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Conventionally, a film bears a central message in its plot. Despite being medium of entertainment, embedded deep within a film’s plot is often a central idea or theme that the writer and the producer seek to convey. In this respect, moviemakers strive to depict virtually all aspects of life. In the year 2013, Hollywood produced a superhero film by the name Iron Man 3. This essay seeks to examine this film with a focus on the analysis of violence as a central theme within the movie.
A synopsis of Iron Man 3
The movie Iron Man 3 is a creation of Shane Black who doubles as a writer and director. It features Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark as the main actor around whom all the action revolves. The film commences in the wake of the events of The Avengers in which Tony participated to save the New York City from the attack of aliens (the Loki). Riddled with severe insomnia and posttraumatic stress, Tony spends his time building iron man suits (Iron Man 3).
This new lifestyle begins to weigh him down, but before long, a dangerous terrorist, only identified as the Mandarin, wreaks havoc. The Mandarin strips Tony off everything; it kills his bodyguard, destroys his home, car, and kills his girlfriend (Pepper Potts). Consequently, Tony is left with only a badly damaged iron man suit with which to face the vicious enemy (Iron Man 3). With the help of Col. James Rhodes and Harley, a young boy, Tony solves the puzzle of the Mandarin just before he actualizes his worst threat.
Analysis of Iron Man 3
The movie exudes violence right from the very beginning to its conclusion. The scenes are designed to embody a nature of violence that is often associated with terrorism in real life. The film commences in the wake of an alien invasion of the New York City. It takes the intervention Tony and his compatriots (The Avengers) to save the city.
The idea of alien invasion already creates an image of violence even before the movie starts. The harrowing experiences that Tony goes through due to his New York experience are not gentle by any standard. They are violent experiences that render him sleepless. Clearly, the beginning of the movie sets the stage for the violent action witnessed all the way to the end of the movie.
Violence in Iron Man 3 is perpetrated by everyone ranging from women, children, and men including Tony himself in the process of trying to rid the world of the villains. Pepper, Tony’s girlfriend, is shown violently killing a villain after which she exclaims, “that was really violent” (Iron Man 3).
In fact, the writer of the movie seems to be fully aware of the violence that is embedded in the movie, and thus by incorporating such a line, he appears to be drawing the audience’s attention to the violent nature of the movie. Pitching Harley, a ten-year-old boy, as one of the main accomplices of Tony in the final conquest, is a clear indicator that violence as depicted in the movie is not limited to gender or age. He participates in the violent termination of the villains until they are ultimately defeated.
The portrayal of a young boy participating in violent acts as shown in this movie may elicit criticism from a large fraction of society because according to Yildiz, children are associated with innocence, purity, and gentleness (40). However, even in the real life, children have been reported to perpetrate morbid criminal acts.
For instance, Yildiz notes that a case was reported in Britain in which two young boys, six years old and eight years old, took the hand of a five-year old before leading him to a secluded location where they murdered him in cold blood (40). All the theories and possible models that attempted to explain the incident fell short of giving a concrete reason to explain the occurrence of the bizarre incident.
Shane’s depiction of violence is thus not extreme or out of the ordinary as many may think. It truly reflects where society is today because just like children, women who were traditionally perceived as the weak gender, have become vicious killers in real life. The movie, being a 2013 production, rightly captures what is actually going on in society. Shane adds an extra dimension to his depiction of violence. He attempts to make the violence extreme by picturing the mechanisms used in the killings as extremely dangerous.
They do not only kill, but also vaporize the bodies of the victims to leave only eerie shadows (Iron Man 3). Besides the bombings such as that of the Chinese theater in which innocent tourists and other people are killed, “suicide” bombers in the movie actually explode after heating up from inside. The movie creates a morbid impression filled with violence and bloodshed. Tony himself goes through most of the movie with a blood stained face.
The writer cum producer of the movie succeeds in capturing the ravages of violence with the accompanying emotional effect he intended. In terms of the emotional appeal, the movie succeeds in reaching out to the audience quite easily. Violence is an emotive issue and based on the levels of violence exhibited in the movie, it becomes apparent that the producer of the movie is quite aware of how to evoke emotion.
He does it by glorifying violence in a manner that would cause someone watching the movie think that the life of the people in the movie depended on it. Starting with Tony, the trauma and sleeplessness and the destruction of his home and the bodyguard as well the near strangling of his girlfriend elicits sympathy for him. A person watching the movie cannot help but feel sympathetic for Tony especially when he has to face the vicious enemy in an old iron-man prototype suit that is also partly damaged.
Another instance when the movie significantly appeals to the audience emotionally occurs when the Mandarin captures the president from Air Force One successfully. Tony is in a position to save other people at the time, but not the president. Given the vicious nature of the Mandarin and his painful killing styles, one cannot help but feel sympathy for the president due to what he is likely going through. Such is the pathos of this film.
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Anyone watching the movie is in a position to link it successfully with the real life situations such as the Boston Marathon bombings and other terror attacks that have been witnessed in the US. The fact that the Mandarin is given Muslim or Arab like appearance, which is again not very clear, is a method that the producer uses to pass his message.
In real life, terrorism has been associated with Muslims, although sometimes such stereotypes are based on mere speculations. The producer of the movie is successful at causing the audience to make sense out of the events of the movie and link them with real life occurrences, which is logical.
In the ethical sense, the author of the movie is in a position to depict the modern society correctly as one that is fast being derailed of ethical values. Like many other movies, good triumphs over evil in the end, thus giving the very important lesson that good will eventually triumphs over evil in every situation. However, the issue of concern is the channels that Shane chooses to use in dispensing the “good” in the movie. He uses a young boy as well as some women on both sides of the battle.
In a sense, this aspect gives the impression of a society in which ethical values have gone to very low levels so that anyone can engage in violent acts as long as the result is justified. Conventionally, as espoused by almost all movies, the end justifies the means. The movie is also littered with scenes of sexual undertones that successfully depict what goes on in the modern society. In this manner, the producer of the movie clearly presents the movie’s ethos of to the audience.
The movie Iron Man 3 arguably glorifies violence all through. The villains perpetrate violence and the good people use violence to squash the villains. The movie seems to be advancing the argument that only violence can abate violence. In spite of its violent nature, the movie is widely acclaimed as being one of the best movies of its time.
These acclamations are in order as Iron Man 3 carries with it invaluable lessons for a keen individual. The deeply embedded message, especially for this generation, is that technology is only good as long as the people using it are good, and the message is quite timely.
Iron Man 3. Dir. Shane Black. New York: Marvel Studios. 2013. Film.
Yildiz, Murat. “Terrorism and violence: Turkish case.” Turkish Journal of Police Studies 3.1 (n.d): 38-55. Print.