Iron Man Was Completely Right Avengers Endgame Spoilers

first_imgStay on target First off, spoiler warning! If I’m going to talk about Avengers: Endgame in any real way I’m going to have to spoil it. Based on the film’s unprecedented box office success, chances are any of you reading this already saw the conclusion the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But in case you didn’t, again, spoiler warning! Okay? Okay.Let’s talk about Iron Man.Tony Stark’s role in the MCU is so fundamental, so all-encompassing, that it’s tough to know where to start when talking about it. He’s built into the foundation. Iron Man is a gravitational center warping space and time on a level even beyond a quantum tunnel-powered clip show. Part of this is just timing. 2008’s Iron Man famously kicked off the entire MCU project introducing elements like a breezy and fun tone, modest action, solid character work, and nerd-pleasing continuity teases. Its financial success convinced the studio the larger initiative was worth pursuing, and that’s before they had Disney money.But it’s not just that Iron Man was first. He was also arguably never surpassed. After solo movies that failed to set the world on fire, it wasn’t until The Avengers that characters like Thor and Captain America really started to connect with audiences, and even after that they worked more as key players in the larger ensemble. They’ve never had as much pure standalone power as Iron Man, even with his later sequels being as polarizing as they are (Iron Man 3 rules). And now, at the end, I’m convinced it’s because Iron Man as a character just towers above the rest.Specifically, Iron Man in these movies. Before 2008 Tony Stark was never anyone’s idea of a marquee Avenger or comic book superhero in general. Captain America leads the team, and while that’s technically true in the movies, there’s a reason why Tony’s head is the biggest on the poster, and it’s not just his ego. Even Spider-Man aspires to his level now.True-blue movie superstar Robert Downey, Jr. obviously deserves a ton of credit for essentially reinventing Iron Man for the screen, just like how Stark reinvents himself. The parallels between the actor and character have been fascinating to watch from the start as Downey redirects his own tense self-destructive past into Tony’s troubled but inspiring middle-age redemption arc. And he’s just a hoot, his snarky and blisteringly intelligent improv stream of consciousness rapport with humans, monsters, and digital assistants alike is as entertaining now as it was ten years ago.But a good character needs more than just a good actor and fun affectations. Much of the MCU and its approach to its characters is the result of Marvel trying to reverse engineer Iron Man but they could never fully replicate it. It’s why only Iron Man’s death could have the impact that it does at the end of Endgame, leaving a gaping hole the MCU can frankly never fully recover from.So why else does Iron Man work? There’s no simple formula. It’s a lot of factors working together like alchemy that various writers and directors have all tapped into. For starters, he’s got an awesome look and infinitely expanding set of smart superpowers. Watching Tony build a tin can flamethrower suit with cave scraps is great but so is watching nanobots form anime mech laser armor around him in seconds. It’s like an exaggerated version of watching our tech like phones and game consoles become exponentially cooler with time. And it all feels consistent for the character and his path.And really, Iron Man’s character consistency is what has kept him so compelling. It’s not that he doesn’t change. That would be a problem, Captain America’s problem actually. By being a flawed modern human being with distinct personality traits, not a boring and stubborn perfect block of 1940s wood, Tony is able to grow as a person across movies. This growth climaxes where he (not Cap!) performs the singular supremely superheroic act of sacrificing himself for the entire universe after previously not caring about victims of his own bombs or more recently not even wanting to try the time heist in the first place. It’s a delicate balance. Too much change and you get Thor, who has just been so all over the place throughout the MCU for both tragedy and comedy that it feels like tonal whiplash rather than purposeful character development.Tony’s contrasting humanity and heroism also highlight each other in ways unlike anyone else’s. He’s the only one who credibly reacts to the increasingly cosmic nature of the threats the Earth faces following The Battle of New York in The Avengers. Yeah he’s scared, sympathetically traumatized even, into building the controlling protective overreach that is Ultron but he’s also practical. And in Endgame he is absolutely right to chew out Steve on how his moral refusal to bend even just inch on anything led to A. the stupid conflict of Civil War and B. the catastrophic events of Avengers: Infinity War.Stark’s adaptable ability to improve and alter himself, on the inside and outside, ultimately allows him to be the nexus of Avengers: Endgame. Think about his deep, wide, and varied arc. Surviving in space. Raising his new daughter in the woods for years away from the team. Taking responsibility for inventing time travel to help the rest of the world. Reaching emotional closure with his own dad. And finally defeating Thanos, the universe’s gravest threat, before receiving the universe’s greatest funeral from widowed mother Pepper Potts. While Cap’s tragic (until it isn’t) romance with Peggy may be more historically sweeping it’s also chaste compared to Tony’s real, loving, adult relationship with Pepper.When Captain America: Civil War came out we all got caught up the debate of who was and wasn’t right. At the time I was Team Iron Man because I believe allowing superheroes to do literally whatever the hell the want with no oversight will only speed up America’s descent in fascism. Questionable human motives asides (although no more questionable than Steve’s) Tony was completely right to try to put a check on his own power, a lesson he learned and yet another example of his maturing character.But now I side with Stark because more than ever I’m fully convinced that whatever the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe turns into (Black Panther aside) it will never give me another character as rich and worth caring about as Iron Man. RIP….Plus Iron Man is the only MCU (who isn’t on Netflix) that’s had sex. Prove me wrong!Honor the man himself with the upcoming Iron Man VR game, these Iron Man toys, and the coolest Iron Man armors. Sony Pictures CEO Says ‘Door Is Closed’ for Now on Spider-Man SplitMarvel Censors Criticism of America From Marvel Comics #1000 last_img read more