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Iron Man Mega-Thread

Postby Alexhead on 02/05/07, 17:34:11

Image

Exclusive: This is 'Iron Man'
Sneak a peek at the new robo-suit that will turn Robert Downey Jr. into a comic-book legend in the May 2008 movie

PUMPING 'IRON' Downey Jr.'s costume, designed by Oscar-winning F/X guru WinstonBy Jeff Jensen Jeff Jensen

Jeff Jensen, an EW senior writer, has been despondent since the cancellation of ''Twin Peaks'

'Iron Man is the latest Marvel Comics superhero to jump from splash page to big screen. (The film is due May 2008.) Director Jon Favreau (Elf ) began shooting in March with star Robert Downey Jr. — in his first comic-book role — as the man inside the cybernetic Mark III suit (pictured) and Gwyneth Paltrow as his trusted assistant. In the film, Downey plays Tony Stark, a playboy industrialist who decides to don high-tech armor to fight baddies after suffering a life-threatening heart injury in war-torn Afghanistan. ''This is a decidedly adult superhero story,'' says Favreau. (Fanboy FYI: Look for Stark's legendary drinking problem to pop up in possible sequels.)

Faithful to the comics and constructed by Oscar-winning F/X maestro Stan Winston, the Iron Man togs — a far cry from Stark's normal black-tie attire — are robo-cool but make for restrictive, sweaty duds. ''Robert was very bullish on wearing the suit whenever possible,'' says Favreau of his star, who bulked up for the role. ''Now I don't know if he's such a fan of that idea.''


http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20037509,00.html
Last edited by TC on 19/01/18, 06:55:39, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: merged iron man 1, 2, and 3 threads
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Postby TC on 02/05/07, 17:53:39

hm. i thought cage wanted to do this too. either way, was never a huge IM fan.
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Postby PZ on 02/05/07, 20:18:00

I'm a bit interested in this. My little bro was big on Iron Man, so I ended up reading more issues than I ever expected.

A little surprised that Downey Jr. is signed on to this one, but then again, I'm surprised he's been able to bounce back from his drug problems.

Can't wait to see the rest of the suits. The CGI super-action should be easier than animating spiderman or the transformers mechs (spidey needs to be convincingly fluid and organic, while the transformers look to be needlessly overcomplex).
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Postby darkness on 02/05/07, 22:55:54

I was never all that into Iron Man, so I'm not too excited. But I don't really care for the Fantastic Four either and I sat through their film, so I'm sure I'll endure this one too.
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Postby klimov on 02/05/07, 23:07:15

heh, Mike, you go and see everything...

What did you think of The Illusionist?
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Postby darkness on 02/05/07, 23:19:00

I never saw The Illusionist. That came out during the brief period last year where I all but stopped going to films. I've only just started up again.
My dad liked it if that helps you any. :)
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Postby klimov on 03/05/07, 03:02:19

actually, I have to admit, I did subject myself to the second half of Fantastic Four on an aeroplane last year.
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Postby Alexhead on 03/05/07, 10:54:09

I'm just glad he doesn't look like the main character in the kiddie flick "Robots." And I'm wondering if the mask comes equipped with nose holes for Downey to fit that rolled-up dollar bill into...

I haven't gotten too worked up about these comic book movies ever since they turned my favorite (Daredevil) into a middling piece of crap. I'm glad they're running out of characters to make movies out of, they're all getting pretty long in the tooth.

Speaking of which, funny review of Spiderman 3 over at aicn:

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Normally, when Neill Cumpston joins me for a movie, I have to pick him up at his house in Sherman Oaks. I’ve met both his parents at the door a few times, and they seemed like nice people. A little older than I expected, but sweet.

Tonight, though, I picked up Mrs. Moriarty from work and then had to contend with almost an hour on the 405 to make it to The Bridge in time for the 7:00 screening.

