by Jackson Beach
In 2008’s smash hit Iron Man, the first film of the universally acclaimed Marvel Cinematic Universe has many lessons that relate to the world and ourselves. One of them is that businessmen and corporate entrepreneurs of the war industry do not know how their devices and inventions will be used. This is shown at the beginning of the movie when CEO of Stark Industries Tony Stark is injured by shrapnel from his own missile during a terrorist ambush organized by his mentor Obadiah Stane in order to usurp him. This shows that while we believe our inventions have a purpose, we don’t truly know if they will be used for good or bad, as Stark’s arc reactor can be used to power other things like the Iron Monger suit at the cost of his life.
Another essential lesson is not to waste your life. When surgeon Ho Yinsen is dying after being ambushed by the Ten Rings terrorists while constructing the first Iron Man suit, he tells Stark, the man whose life he saved, to not waste his life building weapons and caring only about himself, but to do something good with his talents and inventions and build many relationships. To that end, Stark becomes Iron Man, the very first hero of the MCU.
A final essential lesson is to always take risks. This is essential when Tony is designing his Iron Man suit and despite warnings from his assistant, he decides to fly it and notices a flaw in his suit design. This shows that putting yourself in danger can prevent you from being in further danger through learning from your mistakes. Stane, on the other hand, is so concerned with killing Tony that he fails to try out his armor, resulting in his armor being frozen and damaged, leading to his downfall. Stark ultimately learns from his mistakes as a human regarding his recklessness and selfishness and decides to stop making deadly weapons and also reveal himself as a hero.
Overall, Iron Man, the MCU’s first film and project overall, has many prominent themes and lessons pertaining to the real world, such as terrorism, technology, and corporate conspiracies. However, the overall lesson revolves around how our mistakes as people can harm others. This is shown when Tony is wounded with his own missile and technology and how Stane uses his arc reactor to selfishly power up his suit and kill Stark. However, we can learn from our mistakes by righting our wrongs, shown when Stark uses his suit to stop terrorists and defeat Stane. Iron Man is a perfect example of showing one of the many aspects of humanity, making horrible mistakes and dealing with the consequences of them.
Dr. Grimaldi’s Takeaway:
As positive psychologists, we also try to see the glass half full. Even in the worst of times we need to hold our space of positivity and hold our ground and stand tall. Learning from our mistakes is one thing , but putting them into practice is another. We teach healthy positive rituals to make each individual their best self. We turn our obstacles into challenges and we do it as a team of unique individuals driven to do purposeful work for our community.