Marxism of Iron Man

Iron Man is based on the Marvel Comics characters from the graphic novels of the same name. The movie is centered around Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.). He is involved in a terrorist attack; the terrorists use his company’s weapons on the military convoy. They then kidnap him. He then creates a robotic suit to help him stay alive (due to shrapnel near his heart) and escape from his captors. He then returns home only to continue to work on his suits to stop those using his weapons against the innocent civilians. Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), the man Tony thought was his friend, was the man making the under-the-table deals, selling the weapons to the terrorist organization. Obadiah then creates a suit to battle Tony’s. In the end, good triumphs and Tony Stark is victorious and then tells the world he is Iron Man.

I picked this film because it falls within the superhero genre, a place where I have a decent understanding of the materials. This movie is the beginning of the Avengers Phase One. The intended audience is young males, ages 9 to 18.

The Characters:

  • Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) – Womanizing, playboy millionaire. Doesn’t care about anyone but himself for the majority of the movie. Grows to be a hero by the end. He takes responsibility for what his company does.
  • Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) – Tony’s assistant, the only one that knows he is Iron Man, his confidant
  • Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) – Tony’s father-figure, vice president of the company, the “bad guy” in the movie, but he was just looking for financial gain.

Some Marxist ideas in the film were economic metaphors, preferred readings, class, and hegemony. The idea that a rich, white man selling weapons to make money is an economic metaphor. As far as preferred readings, the hero is a white, upper-class male. This also addresses hegemony and class.

The audience loves the movie. I know of several young boys that still stop to watch the movie and dress up and pretend to be Iron Man. The idea that the man has to be a hero, and that he is white and rich furthers the stereotype. Personally, I believe that anybody could step up and be a hero.

This movie had things to open doors for random interpretation, but everyone can interpret things anyway to fit any of their needs.

I Love You More – Spoken Word

A fellow FCA leader was talking to a few of the other females in the group, and me being nosy, asked them what they were talking about. They were talking about this video. They said it was more directed towards women, but after watching it, I think it SHOULD be for men.
The description given on YouTube is just the lyrics, but it’s essentially a conversation between a guy and God. The guy is telling God to stay away from his girlfriend. God asks him what he knows about her. The guy just gives some physical facts. Then God replies with what is in her heart. By the end of it, the guy realizes that she shouldn’t love him or the man he wants to become, but she should put God above all.
The end of the video is directed towards the girl, but the whole thing is about how men think about their relationships, wanting to be the center of the girls world. But men should want God to be the center of their lives!

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and Feminism

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is a new television series. It revolves around a government agency designed to protect the world against the new threat of super-powered beings. The team was brought together to be the first on site for any new, unique, or unidentified object or person that has the potential to harm the people of Earth. Under the direction of Agent Phil Coulson, a special agent who has been in the organization for years and has had several encounters with the “Super Heroes” known as the Avengers.

It is a new series, and has officially been picked up for a full season. I have grown really fond of the show. It is a continuation/spin-off of The Avengers. I can somewhat relate to the character of Fitz in the sense of being socially awkward and a genius. I know, ain’t I modest? But seriously, and I know it is a work of fiction, I want to work for SHIELD.

The team consists of:

  • Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) – special agent, team leader, Field Officer, “killed” during the events of The Avengers. (I have a few theories on where they can take this story, but this post is for a particular purpose.)
  • Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) – Specialist, excellent skills of combat and espionage, not really a people person.
  • Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) – Administrator, expert pilot and martial artist. Used to be in the field, but resigned to desk duty
  • Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) – Bio-Chemist, works closely with Fitz, loves all things science, and has a strong belief in the potential future.
  • Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) – Engineer, works closely with Simmons, the two of them are inseparable and are almost always thinking the same thing.
  • Skye (Chloe Bennet) – Hacker from the mysterious group called Rising Tide. Not much is known about her, but she is a very complex character.

I chose the Pilot episode, because what better place to start than at the beginning. It lays out the series. I starts the story of the agents. Thus giving us an idea of what is to come. There are plenty of unanswered questions, but I feel had the writers addressed everything, the episode would have been at least two hours long and not many people would watch past the first episode.

The show is intended more for younger men between the ages of 16 to 25. However, I personally know many older adults and young ladies who enjoy the show. I watched this episode at least three times with several young ladies. Granted, I was just there to answer questions, like “Is Coulson really dead?” and “Who is the black guy?” Those were real questions. But the fact of the matter is if a person has followed any of the Avengers’ stories, they have a niche with this show.

The episode has plenty of action from the very beginning. There is an explosion, then we have our first glimpse of a super hero. Then they skip to the agents, and we meet all the major players in the show. The female characters are extremely good looking, especially when you consider males put in similar roles in other media.

Jemma Simmons

First, we have a young, British bio-chemist named Jemma Simmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge. She’s a BIO-CHEMIST. If a male were to get this role, he would not look this good. Her clothes are form fitting. I’m not saying women can’t do this, I’m saying if the role were given to a male, it would be more of a “turn-off”.

 

 

 

 

Melinda May

Then we have Melinda May, played by Ming-Na Wen. She is older, but still a decent looking woman. She has been in SHIELD for years. She was – and still is – a master in hand-to-hand combat. That could explain why she looks as fit as she does. But, even then, she is still feminine looking.

