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So I saw Iron Man this last weekend. And I loved it. I’m a sucker for superhero movies. But this morning, I was reflecting on it a little more and thought I recognized something in this movie that is worth noting. As a former New St. Andrews student is want to do, I compared our hero from this movie to hero’s of ancient history. Generally speaking, one of the main differences between those heroes and today’s heroes, it that ancient heroism was mainly selfish (to put it plainly). It was primarily about one’s glory. In comparison, many of today’s superheroes dress up in costumes or try to hide their real identity because they do not want that same glory. In Iron Man it is interesting to note that our protagonist already has quite the ego, and that by the end of the movie, this characters ego hasn’t shrunk. (SPOILER!) He let’s the world know about his little secret. He is Iron Man.
In essence, this hero that we are exposed to has more in common with the ancient heroes instead of the self-sacrificial, self-effacing, heroes that occur more frequently in the post-ancient era. I’m not sure what to make of the return to this in the film. Either way, I still enjoyed the story in the same way I enjoy reading the Iliad or Odyssey but there is no doubt that it felt different that a number of the other current ‘superhero’ films.
UPDATE: Since Iron Man did so well at the box-office, a couple of other films have been green-lighted. Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man 2. Just heard today that they’re looking at Matthew McConaughey for Captain America.