When I got inside the giant IMAX theater, I scanned the crowd for Neill. I had left his name so that he had his very own press passes waiting for him when he showed up. I figured that would make him feel big-time. But I didn’t see him in the crowd, and I know the way he is... he likes to show up as early as he can.

What’s weird is after my wife and I found our seats, I saw a little lady in her mid-60s who I thought looked a little like Neill’s mom. I figured that was impossible, though, and after the film, I didn’t see her again.

So when I got home, I found an e-mail waiting for me, addressed to “Mr. McQweeney.” From a Nell Cumpston. And sure enough, it’s Neill’s mom. She explained why he wasn’t at the screening, and she told me that she’d gone in his place. So it was her I saw. That’s so weird. And the thing of it is, she’s a pretty good reviewer. I’m not sure I agree with her take on SPIDER-MAN 3, but I certainly understand it.

I just got off the phone with Neill, verifying that it was, in fact, his mom who wrote in. And out of curiosity, I asked what her favorite film so far this year is.

I heard her answer in the background: “That WILD HOGS was a stitch!”

I give you Nell Cumpston:

Spider Man Part Three

As I said in my electronic e-mail to “Moriarty” (a code name! I hope I don’t go to “spy prison”!) Neill got bad poops after having fish tacos at Rubio’s (I always get the Southwestern Chicken Salad without the tortilla chips ‘cuz “chips go to the hips” – ha ha!) and couldn’t attend the screening of Spider-Man Part 3 at the IMAX theater at The Bridge. So he asked if I would go, and turn in this review for him.

I wasn’t anxious about missing American Idol tonight (I’m a die-hard “Blake Lady”!) but Neill promised he’d videotape it and, since he’s ensconced securely on the living room couch (Mr. Pilkington, my stuffed giraffe, wasn’t too happy about being relegated to the ottoman, I can tell you that!) he also said he’d “pause out” the commercials. Trade off accepted, Neill Mampleford Cumpston (he hates when I use his middle name)!

Well, let me be the first (apparently, being “first” is a big deal on this internet web dealie-do) to tell you that Spider Man Part Three is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen! And I’ve seen my share, everything from Funny About Love to Parenthood! And this Spider-fellow’s got them beat!

One of my favorite shows is One Tree Hill (call me young at heart!). Well, this new movie is like three episodes of One Tree Hill put together! Unlike those first Spider-Man movies (which would sometimes play on TV at the senior center right before our Movement to Music class) this one isn’t full of yelling and punching and running fast.

In this one, the director finally focuses on the kinds of things I think Spider-Man fans have been aching for…namely, love and forgiveness! (Coincidentally, the names of my belated tabbys!) There’s only about twenty-five minutes of actual Spidey footage in this movie – which makes all kinds of room for:

That darling Mary Jane singing (two songs!)

Peter Parker crying

Harry Osbourne crying

Harry Osbourne hearing Willem Dafoe’s voice through a huge painting of Willem Dafoe, and then getting yelled at by Willem Dafoe

This old servant of Harry’s suddenly walking into frame during the third act and explaining a lot of stuff that frankly I was confused about – it didn’t even bother me that I didn’t know who the old servant was – I love it when old people explain things slowly and carefully in movies

Harry Osbourne and Mary Jane cooking an omelet and dancing to Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” (my favorite part)

The Sandman crying

Eddie Brock crying

Mary Jane crying

Aunt May crying

Bruce Campbell, from the Evil Dead films, doing a hilarious French accent! The scene goes on for nine minutes, but you could tell the audience wanted it to go on sooooooo much longer, the way they sighed heavily and rolled their eyes when it was over! It’s not as funny as the French accent my late husband, Niles, used to do at charade nights, but it came pretty darn close!

Peter Parker doing a sly “revenge jazz dance” in front of Mary Jane when she’s trying to sing at one of those modern jazz clubs that Spider-Man fans love so much. This scene also ended way too soon, to make room for some fighting.

And yes, I might as well tell you, there ARE a few action scenes that get in the way of all the interesting stuff between the characters and their relationships and their ordinary, every-day lives.