 

 

Skye

 

And a hacker named Skye, played by Chloe Bennet. A female hacker is not very common, but has been done before. And every time, the character is gorgeous. She wears clothing that shows off her femininity.

All of these females are attractive to some degree. The male gaze is certain to notice these ladies’ appearance. The other things men would like are the cool gadgets and the action.

These women make their own choices most of the time. They are a part of a team, so they must go with the team. Simmons is a bio-chemist and works with Fitz. They make gadgets and try to work together. They argue, but they do reach a compromise. May is the most qualified of the team, behind Coulson. She does what she needs to, even if she doesn’t want to go back to the way things were. Skye is the “outsider”. She is the newest. She doesn’t play by the rules, because she doesn’t agree with the rules. She is still trying to find her place.

In the episode, Skye is interviewing Agent Ward. She takes her jacket off, to reveal her tight shirt, showing her cleavage to him.

The overall concept of this episode is to say anybody has the potential to be a hero, but also could become a villain. The audience should be called to take the appropriate actions to do the right thing with the “power” they have.

I believe that anyone with the ability to do the right thing, should. I feel this is being supported by this episode. A direct quote from Clark Gregg’s character, Agent Phil Coulson supports this: “The good ones. The real deal. They’re not heroes because of what they have that we don’t. It’s what they do with it. You’re right, Mike, it matters who you are.”

This show is for entertainment, and it is an excellent show. But I feel it has lessons to teach. There has only been three episodes at the time of this posting, but it has a lesson for each in my opinion. Check out the show. It is available on iTunes, Hulu, WatchABC, and you can probably find it any number of other places.

Landmark.

The Plaza Theatre, Downtown Laredo
A historic landmark, closed down about 10 years ago. I would love to see this place open.

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Update: I was doing some research, starting with Google and progressing from there. I found something for renovating the theatre from 2005. It’s from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of Laredo for $198,000. I’m not sure if anything came of this.

If the government gave the city to renovate a landmark, what would be the reason why it never happened? I’m not trying to say there is/was a hidden agenda for the money. I’m just saying if there was a plan for the $198,000, what was it? Was it really for the Plaza? Did it cost too much to renovate and they used what they had, but came up just short to reopen it? Was renovating the theater just a cover to spend on some other project that hadn’t been approved?

I know there is a few groups interested in reopening the Plaza, and at least one online petition. But I think most of the issue is based on lack of funding. Even if the city had gotten close to $200,000, would that have been enough to fix all the problems with the theater? From the information I have heard and seen, I think the project would still need at least another $100,000. It would be doable, it’s just a matter of public concern.

The groups interested in reopening the theater try to generate interest, but they don’t do it consistently. I heard about it from one of the groups’ leaders. She mentioned wanting to start a petition the day we went, and once or twice the next week. I have class with her, she mentions going by there, but nothing about a petition or any kind of fundraising.

There just needs to be a group devoted to the Plaza and nothing else. If there already is one, I have not heard of it. I’m literally on every social media outlet, and I only see posts from random people, if I see anything at all.

Masks and What They Hide.

I’m going to start off with a quote from Batman Returns: Danny DeVito as the Penguin to Micheal Keaton as Batman, “You’re just jealous, because I’m a genuine freak and you have to wear a mask!”
Masks are used to hide an identity. To protect the people the person wearing the mask know. To protect family, friends, loved ones. They are also used to strike fear into the enemies of the ideals of the person stands for.

Agents of SHIELD Review.

I will be holding off on an actual review for now. But I will tell you vague things I liked and disliked from the first episode.

Likes:

  • Chemistry of the Characters – They all fit in the universe together. There was some tension and some real world emotion.
  • Chemistry of Actors – I feel the actors, outside of the show, would go hang out together.
  • Continuity – It takes place after the events of The Avengers and Iron Man 3, pulling references and aspect from each.
  • Clark Gregg – Agent Phil Coulson is a character made especially for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So Clark Gregg IS Phil Coulson!
  • Potential – They could literally go any direction with the show. If they want to do a Iron Man storyline, they can. If they want to introduce a new set of characters, they could bring in Luke Cage or Scarlet Witch or anybody that was once an Avenger!

Dislikes:

  • Humor – There were times when I laughed, and that’s fine. But there were a few times that I laughed when I shouldn’t have. I said the same about Avengers. Both are well made and presented, but I don’t want them in the comedy category.
  • Cliffhanger – There was a conversation at the beginning of the episode that lead me to jump to conclusions. I’m not sure how correct they are, but I want to know soon. They can’t start off a series like that!
  • Stan Lee – It is only the first episode, but I feel there should have been a cameo…

 

These are just some things I saw and felt while watching, and these are my opinions. If you disagree or want to ask a question, please feel free to comment.

Agents of SHIELD.

Well, last night was the premiere of Disney’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, but I had more important commitments with TAMIU FCA. We had our weekly meeting and it was moving.
But back to the point of this post: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD! When I heard about the show, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to see how they would tie it in with the movies. I was thinking maybe guest appearances from Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., or even Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe when Thor: The Dark World or Captain America: The Winter Soldier come out, have episodes surrounding those events. Introduce new characters through the show. It would be a great way to get viewership up. The die-hard fans of the movies could watch the show for new adventures. People that watch only television may catch the show, and get involved in the story and watch all the movies.
I will post a review of the first episode when I finish it.
Final Thought: The iTunes Store needs to make shows available earlier than 4:00 AM.