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November 8, 2017

The Correct Opinion: Top 5 Reasons Why Batman Is Better than Iron Man

3. Iron Man Is a Bad Guy Turned Good.

The term “war profiteer” doesn’t get thrown around to much effect anymore but once upon a time represented the worst of humanity’s qualities. They are people who look to make money from all of the immeasurable death and human suffering that take place during war but the people it once described have reclaimed the idea and in a society that is unashamedly capitalist at all cost, the war profiteer can hold a sense of pride in belonging to a once maligned group now ruling the public consciousness with flagrant showings of excess, materialism and naked ignorance. From private military contractors to gun runners all the way up to mega corporations like Lockheed Martin, making money off of war is a very big and entirely accepted business.

In the 60’s and 70’s the idea of a “war profiteer” was that of a guy who ran out after onto the a battlefield after the fighting had stopped, so they could pull the gold fillings out the mouths of all the corpses. The gross and naked exploitation of the worst facets of the human experience made people’s skin crawl. Families had lost everything to the progress of the war machine and the people who made money from all that death were seen as detestable, people such as Tony Stark.

Sure, he didn’t rob corpses. He was worse: he profited from making them.

Ho Yinsen: Medical Science Pioneer and World Class S*** Talker

You know the shrapnel that got stuck in his chest which left him in a state of slow death, so he had to invent an entirely new means to generate electricity in order to save his life? He designed the very bomb that put the shrapnel in him. A bomb that for the people who couldn’t make stunning technological breakthroughs to save their own lives died an entirely inhumane and cruel slow death. In real life, using a weapon that caused mass civilian causalities using would be considered a war crime akin to using sarin gas. They don’t spend much time on it in the film but Ho Yinsen, the doctor that both saves Stark’s life and sacrifices himself so that the very first Iron Man suit could get up and running, only knew how to help Stark because he’d been performing those operations for years on the civilian population that Stark’s weapons had been regularly maiming. From this slaughter, Stark made his fortune and drank to excess to deal with the guilt where the money came from.

So Tony Stark did not become Iron Man out of the goodness of his heart but to make amends for the hundreds of thousands of innocent people whose deaths he is personally responsible for. That’s so not Batman, it’s almost The Joker.

2. The Light vs. The Shadows

Tony Stark is Iron Man and everyone knows it, in fact it’s one of the few superhero identities that are public knowledge in the MCU.

His friends know it, his enemies know it and the women he sleeps with know it but why is that? It’s true that his civilian identity has so much juice that he really doesn’t have to keep his identity a secret. We know Spider-Man keeps his identity a secret to protect his family from backlash from villains and himself from lawsuits from citizens but Tony Stark’s parent’s are dead, he has no close relatives, Stark industries probably has a ton of lawyers, he keeps it casual with the ladies he dates (half of whom are superheroes themselves) and he lives in the clubhouse for the premier superhero team in the Marvel Universe. So Tony is pretty insulated from the blow back of being a hero BUT this doesn’t answer the question “why go public?”

By contrast, you and I know Bruce Wayne is Batman because we’re the readers and the Bat Family knows because he raised and trained them. His loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth, knows because he raised Batman and that’s about it. If you’re not in Batman’s very small circle then you have no idea of the good Bruce Wayne does for the city as The Dark Knight. Batman also has a corporation behind him with presumably all the lawyers. He is also an orphan but with an extended family that could beat you into a coma without breaking a sweat, plus the only women he regularly gets busy with are a cat burglar and the head of an international terrorist organization and most people don’t know he even does it. So if Bruce Wayne wanted, he could step out of the closet but he doesn’t, and maybe that’s because he doesn’t do it for the recognition. Batman doesn’t accept awards, he doesn’t attend parades in his honor, he doesn’t look for any recognition for the good that he does at all because he doesn’t need to. That’s not what being Batman is about. Being Batman is about vengeance against the forces of corruption and by contrast being Iron Man is about redemption in the eyes of the public. Batman famously does not care what the public thinks about him because his mission is about doing “good” as opposed to the perception of it. On the other hand, Iron Man is basically a PR campaign by the Stark Corporation to redeem his family’s name and wash the blood off his hands. Even when people didn’t know that Tony Stark was Iron Man, Iron Man was Tony Stark’s personal bodyguard that he lent out to the Avengers in times of great emergency. This way, when the world got saved they know that it wasn’t possible without a Tony Stark product in the mix and that’s just good advertising.

The anonymity of Batman allows for the focus to be on the good that he does because unlike Iron Man, the good is all there is to Batman’s mission. The identity of Iron Man exists to assuage the conscience of a billionaire whereas the identity of Batman has only two agendas: protect the innocent and terrorize the guilty…which brings me to my last point.

Continued…

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