Iron Man is one of the most popular heroes in the Marvel universe. Though he’s been present in the comic book world for decades, his first solo movie, Iron Man, released in 2008 and really launched the character into the pop-culture world.
The billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist is easily recognized, even among people who haven’t seen the Avengers movies. For those who have, he’s considered one of the Earth’s greatest defenders.
While many people believe that he’s just a rich man in a suit, he’s much more than that. While his suit is impressive, even without his Iron Man gear, he has a lot to offer to the team.
Whether he is appearing in comic books, movies, or television shows, there are many different versions of the hero.
While a lot of fans of the MCU know the basics about Tony Stark, he has many capabilities that people aren’t aware of. The cultural icon is much more than your average, run-of-the-mill human.
Many people believe that they know everything Iron Man has to offer the Avengers team, but the hero has a few secret powers hidden up his sleeve-- as well as weaknesses.
Here are the 10 Powers (And 8 Weaknesses) Fans Didn’t Know Iron Man Had.
18 Power: Super-Genius Intellect
It’s easy to see Iron Man flying around and forget he’s more than just a high-powered weapon. Not only does Tony Stark control the suit, but he also created it. While his ego and witty banter can sometimes overshadow it, Stark possesses super-genius intellect.
Stark’s intelligence is one of his most underrated and overlooked abilities. His intelligence is quite superior to that of the average man.
The scientific genius has created some of the most advanced and impressive technology in the world, and as the Avengers movie show, he hasn’t slowed down.
In each and every movie, he has a new gadget or updated suit to show off. Every suit has its own special focus, from stealth to traveling in outer space.
If anyone ever doubts his intelligence, they can just remember how in the first Iron Man movie he created the first version of his high-tech suit while in captivity with minimal resources.
While other members of the Avengers are quite intelligent as well, including Bruce Banner and Doctor Strange, Stark is often seen working with various technologies and coming up with their plan of action in the knick of time.
To completely understand the character, it’s important to look past his weapons and how many aliens he can blow up. His smarts are a major part of what have kept him alive.
17 Power: Stores His Suit In His Body
While Stark once struggled to find a place to charge his suit or put it on quick enough, he quickly learned different ways to store his suit, including within his own body.
His significant suit advancements eventually led to it being stored within his body. The suit was inside of his hollowed out bones. This version of his suit is a kind of Extremis Armor, specifically known as “Bleeding Edge Armor.”
Stark used a nanotechnology, referred to as Extremis, to help store the armor in his bones as well as connect to it his brain. He was physically linked up with his armor at all times.
He could control his armor with a simple thought, as if it was just an extension of his human body. If he needed his suit, he would mentally bleed the armor out onto his body.
It would mimic the typical red and gold armor that fans are used to, it was just formed in a different way, making him more half machine, half man.
The nanotechnology doesn’t just form to look like the Iron Man suit, however. It take the form of any shape, including clothing and and other armors. It was finally used in the MCU in Avengers: Infinity War.
16 Weakness: Members of the Opposite Gender
Tony Stark has always been a flirt. Women have a certain power over him, although Pepper Potts seems to have stolen his heart. However, flirting and romance have always been a bit of a weakness for Iron Man.
He’s always had trouble committing to Pepper. He flirts shamelessly with Aunt May in Captain America: Civil War, which Peter didn’t really appreciate.
While the MCU has hinted at his womanizing ways, in the comics, he’s always been written as much more of a playboy.
Pepper would show interest in Stark, but he would always be too much of a flirt to settle down with her, so she’d move on. They’ve always flirted on and off, but weren’t necessarily as serious a couple as they are in the MCU.
These playboy ways are easily exploited and can cause issues for Iron Man. His womanizing tendencies don’t seem very heroic, and instead highlight the fact that he’s still human and prone to vices, just like anyone else.
It can be hard to admire him as a hero when he has such a blatant disregard for the way he treats women.
Superheroes must show responsibility and good judgement, and his flirty ways can get him into some trouble.
15 Power: Can Tap Into Worldwide Communications Systems
Iron Man has to know what’s going on in the world in order to save it, so it makes sense he has a way to monitor world events and tap into communicators.
Tony Stark is able to connect to communications systems throughout the world. This includes cell phones, satellites, computers, and more.
This may seem like an easy, bland skill to have at his advantage, but it’s more complicated than it seems on the surface.
Of course, as a billionaire he can buy the technology to hack into different communications systems. In the Incredible Hulk, they use technology from Stark Industries to track the green hero, but there’s more to his communications skills than what they show in the MCU.
However, not only did Extremis give him the ability to mentally control his suit, but it also made it so he could communicate with machines around the world.
