Tony Stark is unique amongst superheroes. Using nothing but his own two hands, he managed to turn a few hunks of metal into one of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy, proving to the world that you don’t need radioactive spiders or fancy Asgardian genes to be a hero. With a little hard work and a pinch of wit, even a puny human can become an Avenger.
But that’s not all that makes Tony Stark different. Most of the other Avengers are walking ethics textbooks — they’re so darn good it hurts. But not Iron Man. Heck, before he was a superhero, he engineered weapons of mass destruction. Like most of us, he is flawed, walking the line between good and bad and often struggling to balance his self-centredness with his desire to do good. This is why we admire him — because he’s so fundamentally human, with all the associated strengths and weaknesses that define humanity.
Updated December 2nd, 2020 by Zach Gass: To say Tony Stark is just a genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist barely scratches the surface of the man in the iron suit. In fact, the distinguished Mr. Stark has undergone quite an impressive metamorphosis since he first rocketed onto the big screen in 2008. With over a decade of growth and development under his belt, there are many different movies where Tony has bequeathed unto audiences his own brand of wit and wisdom. Perhaps he should add armchair-philosopher to his list of impressive titles as well? Here are an extra 5 of his most inspiring quotes.
15 I Came To Realize That I had More To Offer This World Than Just Making Things That Blow Up.
Tony Stark is a living example of the maxim of “a lesson learned is better than one told.” What some certain Marvel fans forget is that Tony got his start in making highly destructive weapons, weapons capable of creating mass amounts of death and carnage.
Ergo, Tony is responsible for countless deaths of those who fell by his creations. Thankfully, he is able to see the error of his ways and start using his powers for good as the invincible Iron Man. This quote essentially sums up the man’s change from essentially a war-profiteer into a fight-for-right superhero in less than twenty words. Tony might not have the universe drawn out in a grand schematic hanging in his office or anything, but he does have the decency to discriminate what is right from what is easy.
14 Everyone Wants a Happy Ending, Right? But It Doesn’t Always Roll That Way.
Tony is infamously notorious for cutting right to the meat of the matter, even on the video to be played at the man’s death. This quote, simple as it might be, doesn’t mess around with any heartfelt message about a life well-lived, sewing oats, whatever, it just flat out says it. However, his mourners are not the only ones watching, and Marvel knew it.
He wasn’t just addressing the viewers of his post-death video, but all the fans out there in the audience who have lost someone, in the MCU or otherwise. It’s not the typical pep talk from the man of a million quips audiences have come to expect. However, it does offer a great deal of encouragement while returning to a broken universe.
13 No Amount of Money Ever Bought a Second of Time.
Not to dwell on the grim subject of mortality, something covered surprisingly well in the MCU, but there are few phrases truer than this one. What stands out from this quote, other than it’s painfully blunt honesty, is both its wit and the irony of Tony’s situation.
Truth be told, the guy has more money than he knows what to do with, along with the technology to create a time vortex. All of his amazing technology aside, he’s one hundred percent right. No amount of the Stark fortune can buy back time spent with his friends, family, or most notably his own father. Simply put, time is precious and worth its weight in gold. Waste not, want not.
12 It’s Not About How Much We’ve Lost, It’s About How Much We Have Left.
Sometimes, it’s easy to come across those rare and beautiful quotes that are both heartbreaking and heart-mending at the same time. There’s a reason Iron Man, Thor, and the crew are called the Avengers. if they can’t save the world, they’ll, sure enough, avenge it. Although this line is about protecting what’s left after a certain cataclysmic event, there is still a brighter side to it.
On one hand, it’s a declaration of war against the forces of evil. But on the other, it’s a rather optimistic view of how one can protect and be thankful for what they have left, or even gained in some circumstances.
11 Contrary to Popular Belief, I Know Exactly What I’m Doing.
If there were ever a single quote that summed up Tony Stark, mind, body, and soul, it’s this one. More than a few times throughout the MCU series, it often seems Tony acts mainly by desire, pride, or simply his own foolish ways. That being said, it’s easy to forget just how much of a genius and strategist he truly is. After all, he did invent a way to get the Hulk to simmer down… if only for a minute.
Devising a plan to take on various villains while taking enemy fire in a mech-suit rocketing across the sky might not be the easiest job in the world, but Tony seems to make it look manageable enough.
10 If We Can’t Accept Limitations Then We’re No Better Than The Bad Guys.
Although he was the antagonist in Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark’s vision for the Avengers had its merits. He believed they should become accountable to some greater organization, whereas Captain America wanted the team to maintain control over its activities.
