Just as an addendum to that discussion Derb launched yesterday re the declining American tradition of tinkering in the barn, may I say that’s one of the great aspects of the new Iron Man movie – which I enjoyed immensely mainly because (unlike that bore who starred in The Hulk) Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow are all terrific in their respective roles.
But the great thing about Iron Man is that, unlike most superheroes, Tony Stark doesn’t get bitten by a radioactive spider or whatever other transformative bug is going around. He (in Derbyshire terms) tinkers himself into a superhero. Although the film’s script is superficially very PC, its subtext is a tribute to the American spirit. Tony Stark is captured by an unspecified group of swarthy bearded men in Afghanistan. Would they happen to be…? Whoa, don’t mention the M word, unless you mean Magyar: at one point, his captors are said to be speaking Hungarian. But, whatever they are, they order him to build him a state-of-the-art missile. He, of course (warning: small plot spoiler), starts hammering the various bits of ordnance lying around the cave into heavy underwear – while his captors loaf around the old campfire and watch him. In a scrupulously PC movie, this is as devastating a precis of civilizational differences as anything in Samuel Huntington.