This week on Most Heroic, in honor of Iron Man 3′s debut, we’ll be looking at the character of Tony Stark and what makes him a hero that people that people love so much.
Anthony “Tony” Stark is the only son of the Howard Stark, a famous and influential industrialist and inventor. After his parents died, Tony, a genius in his own right, took over the family company, Stark Industries. Under his leadership, the company became one of the most profitable corporations in the world, but the main source of their income was their contracts to make weapons for the government. Tony became one of the richest and most respected scientists in the world, as well as being one of its most eligible bachelors.
When he made a visit to the war front itself, his life changed forever. He was captured by the enemy insurgents, and their attack left him critically injured. He only managed to survive thanks to the quick thinking of fellow prisoner, the captured scientist Professor Ho Yinsen, who developed a high-tech prosthesis to keep him alive. The warlord who captured Stark wanted him to build a powerful weapon. Tony agreed, but instead of building a weapon, he built a suit of iron armor to use against his captors. Once the suit was complete, Tony defeated and escaped the men who imprisoned him, but Yinsen died in the battle, sacrificing himself to give Tony enough time to finish preparing the armor.
When Tony made his way back to civilization, he resumed his role as head of Stark Industries, but decided to stop building weapons and instead focus on philanthropy. He also developed a new suit of armor and decided to use it to combat evil as Iron Man. As Iron Man, he became a founding member of The Avengers and has been a vital member since its inception. He originally used the lie that Iron Man was his bodyguard in order to protect his secret identity, but he eventually came out to the public as Iron Man.
Tony is known as one of the eight smartest men in the Marvel Universe, along with the likes of Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic) and Henry Pym, and is perhaps its foremost mechanical engineer. He is also an expert businessman who strictly adheres to business ethics and he is well-known for inspiring loyalty from the people who work for him. He is a brilliant tactician, and is capable of winning overwhelming battles on his own.
One of the key aspects of Tony’s intelligence and success in the world of business is that he is a futurist, always thinking about how the events of today will affect the events of next year. He is smart enough to correctly predict the major events of the future, and he does his best to combat the bad things and help along the good. This was an essential facet of his rationale during Marvel’s Civil War event. Tony was able to anticipate the conflict years before it happened, and he saw that the benefits of joining with the government outweighed the consequences.
Not unlike his good friend Captain America, Tony has an strong sense of willpower. If he seizes upon an idea, he won’t stop until he sees it through. He is more practical and less idealistic than Cap, but he is just as determined when he has a goal.
However, Tony does have his weaknesses. He often makes his decisions on the basis of what is best for him and his livelihood, and that drives him. This selfish streak is tempered by his sense of responsibility and a newfound humility, but it runs deep within him.
He is also still a victim of several vices, such as womanizing and alcoholism. In recent years, he’s done a great deal to remain sober from alcohol, but he hasn’t really learned how to curb his taste in beautiful women as effectively. He has slipped up and fallen off the wagon every now and then, but those periods are few and far between. His most recent slip-up was during the events of Fear Itself, but that was a conscious choice, and he only imbibed because he believed the world was ending.
Why Are People Drawn to Him?
One of the biggest reasons that people like superheroes in general is wish fulfillment. They can fantasize about being these larger-than-life characters and what it would be like to wield their powers or live their lives. Characters like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are doubly attractive because along with being human members of elite super teams, they’re also multi-billionaires complete with mansions, butlers, and massive corporations.
Iron Man has always been an important part of the Marvel Universe in the comics, but it was only around 2008 that he really became a mainstream name. Of course, that was the result of 2008’s hit film, Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. has come to embody Tony Stark in a way like Hugh Jackman embodies Wolverine and Christopher Reeve embodied Superman. Although his character in the movies is more devil-may-care, more reckless, and a bit more humorous than his original comic book counterpart, it’s clear that they are still recognizably the same character. If anything, Tony Stark became even more human and more likable in the films. Some people say that he was actually the leading presence in The Avengers, and there’s certainly some merit to that opinion.
Perhaps one of the reasons that people like Tony so much is that he is such a flawed character. Even though he is unquestionably a hero, he feels like a real person. It’s always been described that the DC heroes are the characters who inspire the reader by serving as role models, while the Marvel heroes are characters that the readers can relate to. Tony is one of the very best examples of that philosophy. He’s the man who has everything, but he uses it for the betterment of society and his fellow man. He lives the life we all wish we could lead, but is a man than we can all admire.
I’m Jesse Blume and Tony Stark is Most Heroic!