In 2008, Jon Favreau introduced us to a whole new cinematic world through Iron Man . This was a risky film to make. Favreau was an odd choice for this film, only being known for directing Elf and Swingers previously. It would star Robert Downey Jr., who, at the time, was a washed-up B-lister with substance and legal problems. But the studio’s biggest risk was in even making an Iron Man movie. Tony Stark was a hero who, although long-lasting, was never a fan favorite. Iron Man never reached the top of fandom like the X-Men or Spider-Man.
Debuting in Tales of Suspense in 1963, Iron Man would become a trusted staple in the Marvel pantheon of heroes, but it wouldn’t be until Downey Jr. would don the red and gold and help usher in the now behemoth Marvel Cinematic Universe that Iron Man would become an A-List hero. He is a hero who has become part of the American culture in a way no one could have predicted, but with all the fame, comes critics with a microscope looking for flaws.
After a thorough review of the Iron Man legacy, here are 15 Things About Iron Man That Make No Sense!
15 Recruiting Spider Man In Civil War
During the events of Captain America: Civil War, a line in the sand was drawn and it found the Avengers on opposing teams with Captain America and Iron Man as the leaders. After Cap begins to form a team, Stark and Romanoff are tasked with arresting them. Romanoff observes that they are outnumbered and recruits T’Challa to join their new team. Stark says he has another person in mind.
Is it Daredevil, the skilled vigilante cleaning up Hell’s Kitchen? Perhaps Jessica Jones, the super woman who publicly took down another enhanced being. Luke Cage or S.H.I.E.L.D., maybe?Nope. It was 16-year-old from the Brooklyn. Why?
What did value did he bring to team Iron Man?
There is no doubt that Spider-Man’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a crowd-pleaser and exciting for many fans. However, strategically it isn’t logical to even look for another team member when they had the strongest avenger on their side: Vision, a vibranium robot who wields an Infinity Stone. He is by far the most powerful member of the Avengers in this film and could have single handily destroyed Team Cap.
Instead, during the epic airport fight scene, Vison floats aimlessly in the sky doing nothing, which can only be due to the Russo Brothers not knowing how to include him in to the choreography, while Spider-Man becomes the MVP. Though It is incredibly exciting and entertaining to include Spider-Man in one Marvel’s best action pieces, in the end, it makes no sense.
14 Trying To Destroy Bucky Barnes
Civil War starts and ends with two similar scenes, characters having to confront the consequences of their actions. Stark meets an angry and grieving mother whose son perished during the events of Age of Ultron. This helps convince Stark that they need to change their ways and amend for past mistakes.
At the end of the movie, Bucky Barnes has to face an emotionally distraught Iron Man after it's revealed that Barnes eliminated Stark’s parents. It is understandable to be emotional after having this revelation, but it was made very clear that Barnes was under mind control when he committed these crimes.
Barnes was a victim of mental abuse and deserved some sort of treatment, not an attack.
Stark lashes out and attempts to wipe Barnes from the face of the earth, but this contradicts his motivations through the entire film. He wanted to take the law into his own hands and play judge, jury and executioner against a man who was brain washed and forced to commit atrocities. Stark’s own guilt of having taken so many lives should create some sympathy for someone who was clearly abused. Instead, he throws that all out the window and dismantles all his self-righteous arguments.
Stark does have a right to be upset. He doesn’t have to ever like or accept Barnes a friend and maybe they can hash out his feelings in a different way, but to try and terminate him doesn’t quite add up.
13 Bullets Are Nothing But He Can’t Take A Punch
Over the course of 10 years in the MCU we have seen Iron Man get shot at, crash through buildings, survive explosions, and even have a moon thrown at him. He easily walked away unscathed. His biggest weakness? Getting punched with bare hands.
At the end of Civil War, Bucky Barnes, Captain America and Iron engage in an emotional and gritty fight that doesn’t really work out for the only character in protective armor.
Thanos drops the surface of a moon on Iron Man but it isn’t till they engage in fisticuffs that Iron Man begins to struggle.
To be fair, both Cap and Barnes are super soldiers, with one sporting a nifty metallic arm. Thanos is a behemoth of a creature and wields the Infinity Gauntlet. However, is Thanos’ punches stronger than the impact of the moon? Are Cap and Barnes' so strong that their punches are more effective than the piles of cars that Scarlet Witch dropped on him? Highly doubtful.
