Iron Man 3: Things to Consider

Posted: May 3, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Iron-Man-3-Poster-535x780Tonight I will be taking several youth to the local theater to help cheer on Tony Stark as he faces his fiercest foe yet, The Mandarin.  After Iron Man 2 disappointed audiences, fans are ready for an IM film that’s on par with the original.  Regardless of the likability of the film, there will no doubt be special effects that should please any fan of the cinema.  I plan on writing another post after viewing the movie, however, here are some things to consider as you make your way to theater.

The Spectacle

Let’s be honest, many people flock to the theaters to simply see Iron Man fly around and do amazing things.  They don’t care about the story, they just want to witness cool visuals.  In this newest film, I’m really looking forward to seeing him jump out of a plane to save the lives of several passengers who have been sucked out of the fuselage.  Movies like IM3 are filled with spectacular visuals and it’s great for Christians to appreciate those.  We don’t need to overlook the story, because story is so foundational to Christianity, but see the amazing Creator behind the creation on-screen and worship Him.  Be amazed in a God who creates minds that create impressive CGI (computer-generated imaging) which wows us.  All humans, believers and unbelievers, are created in the image of God and are, therefore, sub-creators.  When we watch IM fly around and do his thing, let the sub-creation point you to the One who created all things, ex nihilo.

The Value of Life

There is no doubt that this super-action-filled-adventure will also be filled with violence.  While most of the violence in IM3 is said to be “bloodless”, there is still a certain level of caution for us.  Since we are image bearers, we should value life but how is that value challenged when the body-count rises in movies?  There is a sense in which we can say, it’s just a movie.  However, we live in an age where organization like, Planned Parenthood, continue to devalue human life, therefore, we should be cautious about the subtle ways in which action films, as well as other genres, may downplay the loss of life.

On the other hand, there may be times when we should applaud death in a movie like IM3.  We are hard-wired for justice, because we have a God who is perfectly just and he is going to return and bring justice with him.  Therefore, when we witness various villains “off-ed” in a movie, part of us can rejoice at the justice served, just be cautious of the way justice is communicated.

Tony Stark

There is no doubt that much of the Iron Man franchises’ success can be attributed to Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark.  He is arrogantly funny and his over-the-top lifestyle is pretty humorous at times.  However, one caution we need to consider is what we laugh at.  While Stark’s character is pretty exaggerated, much of his lifestyle isn’t something we should condone.  In fact, it is downright sinful.  His love/lust for ladies, hunger for money, and pride is actually a sure path for destruction, therefore, we must be careful of simply laughing off his lifestyle.

Let me share a related caution about Stark/IM.  While I want us to be cautious about applauding his sinful lifestyle, I am not saying we cannot view his lifestyle on-screen.  My caution is the fact that he is the hero of the film.  Therefore, we can sometimes idolize his lifestyle simply because he’s the hero, but the lifestyle isn’t something Christians should strive for.  This really gets at our tendency to worship heroes.  Ultimately every ‘hero’ in scripture was flawed, except for One.  This is why I can enjoy a hero like Iron Man.  He is flawed, just like David, Moses, Peter and every other broken instrument God used.  My challenge for us here is that we don’t downplay his brokenness [see poster above], because of his likability.

Good vs. Evil

Movies like this are typically enjoyable because good and evil is clearly defined.  In a culture filled with relativism and tolerance, it can be nice to have some clear lines of absolute truth.  However, I would be naive to think that the lines of good and evil will not be blurred.  As I already mentioned above, Stark is a deeply flawed man but is viewed as the good guy.  The Mandarin is clearly the villain in the film, but does he have any admirable or redeemable qualities?  We need to consider questions like these, as well as, others: What does the movie teach us about justice?  There is a big theme of revenge in the film, what is communicated about that?  What is the ‘good’ being fought for/sought after?  These are important to keep in mind, since they are being communicated through a varied worldview.

There are many more things to discuss, but I’ve already exceeded my word limit.  These are just a few things to keep in mind.  Be sure and check back for my follow-up post on it.  I hope you enjoy the film, wade through it with a discerning mind, and appreciate this unique form of art.

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