tony stark

Is Tony Stark Becoming a Villain?

Has anyone noticed that Tony Stark is starting to get a little… villainy?

I mean, he’s always been the epitome of an egotist, rude, abrasive, lacking empathy, but with a heart of gold.  A asshole who still does good things for good reasons.  Like Wolverine, but with money.  And I’m only talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it bleeds over from the comics (as will become apparent in a minute).

But clearly, Tony is the most selfish, most arrogant, biggest weakness of the Avengers.  Not even the Hulk is that bad, because at least the Hulk isn’t acting in his own desires.  I mean think about the movies.  Iron Man spends all his time fighting people who try to take his inventions away or use them against others.  Even Iron Man 2 starts with the government trying to control Tony Stark’s war weapon.  He just goes “nope”, smiles his charming smile, and nothing else happens.  Straight out of Ayn Rand (or Bioshock, depending on who you ask).  Iron Man’s entire superhero ideology is protecting/defending the self.  In direct opposition to Captain America’s selflessness/self-sacrifice (hence the constant conflict with Steve Rogers).

Avengers 2 is where it really comes to a head.  Trying to make artificial intelligence out of a magic stick in three days.  The end result being an army of super-robots around the world.  That’s the sort of thing I expect Lex Luthor to do, not Tony Stark.  But Tony’s all “Whatever.  I do what I want.”  Most people I know call that fascism, but whatever.  He’s handsome.

He goes into the “nexus” of the Internet (we’ll ignore the total absence of logic around that for the moment and assume that’s a real thing) and he just monkeys around.  No one stops him.  I don’t know if it’s his charisma or money or the fact that the movie demands it.  And THEN he tries the same exact damn thing again.  And Bruce Banner goes right along with it (though I think it’s because he eschews aggression/conflict due to his Hulkiness).  But Tony is no longer thinking about consequences.  There would be no Avengers 2 if it wasn’t for Tony Stark.

And I’ve read Civil War, so I know what’s going to happen when that comes out.  I’m afraid what’s going to happen, because I know the pain points of that drama.  I know the set pieces, and they have big consequences (spoilers below).

A nasty superhero accident provokes the government to pass a bill requiring superhero registration.  Tony Stark wants this.  Captain America doesn’t.  Both become opposing sides in a massive guerrilla war where heroes fight heroes.  The end result of all this is that Captain America surrenders, but is subsequently assassinated.  Tell me this wouldn’t make a perfect end to the Captain America trilogy.

Plus, Tony Stark becomes Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Given that S.H.I.E.L.D. became disbanded in Captain America 2, this seems like a perfect way to bookend Steve Rogers’s arc in the MCU.  Not to mention you’re giving more power to an already powerful man.  Power that previously belonged to a bad guy.  Now instead of just his company, he gets unlimited resources, mobility, and knowledge.  He’s basically got control of the entire world.  And you know what they say about power corrupting?

I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a key component of The Infinity War.  Now instead of a guy who can control the world, he gets the power of a god.  I hope the people at Marvel know what they’re doing.  They risk turning a very likable character into someone unlikable.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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