First, there’s a fight between Peter Parker and Harry Osbourne (he’s something called the New Goblin, and he rides one of those fun-looking skateboards like in the Back to the Future sequels) that kicks off the movie. It’s far and away the most exciting sequence in the movie (the audience applauded!) and Peter doesn’t even put that silly Spider-man costume on, so we get to see his wonderful facial expressions and mouth-acting.

There’s also a new villain played by the wonderful Thomas Haden Church – The Sandman. He’s a shape-shifting baddie who’s daughter is dying so, even though he gets put through some pretty crazy action sequences, there’s plenty of opportunities for him to look sad and cry about things. I wish they’d worked in a line where he’s crying, and says, “I’ve got sand in my eye.” Maybe on the DVD.

What’s smart about putting the Spider-man/New Goblin sequence first is that none of the other action sequences are as exciting, so you can relax and enjoy Peter and Mary Jane’s kooky, mixed-up relationship! There’s a lot of wonderful scenes of them misunderstanding each other, and not explaining one obvious and simple thing, which would clear up their problems (and, let’s face it, make a pretty boring movie!) There’s at least six scenes of them calling each other on the telephone, and one of them almost picking up, or just listening to answering machine messages, and misunderstanding those. I was on the edge of my seat!

Of course, you have to sit through a few more dreadful “action” sequences, but luckily they don’t go on very long and, even better, rarely involve people you care about. They introduce this new girl, Gwen Stacy, who’s a model or something. There’s one scene that starts off promising – a comedy scene where she’s doing a modeling job for a copying machine (I mean, the very idea! I was cracking up!) and the photographer is, shall we say, a little “fruity”. Well, all of this great comedy gets ruined when an out-of-control crane starts smashing up the building, and she falls out, and Spider-man swings by and saves her. But she’s only in a few more scenes, and ends up having almost nothing to do with the plot. I wanted to see more of that kooky photographer!

Peter’s Aunt May also gets a lot more screen time in this installment, and she’s always giving heartfelt advice. It’s good to see a superhero movie finally giving some consideration to us “silver tops”!

In fact, I wish they’d consulted this “silver top” about the Venom character. He’s like an evil, gooey Spider-man, but it didn’t work for me.

Which was too bad, since the Venom plot is introduced so brilliantly – Peter and Mary Jane are necking in the woods, and the gooey Venom stuff falls out of the sky, unexplained, next to them.

But it gets better – it turns out, Venom is some sort of alien goo that attaches itself to you and makes you super-powerful, and also kind of evil. Our niece, Orudis, used to swallow these charcoal tablets to help her digest food. But it turned out later she was also eating her hair, and at Harriet’s cookie exchange party she coughed up this huge gob of hair and charcoal and that’s what the Venom stuff looks like in the movie. I wonder if, when the Venom stuff attaches itself to you, it makes you draw penises that look like knives the way Orudis did.

Although, in this movie, the Venom substance makes Peter evil, which you can tell because he gets one of those “Emo” haircuts and a black suit – not just his Spidey suit, which turns black, but one of those suits you always see Paris Hilton’s boyfriends wearing. And he walks down the street like a black person, and winks at girls a lot. It was like Hannibal Lecter or that Simon Cowell fellow, who should have been nicer to Haley because she was a Christian.

I should warn you – the ending is another one of those dreary, hard-on-the-eyes-and-ears battle royals, with Sandman and the gooey black Spider-man (not Peter anymore, but this character named Eddie Brock) battling Spider-man at a construction site. Luckily, it ends the way a good action sequence should end – with one major character dying, and four other characters standing around, crying and apologizing for everything that’s happened. I’m not kidding – I was so touched, and I can’t wait for all the Spidey-fans to experience this beautiful, slowly-paced sequence for themselves. Bring your Spidey-hankies!

