Since 2008, Robert Downey, Jr. has flawlessly portrayed Tony Stark, Marvel’s resident genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. Without a doubt, Iron Man has been the center of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as he’s lead the team against alien invasions and robot attacks. The character’s popularity and stock has risen in the last few years, but he’s been a staple of Marvel Comics since 1968.
With a history that long, it’s understandably difficult to fit all the character development in a few two hour movies. BUT, do not fret faithful readers; I am here to educate you on one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
10) He’s an alcoholic.
Tony Stark has battled alcoholism for decades, notably in the Demon in a Bottle story arc published in 1979. It got so bad that he had to step down as leader of The Avengers which was when Captain America took the reins and hasn’t let go since. Now we know why he wanted to have that drink with Loki at the beginning of the third act in The Avengers.
9) He is literally OBSESSED with annoying Bruce Banner.
As we saw in The Avengers, Tony loves poking sticks at the good doctor who turns into a giant green rage monster. Tony has played way too many pranks on the unsuspecting Banner; he has taken forever to order coffee because Bruce is extremely anxious and impatient in public situations. (Fun fact: The Hulk will, at times, stay in Hulk mode permanently and when this happens he enjoys collecting small glass animals to demonstrate his gentleness and soft side.) Stark once snuck in Hulk’s collection room and stole a few of these animals… Hulk destroyed a quarter of Avengers Mansion looking for them and Stark had himself a nice laugh.
8) He’s a terrible cook.
Remember Iron Man 2, when it took Tony hours to make an omelet for Pepper Potts on that flight back from Italy? Well, that’s because he was getting flight attendants to help him in between their in-flight duties. “Good thing I’m rich enough to buy every restaurant in New York, because I would burn water if I had to cook for myself.” —Tony Stark himself.
7) Stan Lee based Tony’s look and attitude off Howard Hughes.
Wait. Who? Howard Hughes was an American business man in the early 1900s. He had a habit of dating famous women, buying yachts, and getting really, really drunk. He even parlayed with some powerful politicians. We should check with Hughes’ ancestors to see if there are any secret blueprints for a suit of armor buried in his belongings.
6) He’s serious when he refers to himself as a Genius.
That word is thrown around so much these days *cough Kanye West cough* that its meaning has been lost, almost completely. Tony Stark is a bona fide intellectual superstar. He was accepted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 15 and graduated two years later with two Master’s degrees in Engineering and Physics.
5) He was once United States Secretary of Defense.
Yep. Stark was in charge of defending the country in an official government-appointed position. It only lasted a year, but the position solidified himself as the #1 arms dealer in the world. Well, until he gave up making weapons completely and got into the clean energy and avenging businesses.
4) Wu Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah based his entire debut solo album on him.
Tony Stark and hip hop is a match made in heaven. Stark just oozes swag, and the Iron Man suit is the coolest “bling” I’ve ever seen. Ghostface’s album “Ironman” featured several mentions of Iron Man, his lifestyle and his money. It also featured samples from the animated series, and the rapper even refers to him as “rap game Tony Stark.”
3) He’s the only non-powered human to wield an Infinity Stone.
As if he didn’t have a big enough ego. During the Illuminati story arc, Stark is chosen to keep the Space Stone (the Tessaract, in the movies) safe. He found a way to integrate the stone with his suit. Obviously, the power went to his head (literally) and he had to be taken down by the Avengers. But the ride was fun while it lasted, right Tony? (Just kidding. I know he’d never read this.)
2) The Iron Man suit is almost as strong as Hulk.
Hulk has demonstrated enormous strength, including punching villains to the moon (Seriously). Tony can match that strength in the Hulkbuster suit, but also the normal suit has been proven to lift 100 tons! Beat that, Cap.
1) RDJ was not Marvel’s first choice for Tony Stark—Tom Cruise was.
You read that right. Tom Cruise was the first actor to be offered the famed role by Marvel Studios and director Jon Favreu. He declined the role because he could not get “emotionally invested in the script.” Whatever, your loss is our gain, TC. Robert Downey, Jr is the perfect Tony Stark.
Fans and critics alike have stated that the MCU would not be as successful as it is without Tony Stark being the hero he is. He’s brash, confident and intelligent, and those traits come across flawlessly on screen. Iron Man will stand the test of time and will always be a pop culture icon. Now you know a little more about the man, the myth, the Hero.