert Hall. Americans like celebrities and their random actions. Thus Stark showing up to the event he is not expected to attend only draws more fans to his cause. Drama is what it’s all about, right?
He strikes fear into his ultimate enemy, Obadiah (Jeff Bridges), by living through even the loss of his “heart”. Stark goes to fight the new suit even though he is on a less stable arc reactor.
To truly gain respect by the rest of the world, Stark has to reveal himself as Iron Man. Stark gains respect because he is now associated with a hero. Iron Man is respected because he is associated with a genius, weapons inventor.
Although the villain always looks to be feared, the hero is the one truly looking for people’s respect. So maybe Iron Man and Stark are a little bit of both.
Here is a New York Times article about the primer of this movie.
Check out this paper about the portrayal of Arabs in Iron Man.
See you next week for HP monthly!