Doubts about Iron Man

I have just been reading some of the original IRON MAN comics from Tales of Suspense, back when they were written by Stan Lee and illo’d by Gene Colin. To my surprise, I found out that Tony Stark was an arms manufacturer beloved by the American people, loyal to the government, and protected by agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the communist spies and saboteurs who kept trying to wreck his production or steal his secrets.
There was even an episode where he flies off to Viet Nam to help Our Fighting Men, who act like the same type of normal G.I.’s as we once saw in SGT. FURY comics. They were right guys, doing their duty. They were not psychopaths or bayoneters of babies. 

This was a strange sensation, a window into another time. It was reading entertainment from a day and age that had confidence, a nation whose spirit had not been broken by cowardice and defeatism.
Iron Man is one of my favorite Marvel characters, ranking beneath Captain America, but still pretty high up on my list. Consequently, I was delighted to hear that an Iron Man movie was in the works, and I had high hopes that it might be good. 

It could look Way Cool:

Iron Man, all jets ablaze, he fights and smites with Repulsor Rays!

Then I read an interview of Jon Favreau, the man behind the film. My anticipation cooled somewhat.
I think it starts off as the oblivious arms manufacturer who gets a huge dose of reality when he’s taken into captivity and he’s a hostage in Afghanistan. I think he starts to understand the ramifications of the way he’s been living his life when he’s exposed to that degree of reality and try to play that as real as possible.
Hmmm. Afghanistan, eh? I may be too suspicious, but I wonder what is meant by an “oblivious” arms manufacturer who “gets a dose of reality” and learns the “ramifications” etc. This does not sound good.
Look. Sometimes people “get” a certain character, and sometimes they don’t. When Captain America was being beaten to a bloody pulp by Herr Colonel von Murder (or whoever it was) and asked to surrender, and Cap hauls himself painfully to his feet, eyes blazing, points to the giant white A on his helmet, and shouts “Surrender?! Do you think the A on my forehead stands for FRANCE?!” those guys who wrote that line got the character. They understood what he stood for. 

When Captain America throws his mighty shield,
All those who chose oppose his shield must yield!

I don’t think anyone who portrays Tony Stark as an “oblivious” arms manufacturer rather than as a patriotic one “gets” the character, or understands what he stands for. As a symbol, Iron Man is invulnerable on the outside, a man of iron, but on the inside, all too human, wounded in his heart, weak, kept alive by high technology, and whenever he fights, the drain on his suit systems makes him run the risk of sudden death by cardiac arrest. Despite his looks and wealth and fame and women, his life hangs by a thread, and he suffers from typical Marvel superhero angst. 

Iron Man is a Cold Warrior, fighting the Titanium Man, who was a Commie thug, fergodsake. Are they going to take this character, the human symbol of American high-tech weapon superiority, and turn him into some sort of white flag waving dove?

Has everyone in Hollywood forgotten how to tell a story? If they made this film in India, not only would they have a highly melodramatic plot, include lavish singing and dancing numbers, and they’d get Aishwarya Rai to play Pepper Potts. It would rock the Casbah.  

Completely Gratuitous picture of Aishwarya Rai