In Appreciation Of… Tony Stark

Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

Earlier this year, the Marvel fandom was divided in two teams thanks to the Russo brothers’ Captain America: Civil War (actually three due to the super secret group led by me called “neutral”): Team Captain America, those against the Sokovia Accords, and Team Iron Man, those pro-Sokovia Accords.

A piece about the greatness of Tony Stark ahead of the release of Civil War would have been too mainstream and something Stark himself wouldn’t have approved, which is why this post is happening until now. Plus, it’s never a bad time to talk about Tony Stark.

If you already love him, this piece will remind you of some of the things that makes us love him so freaking much; if you don’t (how dare you), I can only hope that this will help you change your mind even a little bit.

So yeah, Anthony Edward Stark, why do we love him so much?

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“Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist”
Stating the obvious right away: Tony Stark is all that and he made it clear in The Avengers.

At age four, he built his first circuit board. At age six, his first engine. And at 17 he graduated summa cum laude from MIT. As the son of legendary weapons’ developer Howard Stark, Tony inherited an empire and made it even bigger.

Through Stark Expo, Tony brings together brilliant minds from all over the world in order to develop new inventions that will improve quality of life for mankind, leaving a better world for generations to come.

And he is so handsome and charming that he has no other choice that to embrace it. It’s pretty much impossible not to fall for him at least for a few minutes.

Back to the philanthropist part of him, it wasn’t always like this. Stark Industries was the main weapons manufacturer in the world, and because of that, Tony was taken to Afghanistan to present a new weapon – and things took a horrible turn.

After that near to death experience, Tony came back as a new man, which takes us to the next point.

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“I shouldn’t be alive unless it was for a reason”
It took a near to death experience of that magnitude for Tony to realise that he was leading his life the wrong way: someone with as much power and influence as him using it all for destruction, all for the sake of money? Not anymore.

It took him decades to see it but he eventually did. Better late than never.

And still, it was not easy. Tony Stark hasn’t had an easy life (like Yinsen said in Iron Man, “you are a man who has everything and nothing”). Genius kid, son of Howard Stark, who lost his parents in a car accident and never had the chance to say goodbye, who lived a big part of his life under the shadow of his father, and was the target of many who wanted him out of the map. Add his new superhero status to the mix and you seriously can’t expect him to keep his sanity all the time.

And yet, we have a man who cares so much for his friends and loved ones, that he would go to extremes to keep them safe, and whose number one goal is to use his power, genius, and influence to make the world a better place, either by protecting it himself, of by giving others the elements they need to make it so.

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“What’cha reading, platypus? […] come on, sour patch”.
As mentioned above, Tony would do anything for his loved ones, and don’t you even dare put a finger on Rhodey or you are going down.

Known as “Iron bros”, Rhodey and Tony are one of the many friendship goals the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us. They are too different, with Rhodey being more on the methodical side and Tony being more of the impulsive type. Still, these two make a great combination when it comes to saving the world but also when it comes to having fun.

You’ll see them argue, and you will see that a hundred times, but it’s all because they care too much for one another and they can both be oh so stubborn (boys boys boys). And yet you will see Rhodey stopping the Air Force from shooting Iron Man and Tony using all of his technology to help Rhodey (literally) get back on his feet (one moment please, my heart aches).

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“Absolutely ridiculous, I don’t paint”.
Every Avenger, villain, and secondary character has an unforgettable line that will live on, but no one can deny that Tony freaking Stark is the master of sass.

It comes as part of his personality but at the same time it’s a sort of defense mechanism (let us not forget he has had a tough life and hasn’t really worked on his feelings). Let’s say he is not the best at dealing with his emotions, so he hides it under layers of sass beyond compare.

The best part is that he is not afraid of giving a dose of sass to anyone – your authority means nothing to Tony Stark, and that’s something I think we can all learn from (well, don’t be afraid of speaking your mind and stand up for yourself with a touch of humour but know when you can do it without getting into serious trouble, ok? Ok!).

Never forget that Tony Stark, in the course of five movies, has left us with a catalogue of unforgettable sassy lines that you can use whenever you need.

Stark at your service.

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“My diagnosis is that you’ve experienced a severe anxiety attack” – “Me?”
Superheroes are strong, intelligent, and can defeat all types of villains, but hey: they are humans too – erm, most of them.

Seeing your favourite superhero dealing with the same issues as you is priceless, and gives a sense of identification that not many characters do. Such is the case with Tony Stark, particularly in Iron Man 3.

As a consequence of the events in The Avengers, Tony is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. Yes, Iron Man deals with severe anxiety. And yet, he stills put the suit on to save his loved ones – and never lost his unique sass.

There’s a debate within the fandom on which Iron Man movie is the worst (if there’s such thing as “worst” when talking about these movies): Iron Man 2 or Iron Man 3. I will defend Iron Man 2 until the Earth collapses in one big ball of energy that eventually explodes, but Iron Man 3 is extra-special because it’s Tony Stark – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist – dealing with anxiety.

They didn’t ignore what happened in The Avengers and everything Tony went through in order to save the planet (the planet!), and just for that Marvel Studios deserves a special badge. Thank you for showing us a vulnerable hero dealing with mental illness and how he learned to live with his own demons instead of letting them control him.

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BONUS. This beautiful moment in history.

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

Enough said, not without adding that I don’t like Daredevil so imagine how happy this cover makes me.

Tony Stark is more than Howard Stark’s son and heir of an empire: he is a hero, with or without the Iron Man suit, in and out of battle. Tony Stark is my superhero not only because he kicks major ass when wearing the suit but also because he has learned to tame his demons (sure, he has his moments but hey, who doesn’t?), learned from his mistakes, and has changed for the better.

Long live Tony Stark!
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Adrienne Tyler

Audiovisual communication student, focusing on filmmaking. Writer-at-large at 4YE and full-time fangirl.

Marvel is her main thing, Gary Oldman is God and Martin Scorsese is her favourite uncle.

Coffee makes her world go round. So does Edgar Wright.

Find her on twitter as @AdrienneTyler !
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