He can mentally tap into whatever technology he chooses.
He has the power to to talk to anyone from whatever location he was at without any extra equipment, just the Extremis armor linked to his brain.
The power seems simple but his work would be a lot harder without it, and certainly helps coordinate his work with the Avengers.
14 Weakness: Alcoholism
Tony Stark has always struggled with alcoholism in the comics. Fans found themselves disappointed when they cut his alcoholism from Iron Man 3 because it may have been too much for children to see. His alcoholism has always been a critical aspect of his character.
There was a nine-issue story arc that focused on his alcohol issues called “Demon In A Bottle,” which was published in 1979.
In the story, Iron Man’s armor malfunctions and he accidentally claims the life of a foreign ambassador at an event. Stark then steps down as leader of the Avengers and begins to drink a lot more.
It ends up that someone named Hammer was behind the malfunction the entire time. Although Stark is able to take him down, he is still haunted by the memory of taking the life of the ambassador.
His alcoholism gets the best of him and he pushes away the people he loves the most, his girlfriend, Beth, and his butler, Jarvis.
At the end of the storyline, he finally ends up asking for help with his drinking problem. Adding that aspect into the MCU could have directed Iron Man’s future in quite a different, darker direction.
However, it would still have been an interesting place to take his character.
13 Power: Super-Human Reflexes
Iron Man isn’t just quick because of his suit. Even when he isn’t covered in gold and red, he has super-human reflexes.
He already moves pretty quickly because his suit is state of the art, but the Extremis virus gave him quicker reactions and movements than before.
After being fatally injured, Stark reconfigured the Extremis virus in order to heal himself. This linked his body to his armor.
Since his mind and body were directly linked to his suit’s operating system, he gained enhanced reflexes. The direct link to his brain made his response time way quicker than with his old suit.
All he had to do is think about a movement and it would happen in less than an instant. This would shave milliseconds off of his actions and provide him an advantage over his opponents in a fight.
These reflexes are quick enough to be the difference between life and death. It was the equivalent of him being a cyborg. His new reflexes could rival even Peter Parker’s Spidey senses.
Rather than being a normal human flying around in a machine, he had actual superpowers like many of the other Avengers. The suit was a part of him.
12 Weakness: Dependence on Technology
While Iron Man is incredibly powerful, a lot of that power comes directly from technology. Like other heroes in the MCU, such as Vision, without it, he wouldn’t be nearly as super.
While Tony Stark is incredibly intelligent, he couldn’t really lead the Avengers without his Iron Man gear. His dependence on technology is one of his biggest weaknesses.
Without all of his high-tech objects, Stark wouldn't even be alive. He has always depended on the arc reactor in his chest, and in Iron Man, audiences saw how unstable he could be when it wasn’t working when Pepper had to help change the reactor.
While he has a new reactor in Infinity War and his chest is now clear of shrapnel, the same question still applies: where would he be without technology?
He would still be a genius, a playboy, a millionaire, and a philanthropist, as he pointed out to Captain America in Avengers, but he would certainly struggle to be the hero he once was.
Villians can easily take advantage of his dependence on technology by tearing through his suit. Technology gives Stark an advantage that he would lack otherwise, so it holds a lot of power over him.
11 Weakness: Memory Issues
Fans who only are familiar with the MCU may not be aware that Tony Stark suffers from memory issues.
While those memory issues have not made an appearance in the movies yet, during a comic book storyline called “Stark: Disassembled,” the hero is forced to erase parts of his memory to keep villain Norman Osborn from getting access to the Superhuman Registration Act.
He had to reboot his mind using memories he had previously saved. While the process upgraded his strength, stamina, and intellect, the side-effects were bigger than he originally anticipated.
He still has lapses in memories, even with the rebooted memories. He can no longer remember certain parts of his life. He will even forget simple things, like how to put on a tie.
Stark no longer has any autonomic functions. It is so bad that he has a software that reminds his body to do basic things like blink and breathe.
If the reactor stopped working even for a minute, his body would cease to function properly.
This is definitely a weakness that could cause a lot of problems. It’s yet to be seen if anything from this storyline will make it into the MCU, but it would be interesting.
10 Power: Technopathy
Along with all of the other abilities that Stark gained with Extremis, he also received the ability to communicate with technology.
His brain developed a technopathic bond with all of the machinery in the world.
This includes his own suits. This essentially makes him a human super-computer, especially when he is fully suited up.
He can make his armor mold into whatever shape he wishes and can make it do just about anything. His powers went beyond simply communicating with the technology directly around him.
Stark could even go as far as to connect with satellites in low orbit around the Earth. This mechanical manipulation connects him to every type of machinery imaginable.
