My friends like superhero movies. I like superhero movies. My friends seem to like Iron Man more. I like Iron Man 2 more. In fact my friends seem to strongly dislike Iron Man 2. To be honest, despite their attacks on the story, I just do not see how one cannot but love this Mousey Movie!
In this sequel to 2008’s Iron Man, the world knows that Tony Stark is the superhero Iron Man. Of course this leads to problems. The U.S. government wants Stark’s weapon, the Iron Man suit. And a Russian bad guy named Anton Vanko believes Tony and his father Howard stole his own father’s technology for the development of the arc reactor which powers the Iron Man suit. Howard Stark had Vanko’s father deported leading to a life of poverty while Tony had a life of affluence. And the Iron Man suit and the pacemaker that keep Tony alive want something from him too, his life. Tony is slowly being killed by the arc reactor powering his heart. This leads to fights with friends, girlfriends, industrial competitors, Vanko and self through bad life choices. This all leads us to ask, how will Tony Stark survive?
A Mousey Movie you say? Well of course! Yes, Disney does own Marvel and Iron Man is a Disney character. But the movie was developed pre-Disney acquisition, so it’s not fair to say that it was developed as a Disney project. Though by the time of release in May 2010, Marvel was fully a member of the Disney family and any visit to the Disney Store made it clear that Iron Man was part of the House of Mouse. No, it’s not the ownership by Disney that makes this a Mousey Movie, it’s the fact that I see Iron Man 2 as a tribute to the life and legacy of Walt Disney and his theme parks. When viewed it that light it is impossible to not appreciate the final product released to theaters.
· Stark Expo: The Stark Expo screams World’s Fair, even for those not aware of Disney history. And for those that do know Disney history you cannot escape the parallels to Walt Disney and the World’s Fair. Both the Stark Expo and the 1964 New York World’s Fair are held in Flushing Meadows. At the 1964 World’s Fair, The Walt Disney Company designed four shows. These were it’s a small world, Progessland with the song “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln with a Abraham Lincoln Audio-Animatronic, and The Ford Magic Skyway. All four of these shows were precursors to attractions in both the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort. And the 1964 incarnation of the World’s Fair showed Walt Disney that there was an audience for a Disney park on the East Coast because the Disney attractions were crowd favorites.
· Howard Stark: During the movie we are shown “recorded” clips and outtakes used by Tony’s father Howard Stark to promote Stark Expo 1974. And one can only come to one conclusion, Howard Stark is Walt Disney. For those who have seen Walt Disney promotional films where he introduced projects ranging from Disneyland to Walt Disney World and Epcot with the use of maps and models, one cannot but feel that the character of Howard Stark is based on Walt Disney.
· “Make Way for Tomorrow Today”: The theme song for Stark Expo 1974 seems like it could be dropped right into a Disney park. There is a reason for that. It was written for the movie by Richard Sherman. As part of the team that brought us “It’s a Small World” and “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, Mr. Sherman knows a thing or two about written a song for a theme park. I have added “Make Way for Tomorrow Today” onto my MP3 player, and it fits in perfectly with the Disney attraction themes living on my Zune, the iPod killer!
So if you are in a Disney mood, but are not in the mood for cartoon animals or want to have some excessive explosions, throw in Iron Man 2. It will bring you a little bit closer to home living Between Disney.