The science isn’t clear how the suit protects Stark from potentially fatal injuries but we know it does. However, by the end of Civil War and Infinity War, Stark is dealt major damage to his suit and his body because someone decided to punch him.
This inconsistency in his armor does not elicit confidence if a superhero could be taken down by the likes of Mike Tyson.
12 His Original Comic Book Alibi And Secret Identity
This is one aspect of Iron Man that did not make it in to the films, and that's because Stark’s original alibi for his secret identity does not work.
Iron Man was supposedly Tony Stark’s and Stark Industry’s body guard. When any other superhero has a secret identity, the two personas never have any connections, which makes it harder to figure out who they are. No one is looking for Peter Parker when Spider-Man shows up. Same with Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, or Matt Murdock.
If Iron Man is Stark’s body guard then how do they get around the fact that they are never in the same room at the same time? The premise makes it far more difficult to hide his identity and keep these two personas separate.
It is an idea that, thankfully, was eventually abandoned and Stark followed the example of the Fantastic Four to ditch the secret identity. Thanks to his narcissism, Tony owning up to his secret indentity worked better than trying to explain away why these two were never seen together.
Iron Man must have looked like the worst bodyguard, always just picking up the pieces after a battle rather than preventing the danger.
11 How Does He See?
What do the eye slits in the Iron Man and War Machine suits do? Are they for sight? How do they light up when they are on? When the suit is off, one can clearly see through them, but when power is on the eyes light up from the outside and there is some sort of screen for the operator.
The style in which the inside of the suit is filmed has become an iconic way to visualize a perspective we would never get to see. It is clever and artistic, but it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
There is no explanation in the movie, but one can deduce that there is a projected screen on the inside of the helmet. Perhaps there are little cameras somewhere on the helmet that creates the image.
That that still wouldn’t explain the function of the eye slits.
The suit cannot be moved when the power is off, so those eye holes would not be used for anything.
Tony definitely wouldn’t wear the suit if there was no power.
In the original comics the eye slits were actually used for vison, but in the films, they don’t really seem to serve a purpose other than looking really intimidating when they light up.
10 How does he survive G-force?
It is estimated that Iron Man can fly at about Mach 3, which is approximately 2301.81 MPH. More impressive than his speed is his capability of surviving G-Force, to maneuver at sharp angles, and to stop in a matter of seconds.
According the Oxford Dictionary, G-Force is “a form of acceleration that causes the accelerating object to experience a force acting in the opposite direction to the acceleration.” In other words, to stop as fast as Iron Man does would be like hitting a brick wall at 1000 mph.
Stopping on a dime at jet fighter speeds would should turn his body into mush. At the very least, his brain would be severely damaged and he would be unconscious most of the time he was flying. The human body isn’t meant to go that fast, and extra precautions need to be taken when fighter pilots engage in those speeds. Yet Iron Man was able to do the impossible on his first test flight.
There are myriad of explanations trying to justify how the suit may be plausible, but in the end, it is just science fiction. There is no explanation that would give us the answers as to how he could survive the powerful inertia that should destroy his body.
9 What Did He Do With Extremis After Iron Man 3?
At the end of Iron Man 3, Stark declares that he was able to find a cure for Extremis for Pepper. He goes on to say, “Why stop there?” He was able to stabilize the virus and it is implied that he used it to fix his chest. Beyond the shrapnel, he had a massive gaping hole in his chest to make room for the arc reactor. How did he repair that? The general consensus among fans has been that Tony probably used Extremis to repair the hole and help him heal.
However, speculation aside, we know he was able to stabilize the virus. But where is it?
Most importantly: why hasn’t he used it again?
After the events of Civil War, Rhodes was badly injured and now has to deal with damage to both of his legs. Why didn’t Stark just use some of the extremis to heal Rhodes like he did for Potts and himself? It seems that there could be a lot of helpful and safe uses for Extremis with the right minds behind it - the same exact argument Tony made in favor of creating Ultron, then Vision. It seem that, just like always, Stark is just going to forget about his past inventions and move on to shinier things.
