Full Name: Anthony “Tony” Edward Stark
Occupation: Chairman & CEO of Stark Industries
Film Premiere: Iron Man (2008)
Played By: Robert Downey Jr.
I’ll admit, when it comes to my favorite Marvel Super Heroes, Iron Man is one that I would consider amongst my top ten, perhaps even my top five, but not in the final home stretch. At least, not the comic book version of him due mostly to events that, frankly speaking, I could spend whole reams of paper trying to explain and defend. However, when it comes to the Marvel films, particular those of Earth-199999 or the Marvel Cinematic Universe… Well, we’re dealing with an entirely different character altogether.
Anthony “Tony” Stark is the dictionary definition of playboy billionaire philanthropist, even more than one Bruce Wayne because, for the likes of the Dark Knight, his alter ego isn’t the cape and cowl but the suit and tie. Tony is himself both in and out of the armor even in the most serious and extreme moments.
He gets under people’s skins and does so willingly and gladly if only to see how they truly are. Suit of armor or not, you couldn’t even get me near anything that could potentially risk angering Bruce Banner and unleashing the Hulk and Tony went and gave him a mild electrical shock just to see how much of a lid the guy had on it.
This leads me to another aspect of Tony. He’s… not insane in the sense of being mad but there’s no denying that his eccentricity is on the uppermost level of extreme. I cannot recall precisely where I read this but a fan of Iron Man once wrote that the mind of the average Joe is akin to that of an old, slightly beaten car whereas the brain of Tony Stark is akin to a Ferrari with the accelerator stuck down.
Essentially, Tony’s brain is constantly active in some fashion or another to such a degree that he can become nothing short of obsessed when it comes to creating something as evident by his many, many suits of Iron Man armor.
In point of fact, including those of The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Tony has created forty-five suits of armor in a short amount of time. I would say a specific timeframe but time between movies is the same as it is in comics with no crystal clear definition of the exact timeline of events that transpired in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, if we go based on when the films came out that would mean that Tony created roughly six suits of armor a year never mind the “Iron Legion” robots or the like.
Heck, following the events of The Avengers and Loki’s invasion attempt on Earth, I’m fairly sure that a good chunk of that number was made in less than a year. Considering that Tony was suffering from an extreme case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I’m rather glad that he focused on that rather than trying to find solace at the bottom of a bottle like he had when he was slowly dying by way of the very thing that was keeping him alive in the first place.
On the note of the various Iron Man suits, one thing that I particularly like about them is how Tony, and by extension the film makers of the MCU, is always trying to find ways to improve the armor following events or situations that show a particular weakness in it.
Case in point, when he fought Ivan Vanko (otherwise known as Whiplash) and was nearly brought to his knees by the guy’s energy conducting whips, Iron Man created a suit that could be empowered by similar blasts of energy such as what occurred when Thor tried to electrocute him and his power reserves rose to around 400 percent.
I especially like the fact that the suits of armor are fairly realistic as far as weaponry and offensive capabilities are concerned whilst still keeping true to what the armor can do in the comics. The repulsor blasters located in the palms, a “uni-beam” located in the chest plate that serves as a larger and far more focused repulsion blast, a score of miniaturized missiles upon the shoulders, and specialized lasers that can only be used one time with each “clip.”
The little details like that are what makes the Iron Man armor something that while not quite possible with our current level of technology is at least somewhere in the realms of possibility if one were able to create an adequate power source and adapt a level of artificial intelligence to coincide with the wearer.
The Just A Rather Very Intelligent System or J.A.R.V.I.S. for short (and yes that is what the acronym stands for) helps Tony not only run his house and business but works alongside him when using the armor, and is even able to operate several suits on its own.
Admittedly while I was disappointed to find Tony’s butler reduced to an artificial intelligence system, I do admire the fact that one would be necessary to utilize the armor to the full extent of its abilities. There is only so much that can be done via gesturing and vocalized commands without risking a “user error” of some sorts. Case in point, holding the hands in a form of surrender only for the repulsors to activate.
Of the various suits of armor that Tony has created thus far… I’m going to be fair about this and admit that I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between some of the “main” suits that he has worn if they weren’t standing side by side with each other on the vastly informative Marvel Comic Database. That being said, of the main series of armor I like the design of the Mark XLV. I don’t why but I just like the even spread of gold and red on the armor compared to the earliest versions though I do like the triangular chest piece of the Mark VI.
If we’re talking about one of the “special occasion” armor suits though. Okay, I know that there’s no contest with my top choice but to be fair about it I will that my second favorite one was the Mark XXXIX otherwise known as the “Starboost” or “Gemini” armor. I just love the design on this thing! I could seriously see it as a special DLC for games like Mass Effect and the like that’s just how awesome it looks! Still, the number one slot goes to the Mark XLIV or the “Hulkbuster” armor.
To those who have seen Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, you all know exactly why but for those of who haven’t… Well here’s a picture as to why.