Saturday, May 8, 2010

Iron Man and Captain America get political? Are they Conservative and Liberal darling?

Frequent consumers of political blogs will be familiar with editorials where authors argue that a popular but otherwise apolitical group or cultural product belongs to the left or right. In this instance the case being made - "Superhero movies are conservative".
Men of iron and steel
The release of “Iron Man 2” this weekend kicks off the summer blockbuster season. It’s an interesting cultural moment for conservatives. The movie version of Iron Man is one of the most unambiguously libertarian figures in popular culture, a billionaire industrialist playboy who spends much of the new movie telling the government to get bent when it tries to claim his amazing suit of high-tech armor. He’s patriotic, loves the military, and views the bad actors of the world from a Reaganite position of moral confidence. In the original movie, he did what Hollywood has been painfully reluctant to do, ever since September 11: he flew over to the Middle East and took out the trash...

The recent wave of super-hero movies has been largely agreeable to conservatives...
It is an interesting piece by Doctor Zero, clearly an avid comic book reader.

The piece goes on to mention the disparity between the "pro-conservative views" found in the blockbuster movies and the "liberal slant" found in the source material of the comics
The characters [in the movies] haven’t been overexposed and eroded through complex re-inventions [like they have in the books], leading lazy writers to inject leftist cant into their stories, in a desperate attempt to seem relevant and high-minded. Average folks who enjoy “Iron Man 2” this weekend would be utterly baffled by the portrayal of a nearly fascist Tony Stark in the recent “Civil War” storyline running through Marvel Comics. An industry that flirts with the idea of Captain America charging into battle against the Tea Party has lost touch with its roots, and taken leave of its senses. Fortunately, the superhero movies are giving us cleaner, more coherent interpretations of these great characters.
The idea that certain movies or heroes represent the values of certain political parties and politicians is not new. I previously mentioned how cultural writers have written that 'The Dark Knight' echoed George W Bush' brand of justice and that President Obama was some kind of Superman.
captain america, tea party, marvel comics,
Marvel Comics: Captain America #602
But the most intriguing turn in the comic book universe is the reframing of Captain America as liberal patriot. With the latest controversy of Captain America seemingly portrayed as Anti-Tea Party threatening to alienate a portion of the fan base. Marvel Comics has responded to the controversy with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada defending the Captain America #602 storyline but conceding there was an error in the editorial process.
Marvel admits to 'mistake' in controversial Captain America comic
It looks like Marvel Comics' Captain America is throwing his mighty shield at the Tea Party Movement. Warner Todd Huston wrote on his Publius forum blog that the super-powered soldier who fought the Nazis in WWII observes with disdain Americans who are seemingly compared to Tea Party Movement protesters of today...
Update: (May 10, 2010)
Perhaps this might bring up Iron Man's conservative credentials, here is Bill O'Reilly on his cameo in 'Iron Man 2'. I will post the actual film excerpt when that becomes available online. In the meantime find a full transcript with screen grabs of O'Reilly's scene from - Bill O’Reilly Trashes Potts, Stark In Iron Man 2 (Screenshots)

VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly In 'Ironman 2'

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