Iron Clad Ignorance: Rewriting History

Rather than becoming a mesmerizing exploration of the vulnerability of a superhero, Iron Man 2 just puts up its dukes. When Tony learns the origins of Vanko's anger, he doesn't do anything about it. He doesn't reflect on the abuse of power. He doesn't try to make things right. He just dons his weaponized suit and fights. Vanko is the voice of Tony's conscience, and a conscience can be a tough thing to have. If we are to believe Iron Man 2, there's only one thing to do when your conscience is tormenting you: blow it up.

Some scholars argue that theological reflection is a normative activity. In other words, theologians seek answers to questions of good and evil, answers that might reveal important moral truths. In Iron Man 2, this is Vanko's role. He attacks Tony for attempting to rewrite history and for forgetting all the families whose lives he has ruined. It is like the wrath of God sentencing the Kingdom of Judah to destruction for its cruelties to the weak and vulnerable. 

In an otherwise disastrously loud and incoherent film, Mickey Rourke invented an unforgettable character. The theologian is the villain of this piece. I like that!

7/2/2010 4:00:00 AM
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  • Beth Davies-Stofka
    About Beth Davies-Stofka
    Beth Davies-Stofka teaches courses on comparative religion and the philosophy of religion. Her teaching and research focus in two areas: the challenges that violence and human suffering present to theological ethics, and explorations of philosophy and...