We tend to think of superheroes (and villains) as pretty competent people. After all, it takes a sharp mind to build a flying suit of armor or hold the entire world hostage. But, as we've pointed out a few times before, sometimes the characters in these movies seem to know less about what they're doing than we do, and for every sensible decision they make, they stumble through a series of catastrophically terrible blunders that defy explanation.
5 Every Decision Tony Stark Makes Is Terrible (and Illegal)
Let's start with the fact that the man could and should be thrown in jail at any moment.
See, a good portion of the Iron Man movie franchise focuses on Tony Stark's legal battle with the U.S. government -- they really want him to hand over the Iron Man suit (something about it being a highly effective superweapon capable of neutralizing an entire platoon in seconds and how it probably shouldn't be in the hands of an emotionally unstable alcoholic). But as a legal matter, the government absolutely has a right to demand it for another reason: This technology was created with taxpayer money. It totally belongs to the government.
"Bullshit. Anything I've spent has been offset by the medical jobs I've created with my STDs."
Remember, Stark Industries is a defense contractor, and thus subject to the same regulations as a company like Lockheed Martin. Any technology built while on a government contract can be used only on that contract, whether it be a tank engine or a piece of software. Because, you know, the government paid for it. The developers can't sell the technology to anyone else or use it to destabilize foreign terrorist cells on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
And as we know from the first Iron Man movie ...
... Tony built the original Arc Reactor -- the one thing that makes the suit work -- as part of a government contract. Hell, the original armor prototype he threw together in the cave was built out of parts from missiles he created under another defense department contract. All of that research and development was done on the taxpayer's dime, and then Tony uses it to turn himself into a superhero and claims that nobody else has a right to put their filthy paws on it. In reality, it would be illegal for Tony to use an Arc Reactor to power his goddamn TiVo, let alone use it to fly halfway around the world and punch tanks in half (which incidentally is also illegal, because crossing national borders with that suit constitutes the trafficking of defense technology).
But knowing that he's in violation of federal law every minute he spends zipping around in his futuristic explosion suit only makes his other decisions that much more baffling.
We're not even including his facial hair and choosing to date Gwyneth Paltrow.
First of all, Tony openly admits to being Iron Man on national television. As far as the law is concerned, he might as well have announced that he had been smuggling weapons to Chinese pirates for the past seven years, because both are violations of the same set of regulations. Remember, there's a reason Bruce Wayne keeps his Batman hobby a secret: He knows that what he's doing is illegal as shit, billionaire or not. But Tony proudly confesses his criminal activities several times in the middle of a congressional hearing, then hacks into a few government computers (also a crime) and walks out of the courtroom flashing deuces. It's like he's daring the government to throw him in federal prison for a decade.
"Worked for Nixon."
After insisting that the Iron Man suit isn't a threat to national security as long as it remains in his carefully guarded hands, Tony proceeds to torpedo his own argument in Iron Man 2 by using the armor to drunkenly endanger people's lives at his birthday party and then fly, hungover, to eat doughnuts on top of another, larger doughnut.
"It doesn't count as a DUI if you have access to wrist lasers."
His friend Rhodes, an Air Force colonel, shows up at the party to keep Tony from hurting anyone, and Tony goes out of his way to prove to a man who is both a close friend and a high-ranking government official just how little he can be trusted with the armor (the use of which, we can't stress enough, can land Tony in prison).
"I'm about to drop you so hard that you'll think you're Terrence Howard."
Then, Rhodes steals one of the Iron Man suits while Tony is too drunk to object, because apparently all you need to do to put on an Iron Man suit is stick one foot in each metal boot hole and strap it the fuck on. Tony could've at least put a bike lock on the damn thing. As it stands, his superweapon seems to have about as much security as a dusty old pickup truck. Any of the alcohol-soaked dumbasses who came to his party could have flown home with an Iron Man suit of their very own -- both Tony and the entire world are lucky it was Rhodes who wound up taking one instead of some 24-year-old trust fund douchebag from Malibu.
Then, in The Avengers, Tony builds a giant tower in the middle of New York City with his name on the side and zooms in and out of there in his unsanctioned murder costume on a regular basis. He even invites Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, an earthquake with fists who's currently sitting at the top of the international watch list, to come stay in the tower and help him build even more secret illegal technology.
"Between your rage and my alcoholism, the sky's the limit!"
It's like Tony is deliberately acting out every possible bullet point on a list of reasons why the government needs to confiscate his superhero suit and toss him in a jail cell, presumably one without smelting tools and a helpful fellow scientist.