8 Why Didn’t He Face Any Legal Action After His Attack In Afghanistan?
In the first Iron Man film, Stark took his suit on a test drive to Afghanistan to fight some terrorists. Once he arrived, he quickly eliminated many of the terrorists, saving several hostages and the decimated city. On his way back, he was attacked by the Air Force and destroyed a F22 inside an illegal no fly zone, endangering the life of a soldier. Although he eventually saved that solider he still committed several illegal acts and destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of equipment.
This is why traditional heroes keep secret identities; to not only protect their private lives but to shirk responsibility for damages. However, the film closes with the famous reveal as Stark proudly proclaims, “I am Iron Man.’”
Cue Black Sabbath.
Surely after he has revealed himself the government would take action and arrest him for all the crimes he has committed? Nope. Instead they had a senate hearing to try and acquire his tech for military use. There were no consequences for his actions. In fact, there have been zero governmental actions taken against him until Captain America: Civil War and all that did was make a him a UN operative; still no real consequences.
Tony Stark is the ultimate embodiment of privilege. The laws of mankind and physics do not apply to him.
7 A New Element From An Amusement Park Blueprint
One of the oddest moments in Iron Man 2 is when Stark effortlessly creates a new element based on the blueprints to his father’s amusement park. Let’s break this down.
Howard Stark created the Stark Expo, which ran from 1943 to 1974. At some point. he created plans for the original arc reactor and realized that the Palladium core wasn’t sustainable. He discovered a new element that would need to be synthesized to replace the core. Limited by the technology of his time, he decided to build the blue prints to the element into the layout of the park. Then, hoping his son would figure it out, he left a cryptic message that the park was the “key the future.” Somehow, Tony was able to figure this out and, in what looks like a single day, creates a new element that perfects the arc reactor.
The devil’s advocate would argue that this all makes sense because it actually works, but in reality, this is lazy, convoluted writing and has no basis in logic. The chances of this working were one in a million and hiding the element in the park was such a farfetched idea.
It is truly amazing that no one at Marvel sat down and talked about how this whole plan is completely illogical.
The only silver lining from this scene is a touching moment between father and son, but it isn’t enough to distract from the overall nonsense that takes place before our eyes.
6 Where Is The Iron Legion?
The Iron Legion is a group of Iron Man like robots that assists in evacuation and clean up during battles. They made their cinematic debut in Age of Ultron. Technically, one could argue that they appeared at the end of Iron Man 3, but that the band of suits wasn’t meant to work as an army.
Age of Ultron showed viewers that the Iron Legion could be very helpful in ensuring the safety of the general public during the Avenger’s catastrophic battles. Of course, they are quickly co-opted by Ultron to form his own army to accomplish his goals, so It makes sense that the Legion wouldn’t be available during the events of the film.
However, that doesn’t explain why they were not used in Civil War or Infinity War. The legion is an army built to assist Iron Man. They could have helped secure the airport, or assisted in the capture of Team Cap. They could have helped civilians while Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange battled the Dark Order while surrounded by civilians. Instead they are nowhere to be seen.
This seems to follow a pattern of Stark creating really effective and supportive technology and never using it again.
5 Why Did He Blow Up The Suits At The End Of Iron Man 3?
It is a question that has been asked by many fans. What exactly did the end of Iron Man 3 mean? Why did they blow up all the suits?
It really felt like an end to the character but then he popped back up in Age of Ultron two years later, all geared up and ready for action, with no explanation.
The official explanation was that it was a symbolic gesture demonstrating to Pepper Potts that he will no longer be distracted from their relationship. As romantic as that is, it still doesn’t really explain why they are fine with destroying billions of dollars’ worth of potentially lifesaving equipment for the future.
It turns out the original idea was a little different and adds more context. Writer/director of the film, Shane Black said, “At the end, if he’s going to prove to Pepper[his devotion]… in the version of the first draft, she didn’t want to give up her powers. She said ‘I can’t do it. I can’t go back.’ And he said, ‘Well, how about if I give it up then. Will you do that for me?’ And he had this scene, which was very romantic, where he sacrifices the suits in order to get her to give up her power.”
This would have made more sense in the context of the film if they hadn't dropped the part about Potts and left audiences confused at this wasteful decision.
4 The Hulkbuster
In an effort to control the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers came up with some contingency plans to calm him down or subdue him. One way was to use calming phrases and touch that would bring out his human side. In case that didn’t work, Stark and Bruce Banner created the Hulkbuster armor.
