Iron Man 3 [discriminating content]

Obviously, good action movies also contain (possibly faked or real) arm amputees,

Fiction movie Iron Man 3 (imbd | wikipedia), directed by Shane Black (wikipedia), with movie script written at least in part by Drew Pearce (wikipedia). The last movie with a similarly weird focus that I posted about was Hancock (2008).

The "good" guy - Iron Man by Tony Stark - works with a lot of highly sophisticated prosthetic add-ons in order to be invulnerable. Through a shell, or armor, or body casing, featuring lots of gimmicks, Tony Stark turns himself into "Iron Man", a soldier that can fly and fight really hard, and that is practically invulnerable (as long as his batteries do not run out).

The "evil" guys in this movie try to be invulnerable by altering their own bodies in a more biological way - so after injecting some stuff dubbed "Extremis Virus", they not only "heal" fast, they also grow back skin, limbs, anything. They become weapon-grade soldiers without extra batteries or extra weight to schlepp around. The problem that they have is that, eventually, the one or other "evil" guy overheats and explodes.

Now as we all know, of course, missing limbs can be either fitted with mechanical or even battery driven prosthetic limbs. Or they can be re-grown, transplanted, to achieve a more "biological" solution to fixing the absence of the missing limb.

Interestingly, two amputees are portrayed on the "evil" side. There are no amputees to be seen on the "good" side.

One is a woman that appears to be an arm amputee as consequence of some injury. She later gets herself injected with the "evil" stuff which grows back her limb (but does not heal her facial scar, funnily enough). The other is a girl that appears to congenitally miss part of her right leg, but she is also the daughter of the vice president of the USA, who himself supports the evil project - obviously to get them to "heal" his daughter from being an amputee.

What are they doing there?

Images and movie (C) Copyright Marvel Studios (website) in association with Paramount Pictures.

The fictional woman is Ellen Brandt (played by Stephanie Szostak); it appears that she was not portrayed as amputee in the original comic books; so using amputee issues as script driver must have been a movie thing brought on by the script writers and director.


The girl - played by non handicapped actress Ortega - is shown to be happy and content. Yet, her father - the vice president - appears to be involved in supporting the "evil" group that has the "Extremis Virus" needed to regrow limbs.



With two (not just one) amputee going in that same direction, the movie writers in their own little totally asocial if not sociopathic little way want to tell us something. Now, that could not have been filmed in any clearer and more obnoxious fashion than it has been done in Iron Man 3, so it obviously begs for an answer.

Concluding from the movie (and not from the comic book), we - amputees - are seen and shown, sold and projected as:

  • ready to go "illegal" to re-grow limbs rather than wearing a maybe even more powerful prosthetic; this massively contrasts with the sad fact that in the USA as well as probably most of the rest of this planet, most amputees have no insurance to pay them even the simplest of limbs, leave alone just about anything more high-tech than that.
  • not in the mildest bit willing to go one step towards trying a prosthetic or - usually that is required in real life - working together with a prosthetist to find an acceptable solution; given the "Iron Man" suit, no question the movie creators could easily have drawn up some suit-like gadgets to take the place of missing limbs also. However that was not chosen.
  • easy to convince or decide over; neither the amputee woman nor the girl seem to be particularly well informed in their choices, worse, the girl seems to not even involved in the decision-making about her own future in this rather personal decision.

Overall, the portrayal of amputees is distorting, belittling and in its entirety, discriminating and extremely biased. The director and script writer must have deep rooted issues with amputees themselves - typically and in this day and age we are dealing with the usual suspects in terms of misguided motivation. Please, boys, next time you are about to mess up a movie script, please keep your personal problems personal and try to come up with something more worthy of grown up entertainment, will you.

More about "Iron Man 3" and disability:

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: - Iron Man 3 [discriminating content]; published 10/05/2013, 06:05; URL:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1653422200, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{ - Iron Man 3 [discriminating content]}}, month = {May}, year = {2013}, url = {} }