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Why Did Iron Man Handle The Infinity Stones Differently?

"And I...Am...Iron Man"

By Jordan McGlincheyPublished 3 months ago 6 min read

Like most avid fans of film and TV, it's hard not to get bogged down by relatively small details that may seem seem trivial to others, however sometimes moments which may seem meaningless, actually create a whole host of theories which serve to make a particular scene more interesting and add more context.

With Marvel pretty much dominating film and TV for over a decade, they have been no stranger to a lot of scrutiny and fans have spent literal hours pouring over everything looking for new perspectives, Easter Eggs and hidden meanings contained within each film or show.

One moment in particular I have always thought about, takes place in the finale of Endgame which, **SPOILER ALERT** sees the demise of one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) greatest characters - the loveable Tony Stark, portrayed fantastically by Robert Downy Jnr. For those of you who don't know, during the climactic battle with Thanos, Iron Man is able to steal the Infinity Stones and use them to wipe out the Mad Titan and his army, but there's something very different about the effect the Stones seem to have on Tony compared to the other two times they are used in Infinity War and Endgame.

Across these two films, we see the Stones used by both Thanos and the Hulk, and both suffer severe visible after effects. Now, granted Tony does die after using them, but the immediate effects of receiving the power of the Stones differ drastically to the previous two users. So, being the fan I am, I scoured the internet looking for the most interesting theories and have documented the top 3 below for your reading pleasure.

Disclaimer - The theories are all similar with small minor changes to each so I am unable to credit the original poster, but if you recognise a particular theory and you believe it to be yours, please feel free to reach out. Now, without further ado, let's look at them:

Number 1 - The Iron Man Suit Protected Him Briefly

Number 1 on our list is one of the more popular theories out there explaining the difference between users and based on what we know about Tony, does fit. This particular theory states that the reason Tony was able to control the power of the Stones better to begin with, was because of his Iron Man Suit. During the events of Endgame, we the viewers are only ever really aware of two gauntlets capable of housing the Stones. One is worn by Thanos and one is created by Tony to be used to reverse the famous Snap. However, it turns out there were actually three.

Tony's nanotechnology suit was able to "steal" the Stones from Thanos at the last moment and allow him to use them to wipe out the villain and his entire army. This suggests Tony specifically added this design element to the suit and means he, in at least some way, designed it to withstand as much power as possible. It's unlikely the suit could have been programmed to withstand the entire power, hence his death, but perhaps absorb at least some of it, allowing him the time to retort with his now famous line and perform the snap before succumbing to their full power.

Number 2 - Tony Had Dealt With Pain So Much He Was Basically "Immune"

Now, I have to be honest and say, personally, this theory is a bit of a stretch however there is a level of plausibility to it. This theory suggests that because of the pain Tony suffered through life, he was essentially "immune" to the power of the Stones to begin with and this is why they didn't hurt him as much.

Thanos and the Hulk are both beings of immense power, and it takes a lot to damage them ("all that for a drop of blood") so one would assume if anyone were capable of handling the power of the Stones, it would be one of these guys, however both show a physical struggle to handle the immense power of them. Thanos is slightly different because he collects them one at a time, so one could argue he builds up a sort of tolerance by the time he has all of them, but the Hulk clearly struggles. It takes pretty much all his strength to be able to even just perform the snap, never mind casually throw a smart comment out. There's an argument here to say their strength is the reason they struggled. Neither are used to being physically harmed, so when something does cause them pain, not only is it painful, but it's likely amplified due to it being completely foreign to them.

Tony, on the other hand, literally got blown away by one of his own rockets and survived years with shrapnel in his chest extremely close to his heart. As a human, he also has the advantage of adrenaline and shock, which the human body uses to stop us feeling pain in certain situations. I'll let you decide the level of plausibility on this one though.

Number 3 - Each Snap Required A Different Level Of Power

The final theory, which I have to admit is my favourite and the most sensible (as much sense as can be applied to a film based on a comic book), relates to the actual level of power needed for each Snap.

When Thanos first uses the Stones in Infinity War, he does so to wipe out half of all life in the universe - no easy feat. We don't actually see the immediate impact to him, but you've got to assume it would have taken it's toll and after he uses them again to destroy them, his arm and face become scarred. When the Hulk uses the Stones to reverse the original Snap, he is in an even worse state. The power all but knocks him out and badly damages his arm, so much so he still wears a sling at Tony's funeral. Now, one could argue the power to bring life back is much higher than to wipe it out, but some fans also state, the effects were worse for Hulk because he also tried to bring Natasha (Black Widow) back to life, who was not killed by the Stones in the first place. Regardless, for each of these Snaps we are talking about the impact to literally billions of lives.

Now Tony's Snap is extremely different. He used the Stones to defeat Thanos and his army. Whilst this would also require a great deal of power, the amount of "people or beings" this impacts is drastically smaller than that of the previous two, so less power would have been needed. The use was enough to sadly kill him, but not enough to cause him to struggle until after the Snap itself.

So there you have it, 3 theories as to why Iron Man handled the Infinity Stones differently to the other two who used them. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

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Jordan McGlinchey



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