In other words, their back-up plan was to punch him, punch him really hard.
The Avengers is not only a group made of superpowered beings, but some of the best minds in the world. Stronger armor is a good idea, but to simply just engage the Hulk seems foolhardy and short-sighted. They could have baited him out of the city to prevent collateral damage then try to contain the rage monster.
Perhaps Iron Man could have used a modified paralyzing weapon Obadiah Stane used in the first film, or used holograms to distract him.
The point is, that there was no strategy used to stop the Hulk. The plan was just to punch him till they knocked him out, which is something no one would have known was possible at that point, instead of coming up with a strategic plan to fix the situation. It’s not like they didn’t have enough strategists on the team to help with that.
3 What Makes The Iron Man Suit So Special?
In the first MCU Iron Man, the world had never seen anything like the Iron Man suit. Stark had a new powerful arc reactor and a fancy new suit that changed how the world would make weapons. Iron Man 2 established that, although there were many attempting to replicate the science, no one could do it. Then Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rouke, came along and not only created his own suit, but has also the plans to the arc reactor!
When it first started, the Iron Man suit was unique and quite amazing, but as the MCU starts to expand, the suit becomes more and more obsolete.
James Rhodes gets his hands on a suit in the same film and now the army has its capabilities. Ant Man and the Wasp’s suits can shrink and grow. Spider-Man has his own Iron Spider suit.
Black Panther has a vibranium suite that can observe kinetic energy and redistribute it in a powerful attack. Oh, and it fits in his necklace!
If the merger goes through between 20th century Fox and Disney, we may see the introduction of another powerful metal suite, Dr. Doom. Dr. Doom’s suit premiered a year before Iron Man did in the comics. With all this in mind, what makes his suit so special? At one point the films tied to claim it would create world peace, yet in the end, with more expansions, Iron Man is becoming a dime a dozen.
2 A Supergenius with Unlimited Resources Resorts To Punching People
Stark has incomparable technology, unlimited resources, and an inventive imagination. He can fly, shoot lasers, and create all sorts of weapons that can injure, subdue, or even terminate if necessary. Yet in spite of having all these at his fingertips, Iron Man is constantly engaging with foes and punching them when he could shoot them lasers, never having to leave the sky.
Stark has the technology to incapacitate anyone without ever having to clench his fist.
He could even just send an army of his own making to do the dirty work to prevent injury to himself. Yet time and time again we find Iron Man confronting his opponents with hand-to-hand combat and always losing. Thor, Captain America, Whiplash, Winter Soldier, and Thanos all bested him when it came to blows. It’s Tony's strategy and tech that saves him in the end.
But this never stops him. In every movie he tries to take someone on by punching them and it never works. For a super genius, he doesn’t learn from his mistakes very well.
Iron Man's strengths come from his ingenuity and intellect, not his physicality. Even when he was devoid of his suit in Iron Man 3, it was his Home Alone-like skills that helped him escape and defeat the fake Mandarin, not his physical strength.
1 How Was The Arc Reactor Keeping Stark Alive?
The short answer, it isn’t. Well, at least there isn’t a reason given. The original purpose to have the reactor was to power the electromagnet that was keeping shrapnel from entering his heart. However, half way through the first movie, Pepper removes the magnet and doesn’t put it back in. That means there is no longer a magnet that needs powering and there isn’t a need for the arc reactor. It isn’t powering his heart or sustaining him in other ways. They even double down on the shrapnel in Iron Man 3 when he gets the shards removed, eliminating the need for the arc reactor in his chest.
It also isn’t clear why, when the arc is removed from his chest, he starts to go pale and loses all function. The arc is not powering his heart, so the removal of it shouldn’t affect his whole body in any immediate way.
The surgery that takes place at the end of Iron Man 3 makes the poisoning issues in Iron Man 2 more problematic. In the first movie, the idea of surgery was too risky and could end him, but it didn’t take much effort to not only remove the shards but to repair the gaping hole in his chest and sternum. Instead he resigned himself to death in Iron Man 2 without trying surgery.
Having an arc reactor in his chest looks really cool, but in the end, it didn’t serve any vital purpose after the first half of the first Iron Man.
What else doesn't make sense about Iron Man? Sound off in the comments!