ByDanny Birdsall, writer at

With the superhero genre being the most popular genre in Hollywood right now, a lot of people like to analyse these characters and see if they hold any value or worth in the long run and for the most part they do. Captain America works as a reflection of American idealism vs the corruption of the real system, Spider-Man shows all the strong qualities we look for in heroes but also the negative impact of vigilantism, Batman is really whatever the hell you want him to be at this point there are so many different ways to analyse him. And then there's the breakout hero of the bunch, Iron Man, arguably the most popular hero of this generation, but also the one with the most issues as a person and an idea.

One of the major criticisms with idolising superheroes is that for the most part they are vigilantes who decide to take the law into their own hands, and in some aspects it's understandable. Daredevil works against a corrupt police force in a localised area, he's not putting the lives of anyone at risk except his own, but Iron Man is a rich weapons designer/alcoholic who decides to build his own weapon and fight terrorists.

So let's start off with the first of of his decision, the first one being that he makes a super weapon for himself (The Iron Man suit) and goes to a war zone and shoots up the first terrorists he sees, not only endangering their hostages but going in guns ablazing with very little context. Instead of giving the terrorists a chance to turn themselves in or talk this out, he much rather shoot everyone, which yes he got lucky but considering that so many heroes are working as reflections of our world and our ideals, in reality there would be a lot more negative consequences to this kind of scenario, it's never that simple. And then there are the legal ramifications of this, touched upon in Iron Man 2 where the US Government tries to get Tony Stark to hand over the Iron Man suit and it is played up as we are supposed to support Tony fighting the oppression of government over one man, except the government is right. Tony is a weapon's manufacturer under a legal contract, now i don't know the specifics of his contract but they normally say, if you build a weapon, you build it for us, so legally, they have the rights to the suit, morally, they should still probably get it, because again, the idea of one man having all the power in deciding what's right and wrong is a bad system, that's how dictatorships are formed and people don't always like that scenario. It just so happens that the government official wanting the suit happened to be part of Hydra, but my point still stands.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that the government aren't the right people to use the Iron Man suit (which if Captain America has taught us anything, they're not) does that make Tony Stark the next best choice? No. In the first film he's inexperienced, selfish and very brass, in the second, he is shown to be an alcoholic and in the third he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in none of these scenarios is this a person that should be trusted with the most dangerous weapon on the planet. The only reason why Tony Stark is yet to face any consequences for his actions is because he is the main character and we are suppose to believe he is always in the right, except when so many other superheroes are trying to show the negative consequences of vigilantism, Tony Stark ruins it.

Now yes it is most likely that Tony Stark will face the consequences for his actions in Civil War, where the conversation becomes much more than just implications but actual discussions, where Stark tries to turn himself around and actually become a functioning figure in the United States Government on controlling and registering superheroes so these type of scenarios become less common. However, that doesn't change the fact that Stark has been getting away with this bullshit for 7 years now and only now people have started to make that change.

Now keep in mind, this is not me saying I dislike Iron Man, I love Iron Man, he is a very entertaining character, he kicks a lot of ass and Robert Downey Jr is very funny to watch on screen, what i'm saying is the implications of the character and the films viewpoint on how to counter terrorism is highly flawed when it just resorts to: a different kind of terrorism.


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