Welcome back for another edition of Marvel Movie-Verse Music, a (so-far) weekly attempt to assign a song that I feel best represents each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Last week, I kicked us off with the First Avenger himself, Captain America.
This week, I’m turning to Shellhead Billionaire Genius Playboy Philanthropist, Tony Stark aka Iron Man.
So, as much as I wanted to avoid going with the most obvious selections, this song is too fitting to ignore: “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath.
Beyond the power of the instruments and Ozzy Osbourne’s ethereal vocals, the lyrics delve into so many aspects of Tony’s character. The song is about a hero that loses his way and eventually winds up doing more harm than good, which was his greatest fear all along.
Now, the story of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark has yet to be concluded, but the aforementioned thesis is undoubtedly what the character believes to be unfolding, because, as arrogant as Tony is, he is just enough of a moralist to realize how much responsibility comes with the power of his brilliant mind. What’s more, Tony feels both isolated by his own brilliance and stunted by the limits of his compassion. The following lyrics sum this up perfectly:
“Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
We’ll just pas him there
Why should we even care?”
The tragedy of Tony Stark is that we know he’s always thinking about the future, but, despite all his intelligence, wealth, power, and technological dominance, he’s still only one man. His attempts at seeking out friendship in Rhodey, romance with Pepper, and brotherhood with the Avengers have all seen horrendous setbacks. On top of these modern-day frustrations, he’s also haunted by the loss of his parents, which leaves a pit of anger as red-hot as the red of his armor. That feeling is captured here:
“Nobody wants him
He just stares at the world
Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfold”
Tony isn’t a full-blown villain, but some of his Rogues Gallery, and, to an extent, Thanos, have shown Iron Man what he could become if he loses his moral center. Of course, that center is the dichotomy he enjoys/loathes with Cap. There’s a reason why Tony didn’t want to pause and ask Steve for advice before he created Ultron with Bruce Banner. And, the whole time he was pitching Ultron to Bruce, he was using all his skills as a salesman and seducer to achieve what he values above all: peace of mind.
“Iron Man” encapsulates everything that Tony dreads and ultimately what motivates him.