Life at the Movies

Defense in the Oxford dictionary is defined as “defending; justification; defendant’s case or counsel; players in defending position; fortifications”.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), in the Iron Man movies, is in a defending position. He has inherited weapons and defense manufacturer, Stark Industries.

In Iron Man (2008), a showing of the capabilities of Tony’s new “Jericho” missile goes wrong in the desert of Afghanistan. Terrorists capture him, but he is kept alive though seriously wounded.

There is a way out. The Yinsen, the terrorist group, will let Tony go if he builds a missile for the Yinsen.

It’s a no brainer. Why would he build a weapon for the enemy?

It’s a theme in World War II movies, where the brains of an outfit is coaxed into building weapons for the other side, much against their own conscience. The theme is in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

In a movie, it’s always a let-down when someone with the know-how starts to design something dangerous for the opposition.

However, their life is at risk if they don’t.

When it matters, standing up for principles can be difficult but seems to be necessary.

Tony does not go down that path of compromise. He will defend his country and his honor no matter the risks. It is also a matter of survival. So he builds the Iron Man suit, which is powered armor suit, with the intention to escape through superior muscle.

Tony will not give in to the enemy’s demands. He’s defending himself and his country by not giving over a weapon to the enemy in exchange for his freedom.

His fight for escape is hard-won, but he will not give in. The justification he has for defense is that a weapon in the hands of a terrorist is a terrible thing. He couldn’t live with his conscience if he ever did give in to the terrorist’s demands, not that he would.


Busy working Mom Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) has got to choose between career and family, in I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011; Rated PG-13, contains sexual references).

Investment banker Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) is impressed with Kate’s investment proposal which is original and ahead of the pack. Jack takes her on the road for two months impressing the socks off clients who seem likely to invest in her proposal. This is her big career break.

But her issue is divided interests. She’s got one foot in her family and another foot in career, and is not concentrating enough on her family she dearly loves.


The lifestyle of the busy working woman is the focus of I Don’t Know How She Does It.

The first half is a peppering of many busy moments in Kate’s life. She is a working Mom who juggles many hats and even thinks about to do lists lying on bed.

Her commitment is commendable, perhaps endearing, but maybe slipping her off kilter. She tries to be everything to everyone in her sphere of the world. If she could reach out further, she would probably do even more than what’s already on her plate.

This may be the curse of the working woman in modern society. They take on too much. Kate finds that she’s everywhere and this means she lacks concentration in other areas. Her family suffers because she is there, but not there.

In the end, she’s not enjoying life. Girls can do anything, right? Maybe, but when does it all become too much? This is one busy film. One that is saying something’s got to give in the busy (read: hectic) life of a working woman.

It’s not only the women who are in the throes of dropping things off their lists. The men, too: Jack Nicholson’s character, in Something’s Gotta Give (2003), has a relationship with a younger woman. When he spends time with a woman his age he begins to see that a woman his age may be better than a younger woman. Now he can drop the younger woman thing and focus on what’s real.

I think the deeper issue in I Don’t Know How She Does It is that when a busy working woman is juggling so much, she wants to feel fulfilled in all of her coming and goings. Finding fulfillment is the deeper issue.

Animation Sing is anthropomorphic. That means there are animal characters with human characteristics. In Sing (2016) anthropomorphic characters take to singing for an American Idol-like competition.

When you think about the movie Sing, think about any of the singing / musical competitions that pit wanna-be musicians to enter the music field. Sing is like that, not exactly like that, but reminds me of it.

Money is up for grabs and a shot at the limelight.


There is an audition of hundreds at a koala’s theater, a theater which is not making a profit.  The koala, Buster Moon, is trying to drum up more interest in his once successful theater business by staging a singing competition.

From the auditions, a few get chosen for the final: a talking mouse with a Frank Sinatra cool to his demeanor, a talking baby elephant that’s shy but has a singing voice that will blow you away. A mother pig who has an unique way in looking after her children, a gorilla with a great singing voice whose father gets into trouble, and a punk porcupine who likes playing her guitar hard. There’s also another pig—German sounding and extroverted and likes getting in the zone.

It would seem these competitions could bring out all the envy and jealousy that comes with the ugly in competitiveness. However, most of the time, it’s doing the best one can do to secure the prize. That means competing, but focusing on what one does best. If you focus on your job at hand then a good even great performance may follow.

Falling on hard times

Buster Moon’s failing business puts a spanner in the works, though. He’s the one holding the competition together, but sadly not. Sad things happen despite good intentions, despite everyone trying to make a go of it.

However, that’s not the end.

The unexpected difficulties remind us that while competition is such an individual thing, hard times can bring everyone together like a family instead of putting one above the other or going their separate ways. There’s a yellow-reddish warm glow to that.

Spiderman is a misunderstood hero. Heroes try their best serving society, but someone or something holds them up. They’re not doing something the right way. There’s a certain amount of suspicion. Heroes are misunderstood.

The hero

Peter Parker is student by day and Spiderman the crime fighter and hero by night.

Spiderman is Peter Parker genetically enhanced—but it serves the society he is in, as a crime fighter and protector.

His ability to fight crime came with a bite from a genetically enhanced spider.

Sometimes, his actions are called into question. But becoming a hero was a genuine event.

Heroes have something in life that pushed them out of their zone. It probably wasn’t a spider, but something that prompted them to help or serve beyond what was their usual capacity.

All the same, heroes are still who they are underneath. Still that guy or girl from that hometown or city who does those ordinary, normal things.

A regular guy

Heroes are still regular guys and girls.

Parker is a student, a pizza delivery guy, and he’s in love with a young woman who is a student by day and actress by night. He is a regular guy.

He has his problems. He’s picked on and rejected. It may be because he’s a “nerd”, a science whizz.

He makes tentative steps towards Mary Jane Watson, a girl he admires from afar, he’s the secret admirer.

All in all, his life has its ups and downs, but takes his life with a steady stride. He’s not phased or distraught by the downsides. He lives on an even keel.

However his newly found abilities enable him to do more. It doesn’t mean his life will change and he’ll become popular all of a sudden and win the admiration of many onlookers.

It does mean that while his actions can be misconstrued as Spiderman, he is still protecting the masses and helping the world from going down the tubes.

This year Spider-Man: Homecoming is released. After his turn as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Tom Holland is donning the Spidey suit again, after Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire before him.