As they look back on the film using a psychological lens, what becomes clear is that the tone and storytelling carry the markers of long-term relationship-building between audience and narrative. Iron Man introduces a main character who is already flawed and shows little to no commitment to changing his stripes. But the world (and soon, universe) is changing.
Set in the early 2000s amidst the heavy and striking elements of post-9-11 fears, xenophobia, and anxieties, the film pulls audiences in by harnessing our emotional interest in the journey. Tony Stark, who has established himself as a self-assured innovator in the public spotlight, experiences compounding trauma and near-death experiences, followed by the discovery that his family company, Stark Industries, has been involved with nefarious dealings and in providing weapons to the Ten Rings, a group of Middle Eastern terrorists.
Drea and Brian discuss Tony Stark's damaged ego and shift in vision, assess for post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and depression, and weigh in on why his candid, unapologetic nature serves as less a cover for his unease and more of an indicator of his unstoppable drive toward social action.
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