Also, I was very glad to see the whole plotline about the Sandman and his dying daughter was ignored at the end, as if it never happened. Summertime is for happy stories! A dying little girl belongs in an Oscar movie, am I right?

So, to sum up my review, I didn’t think I’d like this movie as much as I did. It will certainly give Georgia Rule and License to Wed a run for their money!

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Postby Kanuck on 03/05/07, 14:36:42

You might have warned me it was that long. First half was funny though, once I figured out where it was going. :P
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Postby Alexhead on 10/09/07, 12:54:42

"I'm like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn't know what to do if I caught one. . . . I'm not a schemer. I just do things."
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Postby PZ on 10/09/07, 18:17:42

Now I'm REALLY interested in this. Maybe the best trailer I've ever seen. Alternating the beating on the big metal door with the kicks of the Sabbath intro.... very effective.
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Postby O-dot on 10/09/07, 18:52:21

Hope some of that copyright money finds its way into Iommi's checking account...

Trailer reminds me of something Ebert likes to complain about time to time. Why do they cast big name stars, then conceal them entirely in a big, bulky suit that makes the actor unrecognizable?
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Postby PZ on 11/09/07, 00:13:02

O-dot wrote:Hope some of that copyright money finds its way into Iommi's checking account...


It has to, right? I mean, that's what the RIAA has been fighting for........

O-dot wrote:Trailer reminds me of something Ebert likes to complain about time to time. Why do they cast big name stars, then conceal them entirely in a big, bulky suit that makes the actor unrecognizable?


It tells me that RDJ is able to keep his ego on a reasonable leash instead of fucking things up by demanding they give shell-head a transparent faceplate..... Junkie under glass, heh.
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Postby _Marcus_ on 11/09/07, 02:45:46

Using RDJ who I think never dissapoints - Good choice.

Using THE song in the trailer - Way cool.

Making the film into something that feels like propaganda for the war on terrorism - Oh, come the fuck on. *sighs in disbelief*

I sure hope that last bit turns out to be false.
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Postby big d note on 11/09/07, 09:42:01

_Marcus_ wrote:Using RDJ who I think never dissapoints - Good choice.

I think he's been really good lately. He and Val Kilmer are hilarious in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That's a great little movie.
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Postby O-dot on 11/09/07, 10:28:46

big d note wrote:
_Marcus_ wrote:Using RDJ who I think never dissapoints - Good choice.

I think he's been really good lately. He and Val Kilmer are hilarious in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That's a great little movie.


I love that movie. Except for that scene at the end with Kilmer and the girl's father.

Funny, each time you guys write RDJ I keep thinking "What the hell does Dio have to do with this movie..."
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Postby O-dot on 11/09/07, 10:30:06

PZ wrote:It has to, right? I mean, that's what the RIAA has been fighting for........


Iommi owns the band name, which probably isn't the same as owning the publishing rights. Mike likely has the answer. :wink:
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Postby PZ on 11/09/07, 17:20:00

O-dot wrote:
PZ wrote:It has to, right? I mean, that's what the RIAA has been fighting for........


Iommi owns the band name, which probably isn't the same as owning the publishing rights. Mike likely has the answer. :wink:


It's definitely not the same as owning the publishing rights. I haven't heard any ruckus over Iommi being kirby-ed out of his rights to the Sabbath tunes, so that's a good sign. I figure he's getting paid.
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Re: Iron Man

Postby TC on 10/04/08, 11:06:00

perhaps inspired by all the commercials piping black sabbath into our heads during the trailers for this film, a great & funny article has been written which i have tried to replicate here for your convenience and posterity:

Boston.com wrote:We are Iron Man! A lowbrow literary mystery.
ironman[1].jpg


WHO IS IRON MAN?

In the final seconds of the latest trailer for Iron Man, which stars Robert Downey Jr. and opens soon in a theater near you, the movie's armored protagonist dodges a shell fired by a Taliban-esque tank, launches a wrist rocket, then stalks away without bothering to watch the fireworks. The musical soundtrack to this awesome heavy-metal spectacle? Naturally, it's the instantly recognizable guitar riff and thundering bass drum intro from Black Sabbath's anthem, "Iron Man."


