“Disturb not the harmony of fire, ice or lightning, lest these titans wreak destruction upon the world in which they clash. Though the water’s great guardian shall arise to quell the fighting, alone its song will fail, and thus the Earth shall turn to ash. O Chosen One, into thine hands bring together all three. Their treasures combined tame the Beast of the Sea.” Pokémon the Movie: Revelation Lugia, 1999
I adore the duality of Tony Stark. Not the secret identity thing, but this idea, one that you get to see more of in the comics than the films (though IM1 did this a lot): the idea that there’s this aloof, cold businessman who puts on perfectly-tailored suits and snarks his way through a room and destroys opponents without a thought using an offhand quip, and resorts to pragmatism when nobody else will, and wears his playboy persona on his sleeve, and knows all the easiest ways to blow up a person or a world, and has a bit of a god complex, and used to be called the Merchant of Death -
- but he’s also the guy who wanders around like a zombie before the first coffee of the day, and works with his hands, and spends his time with mad-scientist hair and wearing scruffy vests covered in oil because he got caught up in his hard work and his passion for creation. He’s the guy who will do anything for his friends and makes silly jokes over breakfast and wholeheartedly, dorkily loves the Avengers, from the concept of it to the people in it. He falls hard for the people he loves, and is incredibly lonely. He’s the guy who goes to orphanages and holds babies when he can’t sleep, and adores kids. He’s the guy who cries easily, never thinks he’s doing enough, struggles with alcoholism and chronic illnesses, and desperately doesn’t want to be his father, no matter how much the media pins the opposite on him. He loves the world and the people in it, even when he kind of hates them, and is constantly working to make things better. He remembers his employees’ names and asks after their families. He tries to see the good in people and goes for rehabilitative over punitive justice wherever possible, even when it comes to villains who have actively tried to kill him. He’s known for how much he cares, exhaustingly, about everything. He’s the man who honestly has a good heart and is constantly trying to reach out, and often gets laughed at for his idealism. He’s a man who’s so often in pain, but tries to use it to improve the world rather than letting it destroy him.
Sure, I like his ruthlessness and some of his coolness, but I also love the guy who unironically adores classic Star Trek and makes absentminded Dune and Arthurian references and thinks equations are cool; who makes mental notes of his friends’ favourite breakfasts and takes young heroes under his wing and is semi-jokingly horrified when one doesn’t have a file system. Who goes “but why does that do that?” and wants to take everything apart and fix it so it can help people, and honest to god believes in a better future.
(The movies are subtler about that side of him, but it’s still there. I mean, as a little thing, I’m always grateful they let RDJ put some of his own love of classic and sometimes silly rock into Tony Stark. Not just because I share that music taste, but I always like characters who are nerdy and wholehearted about at least something. But the bigger stuff, too: the between-the-lines moments: the naming his bots, the “here, have my whole R&D lab/my company/my home/my heart if you want it, why do you look so surprised?” That’s all straight from the comics. It’s just done slightly more snarkily and with a slightly shorter, brown-eyed Tony rather than a tall, blue-eyed one.)