Kicking off one of the most ambitious film franchises in history was no easy feat. Thanks to Robert Downey Jr.’s outrageous charisma and stellar performance, Iron Man has become one of today’s most recognizable superheroes. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony Stark experiences one of the most compelling character arcs of the series: beginning as a war profiteer, evolving into a reluctant hero who regularly faces off against his own demons, and now serving as a mentor to the newer members of the team. Tony’s had a lot of lows – like peeing in his own suit in Iron Man 2, or creating Ultron out of fear and guilt – and he’s had a lot of highs. Here are Iron Man’s five best moments in the MCU.
Tony Becomes Spider-Man’s Mentor in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Being a hero isn’t always about smashing through buildings and saving the day. It’s also about passing on knowledge and experience, which Tony does for Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming. While he comes off as a total dad in this scene, Tony tells Peter the hard truth he’s already learned (in Iron Man 3): being a hero is about what’s inside. Peter needs to learn for himself, and this is the only way Tony knows how to teach him. Tony’s tough love in Homecoming is as much for Peter as it is for Tony, and it shows how much Tony has grown as a character.
Not Killing Bucky in Captain America: Civil War
Bucky killed Tony’s parents, yet somehow Steve was the one who got mad? Unreal. The level of restraint Tony takes to not murder Bucky is enviable, and it’s heroic in the sense that he has to put his friend Steve above himself. Although the events of Civil War lead the Avengers to split up, it shows Tony was the bigger person. By not committing murder. Eat it, Bucky.
Tony Blows Up His Suits and Removes the Arc Reactor in Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 is a divisive entry in the MCU. I am on the side that it is Very Good. Full disclosure: it is my personal favorite of the MCU films. It was difficult for me not to make all of Tony’s best moments from Iron Man 3. That said, at the film’s end, after Tony defeats villain-hottie Aldrich Killian, he destroys all of his suits and has the arc reactor taken out of his chest. These actions represent the closure he found throughout the course of the movie – and demonstrate that he figured out how to be a person, without having to be Iron Man.
“I am Iron Man” from Iron Man
Iron Man is a supremely entertaining, highly satisfying origin story that also sticks the landing. When given the choice to keep his super identity a secret, Tony Stark does the most Tony Stark thing of all time: he tells the world outright that he is Iron Man. Arrogant? Yup. Impulsive? You bet. An electric moment to close the first chapter of the MCU? Absolutely.
Battle of New York sacrifice from The Avengers
This is the ultimate “hero” moment for Tony. He makes Steve eat his words and attempts to make the ultimate sacrifice, flying into space with a nuclear weapon for the sake of Earth’s survival. Tony lets Steve lead the team and prepares himself to give up his life for the benefit of everyone. For a “genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist” who used to only care about himself, this was a pretty big deal.
Bonus: When Tony ate a donut while sitting in a donut
The highest level of swagger is on display here, and we just had to mention it. He’s eating a donut while sitting IN a big donut. Honestly, this scene is the most I ever wanted to be Iron Man.
What do you folks think? Do you have different favorite Iron Man moments? What do you hope is next for Tony Stark? How fun of a wedding will Tony and Pepper have? Let us know in the comments below!