By the end of Iron Man 1, Tony Stark seems to have changed. He appears he has become a new man. At the opening of Iron Man 2, we see Tony Stark playing the rock star image again, flaunting Iron Man as a source for fame. He then starts to pose the playboy approach as he is walking through the crowds at his technology expo. At the start, it becomes confusing: Tony Stark, is he or is he not a changed man?
It’s All In Context
The US senate has become hungry for Iron Man weapon. They put Tony on trial, demanding he turn over his Iron Man suit to the United States. Justin Hammer is present as the weapons expert, and the new “supplier” to the US military (since Tony stopped supplying the military upon his new direction).
The arms Senate try to coerce Tony’s friend, Lt. Col. James Rhodes, to give a bad testimony about Iron Man. The force him to read a single paragraph of the comprehensive report he has prepared on Tony’s behalf.
Lt. Col. Rhodes makes sure to offer a rebuttal, saying “you do realize reading one paragraph of my report does not reflect my entire analysis.” It is demanded he read the specified section.
The paragraph talks about Iron Man possibly being a danger to America. However, Lt. Col. Rhodes makes sure to force out his additional comments; he states the benefits of Tony being Iron Man far outweigh any associated dangers.
“God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ.”
– Philippians 4:19 NIV
This sounds so totally awesome. It’s like – I’m not going to have to worry about anything in my life; God’s got me; I’m taken care of. Well – yes and no. First, in the context, there is an action that preceded this verse. People gave up their basic staples of life to help Paul advance the gospel message.
If you had one meal left, no means of gathering another, and still gave away half your plate to feed the hungry, you can relate to the context of this verse. Also, the context of needs is different from the American understanding.
True needs = Food, Work (If you don’t work you don’t eat right?), Water, Shelter
False needs (or American Wishes) = House Payment, Car Payment, Money to Eat because of the purchase of a new flat screen TV
Now, I’m conditioned to think American as well. But, the accurate context of the Bible can sometimes blow our minds. It’s our responsibility – each individual’s personal responsibility – to do the work required to read the Scriptures in context. Ok, enough of that… We get the point.
So this verse sounds awesome out of context; however, once we take it back into context, we find a whole new meaning surrounding our verse. This is the same as Lt. Col. Rhodes during his testimony in Iron Man 2.
Back to suffering – Finding doubts
Throughout the movie we also discover Tony’s new heart is also killing him. He is being poisoned by his life saving power. If he doesn’t find a cure, he is going to die.
So, in the face of nearing death, Tony moves onto clarify his life’s purpose. He steps down as CEO of Stark Industries and promotes Pepper. Now he can devote his time to being “Iron Man.” He is then seen in the next scene practicing boxing – furthering his skills to be Iron Man.
But then the American Playboy personality comes back as he meets the new Stark Industries lady, Natalie Rushman, his newly promoted assistant.
It’s almost as if he can’t decide which person he is going to be – the new or the old. The apostle Paul felt this way too:
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope…(Romans 7:15-24 MSG)
Following a vicious attack, Tony seems to have fallen back into his old habits. He hosts a party and becomes a falling drunk in the Iron Man suit, making a mockery of what he is supposed to be standing for. His friend, Rhodey, comes and steals an Iron Man suit to take back to the US government for reproduction. Tony is in despair because he is dying and cannot seem to find a fix. He has lost his way, and has forgotten what he lives for. He has lost his purpose.
Back to The Creator
In his sulking, a mentor figure, Nick Fury, then intervenes in Tony’s life. He shows him the way to find a replacement power source. He helps him rediscover or resave his life. Well he leads him, saying, “Only you can solve the riddle of your heart.” He then pushes Tony to confront his feelings he hold towards his creator, his dad.
Tony has bad vibes towards his dad, he doesn’t have positive memories. He says his Dad was never there; he says his dad never told Tony that he loved him. However, Fury gives Tony a message from his dad. This message has parts to its history which will guide Tony in his future. At the conclusion of the message, he gets a love message from his father. His father says, “What is and always will be my greatest creation, is you.”
Tony finds the answers to his questions; he finds his compass which guides his life. In a similar way, the apostle Paul found the guiding factor to move his life in that complete new direction as well:
Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. (Romans 7:24-25 MSG)