[personal profile] wingedbeast
The idea comes from my discussion of Amarie's response to Captain America: Civil War. Link right here. http://amarie24.dreamwidth.org/61828.html

Again, as per previous times I've taken on super heroes, I haven't read the comic books. I'm going, mainly, by the movies. I'm also going by the short-lived cartoon that tried to follow the success of Spiderman in the 90s. Other than that, I'm working with things I've only learned through cultural osmosis. That said, my primary source is the Iron Man movies.

The first Iron Man movie starts with billionaire, playboy, weapons dealer Tony Stark. Tony Stark is a capable salesperson, perhaps a genius level engineer, and has earned precisely none of his fame, wealth, or power. No, really.

Tony Stark was born and raised into the Stark family, which already owned a weapons development company. It was already quite wealthy and already had connections with the US government and military. Tony Stark grew up knowing that he really could do anything he set his mind to, because he had the wealth and connections to override anything that would be a reasonable impediment to someone who was just a genius.

That's all part of it. I mean, you can't blame him for having his privileges. And, his story is, essentially, of recognizing that his actions have consequences on other people and taking responsibility. Good for him... sorta.

The thing is that he does this taking of responsibility by going into war-torn areas, beating the crap out of everybody who looks like they're obviously a bad guy, then walks out... because that *never* goes bad for the villagers left behind. And, it's not like there are any underlying socio-political reasons behind why people join militias.

What I'm saying is that, if Tony Stark really wanted to take responsibility for the harm his company has helped cause and make a lasting, positive impact in these safely othered and exoticized villages, this isn't the way he'd go about it. He'd hire locals to help him decipher what's needed (such local activists have probably even tried to contact him, already), then hire locals to build things like schools, hospitals, and a manufacturing base to improve the local economies. He doesn't do that, though. He enacts violence on the people he doesn't like.

That isn't to say he does no good, whatsoever. The people he fights are a militia that have terrorized a local village and, if they're anything like their real-world counterparts, probably pressed their children into serving the militias. I'm just saying that, while violence may be necessary, it's not the solution all by itself.

Tony Stark does not learn that lesson. At least, he doesn't learn it properly. We know he doesn't learn that lesson from the second movie.

Congress calls Tony Stark to a hearing to discuss him handing over the Iron Man technology. The reason that they present is that America's enemies, now that they know such a thing is possible, will develop such technology, themselves. It's unreasonable to think otherwise. The Iron Man suit isn't art or special magic of Tony's. It's science and engineering. That makes it replicable. Unless there are some secret elements that he can manage to keep hidden from everybody else, it's going to be remade by someone else. That makes it just a matter of time.

That said, assume Stark's right. Let's ask what if Tony Stark is right and nobody but Tony Stark can make the Iron Man technology. Okay, there we have an entirely different problem, one that's neatly summed up in Tony Stark's line "I have privatized world peace."

During a Marvel/DC crossover, Dr. Doom had a conversation with Superman. It was a standard "we are very much alike" speech. As powerful as Superman is, he is deciding fates. Every time he doesn't topple a totalitarian, oppressive regime and replace it with leaders he chooses and oversees, he chooses for people to suffer in those same regimes. Superman's response is that his alternative, the one in which he does save everybody through such actions, requires him to not only spend all of his time enacting violence upon everybody, but to control everything. Superman, himself, says that that would make him like Hitler.

Superman recognized that it's not just a question of whether or not he could, technically, do it, but a question of whether any single being, given enough power and even pure motives, could be realistically trusted to do it right.

Tony Stark never asked that question.

When Kyle Kallgren (aka Oan Citizen) of the online review show Brows Held High* did a "between the lines" discussion of the heroes of Avengers, he connected them to their philosophical and literary traditions. The Hulk was one who mastered himself. Thor was an Arthurian style of hero. And Iron Man was... the Randian hero, the Objectivist hero.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

There we have the meat of the remade franchise.

The first movie can be much like Iron Man 1. Tony Stark, born to wealth and born to recieve the particular education, connections, infrastructure, and credibility that is all unearned, goes through hell and learns an important lesson. His actions have consequences on other people, consequences he doesn't like. People suffer because of what his company does to gain and maintain wealth, because his weapons get into the hands of bad people.

The second movie has to be different. Justin Hammer can be Stark's business rival, but he has to be competent in his business and his company has to be competent in its weapons technology. And, the primary antagonist, Ivan Vanko, can be included for similar motivation to the second movie that we have. His father was closely involved in developing the Stark Industries staring tech.

But, instead of attacking with a light-up whip first thing, let the two, in combination, attack Stark through law and public relations. They will make the argument that Stark Industries is built upon a historical foundation of the very same practices that Tony Stark now abhors. Tony, himself, might be that better person he claims, but Tony isn't just Tony, himself. He's the product of an entire company, with hundreds of people who might access his labs, notes, schematics, or just plain incites into Tony, himself. This company cannot be trusted with the sole access to Iron Man technology.

That's just the first start, though, of course. That's to make Tony Stark nervous, off center, ready to make mistakes and then we can bring in the action and violence that we love.

For Tony Stark's position, of course he'll think he's in the right. And, the movie might even seem to agree with him. Listen, what happened to Vanko's father was horrible and, as a company, there may be penance to be paid. But, that's in the past, something done by the elder Stark, not Tony. Tony's visibly and verifiably doing good in the world. And, he needs his company and his resources in order to do that. Besides, what good would it do, now, to punish the current Stark for the crimes of the Stark now dead?

No, Tony's doing too much good with what he has to give it up. The world needs him to deal with warlords and rabid militias robbing children of their childhoods in the name of power. And, in time, it'll need him for greater things, like totaletarian regimes.

That will lead us to movie number three. Movie number three will start with Iron Man and team taking on a totaletarian regime. It could be Dr. Doom or the Mandarin. It could be North Korea. But, Stark will have allies, people working with him, as well as an entire company working towards a single goal.

And, to keep his company working toward this goal, something he has to do because the cause is so just, he'll exercise draconion control over his employees. He'll lock them in contracts, move them offshore, and, as I hear he did with Peter Parker in Civil War, he'll use secret identities to blackmail other superheroes into towing the line and working with him.

Here is where things will come to a head. Here is where the civil war will happen. It will be a split between those who are with him and those who are against him. Those who support Stark's peace and freedom agenda and those who can see that Stark's agenda cannot achieve peace or freedom. Stark can't trust anybody with too much power, even the power to choose their own paths, because that would threaten the freedom he wants for everybody. Stark can't trust anybody to be uncontrolled, to live without his eye watching them, because then, they could threaten the peace.

If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, it is egotism that presses them into place.

It's an infinite multi-verse. The Watcher knows this. Maybe Stark will win the Civil War. Maybe he'll achieve the exact vision of peace and freedom that he wants. I usually like happy endings. But, this one can be made at least bitter-sweet by a more familiar Tony Stark being sat down to watch where thinking that he can privatize world peace can lead.

* https://www.youtube.com/user/oancitizen
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