Is Tony Stark America's version of James Bond?

Posted: May 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

(Warning: the following may include spoilers.  I don’t think I discussed major plot points, and certainly not anything that a more-than-casual Avengers fan wouldn’t already know, but, just in case….spoiler alert)

Thursday night I somehow talked the GF into going to see a midnight showing of Iron Man 2 with me.  The movie experience was everything I expected it to be.  Not the kind of rah-rah patriotism that will come with the Capt America movie next year, but definitely a better movie than the Fox Marvel titles.

Later on I got to thinking, Tony Stark is a lot like another bespoke aficionado,  James Bond.

Let’s take a look at the similarities:

  1. Both are the epitome of style.
  2. Both have their occupation identified with their suit.
  3. Both are free-wheelers, getting the job done in unconventional/unacceptable ways
  4. Both drive snazzy convertibles
  5. Both seem to always end up in chase sequences.
  6. Both always get the girl, no matter how they act
  7. Both work alone.
  8. Both men are haunted.


So it looks like there are quite a few similarities there, but there is one huge difference between them.

Tony Stark is a billionaire industrialist who had this thrust on him, and much like Spider-Man, has taken up the responsibility that comes with it.

Commander James Bond enlisted to Her Majesty’s Service, and was given his License to Kill for Queen and Country because of the work he was already doing.  Nothing remarkable happened to flip the switch and make Bond become the image of excellence in duty & execution.

So is there something more to this difference?  Does it say something about us that our American superheroes have to have adversity thrust upon them to activate their latent sense of valor, while the Brits are trusting that their team has the right guys to get it done?

I think it stems first from the ever-present distrust that many of us have for our government and it’s agents.  Tony Stark tells the Senate to stuff it, keeps the suit for himself, and we all love it.  18 months after “Yes We Can”, the theater ERUPTED in cheers when Stark tells off the Senate and make our government look like buffoons.  Maybe it’s because we’re a country founded in rebellion

But there’s also the metaphor that we, as Americans, can never have enough, represented by Nick Fury & Pepper Pots.  Why work for one country when you can protect the whole planet?  Why settle for just being a Superhero when you can also still run the company, because you’re a genius and can solve problems nobody else could solve in the blink of an eye.

We are an industrialist nation.  At our heart, we are in love with people who can do things, make things, advance our knowledge, and there-in, our supremacy.  These are things that a single spy, or really any military figure, cannot accomplish these days.

Don’t get me wrong, Starks’s genius, veracity, and work ethic are great ideals to shoot for.  I wish I possessed them in greater quantities.

Of course, we’ll have our own version of Bond very soon….
(Too bad he’ll have to look like Chris Evans)