Media Literacy: The Philosophy of Iron Man

.Iron Man

Ok, I know that the cinematic experience of many has been inundated with comic book flare for the course of the past decade, however, you have to admit that best of the lot (such as The Dark Knight Trilogy and the Marvel Universe) have represented an approach to film-making that brings some much needed critical clout to the American Hollywood experience. Films like Iron Man (2008) bring to life immediate stories that entertain, provoke and importantly reflect on shared experiences beyond the theater. Jon Faverau’s original Iron Man, told the story of Tony Stark not merely as a character embedded with the comic book framework but urgently one participating in the pre and post 911 milieu – his work as an industrialist indirectly providing military equipment to violent terrorists. Tony’s story taking shape within the dark caves of a world masked by rigid terrain spoke deeply about the imbalanced relationship of American political industry and economic practices in a world fragmented by conflict and commerce. Further to the political  the film looks at human action and reaction – Tony’s motivation for change and how technology allows him to evolve in body and form. With all of this, the opening of  Iron Man 3 in a few days continues a tradition of pop culture with a sound voice.

If you are a film buff or teacher using media literacy to bring forward critical thinking in your students, take the time to check out the book entitled: “Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality,” edited by Mark White and William Ewin. The collection looks at the ideas surrounding politics, technology, class and faith through the lens of Tony Stark (aka. Iron Man).

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