Marvel Comics introduced Tony Stark in the March 1963 issue of Tales of Suspense. Stark is a brilliant, wealthy inventor of high-tech weaponry who, while doing some field testing with US military advisers in South Vietnam, gets critically wounded by a booby-trap and is forced into the service of Wong-Chu, a "red guerrilla tyrant." Making do with low-tech materials, and with the help of a captured Vietnamese physicist, Stark inters himself in a gadget-laden suit of iron armor whose electrified chestplate keeps his shrapnel-damaged heart beating.

Barely able to operate his new legs, Stark nevertheless confronts his nemesis: "Have you never seen an iron man before?" he taunts. Wong-Chu (a stand-in for Ho Chi Minh, not to mention the Viet Minh insurgency in South Vietnam generally) stammers, "You -- you are not human! You are machine!" Pow! The "metallic hulk who once was Anthony Stark,” as the comic's scriptwriter, Larry Lieber, has Stark put it in the origin story's final panel, knocks Asian communism for a loop.
ToS39[1].jpg

In 1968, the year that Marvel's Iron Man finally got his own comic book, the US Department of Defense announced that some 24,000 troops would be sent back to Vietnam for involuntary second terms. That same year, Steppenwolf's hit song "Born to Be Wild" introduced rock fans to the phrase "heavy metal." Two years later, the trailblazing British heavy metal act Black Sabbath unleashed "Iron Man" -- a six-minute-long rock opera about an unfortunate soul who was "turned to steel" while singlehandedly attempting to alter the disastrous "future of mankind" -- on the world.
BlackSabbath005[1].jpg

Despite getting little airplay, Sabbath's antiwar album Paranoid reached No. 1 in England, and No. 12 in the United States. "Iron Man," the album's fourth track, is hailed today as one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal tunes of all time. So... does the song have something to do with the superhero?

Many metalheads claim that it does; others insist that it doesn't. For example, see the user-generated content at the website Songfacts: "Do you want to know what this song is really about? It's about Iron Man... as in the comic book character... get the very first issue... the parallels are obvious." -- Eric, Rockford, IL. vs. "The comic Iron Man is a super hero. The song is about a guy that ends up killing the human race because they don't listen to him or help him after he sees the end of the world and is turned to iron. Listen to the damn song!!!" -- Chris, Sacramento, CA. And so forth.

You know what? This is a bona fide literary mystery! If a lowbrow one. And readers, you know that I can't resist a literary mystery.

***
THEORY: THE SONG WAS INFLUENCED BY THE SUPERHERO


(Theme from the 1990s "Iron Man" cartoon)

Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler has claimed that "Iron Man" was a dystopian "science fiction story" that he dreamed up after seeing "a lot of things in the news about pollution and nuclear war." But you can't always take an artist's word for this sort of thing. Consciously or unconsciously, the song could have been inspired by the comic book. Marvel Comics would certainly like us to think so. For the past decade and a half at least, they've been subliminally suggesting that when Ozzy growls, "I AM IRON MAN!" at the beginning of the song, he's ventriloquizing Tony Stark.

For example: While the theme to the 1966-67 Iron Man TV cartoon was oddly upbeat for a show about a handicapped victim of the US military action in Vietnam ("Tony Stark makes you feel/he's a cool exec with a heart of steel"), the theme song of the 1994-96 cartoon repeats Ozzy's phrase ("I AM IRON MAN!") over and over again. Although the cheesy electric guitar stylings of the latter theme aren't much like the Sabbath song, the impressionable young viewer is supposed to connect the dots between Iron Man, the superhero, and "Iron Man," the song.


