Iron Man evolved a lot throughout his time in the MCU. Sometimes he made the right choice, but other times, he could have thought twice.
One of the main reasons why so many fans find the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe compelling is that these characters are complicated and aren’t always completely heroic. Of all the main heroes in the MCU, one of the most complicated is probably Tony Stark. He might be a hero and even leader of the Avengers, but he also makes some notable mistakes and can be quite selfish.
Iron Man’s arc involves him evolving from a very arrogant and self-absorbed person into a true hero who has to learn from his mistakes. Because of this, there are times when he was someone to look up to, and there other times he might have thought again about his choices.
10 Given A Second Thought: Leaving Aldrich Killian alone on the roof
It’s somewhat of a joke amongst fans that Iron Man has actually created more villains in the MCU than anyone else. In a way, this trope starts to get old, and it’s not as effective as it continues to happen.
But, as far as Aldrich Killian is concerned, Tony Stark did not treat him well. He wrote Killian off because he wasn’t smooth, and Tony didn’t see him as worth his time. Tony maybe should have thought twice about that decision.
9 Right Choice: Working with Captain America in Endgame
Iron Man and Captain America have a complicated relationship in both the comics and in the MCU. They are sometimes close friends and co-leaders of the Avengers, and they are sometimes fierce rivals who border on being enemies.
After the big fallout between them in Civil War, it’s not easy for them to find common ground again. However, they are both learning from their mistakes when they work together to udon the Thanos snap.
8 Given A Second Thought: His early treatment of women
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had some major issues with representation in many ways, and this was especially true in the earlier years. There were few women characters then, and they were almost always side-characters or turned into love interests.
Tony was the worst offender of disrespecting women and sexualizing them. He wasn’t kind to Pepper, and he also objectified many women and was rude to them. Hopefully, Tony would agree he ought to have thought more about those actions.
7 Right Choice: Giving Harley his own lab
Tony isn’t always the best at social interactions, and he can come off as a selfish jerk. When he meets Harley in Iron Man 3, he definitely doesn’t really know how to talk to kids, and he’s a bit of a hot mess. However, he grows to really care for Harley, and it’s clear Tony does have a big heart underneath all his bravado and insecurities.
When he leaves Harley his own version of a lab at the end of the film, it’s a rather endearing moment. It also illustrates that Tony is going through character development and learning how to take care of others.
6 Given A Second Thought: Profiting off of weapons of war
Tony Stark didn’t start Stark Industries, but he did benefit from its existence. His father created an empire that was worth billions of dollars, and Tony inherited it. However despite being a genius, he continued to use the corporation to sell weapons, and he didn’t really care or think much about how those weapons were used.
He was overall just very selfish and focused on partying even though he had a lot more he could have offered the world.
5 Right Choice: Shutting down weapons creation
One of the biggest moments in Iron Man’s development is when he has to suffer first hand because of the weapons creation side of Stark Industries.
While there is part of this that still seems selfish, as Tony only cares after something bad happens to him, he also sees innocent people suffer because of Stark Industries. He stops selling weapons to anyone, and he starts to finally become a hero.
4 Given A Second Thought: Trying to kill Bucky Barnes
The question of who was right in Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man or Captain America, is still hotly debated. While both of the characters had their reasons for what they did with the Accords, they were both wrong in how they dealt with things when it came to one another. They didn’t communicate, and Steve kept secrets from Tony that he shouldn’t have.
However, Tony also took things way too far when he wanted to kill Bucky. Tony’s emotional pain at learning about his mother’s death was understandable, but Bucky was also a victim. Steve really had no choice but to try to protect Bucky from being killed. It’s a choice he could have thought through a little more.
3 Right Choice: Taking up the warhead in the first Avengers
While Tony might do some pretty heroic things near the end of his existence in the MCU, he actually proves pretty early on that he’s willing to make the “sacrifice play” and be the hero.
He takes up the warhead at the end of Avengers to ensure that it won’t destroy New York City. And, while he doesn’t intend to die, he knows it’s a possibility, and it’s a risk he’s willing to take. This was a time where he made the right choice given the situation and its variables.
2 Given A Second Thought: Taking creating Ultron into his own hands
While it’s true that he had good intentions when creating Ultron’s program and didn’t know what would happen, he also went about the process with no oversight.
He only told Bruce Banner, and he was definitely taking too much power into his own hands. This is why he fought so hard for the Accords. He was trying to make up for his own mistakes and the fact he basically operated outside of the law. It’s a choice that had serious consequences that he might have thought more about.
1 Right Choice: When he died to save the universe
Tony’s sacrifice at the end of Avengers: Endgame definitely parallels in some ways his earlier choice to take the nuke into space. Just like in that first Avengers movie, he shows that he’s more than just bravado. He can be the big hero.
He uses the Infinity Gauntlet and saves the universe, and he accepts he is very likely going to die when he does it. It’s the only choice he could make in the moment.
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