This is basically a very small examination of my favorite Marvel character, Tony Stark, based on this post.
Tony Stark has always been a very dynamic character. He’s the confident, suave, genius, billionare, playboy, philanthropist wearing the badass metal suit. His sassiness, wise-cracking, and attitude are familiar and entertaining. To me, he can be downright lovable. I can see why he’s not a favorite to some. The narcissism, the unprofessionalism, the immaturity, the condescending remarks. But I’m not really writing this to recruit Tony Stark fans. This is more of an analysis (especially on his PTSD, like the post linked above) that I hope will deepen the already-existent appreciation of his character. Keep in mind that I STILL haven’t seen Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War please. Occasional ranting will occur, so I apologize in advance.
CAN WE PLEASE JUST ACKNOWLEDGE HOW MUCH PAIN THIS MAN HAS GONE THROUGH?
Just to start, both of Tony’s parents were murdered.
Fast forward a couple decades, Tony gets kidnapped by FREAKIN TERRORISTS! During the kidnapping, he witnesses the violent death of young American soldiers and gets hit by shrapnel. Then he’s taken back to the terrorist base, has an incredibly painful crack surgery done on his chest with no anesthesia, until he’s not knocked out with what looks like chloroform. Then he wakes up with a chunk of metal surgically attached to his chest and is obviously freaking out before that scene ends (I mean I would too, I would think I’d been fuckin cyborged!). AND he can’t take it out or he’ll die. He’s kept in captivity with those terrorists for 3 WHOLE MONTHS, and is even subjected to water torture on one occasion.
When Tony escapes from the terrorist compound, his only friend and ally in those 3 months of captivity is killed.
Tony’s mentor, business partner, and friend, who had been in his life since he was a child, reveals he’s been using Tony as a “golden goose”, and had arranged for him to be kidnapped and killed by the terrorists. I mean, THAT BETRAYAL. Then the guy tries to kill Tony again, multiple times.
THEN, Tony is literally dying. I mean he’s actually dying. He’s slowly being poisoned from the inside-out by the electromagnet in his chest, which he can’t remove or he’ll die. So he’s basically got a terminal illness (of which he luckily cures HIMSELF later).
While being a part of the Avengers, Tony flies a nuke into a wormhole to space to save millions of lives, while under the belief that he won’t make it back before the wormhole closes. He loses consciousness believing that he will die alone, in the empty nothingness of space.
Fast forward again, and Tony has PTSD. Like full-on flashbacks and crippling panic attacks. And just to top it off, he gets ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING SYMPATHY FROM ANYONE, not even from his best friend or girlfriend. Even Bruce fucking Banner falls asleep while Tony is telling him his story. FOR REAL?
Aaaaand his home is destroyed and falls into the ocean, with him underwater trying to hold it up. I’m sure that does wonders for his PTSD.
Every superhero has been through their fair share of tragedy, I’m not denying that in the slightest. But I think people (even his own fans) forget just how much trauma Stark has experienced. It’s easy to; Tony Stark covers up so much with narcissism, wise-cracks, and attitude.
Frankly the only times Stark really shows that he has some strictly mental issues to work through are during Iron Man 3.
If you had first met Tony Stark right before The Avengers, you would never guess he’d been held captive by terrorists for three months (something for which I am shocked he doesn’t have PTSD) and had suffered through and survived a terminal illness. His personality wouldn’t allow you to even consider that. He effectively covers it up will rebellious antics and jokes and immaturity.
But we know what’s happened to him. We’ve seen it. We’ve watched the movies. We have witnessed his traumatic experiences firsthand.
So when it comes to Iron Man 3, it’s always a surprise when I see some of his fans, y’know, hating on him for being…
A GODDAMN HUMAN BEING.
Iron Man 3 comes along and so many of his fans are so confused and annoyed with his obvious emotional and mental issues, and I’m just sitting here like, “Honestly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.” For real, this guy has been through SOmuch, and some people in the audience and even in the movie itself don’t give half of a fuck about his mental state. He has PTSD and people are sitting there being disappointed that he didn’t wear the suit enough. WHICH WAS KIND THE THEME OF THE MOVIE. Sorry, ranting, ranting…
With all the trauma in his life, it’s honestly a miracle that it’s taken him four movies to finally experience any sort of mental struggle, and he gets very little understanding from the characters alongside him and the audience (even when it’s full of his fans). It’s more than a little disappointing and sad that such a large number of people are so unreceptive to his problems, especially when it seems very obvious why he possesses them.
Iron Man is a superhero, but Tony Stark said it himself: “I am Iron Man.” You can’t separate the two. Without Stark, Iron Man won’t exist. Stark is the one who willingly put his life on the line to fly a nuke into a wormhole to save the lives of millions. Tony Stark is a human being, with human problems, a human brain, and human emotions. He’s not perfect. He’s human, and I think the very least his fans can do is judge him as such.