(Theme from the 1960s "Iron Man" cartoon)

As I've already mentioned, the new Iron Man movie features the actual Black Sabbath song -- along with a dozen other heavy metal classics -- on its soundtrack. PS: In a time-warping twist, readers of The Invincible Iron Man: Extremis, a 2005-06 reboot of the comic, were told that Stark received his wound during the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan -- and that the inspiration for the armor came from his favorite Sabbath song. You can guess which one.

OK, so Marvel Comics has tried assiduously for years to establish a subconscious association between their character and the greatest heavy metal song ever. But Geezer's account of the song's gestation trumps these efforts. Or does it? By my count, there are no fewer than three important textual clues which might very well indicate that the plot of "Iron Man" was, in fact, influenced by the Marvel Comics superhero.

1. In the song, the couplet "Can he walk at all/Or if he moves will he fall" might refer to the moment in Iron Man's origin story where Stark falls upon first donning his armor.
ironman3[1].jpg

2. The sing-song, childish lyrics remind us of Wong-Chu’s pidgin English.
ironman2[1].jpg

3. The final verse -- "Heavy boots of lead/Fills his victims full of dread/Running as fast as they can/Iron Man lives again!" reminds us of the teaser from Iron Man's origin story: "Watch his awesome approach! Listen to his ponderous footsteps as he lumbers closer... closer.... For today you are destined to encounter -- the invincible Iron Man!"
ironman1[1].jpg

Wait, you say that you don't believe British rockers in the late 1960s were obsessed with American superhero comics? Au contraire! One thinks immediately of Donovan singing about Green Lantern in his chart-topping ditty "Sunshine Superman," for example; and also of the fraught use of the comic book Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen in the Beatles' movie "Help!" (The comics can be spotted atop John Lennon's moviehouse organ, propped up where the sheet music ought to be.) Paul McCartney, as always, was the hipper Beatle: He was into Marvel, not DC. On Wings' 1975 album, Venus and Mars, he sings a silly love song that features the X-Men's enemy, Magneto, as well as not one but two of Iron Man's armor-clad opponents: Titanium Man and the Crimson Dynamo. 'Nuff said.

Was Iron Man -- the superhero -- popular in England in the late 1960s? I think so. Here's the cover of a book I picked up in Brighton (England) earlier this year:
fantastic69a[1].jpg

Did British rockers dig science fiction about iron men? Again, I think so. Check out the next two images.
Queen_News_Of_The_World[1].jpg

zast1053[1].jpg

UPDATE: A reader points out that a 1997 album by Geezer Butler's band G/Z/R contains a Geezer-penned song titled "Among the Cybermen." In an interview, Butler said, "The original chorus was 'Doctor Who lies dead among the Cybermen.' [It's] about the final battle of Dr. Who, but was supposed to be symbolic of the end of childhood. I changed it because I thought it sounded a bit silly. Most of the album is about growing up in the era of Sixties television, and its influence on me."

So was Sabbath's "Iron Man" influenced by the superhero's origin story? Indubitably. But... keep reading.

***

THEORY: THE SONG WAS INFLUENCED BY ANOTHER IRON MAN

4175Z1H0K8L._SS500_[1].jpg

So much for the lowbrow (possible) inspiration of Sabbath's "Iron Man." I've heard a number of other theories: the song is about Jesus Christ (in order to save mankind, the word became flesh/a man's flesh turned to steel); it's about iron- or steelworkers in a postindustrial society; it's about a high-school kid who gets bullied and snaps; it's about a drug user who slips into a comatose state; it's about a ghost; it's about a soldier who returns from Vietnam with PTSD only to be reviled by American peaceniks. The song is ambiguous enough to support all sorts of metaphorical interpretations.
pc-hughes533[1].jpg

However, some metalhead exegetes claim that the source of the song's inspiration is most likely a 1968 British children's book by Ted Hughes. Now, this is a promising angle! After all, when James Parker wrote about Hughes for the Ideas section in 2003, what did he say? Remember? He said:
To read Ted Hughes as a young person was pure heavy metal. The humped strength of his lines, the brain-jamming immediacy of his images, the darkness of his concerns: There was nothing else like it.

