Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” released two weeks ago and has shattered all kinds of box office records. Oh, and Iron Man dies at the end… people, you’ve had two weeks!
Maybe a “spoiler warning” should’ve gone before our last statement, but we want to cover the juicy in-depth stuff off the jump so get over it. Iron Man’s death got us thinking about how important the character is to the MCU – we’d even argue that Iron man was/is the most important super hero of them all. Here’s our supporting evidence:
Tony Stark ignited the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU for short) which now spans eleven years; back in 2008 no one knew if movie-goers would really enjoy another super hero movie, especially one centered around a relatively unpopular comic book character. Casting Robert Downey Jr.’s as Tony was as big of a risk as the project itself; but Downey Jr. mesmerized audiences with his flawless grasp of the character. “Iron Man” ended up killing it at the box office to the tune of $318,400,000+ in domestic box office sales! The film’s success launched the shared MCU as we know it. Twenty-two movies later and the MCU has become more of a lifestyle choice than a Hollywood movie franchise due in large part to Iron Man aka Tony Stark’s appeal to fans of all ages.
Plot lines spawning from Iron Man have driven the MCU’s first three phases – which have been dubbed the Infinity Saga.
Marvel introduced the Avengers Initiative during the post-credits scene of “Iron Man 2” and from that point forward Tony Stark has been the focal point of the MCU’s most important plot threads…
When Loki attacked New York in “The Avengers” it was Iron Man that saved the day. His daring flight through the Space Stone-based worm hole to blow up the Chitari halted an alien invasion and prevented NYC’s destruction. Unfortunately he gave himself pretty gnarly PTSD, but either way, Tony’s risk set-up his Arc for the next several years.
Tony’s PTSD drove the events of “Iron Man 3” as he grappled with who he was without the Iron Man suit – was Tony nothing without it? We, the audience, were given a look into Tony’s obsession with preparation and having a suit of armor counter to any possible threat to Earth and/or Pepper Potts. Stark’s wide array of situational armors (examples: Hulk Buster, Hammerhead, Igor, etc) was the physical manifestation of Stark’s deepest fear… being helpless in situation _x_.
Fears of inadequacy festered within Tony, leading up to his pipedream of putting a suit of armor on every corner of the world for, protection…
Welllll things didn’t go as planned for Stark (and Bruce Banner) because they ended up creating the villain Ultron. Ideally, Iron Man’s plan would’ve prevented any Earthly or cosmic foe from threatening humanity, but instead Ultron became a genocidal death-bot. Good intentions can only get someone so far – Tony’s mistake with Ultron placed a heavy weight on his shoulders that steered him towards the idea of super hero reformation.
In the wake of a messy Avengers mission during “Captain America: Civil War” Iron Man felt as though the team could do better if monitored by the worlds’ governments, and in a way, this practice would’ve shifted accountability away from Iron Man (and hypothetically, relieve Tony of his internal guilt and PTSD). But Captain America wasn’t on-board and the Superhuman Registration Act splintered the Avengers into factions – resulting in an overall weakening of Earth’s defenses. This is just another example of how Iron Man’s actions have pushed the MCU’s plot along through twists and turns. If Tony and ‘Cap didn’t beef then Infinity War’s set-up would’ve been completely different – Tony had to split the team (unintentionally) for them to re-group and, well, avenge.
Without Cap and most of the team Tony forced himself back into the lab to further develop his technologies incase he had to take on a new threat solo style. Nano-tech came into existence during this time, allowing Iron Man to adapt his armor situationally at the drop of a hat. This would’ve been good enough for any villain non named Thanos, but nah, Thanos spanked that Iron ass in Infinity War. Suffering another loss caused Tony to say IDGAF and bounce on the surviving Avengers once he arrived back to Earth in “Avengers: Endgame” because he just couldn’t take any more L’s. Seclusion couldn’t pacify Stark’s internal drive to do something, anything, to help and he eventually figured out time travel, un-snapped half of all life and yeah… go see the movie.
Iron Man feared the world would be destroyed if he wasn’t there to protect it. Throughout the events of “Age of Ultron”, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” Tony’s fear jeopardized everyone’s safety (in pursuit of his version of safety), cost him his friendship with Cap and ultimately lead to the Avengers losing to Thanos. Those lessons laid the groundwork for Iron Man to grow and explore his own capabilities. He was able to sacrifice himself at the end of “Avengers: Endgame” because he finally understood that the world was in good hands with or without him. Iron Man had to fine peace within himself before he could truly let go and rest – that’s why his death was so impactful. Tony Stark went from a self-absorbed playboy to a heroic father (something that never happens in the comic books but whatevs) over the course of 22 movies, and that’s why he’s the real MVP of the MCU.