6. Tony Dons the Hulkbuster Armor- Avengers: Age of Ultron
Scarlet Witch left the Hulk on a rampage. and when the Hulk’s on a full-blown tear, there’s little that could stop him. Iron Man had faced some great challenges, but this was the first time he needed to subdue one of his friends.
That’s when he brought out one of his most iconic armor suits, the Hulkbuster. The bulkiest of Tony’s armors, the Hulkbuster was able to go toe-to-toe with the Hulk. Beyond offering up one of the coolest fights in the MCU, it also helped noticeably shape Tony’s outlook going forward.
That’s because the Hulkbuster fight wasn’t without casualties. There was heavy property damage and the surrounding area was left completely devastated. It was part of the reason why Tony was fine with eventually signing the Sokovia Accords and one of the reasons that Tony endeavored to be careful about taking the battle to civilian-filled areas going forward.
7. Tony and Bruce Banner Create Vision- Avengers: Age of Ultron
While the Iron Man armor will ultimately define Tony Stark’s legacy, he’ll say that the armor was not his greatest creation. That would be Jarvis, his AI that has been at his side from the very beginning.
Tony didn’t have a lot of his finest moments in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In seeking to help protect the world, he unleashed a menacing artificial intelligence bent on destroying humanity. But he was convinced that he could do right the second time. He was convinced that he could create a sentient android that could act as a hero, but not from scratch. He wanted to create that hero out of Jarvis, who Tony always believed had a sense of altruism to him. “Ultron’s perfect self,” as he put it.
There was a lot to take away from this scene. There was the ongoing combative friendship between Tony and Steve Rogers, the continuing rapport between Tony and Bruce Banner as the team’s resident scientists, but there was also a sense of pride from Tony. While he had Avengers teammates who he could call friends, his best friend was ultimately Jarvis. This was Tony’s chance to give him life and he did not waste it.
8. Tony Proposes to Pepper Potts… Sort of- Spider-Man: Homecoming
The final minutes of Spider-Man: Homecoming saw Happy Hogan drive Peter Parker down to the new Avengers Tower to meet up with Tony Stark. Tony was ready to recruit Peter as the newest Avenger. Peter declined to remain a local hero, just like Tony asked of him from the very beginning. Peter guessed the whole thing was a test, which Tony confirmed and Peter left to go home.
Except it wasn’t a test. There was a room full of press waiting for Spider-Man, which brought out Pepper Potts in her first appearance since 2013’s Iron Man 3. Realizing he had nothing to show the press, Tony went to his backup plan: an engagement ring for Pepper. It was so quick and out of nowhere that Pepper initially dismissed the idea, but soon, she and Tony shared a kiss and it was hinted that the two got engaged.
What makes this such a wonderful moment is that it was heavily implied in Captain America: Civil War that Tony and Pepper had broken up. It was among the reasons that Tony had been noticeably off, emotionally, throughout the movie. But in Homecoming, the two not only appear to have reconciled, but now looked to be moving to the next stage in their relationship. It was a beautiful moment for one of the first couples in the MCU.
9. Iron Man Saves New York City- The Avengers
The situation against the Chitauri started to look hopeless. While the Avengers held their own against them, the numbers game was not in their favor. Sensing the battle was lost, the World Security Council authorized a nuclear missile to be fired directly at Manhattan.
Seeing the Chitauri continuing to emerge from the portal in the sky created by the Tesseract and the nuke heading for New York, Iron Man got an idea. He planned to catch the nuke and send it directly into the portal. As was pointed out to him, such an idea was essentially suicide. But Iron Man knew it was the only way to potentially stop the unending Chitauri onslaught.
Tony braced himself for a potential end, having Jarvis connect him to Pepper Potts. The call failed as Tony flew through the portal. This was more than merely breaching the atmosphere like he did in the original Iron Man movie, Tony was now in the far reaches of space. His repulsors gave out and Tony passed out, but not before the nuke made contact and destroyed the Chitauri mothership.
The Chitauri were defeated and while the Hulk was able to revive Tony, the fact that he was willing to face certain death in order to save the world showed what a true hero Tony Stark was. The suit gave him the means to make that sacrifice, but it took Tony Stark the man to make that choice. And while it’s haunted him since, going back to the PTSD flashbacks seen in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s a choice that Tony would not hesitate to make again.
10. “I Am Iron Man.”- Iron Man
This was the moment where it was apparent that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was going to feel slightly different from the Marvel Comics world. In the comics, Iron Man had maintained a separate identity from Tony Stark for nearly four decades before revealing himself in the early 2000s. Just years after this occurrence in the comics, the movie made no such attempts at maintaining any kind of secret identity.
At the conclusion of the original movie, Phil Coulson passed along a pre-written alibi for Tony on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., distancing the billionaire from the violent clash between Iron Man and the Iron Monger. Coulson even went the extra mile to have 50 guests corroborate the story.
There was just one problem, though. This was Tony Stark. And not one to shun the spotlight and pass up this opportunity to create an entirely new brand for himself, Tony tossed the alibi aside and blurted out the words: “I am Iron Man.”
It was the perfect end to this chapter for Tony Stark, but also the beginning of a long journey for this character.