This goes hand in hand with his ability to tap into worldwide communications systems. He has a link to every piece of technology in the world and has no problem hacking into any sort of wireless signal.
He can essentially track anyone, anywhere and can make a phone call from anywhere without even moving or physically speaking.
It could be argued that Stark’s technopathy is one of his strongest abilities, making him more powerful than ever before. It’s hard to fight someone who can bend any form of technology to his will within seconds.
9 Power: Regenerative Healing Factor
While Iron Man was once just one wrong move away from being destroyed by the shrapnel in his body, he’s gone through a lot of changes and upgrades over the years to become stronger.
Somewhere along his journey, he gained the power of self-healing.
His suit can patch and repair itself, and thanks to the Extremis virus, Stark can now heal himself.
Extremis-enhanced people are able to heal at an incredibly quick pace. After reconfiguring the virus to heal himself after being injured, he gained the ability to heal much quicker than the average human and can produce entirely new organs if he needs to.
Daredevil was able to cure his blindness with Extremis, so it makes sense Stark can heal whatever injuries he receives.
While he may not be able to heal quite as quick as other Marvel heroes, like Deadpool, supposedly he can heal his wounds in as little as a few hours.
With his regenerative healing factor, he can definitely take some serious damage in fight before going down.
Between being able to heal his own body and mold his suit to whatever shape he sees fit, the Extremis dose he took has made him nearly invincible.
8 Weakness: Ego
If fans know anything about Tony Stark, it’s that he can be incredibly over-confident. A big ego is a central character trait of Iron Man.
He has always been a little egotistical, and at times, his narcissism gets the best of him. While the Marvel movies certainly show this side of him, his ego is even more inflated in the comics.
Stark has always been able to get what he wanted. He grew up with a billionaire father and inherited that as well as his power. He’s also incredibly intelligent and is totally aware of it, and he also catches the attention of quite a few women. All of this has built his confidence to the point he’s incredibly cocky.
While showing confidence can be a strength, showing too much is dangerous. Not only can it cause him to overestimate himself, it also pushes people close to him away.
Stark’s tendency to be arrogant and entitled makes him a little hard to work with. He doesn’t always play well with others.
In the first Avengers movie, you can see his ego cause some serious tension between he and Captain America. Stark’s charisma makes him a great leader where his ego is one of his biggest weaknesses.
7 Weakness: EMP
Over the years, many fans have wondered about Iron Man’s defense against EMP’s, or short bursts of electromagnetic energy.
It sounds harmless, but it can shut down most electronic systems.
His suit has been able to sense them at times, like when Winter Soldier tried to use an EMP in his hand against Stark and he shut down in time. He was able to immediately restart his suit.
However, it seems like it may depend on the strength of the attack. It’s been debated for years, but there’s a chance that EMP’s could be one of Iron Man’s weaknesses.
His suit is made of some of the strongest alloys in existence, so the EMP would have to be very strong to penetrate his defenses.
Although it seems like he has minor defenses against smaller, more localized EMPs, he could definitely have his circuits fried if it was powerful enough.
His reactors are extremely important when it comes to powering his suits, so if he was hit with a strong enough EMP, he would immediately be vulnerable.
If a villain was able to exploit that weakness, Stark would be extremely easy to beat in a fight. It’s just a matter of how big a pulse Stark’s armor can stand.
6 Power: Undetected By Radar
It may not seem like the most exciting or strongest power in the world, but Iron Man can fly undetected by radar. While it’s more fun to notice him blasting bad guys or flying in space, his stealth and radar avoidance is a critical skill.
When he is flying on a mission, it is important to stay undetected by his enemies. Stark created a specific stealth armor exactly for this purpose.
It’s used for covert missions where he needs to remain essentially invisible. It possesses multiple scanning devices as well as wave modifiers that can overpower radar rays and keep him hidden.
The stealth-mode suit is a sleek black color rather than his typical red and gold. It was originally designed without weapons-- it’s primary purpose was for sneaking around.
It seems like his other suits also have a sort of cloaking device to keep them undetected by radar as well, although they weren’t specifically designed for that purpose.
When flying into enemy territory, regardless of which armor he has on, it’s critical to remain invisible to the bad guys.
While other heroes like the Hulk or Thor like to make a smashing entrance, Iron Man has a different, stealthier approach.
5 Weakness: Heart Issues
One of the first things fans learn about Iron Man is that he has heart issues. It’s part of his origin story.
He suffers a horrible chest injury during a kidnapping and has to wear a magnetic chest plate to keep shrapnel from entering his heart.
He builds the Iron Man suit and escapes his captors, but has to deal with heart issues from then on.
