Is Iron Man the greatest superhero ever?
Okay, he’s arrogant, but his lack of super powers make Iron Man stand out from the rest, argues Ced Yuen, staff writer on What HiFi? Sound and Vision But do you agree?
I have Iron Man pyjamas. The chest glows in the dark. And when I go to sleep, I pretend I’m Tony Stark. Alright, that’s not entirely true – but it’s safe to call me a fan.
Things weren’t always like that. I grew up unaware of Iron Man’s existence. I was always a Batman person: he’s got a cape, for a start! Then came 2008, and the first Iron Man movie came out.
I changed my mind. I went through the biggest graphic novels/comic books (delete as appropriate) in Iron Man’s 50-year publication history. Now I think he might just be the greatest superhero of all.
Why? Because he’s not that far a stretch of imagination. Tony Stark built his armour with a box of scraps. Admittedly he has a ridiculously high IQ and the science is a bit iffy, but ultimately he’s a self-made hero. That’s infinitely more interesting than the ones with powers. You know: the kind who gets to be super just for being an alien, or a victim of magic.
It also fascinates me that Stark simply feels like doing good. There’s no inner turmoil. He’s not a sociopath motivated by crippling guilt, and he doesn’t feel responsible for everyone. He saves the world when he wants to, and cracks a lot of jokes. That’s more fun to watch than the kind of hero that goes home after a long day to sulk in a cave.
He’s not perfect, of course. He’s arrogant, and more confident about himself than he should be. But his imperfections make him all the more entertaining, and relatable. The best parts of any Iron Man story – the latest film in particular – are about him messing up, struggling to master his creation. What’s more interesting than a man with technology? A man with technology he can’t quite control.
That leads me to my favourite thing about Iron Man: the suit. It’s a seriously cool piece of kit. As desirable sci-fi technology goes, it’s right up there with time machines and lightsabers.
And the best bit is that you don’t need radioactive accidents or years of martial arts training. Anyone could put on that suit. Ultimately, that’s the best kind of fantasy: I’m not a superhero, but I could be.
Who needs capes?
Ced Yuen is staff writer on What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
Enjoy Iron Man 3 in its full, Blu-ray glory, available on Amazon