Exploring Iron Man’s Villainous Side – Has A Hero Become A Villain?

Story Highlights
  • Whiplash in Iron Man 2
  • Ultron in Iron Man: Age of Ultron
  • Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3
  • Sokovia Accords in the Age of Ultron
  • Combat with Captain America

Iron Man is one of the most heroic characters in the MCU, and his death helped end Thanos once and for all. All of creation was spared because of his bravery and determination. Iron Man, however, often displayed characteristics more typical of a villain than those of his foes.  He was personally responsible for other people taking such tragic turns.

Let us unveil some of the not-so-hero moments of the fan-favorite hero:

Whiplash in Iron Man 2

Whiplash’s flawed personality is one of the film’s major flaws; the supervillain is just another manifestation of Tony Stark’s terrible behavior. Stark is solely to blame for Whiplash’s existence. Stark not only insulted Anton Vanko, who became known as Whiplash but also failed to give due recognition to Vanko’s father for his contribution to the development of the first arc reactor.

Ultron in Iron Man: Age of Ultron

Ultron, one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most formidable antagonists, is Tony Stark’s brainchild. As Stark’s ultimate goal is to defend the planet from cosmic dangers, he is ultimately responsible for the character’s creation in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The adversary he creates is just as egotistical and narrow-minded as he is.

Tony Stark’s genius in engineering and AI forms the basis for Ultron, but without checks and balances, Ultron becomes the same threat Stark is attempting to save the world against.

Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3

Including Aldrich Killian from Iron Man 3, Iron Man is the architect of most of his antagonists. As much as Tony Stark can’t be held liable for Killian’s transformation into a monster who tries to assassinate the President of the United States, his dismissal of Killian sets in motion that transformation.

After Stark rejected Killian early on in his research of Advanced Idea Mechanics, Killian stole the Extremis formula and assumed the name of The Mandarin to bring down Tony and Stark Industries.

Sokovia Accords in the Age of Ultron

Tony Stark’s support for the Sokovia Accords is understandable, given his remorse over the events of the Age of Ultron. Unfortunately, this is another bad choice he makes that cements his evil status. Stark’s support might be seen as unfairly benefitting himself above others in light of the Sokovia Accords’ restrictions on official permission for superhuman activities.

Instead of changing his mind on the Accords, he doubles down on them, further alienating himself from his other Avengers and eventually causing the group to split up when the argument becomes violent. He insists on seeing things his way, even though it’s causing more harm than good, especially to War Machine.

Combat with Captain America 

One of Iron Man and Captain America’s worst moments is when they battle each other. After learning that Bucky Barnes is responsible for the deaths of Tony Stark’s parents, the two heroes fight each other. Iron Man’s rage and loss are understandable, but his resolve to eliminate Barnes proves his egocentric nature. 

Stark’s desire for retribution was so strong that he was willing to dismiss the truth about Barnes’ awful experience as the Winter Soldier and any due process. As a result, Thanos has the Earth without its most powerful defenders, the Avengers, to wipe off.

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