It is foolish to judge a movie too extensively by the trailer. I absolutely loved the first trailer for Superman Returns:
And the movie was, frankly, disappointing. Or consider the shock undoubtedly felt by anyone who went into the recent Bridge to Terabithia film (a film I highly recommend, incidentally) with only the trailer to prepare them:
Despite all of this, I want to talk about Iron Man. The teaser trailer to the upcoming Iron Man film is currently available on youtube. It is fairly likely to be taken down soon, but in the mean time, check it out:
In original publication, Iron Man (Tony Stark) was a billionaire industrialist and weapons manufacturer during the Vietnam War who was kidnapped by the North Vietnamese. He was forced to build weapons for them, but secretly and simultaneously built an armoured suit for himself. Calling himself "Iron Man", Stark fought for capitalism against communism in Vietnam. As Marvel began to realize that public support for Vietnam was waning, Iron Man fought less and less for American interests in Vietnam and more and more for his corporate interests against industrial espionage. Most recently, Iron Man has gained prominance in the Marvel Universe event Civil War as Captain America's enemy, leader of the pro-registration superheroes. In the course of Civil War, Captain America was killed. More on that part in a minute.
In this updated version, it looks very much like Iraq has been substituted for Vietnam. I can't help but wonder if this is, on Marvel's part, a subversive move--comparing Iraq to Vietnam and implicitly condemning both, or is it a remarkably shortsighted repeat of the exact error made with Iron Man's first origin story. Is Marvel once again behind the trend of popular opinion, making a hero support a war the American public is rapidly becoming disillusioned with?
On the topic of "Civil War", originally Marvel apparently attempted to impartially portray both sides, to encourage readers to choose a side without either side being "good". As time went on, however, it became increasingly difficult to side against Captain America and the superheroes fighting for civil liberties. Civil War became a commentary on the state of American politics, and the creators of the Marvel Universe seemed to support freedom over safety when forced to choose.
Iron Man was on the wrong side of that fight. As Civil War went on, he and his side of the conflict became increasingly Fascist and increasingly difficult to support. When they killed Captain America (and symbolically the spirit of the nation), it became almost impossible to stay on Iron Man's side.
It is into this context that a new movie is being released: a movie in which Stark proudly manufactures weapons, in which he calls for those weapons to be used "ONCE!", implying that their destructive power is such that they invoke fear in all enemies (remind anyone of any historical weapon?). In the trailer the sadistic glee with which he sprays fire at his enemies (Iraqis? at least arabs) while Black Sabbath (Iron Man, of course) plays in the background makes me wonder, once again, whether this is a subversive and ironic critique of fascism, or a wholehearted approval. We'll see when the movie comes out.