It’s easy to get cynical about the sheer number of superhero movies pumped out by Hollywood — until you see something like this. It’s a video featuring Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., presenting a bionic Iron Man arm to an exceedingly well-dressed 7-year-old fan named Alex, who was born with a partially developed right arm. The arm wasn’t built by Tony Stark, but rather by a college student named Albert Manero who makes low-cost 3D-printed bionic limbs for children. But Downey received the honor and pleasure of presenting him with his new arm, and comparing it to one of his own Iron Man suits.
The results are very heart-warming. I particularly like how Alex’s new arm works well, but Downey’s low-rent movie prop goes on the fritz. There’s something kind of beautiful about that; these comic-book characters and their props are just fiberglass and make-believe, but the ideas in these movies can inspire people to become real-life heroes, helping others and turning speculative fiction into a beautiful reality. That’s just awesome.