Although Captain America’s position makes sense at first glance — who would willingly give up their free will, especially when the world’s at stake? — it could also be argued that a team of unelected vigilantes has no right to make life-or-death decisions for the global population. But then again, it’s hard to imagine the UN Security Council convening to discuss whether or not to intervene in an alien plot to steal a wizard’s necklace, so who are we to judge?
9 If You’re Nothing Without This Suit Then You Shouldn’t Have It.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker’s sense of self-worth becomes tied to his Spider-Man suit (superhero problems).
Given that Tony Stark dealt with similar feelings in the past (remember all those panic attacks in Iron Man 3?), he tries to help Peter understand that it’s not a person’s superpowers that make them a hero— it’s who they are underneath.
8 Sometimes You Gotta Run Before You Can Walk.
In Iron Man’s case, this meant taking his prototype suit out for a flight before all the kinks had been worked out (which probably wasn’t a great idea, in all honesty). But this quote is relevant even to us regular folks without high-tech body armor to zip around town in.
In life, it’s good to take certain things slowly, like learning to drive. But there are some things, like learning languages, where you’ve got to dive into the deep end first and immerse yourself in the difficulty of the task.
7 You Know, It’s Times Like These When I Realize What A Superhero I Am.
Part of Tony Stark’s success is that he’s always his own biggest advocate. Although he may take it a little too far, self-promotion is important in everyday life. For Tony, this means gushing over what a cool superhero he is (and hey, he’s not wrong).
But for us regular joes, leadership abilities or teamwork skills may take the focus. Modesty has its role, but there are some situations in life, like job interviews, when we need to unleash our inner Tony Starks and gush about how awesome we are.
6 Following’s Not Really My Style.
To change the world, you need to be a trailblazer. For Tony Stark, this meant becoming the most powerful superhero in the world.
For those of us who aren’t genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropists, this might just mean starting our own company or patenting an app. Either way, there won’t be much following involved.
5 What Is The Point Of Owning A Race Car If You Can’t Drive It?
In the materialistic world that we live in, it’s common to buy things just for the sake of owning them. Given that most of us are not billionaires, it’s probably not quite as common to buy a super-expensive race car just to stick it in the garage.
But many of us have purchased beautiful pieces of jewelry or nice articles of clothing that we never wear for fear of damaging them. You only live once, though, so you may as well take a page out of Tony Stark’s book and jump into that Gucci jacket like it’s a speedster on the Circuit de Monaco.
4 We Create Our Own Demons
In Iron Man 3, we see a younger version of Tony Stark making an accidental enemy out of Aldrich Killian. In Tony’s eyes, his interaction with Killian was but a quick ploy to get some alone time with a woman, but to Killian, this brief encounter lasted a lifetime and left him considering suicide on the top of a building. Externally, Tony Stark had created a demon.
But we also create our own internal demons. We are our own worst enemies, constantly berating ourselves and comparing ourselves to others. Although this sounds pessimistic, it’s actually quite empowering. If we are the ones creating our demons, this means we have the power to banish them — and maybe even change them into angels.
3 Textbook Narcissism? Agreed.
One of the great lessons of life is that we have to accept ourselves for who we really are, flaws and all. So what if someone likes to tell terrible dad jokes no matter how many times people say they aren’t funny?
Who cares if someone is so over-the-top obsessed with superheroes that they’ve figured out a way to make a living writing list-based articles about them? And who’s it hurting if someone is a textbook narcissist…? Okay, that one actually could be a problem. But in Tony Stark’s case, it led to the Iron Man suit, so we’ll take it on a case-by-case basis.
2 There’s One Thing You Can Never Take Away From Me: I Am Iron Man.
Given how consumer-driven modern society has become, it’s common for a person’s sense of identity to become intertwined with their possessions. Although most of us don’t have a Malibu mansion or an enormous collection of superhero suits, we’ve all measured our personal worth by the things we owned at one point or another.
For adults, expensive houses and hefty bank accounts are commonly seen as the deciders of success. But people are not the three-bedroom bungalows they own, just like Tony Stark isn’t his Iron Man suit.
1 I Build Neat Stuff, Got A Great Girl, Occasionally Save The World. So Why Can’t I Sleep?
Even superheroes aren’t exempt from the crippling condition of being human (well, unless they actually aren’t human, but that’s for a different article). Even if someone has all the money in the world, a team of super-friends, and the most trendsetting facial hair on the planet, this doesn’t mean all their problems will magically disappear.
Being human can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a struggle, and Tony Stark struggles a lot. It may seem that we admire him for his Iron Man suit, but the real reason we look up to him is that, beneath the suit, he is as tragically human as the rest of us — but a hero all the same.
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