“Tony Stark is a villain”.
Tony is the protagonist, the hero of his own movies. A villain is someone who is evil, who is immoral, who hurts people. And although I suppose Tony may have hurt people, it was never intentional, it was never calculated, it was never planned.
(Although he seems arrogant and closed-off, it is simply a façade to push people away. You only have to look at his interactions with Pepper to see that underneath that, Tony is a complete different person, and a very self deprecating one too - for example, in IM3, when Killian tells Tony that he doesn’t deserve Pepper, he replies with, “I know”.)
Structurally speaking, Tony = hero. Obadiah, Vanko, Killian = villain.
Tony’s heroism is only reinforced in The Avengers. Steve insults Tony by saying he’s not the guy to make the sacrifice play, only for the movie to later show us Tony doing that exact thing.
It is no coincidence that the story is structured in such a way that we first see the fight between Steve and Tony, and then Tony doing the exact opposite. It is there to reinforce that Steve’s initial opinion was wrong and that Tony would sacrifice himself. (Btw, this “chapter” of the movie is called The Sacrifice Play).
He also shuts down weapons manufacturing as soon as he finds out that they are in the wrong hands (IM1):
Evidence: “And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark International until such a time as I can decide what the future of the company will be.”
And then flies into Gulmira to save people from the Ten Rings despite having no training or any help. He also tries to track down the illicit shipments to destroy them, and this is the point at which Obadiah tries to kill him.
“He created Ultron.”
No, he did not. And actually, if there’s one thing AOU does well it is showing that Tony did not do that.
First of all, let’s discuss what Ultron was MEANT to be. It was intended to be a program which worked with an AI controlling the Iron Legion as a way of protecting the Earth. In the case that aliens invaded, the Iron Legion would analyse the threat and determine what to do:
Evidence: “This could be the key to creating Ultron. If we can harness this power, apply it to my Iron Legion protocol?” (Tony Stark, in AOU).
Furthermore, the interface was nowhere near to existing:
Tony didn’t create Ultron, he was nowhere near close to an interface. Ultron created himself. Ultron was ALREADY an AI/alive. When Tony compares Jarvis to Ultron, it is Bruce himself who says it looks like a brain, like neurons. Hence the implication is that there is already some sort of intelligence in the sceptre, which there is - the Mind Stone.
- Ultron comes alive instantly, by himself. He is not activated by anything. And if Tony and Bruce were nowhere near an interface, then how did Ultron work? Because he created himself, out of a magical rock - the Mind Stone.
- Ultron’s words: “This feels weird. This feels wrong”. If Ultron was a brand new consciousness, how could he know whether something is right or wrong?
- He then says: “ I’m sorry, I was asleep. Or I was a-dream.” This insinuates he was already alive, and simply dormant. Which he was, as he is from the Infinity Stone, which is “alive”.
And if Tony is to blame for making Ultron, so is Bruce who a) already knew about it, implying he and Tony had already thought about it together and b) helped Tony create it. Furthermore, it is Wanda who planted Tony’s fear in his head, knowing it would cause him to “self destruct” (in her own words).
And even Ultron doesn’t consider himself to be Stark’s: “You’re one of his.
- What? I’m not…I’m not. You think I’m one of Stark’s puppets? His hollow men?”
The text then backs up that it is Wanda’s vision that pushed Tony to create Ultron: “Maximoff girl, she’s working you, Stark. Playing on your fear.” - Fury to Tony, at Clint’s farm.
The text then literally tells us that Tony is not to blame for Ultron. Thor comes back from being shown a vision in the pool, and says:
- “Their powers, the horrors in our heads, Ultron himself, they all came from the Mind Stone.”
And oh btw, if you hate Tony Stark?