Have I told you lately how much I love Tony Stark? Because I love him a lot. Every now and then I think about the ways he’s such a great and interesting character and then I go on a little Twitter rant. As a part of Jumpcut Online’s Infinity Saga retrospective of the MCU I wrote pieces on Iron Man and Iron Man 3 which are two of my favourite films in the MCU and I’d recommend checking them out because they end up being mainly focused on why Tony Stark (and Robert Downey Jr.) is so brilliant.
But why do I love Tony Stark so much? That’s a good question. I love how much he’s grown over the course of the MCU. Like, I get why someone wouldn’t necessarily like him in the first Iron Man film (though he still has a good character arc in it) but if they still don’t like him by the time Infinity War has rolled around then they’re still judging him on who he was and not what he’s become.
The thing about Tony Stark is that he wears bravado and the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” title like a suit of armour. He can court the media like a pro, but it doesn’t mean he enjoys it. He is confident and at times full of himself, but he also has anxieties and a deep need to protect those he cares about and fix his mistakes.
Tony Stark has a heart and it’s full of love. He loves his robots and his AI (don’t tell me losing JARVIS first to Ultron and then as a part of Vision wouldn’t have hurt him), he loves Pepper, he loves Rhodey, and Happy, and Peter, and he definitely loved, or at least cared about, the rest of the Avengers. Tony Stark is the guy who designed a floor for each of the Avengers in his tower after knowing them for less than 48 hours. The guy didn’t have a conventional upbringing, or a solid family, so he tries to make a family from his friends.
Tony is incredibly smart and incredibly brave. He’s had anxiety, nightmares and PTSD from going through a wormhole into space, but that didn’t stop him trying to save Spider-Man and Doctor Strange when they were kidnapped by a spaceship. Space, and the threat that’s out there, is one of his biggest fears but he still went to try and save the world.
Tony is often a mess, but he’s a mess that is trying his best. He is someone who when presented with a couple of options he doesn’t like, will find a different way to do something, to fix a problem. Accountability and learning from one’s mistakes are major parts of Tony’s character arc, and his need to be held accountable, for people to be safe and secure, is one of his major driving forces. That can, and does, mean he clashes with some people, but he will get through it.
Tony Stark is funny, smart and heroic. He’s the guy who made a miniaturised arc reactor in a cave with a box of scraps. And he’s the guy that won’t ever give up.