This week, I won't open with a caveat. I'm just going to be rebellious, bucking the critical consensus, and pretend to be the kind of fangirl who favors comic book canon over all else. Oh wait, that's a caveat isn't it? Darn. Well, opening paragraphs were never my strong suit -- thesis statements were. So, here's my thesis statement: I really liked the element of Iron Man 2 that everyone hated. I liked his inactivity.
The hero's journey is so old, so prestigious, and so creepily omnipresent that it's had hundreds of books, articles, and lectures written about it. Part of that journey is always a stumble or two (or three . . .) but the hero always emerges triumphant. Tony Stark is no exception to this rule. What makes him a little more fun than most heroes, though, is that he is constantly stumbling. Whenever he's on top of the world, he loses it all -- his company, his technology, his health, his sanity. It happens again and again. His greatest villain has always been himself. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, and Tony Stark has the demon liquor. I don't think there's a single comic book character whose greatest and most famous battle was with a human disease over a supervillain. Iron Man remains a unique figure for that very reason. Plenty of heroes make careers out of their mental issues. Tony's superhero career has been troubled because of them.