sometimes i pull my headphones out of my purse and they pull out things like chap stick, tampons, whales and like the whole country of russia like are you kidding me
No, but the thing is is that we saw Tony being competent and completely laying out an entourage of body guards with nothing but some stuff he pulled together in like an hour from a hardware store. In a deleted scene from the first movie, he picks up a gun in the middle of the ambush and tries to fight back, but the gun jams. He designs weapons (or did, anyway, and still designs things for the suit), and we know he’s very hands-on in his testing process for things he’s passionate about, so it’s pretty much guaranteed he’s fired a gun a fair amount of times in his life. He knows weapons. He knows how to build them, how to use them, how to disarm them, and how to manipulate them.
And yet, we have this scene. Why?
Well, setting aside the possibility that it’s not just an incongruity in the script (and I’m very good at ignoring those possibilities because I like to assign meaning to ALL THE THINGS), I honestly think the most likely reason is that Tony’s keeping up his “incompetent” facade.
What do I mean by this? Well, if you look at RDJ’s characterization of Tony Stark throughout the MCU, you find a lot of instances where he’s underestimated, even (or, I would argue, most especially) by those closest to him. He presents this because, I think, he learned it from someone along the way.
From Howard? Maybe, though honestly, I have no idea how to characterize Howard in MCU canon because a) it’s been too long since I’ve seen Captain America and b) the Howard we see in CA and the Howard that’s described in the Iron Man movies (especially the second) doesn’t compute for me. Well, it computes in the sense of “yes, I can understand how the war and the subsequent fallout and the Cold War and etc. could turn Howard from a man who was willing to fly into an active war zone for a guy who, from what we see, wasn’t even a super-close friend into a man who never told his son he loved him” but it doesn’t compute into a sense of “yes, this is totally where Tony could have learned it from because he was a prime example of this behavior.”
I digress. The point is, somewhere along the way, whether by example (I personally like to imagine he learned this from Peggy) or by experience, Tony learned that it’s better for people to underestimate his full ability. Maybe it was a by-product of always being the smartest guy in the room and wanting to find a way to fit in just a little. Maybe it was something from Peggy, who never let the fact that people underestimated her stop her from doing her job (and being freaking awesome while doing).
In any case, this behavior is reinforced time and again—the bad guys let Tony have access to whatever tools he wanted in IM 1 because they believed he would be cowed enough to do what they wanted. Rhodey thought the greatest asset Tony could give the world was his weapons—not the project he was working on in secret. Obadiah underestimated his determination to fight back and investigate things once he learned about SI’s double dealing (why else would he have kept the video on a server Tony could access? He should have known better than anyone about Tony’s ability to get into places he shouldn’t).
And that’s just IM 1. I could spend awhile analyzing IM2 and the Avengers, too, because even though he’s now a hero, he’s still got that persona—there’s a prevailing idea that Iron Man is the competent one and Tony is just a self-aggrandizing billionaire (Iron Man, yes, Tony Stark, not recommended), even though they’re the same person.
Rhodey is just as guilty of this as anyone — we see that a lot in the first two movies especially. It’s the reason why the fight between the two even happened in the first place in IM 2. Pepper is the only exception to the rule (“proof that Tony Stark has a heart”), though she’s certainly not without her moments of doubting him
And honestly, I think that’s why Tony wants to keep up the persona he does. It’s better for people to underestimate him because then he can’t disappoint them—his biggest fear, I think, especially if it means disappointing Pepper. He can also use it to his advantage because he can make people forget that he is the smartest person in the room—and in all reality, the most dangerous. True, he may not be able to smash through buildings, call down lightning, or have super-soldier strength, but we saw in IM3 that he definitely has the ability to use stealth and ingenuity to get him into places. And those aren’t skills he just picked up, either—the ninja stealth, yes, probably, I don’t necessarily see him needing to be that agile pre-IM 1, but the ability to cobble together deadly weapons from every day items? That’s been going on since childhood, and that’s why he could build an arc reactor in a cave.
Which is why I love Iron Man 3. For all my issues with the last 10 minutes or so, this film is about reminding people—including Tony—that Tony is capable of doing amazing, heroic things without his suit or Jarvis. He’s capable of working with a team—he doesn’t save the President or kill the bad guy, but he doesn’t need to do that to prove he’s a hero. Tony Stark is Iron Man, with or without the suit, and Iron Man, for all his flaws, is a hero.
But Tony Stark is also a Man With Issues (TM), so he can’t let himself believe in his own abilities, either—it takes a kid to remind him of his abilities as a mechanic, and I think he’ll always continue to present this persona to people who have burned him in the past—and Rhodey is honestly probably the person who’s burned him the worst (that is, of people still alive, anyway). It’ll be interesting to see how this translates in future Avengers-related movies, because the tag scene in IM3 suggests that Bruce might be the second exception to this rule, but we’ll see.
That stomach-turning feeling you get when you eat too many M&Ms.
Thinking about trying a paleo diet for various reasons: gastrointestinal issues, weight loss, lifestyle change, etc.
Thoughts? Tips? Advice?