“I used to have nothing. Then I got this. This job… this family. And I was—I was better because of it.”Natasha Romanoff, Avengers: Endgame
Natasha Romanoff (‘Black Widow’) says this line in Avengers: Endgame, but the writers could just have easily given the same words to Tony Stark (‘Iron Man’). Yes, he’s a billionaire. Yes, he’s a playboy (or was). But before he became Iron Man, he had nothing. Nothing that mattered anyway. Tony’s parents got killed when he was in his early twenties, but even before that, Tony had almost no relationship with his dad. That was a wound that stuck with him for years and years, probably souring any meaningful relationships he might have had with others (though we get little information on this). All Tony had was everything money could buy—and none of that satisfied him.
Enter Iron Man… and the Avengers. We got two Iron Man movies before the first Avengers movie, which allowed an in-depth look at Tony Stark. There, we see him become Iron Man. Grow closer to Pepper Potts. Push people away when he thinks he’s dying. And, perhaps most movingly, we see him develop from a shallow rich guy into someone who could actually, just maybe, save the world.
There isn’t a lot of bonding that goes on between Tony and the other Avengers, if we’re being honest. He spends the first movie trying to make everything about him. The second movie constructing a killer AI and not really owning up to that mistake. Captain America: Civil War has him in a literal, well, civil war against half of the Avengers. Unlike Natasha, Tony doesn’t really count the Avengers as his family (though that’s not to say he isn’t incredibly close to them).
So who are his family?
Pepper and Happy, who were there with him from the beginning. Morgan, of course. And, in an unexpected twist, Peter Parker. Tony had no idea that when he went to recruit Peter in Civil War, he would basically adopt a surrogate son. But that’s exactly what happens. Tony is incredibly protective of those he considers his family (including his mom and dad), and Peter gets pulled into that family. Tony protects him, provides him with a new suit, offers him very dad-like life advice, and looks out for him. And that’s why Tony feels devastated when Peter crumbles to dust before his eyes.
In Avengers: Endgame, we see that Tony has a pretty perfect family life. He’s married to Pepper and they have an adorable daughter. When Steve and some other Avengers come to ask Tony for help in rescuing those that Thanos snapped out of existence, Tony refuses. He doesn’t want to risk harm (or worse) coming to his beloved Pepper and Morgan. He won’t even discuss the possibility.
But later on that evening, he catches sight of a photo of Peter. And suddenly he’s working on a time machine to bring Peter—and everyone else—back. Because Peter is family. And Tony Stark will do anything for his family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eva-Joy Schonhaar is an aspiring author who has written several novels and hopes to be published some day soon. She’s a Christian fangirl who drinks insane amounts of coffee, thinks that chocolate chip cookies solve pretty much everything, and always uses the Oxford Comma. In her spare time she can be found geeking out over superheroes and reading The Hunger Games for the millionth time.