The complications of his heart are clear when Pepper is having to change his arc reactor in Iron Man. Stark even says he’s “going into cardiac arrest,” although he says it in the most nonchalant way possible.
In Iron Man 3, he does undergo surgery to remove the shrapnel from his chest, but that’s only in one storyline out of hundreds in the comics. Depending on the version of the character, he still has heart issues.
A lot of fans are confused as to whether or not Stark has a physical heart, and the answer is yes.
The device in his chest isn’t an artificial heart in most storylines, it just prevents the shrapnel in his body from piercing his heart and destroying him.
This seems like a major weakness that the wrong person could easily take advantage of.
4 Power: Minor Shape-Shifting
When people hear the name “Iron Man”, they don’t typically think of shape-shifting as one of his abilities.
However, certain types of armor allow him to change shape, particularly the Model Prime armor that was introduced in 2015 as part of a Marvel reboot.
It’s much sleeker than his older, clunky armor and operates on molecular nanotechnology, which allows it to change shape and color.
The Model Prime armor basically combines all of the capabilities of his previous suits into one efficient version. It can separate and reconfigure itself within seconds, essentially giving Stark the ability to shape-shift.
Stark can use it to create different types of weaponry on the spot, like blades, cannons, and guns, as well as make himself look as though he’s wearing regular clothes when it’s just the suit.
Fans got to see some of this shape-shifting power in Avengers: Infinity War. Unlike the other Iron Man armor that has appeared in the MCU, he was able to change his suit at will, from it forming directly from his clothes to forming one giant booster at the bottom of his armor in the sky.
Fans that are familiar with the comics were excited back when they saw a short glimpse of his updated in the trailer.
3 Power: Combat Skills Outside Of His Armor
While many people believe that Tony Stark doesn’t need training outside of his Iron Man suit, he isn’t just a skilled combatant when he’s wearing his armor.
He is also fairly skilled in hand to hand combat and isn’t afraid to charge into a fight minus his suit.
He’s received training from multiple different Avengers and has learned how to hold his own.
During the storyline “Demon In A Bottle” in the comics, he receives training in hand to hand combat from Captain America after backing down from the Avengers for a while.
He has also been trained by Black Widow and Black Panther. All three of these Avengers are powerful and quick fighters, so Stark has received training from some of the best fighters around.
In Captain America: Civil War, fans got a glimpse of his hand to hand combat skills during his fight with Captain America and Bucky Barnes.
He still relied heavily on his armor to take hits, but was able to land a few blows on both characters on his own.
He was also shown lightly boxing Happy in Iron Man 2. Even though it wasn’t intense training, Stark has definitely learned some moves over the years.
2 Weakness: Need To Recharge
Iron Man’s arc reactor is an incredible invention, but like all other electronics, it has to get its power from somewhere. It isn’t an unlimited source and will occasionally need to recharge.
He has to keep his reactor and suit powered up at all times or else he’s at risk of dying. This constant need to recharge is one of his biggest weaknesses.
Although the shrapnel was eventually removed and he didn’t need the reactor to keep it away from his heart, he needed a new chestplate to bring him out of a coma.
The Extremis virus kept him from remembering how to breathe or blink, so he needs to use the chestplate at all times. This made it so he’s once again dependent on charging it constantly. If it died even once, he could die along with it.
In the Marvel films, Stark has also been shown charging his suit with a truck battery.
It’s kind of funny that one of the most powerful heroes in the universe has to recharge just like a cellphone, but that just goes hand in hand with his dependence on technology.
It’s important for Stark to be near some sort of power source at all times.
1 Power: Project Decoy Holograms
While the MCU is beginning of Stark’s different abilities, there are some powers fans would love to see more of in the films. One of those is Iron Man’s ability to project holographic decoys while he is in battle to confuse his opponents.
The MCU has shown fancy 3D holograms and interfaces countless times while Stark is working on his suits or doing research, but projecting holographic decoys works a little differently.
While most of the attention is focused to Iron Man’s offensive skills, this is one of his most important defensive abilities.
He can produce more than one decoy at a time to bait his enemies into paying attention to the clones while he focuses on the task at hand. This is also useful when he needs to avoid weapons and incoming attacks.
He also has chameleon-type blending abilities he can use while his decoys are out flying around so he can sneak around in enemy territory or break into wherever he is going.
Fans have already seen his new shape-shifting armor in Infinity War, so maybe they’ll let audiences see his cool hologram decoy ability in the next movie.
They could have been really helpful in battling Thanos alongside Doctor Strange as he projected all of his decoys.
Can you think of any other powers (or weaknesses) that Iron Man has? Let us know in the comments!