Tony Stark is unique is unique amongst superheroes. Using nothing but his own two hands, he managed to turn a few hunks of metal into one of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy, proving to the world that you don’t need radioactive spiders or fancy Asgardian genes to be a hero. With a little hard work and a pinch of wit, even a puny human can become an Avenger.
But that’s not all that makes Tony Stark different. Most of the other Avengers are walking ethics textbooks — they’re so darn good it hurts. But not Iron Man. Heck, before he was a superhero, he engineered weapons of mass destruction. Like most of us, he is flawed, walking the line between good and bad and often struggling to balance his self-centredness with his desire to do good. This is why we admire him — because he’s so fundamentally human, with all the associated strengths and weaknesses that define our race. And it doesn’t hurt that he's one sassy S.O.B.
10 If We Can’t Accept Limitations Then We’re No Better Than The Bad Guys.
Although he was the antagonist in Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark’s vision for the Avengers had its merits. He believed they should become accountable to some greater organization, whereas Captain America wanted the team to maintain control over its activities. Although Captain America’s position makes sense at first glance — who would willingly give up their free will, especially when the world’s at stake? — it could also be argued that a team of unelected vigilantes has no right to make life-or-death decisions for the global population. But then again, it’s hard to imagine the UN Security Council convening to discuss whether or not to intervene in an alien plot to steal a wizard’s necklace, so who are we to judge?
9 If You’re Nothing Without This Suit Then You Shouldn’t Have It.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker’s sense of self-worth becomes tied to his Spider-Man suit (superhero problems). Given that Tony Stark dealt with similar feelings in the past (remember all those panic attacks in Iron Man 3?), he tries to help Peter understand that it’s not a person’s superpowers that make them a hero— it’s who they are underneath.
8 Sometimes You Gotta Run Before You Can Walk.
In Iron Man’s case, this meant taking his prototype suit out for a flight before all the kinks had been worked out (which probably wasn’t a great idea, in all honesty). But this quote is relevant even to us regular folks without high-tech body armor to zip around town in.
In life, it’s good to take certain things slowly, like learning to drive. But there are some things, like learning languages, where you’ve got to dive into the deep end first and immerse yourself in the difficulty of the task.
7 You Know, It’s Times Like These When I Realize What A Superhero I Am.
Part of Tony Stark’s success is that he’s always his own biggest advocate. Although he may take it a little too far, self-promotion is important in everyday life. For Tony, this means gushing over what a cool superhero he is (and hey, he’s not wrong).
But for us regular joes, leadership abilities or teamwork skills may take the focus. Modesty has its role, but there are some situations in life, like job interviews, when we need to unleash our inner Tony Starks and gush about how awesome we are.
6 Following’s Not Really My Style.
To change the world, you need to be a trailblazer. For Tony Stark, this meant becoming the most powerful superhero in the world. For those of us who aren’t genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropists, this might just mean starting our own company or patenting an app. Either way, there won’t be much following involved.
5 What Is The Point Of Owning A Race Car If You Can’t Drive It?
In the materialistic world that we live in, it’s common to buy things just for the sake of owning them. Given that most of us are not billionaires, it’s probably not quite as common to buy a super-expensive race car just to stick it in the garage.
But many of us have purchased beautiful pieces of jewelry or nice articles of clothing that we never wear for fear of damaging them. You only live once, though, so you may as well take a page out of Tony Stark’s textbook and jump into that Gucci jacket like it’s a speedster on the Circuit de Monaco.
4 We Create Our Own Demons
In Iron Man 3, we see a younger version of Tony Stark making an accidental enemy out of Aldrich Killian. In Tony’s eyes, his interaction with Killian was but a quick ploy to get some alone time with a woman, but to Killian, this brief encounter lasted a lifetime and left him considering suicide on the top of a building. Externally, Tony Stark had created a demon.
But we also create our own internal demons. We are our own worst enemies, constantly berating ourselves and comparing ourselves to others. Although this sounds pessimistic, it’s actually quite empowering. If we are the ones creating our demons, this means we have the power to banish them — and maybe even change them into angels.
3 Textbook Narcissism? Agreed.
One of the great lessons of life is that we have to accept ourselves for who we really are, flaws and all. So what if someone likes to tell terrible dad jokes no matter how many times people say they aren’t funny? Who cares if someone is so over-the-top obsessed with superheroes that they’ve figured out a way to make a living writing list-based articles about them? And who’s it hurting if someone is a textbook narcissist…? Okay, that one actually could be a problem. But in Tony Stark’s case, it led to the Iron Man suit, so we’ll take it on a case-by-case basis.
2 There’s One Thing You Can Never Take Away From Me: I Am Iron Man.
Given how consumer-driven modern society has become, it’s common for a person’s sense of identity to become intertwined with their possessions. Although most of us don’t have a Malibu mansion or an enormous collection of superhero suits, we’ve all measured our personal worth by the things we owned at one point or another. When we were children, it was how many stuffed animals were on our bed, and during middle school, it was how many limited edition copies of The Lord of the Rings were on our bookshelf (… just me?). For adults, expensive houses and hefty bank accounts are commonly seen as the deciders of success. But we are not the three-bedroom bungalows we own, just like Tony Stark isn’t his Iron Man suit.
1 I Build Neat Stuff, Got A Great Girl, Occasionally Save The World. So Why Can’t I Sleep?
Even superheroes aren’t exempt from the crippling condition of being human (well, unless they actually aren’t human, but that’s for a different article). Even if someone has all the money in the world, a team of super-friends and the most trendsetting facial hair on the planet, this doesn’t mean all their problems will magically disappear. Being human can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a struggle, and Tony Stark struggles a lot. It may seem that we admire him for his Iron Man suit, but the real reason we look up to him is because, beneath the suit, he is as tragically human as the rest of us — but a hero all the same. So he'd better freaking make it out of Avengers: Endgame (*knocks on wood*).