Higher Movies: Ironman

by Stan Lemon

Perhaps the best movie to grace the screen this summer (so far) is Marvel’s latest comic big-screen movie, the one about the man of steel. No, I’m not talking about Superman (that’s the other comic company, DC), I’m talking about Ironman. In this almost Pauline epic, Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) is the CEO of the world’s largest weapon’s company. This doomsday mastermind is charming, good looking, extremely wealthy and he’s got all the right moves. After a trip to the middle East and a Damascus-like experience this man with all the right moves and a godless core finds himself as a superhero saving the world from what was once defined who he was.

Like St. Paul, Stark has the right moves – he’s got the fancy “liturgically correct” clothes of the GQ world, he’s got all of the right lines and he’s at the top of his game. All this exterior perfection doesn’t do him a lick of good when he’s captured by crazy Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and everything he knows is stripped away from him. Stark doesn’t lose his eyes but he does lose heart, and only after traveling to some stinky cave is it given back to him – but with a bit of a twist. Stark’s new heart starts off as a car battery, but quickly becomes an Ark Reactor. This fancy technology can power Stark’s heart for over 50 lifetimes, or one really clunky steel suit.

While still captured by Islamic terrorists Stark is ordered to build a doomsday missile, instead Stark secretly constructs a mechanized suit that allows him to break free from the terrorist camp and eventually get back home. With his own little Road to Damascus, Stark seems a little more genuine and is now concerned with the effects his Pharisaical corporation is having on the world. Turning over a new leaf, Stark wishes to devote his energies to peace. Next thing you know Stark’s clunky steel contraption is a sharp looking and extremely powerful suit with a cool paint job that empowers Stark to save the world as Ironman.

The movie ends with Stark battling his own creation and his father’s closest friend , whose own greed has drowned his sense of reality. By the time the credits roll Stark has saved the day and peace has triumphed over evil.

Stark’s new mission, to proclaim peace where he once battled against it sounds like a familiar story. What’s even more familiar is the way that the world is busy destroying itself while Stark serves as an outcast. Greed, which is ultimately the sin of the movie, causes Obadiah (Stark’s dad’s friend) to self-destruct. Peace, which we know to be the love of God in Christ Jesus on the Cross, ultimately wins the day despite the world falling apart all around. Peace always prevails, even when it seems like it won’t.

While we see a bit of St. Paul in Stark, we also see the ultimate superhero – the one that no comic book could ever depict, but only the Word of God. It’s the greatest story ever told, where God in man saves the whole world from sin, death and the worst bad guy ever – the devil. Jesus is our own Ironman, battling sin and death, and ultimately conquering destruction and making peace prevail.

Sin and death are the world we are born into, it’s all we know as little pagans. Left to our own vices we’re no better than Obadiah, who ultimately caused his own death by virtue of his sin. To save the day amidst what the world would want is peace, the Pax Domini that the Lord can only give. He gives it to us in Holy Baptism where peace is sprinkled upon our foreheads and salvation sealed upon our hearts. He continues to give it to us in Holy Absolution and the Lord’s Supper. Our own Ironman delivers Himself to us for our sake, saving us from sin.

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to see Indiana Jones or any of the other really lousy movies out this summer, receive Ironman as your Redeemer! The box office isn’t totally lost, as this movie saves the cinema in what could be the best Marvel movie to date. I loved it, I’m going to go see it again, and when it comes out on DVD I’m adding it to my collection. Ironman rocked and it doesn’t get a single Lemon because there’s nothing sour about it!

Stan Lemon lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Sara and his dog Ivan. He serves as the Higher Things webmaster and is a huge Pirates fan. 

Created: June 2nd, 2008