Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Making the world a safer place, to the soundtrack of AC/DC

A visit to the local cinema to experience Marvel's new testosterone-fuelled blockbuster Iron Man 2 has taught me a few things; that playing 'cinema seat roulette' is truly the most stressful thing you can do sitting down, and that I cannot wait until I'm able to buy a computer that I can have witty conversations with and can control by flailing my hands around in mid-air. But perhaps the most important thing I learnt is that we could do with some dependable and unyielding super-heroes in reality to casually sort out the world's scum.

If we had the technology to create a symbiotic suit of armour capable of pounding the world's terrorist ne'er-do-wells into submission, then I'm sure the petty street criminals would fall in line - with Bruce Wayne going around battering the ones that don't. I'm not talking about super-heroes with stretchy limbs, telekinesis and the ability to shoot lasers out of their eyes, that would be absurd; we just need a few billionaire playboys with a righteous conscience and some major cash to burn.

However, the more I think about the film, the more I change my mind about real-life super-heroes. In comic book films, the only reason there are bad guys is because there are caped crusaders to stop them. It's a strange concept, I know, but villains wouldn't be villains if nobody exposed their evil plans and tried to prevent them. We can only perceive opposites if we can see both sides; you can't have hot without cold, rich without poor, or super-hero without super-villain. If we remove one side of the coin, does the other side cease to exist? And on that assumption, does it work both ways: by introducing super-heroes, are we also introducing super-villains?

I should probably concentrate more on the colossal explosions, idyllic women dressed in skin-tight body suits, and being jealous of Robert Downey Jr, rather than trying to find ethical messages within a Hollywood blockbuster. And besides, trying to remove all perception of 'good and bad' is like trying to deprive people of their opinions and emotions - and that's exactly the sort of crazy plan a comic book villain would try to bring to fruition. Overall we're probably better off planning for peace by preparing for war.

Though I can't quite decide what the film is trying to tell us about super-heroes, it certainly teaches us one thing: if we do develop the technology to create a super-suit capable of either protecting or enslaving the world, as long as we give it to an egotistic, recovering alcoholic who displays signs of obsessive and compulsive behaviour and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, then it's definitely in safe hands.

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