“I’m not saying I’m responsible for this country’s longest run of uninterrupted peace in 35 years! I’m not saying that from the ashes of captivity, never has a Phoenix metaphor been more personified! I’m not saying Uncle Sam can kick back on a lawn chair, sipping on an iced tea, because I haven’t come across anyone man enough to go toe to toe with me on my best day! It’s not about me. It’s not about you, either. It’s about legacy, the legacy left behind for future generations. It’s not about us! “
…Humble Tony, real humble.
Let me first say that it’s disgraceful that the most patriotic film in the lead up to The Avengers is not Captain America. That piece of crap movie was a disgrace to the idea of patriotism…and made worse when we saw under Whedon that it wasn’t because of it being miscast.
That said, why is Iron Man 2 such a great movie?
Like with Stripes and the next couple of movies it’s mostly because of a single scene. In this case Tony Stark testifying before a Senate subcommittee chaired by the corrupt and incompetent Senator Stern (Gary Shandling). Tony is his usual lovable self and Stern is a corrupt, ignorant, arrogant, slimy, degenerate, piece of shit…in other words he’s a Senator of the United States Senate. (Unlike Whedon, director Jon Favereau did not have the guts to put an R or D after Stern’s name in the supposed C-SPAN feed, but I can think of only one party that acts this stupidly at all times).
As I can’t seem to find a video clip of it on youtube*, I will simply pull two parts of the whole scene:
Senator Stern: My priority is to get the Iron Man weapon turned over to the people of the United States of America.
Tony Stark: Well, you can forget it. I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on what state you’re in. You can’t have it.
Senator Stern: Look, I’m no expert…
Tony Stark: In prostitution? Of course not, you’re a senator. Come on.
Senator Stern: I think we’re done with the point that he’s making. I don’t think there’s any reason…
Tony Stark: The point is you’re welcome, I guess.
Senator Stern: For what?
Tony Stark: Because I’m your nuclear deterrent. It’s working. We’re safe. America is secure. You want my property? You can’t have it. But I did you a big favor. I’ve successfully privatized world peace. What more do you want? For now! I tried to play ball with these ass-clowns.
Senator Stern: [Bleep] … you, Mr. Stark. [Bleep] … you, buddy.
Why is this scene so patriotic? Because it shows two great things about America.
The first is our desire and love of people who don’t rely on the government. Tony sets down very clearly that his property is his property and in America property is a part of yourself (more so in Tony’s case). And while a bit exaggerated by the nature of a comic book, unlike the whiners in Greece…and Spain…and London…and France (can I just say that France lowering the retirement age thus hastening their demise was stupid, doing it on D-day was a slap in the face…why exactly did we rescue your Nazi collaborating asses if all you are going to do is destroy yourselves?)…a good portion of Europe in general really, we Americans, when at our best, do not rely on the government to provide us with things. At our best we just do it ourselves. Granted, Iron Man providing private international security is a bit extreme, but you get the point.
The second is how little respect we have for the “ass-clowns” that pass as our leaders. Go up to Hu Jintao and call him the Chinese equivalent of an “ass-clown.” Go up to Ayatollah and insinuate that he frequents prostitutes or possibly his Ahmadinejad (an obvious closet case). In either case you’ll wind up dead within hours. Hell, go up to Queen Elizabeth and viciously insult her on national TV and I guarantee you’ll be ostracized within minutes. But here I can say that in a just world Jimmy Carter should be tried for treason and crimes against humanity, convicted, and hanging from a gallows. I can insult any public figure without fear of repercussion and I can even accuse them of crimes (which they’re often actually guilty of) and not be thrown in prison. Why? Because more than any other country we understand that our leaders are public servants, and in the way the term was conceived, servants are at the bottom of the hierarchy, not the top. They work for us, and it is not only our right, but our responsibility to call them out on all their flaws.
And it’s all there in that one little scene.
*I would like to congratulate Paramount on making sure that I could not find a single clip of Tony Stark’s Congressional Testimony. Paramount I applaud your copyright department in their completeness in keeping a tight lid on all things that are theirs. Thanks guys. I was going to give you some free advertising, get people to go back see a movie they may have forgotten how much they enjoyed…you just made my job a lot harder.