We’ve been All Avengers All the Time this summer, and I’m diggin’ it, sure. But after ad nauseum repetitions of the cartoons we’ve started casting around for other sources, landing inevitably on the live-action movies, which add a depth and realism to the Avenger stories that sometimes I’m not sure they can really bear. Meaning, I find I start picking at things, plot or character things, that I seem content to let fly in the cartoon versions.
Luc is unsure as well. He says the live action superhero movies have way too much “grown ups talking at other grown ups.” But he likes the spectacle of it all and just keeps his finger on the fast forward. (I love that my kids have such confidence and power in their interaction with media. They have no problem zipping over any bits they don’t care for, constructing, in this way, a narrative catered especially to their needs and interests of the moment. Which is cool.)
Anyway. This week, it’s been Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
I love this Iron Man Stance—in my prev post on the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, they make use of this pose to add Epic Awesomeness to their already Epically Awesome flips—look again and you’ll see the dancers actually LAND in this pose after doing two hundred or so mid-air twisting triple axle handspring moves. That clunking sound is my jaw hitting the floor.
Okay. I love the first Iron Man movie, and am unsure of the second—although part 2 in any 3-part story is often a bit uncomfortable, coming as part 2 does, right in the middle, where all the moral ambiguity will tend to be. Think of the unsettling feeling you get at the end of Empire Strikes Back. So I’m withholding judgement on 2 until I see next summer’s Avengers (Joss Whedon’s Avengers! A confluence of geeky goodness that boggles my mind.), and the rumored Iron Man 3 to come on it’s heels.
But here’s the point of this post. And I’m hoping someone can help me because, although, at a high-speed gloss level, I do enjoy both the Iron Man movies and especially Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark (how can such an asshole character be so charming?) , there are some crucial plot points that I just don’t get.
1. Like why doesn’t Toby Stark just get the shrapnel surgically removed once he is back in the States? That’s a big one. I get the whole magnet-to-keep-the-shrapnel-from-working-its-way-further-into-his-body-as-a-stop-gap-measure thing. I do. But once he’s back in high tech medical services world, why the heck wouldn’t he just get the shrapnel taken out?
2. But, okay, say we hand-wave that one away. It can’t be removed without killing him. Okay. So the magnet solution—it doesn’t have to be a super strong magnet to hold a few little pieces of metal in place, right? He doesn’t need a mega-battery in his chest, doesn’t need a palladium arc reactor in his body. Yes, it runs the suit, but War Machine can drive a suit without having a battery built into his body—the suit can have a battery separate from the body of the suit’s wearer. So why not just have a little battery for the magnet and have the arc reactor run the suit and then presto, no death threat from the palladium. There may be a good answer to this in the story that I missed…?
3. And, hey, although I love the scene in where Pepper puts her hand down in the deep pit in Tony Stark’s chest—one of the best scenes in the movie for me—but really, it makes no sense. Why does Tony need this deep well in his chest? Has his sternum been removed? What does that do to how his ribs work? And if the shrapnel is over his heart, why is the magnet/battery in the center of his body, instead of to the left, over his actual heart? Why would the magnet need to be so deep? I’m confused.
4. But here’s the big one. The battery is running the magnet. So why/how does it become linked to Tony’s heart itself (he says he’s going into cardiac arrest when he takes out the old battery) and WHY would he have a difference in experience, in Iron Man 2, when he puts the new super battery in? That is, why does he act like he’s getting a big rush off of it? The battery isn’t powering his body in any way that I know of, it’s powering the magnet, but he acts like he just did a mega hit of cocaine or something. Huh? Is this something that would be clear to me if I had read the actual comics? It’s as if the battery IS his heart, and thematically, that is played out (in Iron Man 1). But a battery doesn’t pump blood. There is no way that I can see that physically that battery is supposed to replace his actual heart. Not to mention that it’s in the wrong place.
Is this a case of All Aboard the Fun Train! and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain? Or are there actual answers in the comics, or the movies, that I missed? Maybe someone can enlighten me. Please. Because for a story that I’m being exposed to on a daily basis right now, having these sorts of plot problems niggling away at the back of my brain, well, it’s enough to keep me awake at night.
Because I’m weird like that.