Why Iron Man’s Suits Get Weaker In The MCU

Why Iron Man's Suits Get Weaker In The MCU

Iron Man got a new suit in every one of his MCU appearances, but they got weaker and weaker, which reflected his personal journey.

Iron Man built a variety of suits during his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but many of them weren’t exactly an improvement on previous ones, and his suits got weaker as the MCU expanded more and more – and here’s why. The MCU is now the most extensive superhero universe in both film and TV/streaming, and it all began in 2008 with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, which introduced Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and set the tone for the rest of the MCU’s Phase 1.

Iron Man told the origin story of the title character: a narcissistic genius and CEO of Stark Industries, the chief weapons manufacturer for the US military, who after being kidnapped by the Ten Rings had a much-needed wake-up call that kicked off his superhero journey. Tony built his first Iron Man armor while imprisoned and with the help of fellow prisoner Ho Yinsen (Shaun Toub), and when he returned home, he built a proper armor with the technology he had available. Iron Man went on to lead the original Avengers team (alongside Captain America) and the Infinity Saga, and while he grew a lot as a person and changed for good, the same can’t be said for his suits.


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Tony Stark wore at least one new suit in each of his appearances in the MCU, each one with new features and abilities, but it seems like Tony favored some of those features over others, mostly durability, as some of those suits turned out to be less resistant than the previous one. However, Iron Man’s suits getting weaker are also a reflection of his personal journey in the MCU, and in the end, he made some truly powerful suits that allowed him to do a variety of things.

Iron Man’s Changing Suits Reflect Tony Stark’s MCU Story

Iron Man looks at his armor in Iron Man 3.

Tony Stark went through a whole personal journey during his time in the MCU, going from an egocentric billionaire to an actual hero who sacrificed himself to save the universe, but the road to that wasn’t easy. Tony’s biggest struggle was against his ego, and in Iron Man 3, the audience saw him struggling with his mental health as he suffered from PTSD and anxiety as a result of the events of The Avengers. All these personal issues impacted the design of his suits, choosing a more offensive approach than a defensive one. Tony favored combat features and technology over the durability of his suits, which reflected what he was going through in his head, as he was always capable of fighting, but he was in a constant battle against his inner demons, which on various occasions ended up reflecting in how he interacted with others and even in battle.

What Iron Man’s Weakest MCU Suit Is (& What’s His Most Powerful?)

Tony working on his Iron Man suit

Iron Man’s weakest MCU suit was the prototype suit, also known as Mark I, the one he built while in captivity with the help of Yinsen. Mark I had flamethrowers under each hand, a limited rocket launcher, crude jet boots, and was bulletproof, but its rough design left different spots without protection, so Tony was at risk of being severely injured at all times. After many more suits that added more combat features and technology, and many changes according to what he needed, Tony built his most powerful armor in Avengers: Endgame: Mark LXXXV. This suit blended the nanotechnology of Mark L with a stronger design and a lot more resistance, allowing Iron Man to withstand damage and superhuman levels of force impact, and its technology also formed the Nano Gauntlet that allowed Iron Man to take the Infinity Stones and save the universe, though at the cost of his own life.

Next: MCU Phase 4 Can’t Stop Iron Man’s Curse, Even After His Death

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023

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About The Author

Adrienne Tyler
(3514 Articles Published)

Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided’s BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.

When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.

Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.

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