I love Tony Stark, and I will never apologize for that.
I love that they haven’t just blown off how deeply what happened in Manhattan affected him. He’s terrified. He’s taken so much on himself to try and protect everybody, to try and save everybody, and he can’t shake the feeling that it will never be enough. That he’s going to fail. And, wow, does he make a terrible, terrible mistake.
Sometimes it’s tempting to make Tony Stark the bad guy good guy. Sure, he can be an abrasive asshole, but, in the words of Star-Lord, he’s not 100% a dick. Everything he does here is out of so much desperation. You can feel it, feel that edge of panicky, breathless terror that he’s going to fail. He scrabbles to uncover the power from the gem, but not out of arrogance and a feeling he can do no wrong, but out of desperation. I’ve always thought RDJ was fantastic at portraying how much of Tony’s surface personality is all a show, and I thought he was amazing here showing the cracks in that facade that Tony can’t really paper over anymore.
The examination of different aspects of Tony through both Ultron and Jarvis (and later Vision to a degree), was nice. Ultron is that desperation given validation, but without any morality, without any restraint of love or hope, and the quest for a perfect, ideal way to save everything taken to the most horrific extreme. Perfection in death.
But, then there’s Jarvis, and though under-powered and out-AI’d, Jarvis let Ultron think he was defeated and then fought back from the shadows in the little ways that he could. Oh, good brave Jarvis. So like physical Jarvis was. The best of Tony Stark. The part of him that even in his fear, he still has hope. He wants to do the right thing. He doesn’t always succeed, but he always tries.