Iron Man 3: The Five Least Heroic Things Tony Stark Does

Tony Stark with machine guns

Lots of people piled on Man of Steel, saying that Superman didn't act enough like Superman and that he left people in harm's way during the film's explosion- and battle-driven third act. That might be a fair assessment, but it perhaps ignores the fact that the only reason anyone cares is that Superman is special. How do we know? Well, nobody complained about these shabby things Tony Stark did in Iron Man 3...! That's right--everyone's favorite tin-plated Avenger is a self-described jerk and womanizer, so you can't hold those things against him...but sometimes in this particular film, he did things that were particularly... ...what's the opposite of inspiring? Anyway, here's a list of our favorite lowlights, in honor of the release of the Blu-ray and DVD of Iron Man 3 today. Please note that this list is for entertainment purposes only and anyone found to be taking it too seriously in the comments will be summarily mocked.

Pepper Potts

He very obviously endangered Pepper The "Well, I wasn't thinking of the consequences of giving a terrorist my home address" excuse doesn't buy you a lot of time when your entire schtick is that you're always the smartest guy in the room. And so, yeah, when a terrorist launches an offensive on that building--where he's living with his girlfriend, "the only thing I can't live without"--I call that some irresponsible and dangerous behavior.


He saw that Brandt was about to kill those cops in the bar, and he bolted He made no effort to save the sheriff and his deputy, opting instead to duck out the door when he saw that Brandt was a metahuman. Yes, it did buy him enough time to eventually beat her and eliminate the threat, but it hardly seemed heroic to watch a couple of guys with no powers and no idea what they were up against get toasted. This is key only because it reflects one of the things that people complained so much about with Man of Steel: that Superman didn't stop to save people on the fly, so preoccupied he was with the battle. Tony, here, does much the same thing.

Preview pages from IRON MAN 3: The Junior Novel

He left his kid sidekick in the middle of the street Seriously--he just kinda left Harley in the middle of the street. Yeah, he didn't want to take the kid with him and endanger him or anything and that's admirable--but he dragged a ten-year-old kid into the middle of your war zone, armed him and made him part of a fight with a bunch of super-powered lunatics...and then he just drove off, not even taking the kid home? Not only is that kind of a jerk move (which they play for laughs in the movie, so fine), but it's pretty dangerous. Child abandonment, Tony? So not cool.

Iron Man 3 trailer Iron Army screengrab

His big master plan Superman and Zod tore up a big chunk of Metropolis and almost certainly cost a bunch of innocent lives--but that fight happened on the spur of the moment and was largely beyond Superman's control. Tony Stark, meanwhile, knowingly launched an offensive against the Extremis soldiers in a public area and his entire objective was to kill them off. That's all well and good, since most of them are real jerks. We saw Brandt and the Firepower stand-in killing and maiming people throughout the movie, including putting Happy in a coma (seriously--the names in this movie!)...but it's also implied that there are people in the program who are being used and manipulated--essentially addicts who are doing whatever they need to do for their next hit, enslaved by Killian. All of this is after he'd already done something similar, launching an attack on The Mandarin using machine guns. That there were no incidental fatalities is largely just good luck, and meanwhile, you have to wonder: is Tony's attack on these poor, damaged souls really any different than those heartless Rebels who killed all of those independent contractors on the Death Star?

0commentsPepper Potts Sex Tape

He basically didn't respond when the love of his life died right in front of him. That she got better is immaterial; he didn't know that at the time. Yeah, he got mad and charged the bad guy, which took guts and heroism, but let's back up a second: it took him like an eighth of a second to get over the fact that Pepper Potts--ostensibly "the one thing I can't live without"--had plunged to her death right in front of him after he promised that he would catch her. Tony occasionally exhibits signs of being a bit of a sociopath, and I think it could be argued that this is one of those times. For all you Breaking Bad fans out there, Walter White has taken a lot of heat over the years for putting his blinders on and letting his greed and hubris drive him, all while claiming it's "for my family," who are generally only further alienated and damaged by his behavior. I'd argue Tony did basically the same thing in this movie--putting Pepper in danger time and again and then, when she's finally dead, simply moving on with his day and continuing to do what he'd been doing a minute ago. That's cold, Stark.