IRON MAN: 8 Times The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Tony Stark Was The Absolute Worst Avenger

Iron Man proved himself a hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even choosing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save reality. However, there were occasions when Tony Stark was the worst Avenger!

Features Opinion

At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man proved himself the ultimate superhero when he sacrificed his life to end Thanos and save reality itself. For that, we'll always respect Tony Stark, but there have been several occasions when this Armored Avenger has been the absolute worst. 

For many, Iron Man became the Marvel Cinematic Universe's mascot and a character Marvel Studios definitely built much of its shared world around as time passed. However, despite his heroic actions, Tony made some big mistakes.

From creating a terrifying villain to letting his ego get in the way of doing the right thing, Iron Man is a long way from being perfect. That's what makes Marvel's superheroes so great in some ways, but Tony's actions have been pretty reprehensible at times, and those moments are what we're highlighting here. 

So, if Captain America is the First Avenger, would it be unfair to name Iron Man the Worst Avenger?

8. Mocking Aldrich Killian


Tony has a habit of creating his own villains. He was partly responsible for Obidiah Stane's descent into villainy, and mocking Justin Hammer had disastrous consequences. However, the way Tony treated Aldrich Killian at that New Year's Eve party was arguably most damaging to the MCU. 

Tony's cruel rejection of the A.I.M. leader sent him down a dark path that ended only in madness. Had the future Avenger put his arrogance to one side and given Aldrich a chance, it's entirely possible they could have done amazing work together. 

Instead, Killian very nearly brought America to its knees with his fake "Mandarin" and a lot of people died. Even though Tony is dead and gone now, we wouldn't be surprised if A.I.M. one day resurfaces to cause problems in the MCU (with Killian potentially returning as M.O.D.O.K. like in the non-canon Iron Man 3 video game).

7. Tony Stark, Arms Dealer


Tony might have eventually seen the error of his ways, but it's easy to forget that he was a full-blown arms dealer when we met him in the MCU. 

Everything was a joke to the future Avenger, and despite the fact that he'd just created a devastating missile (the "Jericho") for the U.S. Army to use in the Middle East, he still found time for a drink. Hell, he even promised to throw in some free whiskey for the troops if they were to purchase his weapons. Yes, this Tony was very much a war-monger. 

Had he not been kidnapped by the Ten Rings and received that guidance from Ho Yinsen, chances are Tony would have continued heading down this route. We saw hints of that in What If...? when he teamed with Erik Killmonger to create a robotic army that villain would eventually use to secure the Black Panther mantle for himself. 

6. Drunken Party


Despite proving himself a hero in Iron Man, Tony had gone completely off the rails in the sequel. Marvel Studios may have watered down "Demon in the Bottle," but his actions at that birthday party were still pretty deplorable. 

Putting pretty much everyone at risk, it wasn't until Rhodey suited up and intervened that Tony was finally prevented from doing something terrible. We know he was going through a lot at this time, but Iron Man was a jerk throughout the majority of this film regardless of what was going on with his Arc Reactor. 

We learned that he'd shot down Nick Fury's offer to join The Avengers (selfish) and the way he talked about "Natalie Rushman" wouldn't really fly in 2021. Poor Rhodey and Pepper Potts suffered for their friendship with Tony, though he was eventually redeemed to some extent.

5. Antagonizing His Teammates


Tony didn't really start off as a team player, and never was that more evident than in The Avengers. Assembling alongside the rest of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man wasted no time in antagonising his teammates (with potentially disastrous consequences). 

His daddy issues very nearly led to a clash with Captain America - primarily because he was jealous of the way Howard Stark would talk about Steve Rogers - and his attempts to get Bruce Banner to transform were pure madness. That could have put everyone on the Helicarrier at risk, but as long as Tony got to reel off some jokes, what did he care?

Luckily, by the time the credits rolled, Iron Man stepped up when he willingly flew that nuclear missile into the portal above New York City. This was a turning point for Tony as a hero, but he still found at least a few occasions to be a total jerk...

4. Creating Ultron


Ego too often got the best of Tony Stark, and never was that more evident than when he decided to create Ultron. While Iron Man could have never predicted the consequences of trying to build a robotic army to protect the Earth, thinking he could, and should, be the one to do so nearly led to humanity's extinction. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, Tony persisted and created The Vision next despite knowing the consequences could be even more disastrous than what happened with Ultron, and while it was Thor who made the final decision, who knows what could have happened.

The Vision was very much a hero, but his creation had plenty of unintended consequences, including the rise of the Scarlet Witch following WandaVision

3. Supporting The Sokovia Accords


We've established that Tony has made some mistakes and broken a lot of rules, which made it all the more surprising when he decided to support the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War.

Simply put, he was a hypocrite, and all too quick to turn his back on the rest of The Avengers. Iron Man was the villain of this piece (just like in the comic books), but perhaps his time making weapons for the military can be used to explain why he was willing to become a government lackey? 

We understand why Tony saw red during that battle with Cap after learning The Winter Soldier killed his parents, but his actions in this film just didn't add up and we expected better from this Avenger. 

2. Recruiting A Teenager...And Then Taking His Suit


Desperate to turn the tide against Captain America and his team of Avengers, Tony Stark tracked down Peter Parker and added Spider-Man to his #TeamIronMan roster. 

After placing an inexperienced teenage boy in the firing line, Iron Man basically gaslighted him and ignored Spidey's calls for months. Trying to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Peter very nearly caused a complete disaster, and Tony had the audacity to then take his costume from him. That led Spider-Man underpowered and more vulnerable than ever while facing The Vulture.

Peter and Tony would eventually form a close bond, and there's no denying that Iron Man cared about his young protege. However, we certainly hope he was a better father to young Morgan than he was a father figure to the wall-crawler at times!

1. Not Calling Captain America


We may never know if Thanos could have been defeated by a united team of Avengers, but it seems likely. However, when the Black Order arrived on Earth, we saw Tony make a conscious decision not to call Captain America and enlist the help of Steve Rogers' "Secret Avengers."

We know time was of the essence here, but we're pretty sure Iron Man could have fit in a quick call! Steve hurt him, but there was once again an element of ego here that ultimately played a role in half of the entire universe being wiped from existence. 

In fairness, we'd say that Tony made up for this by using the Infinity Stones to make the ultimate sacrifice and wipe the Mad Titan out of existence. Iron Man was a hero, and a great one at that, but as we're sure you'll now agree, the Armored Avenger was definitely a flawed individual. 

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