Italics added.

Hughes's The Iron Man concerns a metallic giant who arrives in England out of nowhere, terrifying everyone but a young boy whom he befriends, and whose obedient servant he becomes. The iron man is buried alive by farmers, whose property he destroys. But he digs himself out of the grave, and later saves the planet from a monstrous alien being. The Iron Giant, a 1999 animated film, is loosely based on the Hughes book; so is a 1989 Pete Townshend rock opera.

Written to comfort the future poet laureate's children after the suicide of their mother, Sylvia Plath, Hughes described the story as an "imaginative strategy for dealing with neurosis" -- that is to say, he wanted to tell children a story in which one of the great horrors of the adult world (runaway technology) can be mastered thanks to a child's natural wisdom.
165732__iron_l[1].jpg

First of all, let's address the question of whether British rockers in the late '60s might have been obsessed with children's fantasy literature. Answer: Duh. John Lennon aped Lewis Carroll; Pink Floyd named their first album after a chapter of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows; and Led Zeppelin laced their lyrics with references to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. True, Hughes's book wasn't a time-honored classic, at that point; but the timing of its publication (1968) is spot-on.

Meanwhile, the whole cryptic setup for "Iron Man" -- "Is he alive or dead/Has he thoughts within his head" -- would finally make sense if they were a reference to Hughes's story about an otherworldly metal creature whose origins and purpose are never explained. Also, when Ozzie sings, "Now the time is here/For Iron Man to spread fear/Vengeance from the grave/Kills the people he once saved" -- well, this sort of thing is precisely what readers expect will happen once Hughes's iron man digs his way out of the grave. (SPOILER: It doesn't.) Of course, Stark comes back from the grave, kinda -- or from the brink of it. "The machine is keeping me alive! ALIVE!"

Hmm. So was the song influenced by Hughes's book? Yes, without a doubt!

Having considered all the evidence, I favor a high-lowbrow (or as I like to spell it, hi-lobrow) interpretation of "Iron Man." That is to say, it seems to me that Geezer Butler's lyrics are a postmodern mashup of highbrow lit written for juveniles (Hughes’s children’s book) and juvenile lit admired by highbrows (Stan Lee’s superhero comic). No wonder the song was -- and remains -- so incredibly popular. As for the DNA-altering "magnetic field" business, Geezer lifted that from the Fantastic Four's origin story.

***

WE'RE ALL IRON MAN

So what might a song whose themes were in all probability cobbled together from Iron Man's origin story and Ted Hughes's heady children's book mean?

During the Vietnam War era, and again today, those of us who aren't off fighting in a senseless war -- and who know that it's a senseless war -- gain cold comfort from the shrill middlebrow arguments we find in liberal magazines and on op-ed pages. But Black Sabbath’s vaguely antiwar dirge, whose lyrics aren't high-, middle-, or lowbrow, but hilobrow, and whose music is savage, relentless, and overwhelming, is cathartic. It forces listeners to experience man's inhumanity to man, to experience for a moment what it's like to be crippled and deformed by, say, explosive ordnance. Or by the everyday indignities, injustices, and absurdities of contemporary life.


The origin of headbanging?

Metallica's popular antiwar song, "One," was supposedly inspired by Dalton Trumbo's 1939 novel, "Johnny Got His Gun," whose narrator is a soldier whose limbs and face have been blown off. Like Tony Stark, Johnny is a living casualty of military violence. Like Hughes's iron giant, Johnny is a terrifying sight, an alien and a freak. An iron man.

Anyone who desires nothing so much as to prevent humankind from tearing itself to pieces, but who feels paralyzed, helpless, tongue-tied -- and therefore full of inarticulate rage, perhaps even a desire for revenge of some kind -- is an iron man.

We're all iron men.
ironman4[1].jpg
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Re: Iron Man

Postby TC on 15/04/08, 07:42:47

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