“I AM IRON MAN.”
Portrayed by: Robert Downey Jr.
First Appearance: Iron Man
What makes Iron Man awesome: He’s a genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist.
Best MCU Moment: Intercepting the WSC’s missile sent to blow up Manhattan and sending it through the portal to the Chitauri Command Center.
It’s hard to argue that any one character is portrayed better or receives more attention in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Iron Man, and that’s largely in part due to Robert Downey Jr’s acting chops. The man lives, breathes and encompasses everything that is Tony Stark, blurring the lines between actor and character.
Iron Man played the largest part in kicking off the MCU with his 2008 debut in the self-titled film that served as a career renaissance for Downey. Getting our first look at the titular character, we got to see his luxurious lifestyle, incredibly sharp wit and his controversial day job. This so-called day job led to him being captured by terrorists in pursuit of Stark Industries’ high tech weaponry. In the process, one of Stark’s bombs went off, propelling shards into his chest. Thankfully, his captors left him in a cave with Yinsen, who was able to implant an electromagnet into his chest to keep the shrapnel from reaching his heart. In return for his freedom, Stark is put to the task to build a new Jericho missile for the terrorist group, but instead, he spends his time building a new arc reactor for his chest and his first suit of armor. Eventually, though, the suit is found and all hell breaks loose. Yinsen sacrifices himself so Tony can get into the suit (Mark I), and he is able to momentarily defeat them and get his freedom back. This is where Iron Man is officially born. After he gets back home, he builds the set of armor that we are all used to seeing on the big screen now. The first movie’s post-credits scene gave the audience just the smallest preview as to what we would be getting in the coming years when Stark is visited by Nick Fury. Stark is asked to discuss something called the “Avengers Initiative,” letting him know that he’s not the only superhero in the world.
Iron Man 2 also showed Stark going through a hard time, as he is quick to learn that the arc reactor in his chest is now poisoning him. Instead of seeking help and support from the people around him, he keeps the secret to himself and finds the bottle. Rhodey shows up and decides to don of the iron suit prototype. This lead to a showdown with the drunken playboy, who’s eventually defeated and has his suits confiscated. Eventually Stark is able to pull himself back together and regain the help of Rhodey aka War Machine. Vanko (Whiplash) and Justin Hammer and their army of drones are all defeated by the iron duo.
After a slew of other movies and post-credits clips, the Avengers Initiative recruitment was complete. Loki hijacked the Tesseract, opening a wormhole. This lead to the Chitauri invasion in Manhattan and the eventual Battle of New York, in which the World Security Council launched a missile to protect the rest of the world. Before the missile could make impact, Iron Man took it upon himself to intercept it, taking it through the wormhole to the Chitauri headquarters. This won the battle for the Avengers, but also was damaging to Tony, as he barely survived. He was left with PTSD from the event, a plot point that bled into Iron Man 3.
The suits at the end of the film could serve as a frame of reference for how Ultron and his drones are going to be created. It’s hard to believe that the role of Iron Man is going to diminish at all considering his high forecasted role in Age of Ultron, as well as Captain America 3: Civil War.
How much more Tony Stark do you think we’ll see in the MCU? What kind of impact will the man in the iron suit have in ‘Cap 3’? Tweet us @YouNerded.
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