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Who Is The Main Villain In Iron Man 2

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“Genius, billionaire, Playboy, philanthropist” Tony Stark has had an iconic journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With an over 10-year run in the movies, the character has been up to all kinds of nonsense and he’s gone up against a handful of really evil guys. But the catch is: They’ve all been the same.

This was teased in the latest MCU movie Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the movie, the main antagonist Quentin Beck was revealed to be a past specialist at Stark Industries who was fired for acting erratically. Accompanying him was an equally-as-evil posse harboring the same jealousy towards Stark. The best part about this storyline was that it was playing into a joke that the fandom has been making for a long time. Most of the Iron Man villains, as well as others in the MCU, have a personal bone to pick with Tony Stark — a quality that does not transfer to the other superheroes’ principal villains.


Related: Is The MCU Setting Up The Young Avengers?

In the first Iron Man movie, Obadiah Stane is the main antagonist. He is first introduced as Tony Stark’s business partner and close confidant. Then it is discovered that he had paid the terrorist group The Ten Rings to kidnap Stark— the event that kickstarted his entire superhero origin story and many of his traumas.

As the movie plays, it becomes more and more clear that he’s not a good guy. Stane expresses his dissatisfaction when Tony comes back from Afghanistan and swears against building weapons and he expresses a creepy level of interest in Starks’s arc reactor. When things start going down, it can be seen that Obadiah is furiously jealous of the other man’s accomplishments and the risk he presents to the success of Stark Industries.


Earlier in the movie, Stane steps in for Stark during award shows and speeches, and galas. Then, when he gets wind of the Iron Man armor, he hires a team to build his own. Stane's villain arc was just a classic case of the wannabes.

Iron Man 2 presents the same story, just repackaged. The movie’s main villain Ivan Vanko is funded and enraged by the most obvious Tony Stark aspirant Justin Hammer. Both have their own qualms against Stark. Ivan’s father had been harshly penalized by Tony Stark’s father Howard Stark and Justin Hammer desperately craves the success and brains that Stark possesses. Sadly for Hammer, he doesn’t possess the same charisma and intelligence as the aforementioned genius.


The two villains bond over their mutual dislike for Stark and that is what drives them to their evil plan to build Whiplash with Hammers’s money and Vanko’s knowledge of the arc reactor. In their last burst of evilness, Hammer tries to impress with his plagiarized designs at the Stark Expo and Vanko takes over the advanced Whiplash armor to go after Stark.

Aldrich Killian is one of the most interesting of the group, not only is he motivated by his jealousy of Stark but also his anger towards him. Iron Man 3 starts with a flashback to the late-nineties at a New Year’s Eve party. When a young Killian plans to ask Tony to join and invest in his business, Advanced Idea Mechanics (also known as AIM), he is stood up and left waiting. It was quite an embarrassing-yet-classic "popular guy vs. the nerd" prank.


Although Killian could’ve just let his anger inspire him to keep developing his dangerous weaponry, he finds himself stuck at a stalemate with his designs. After threatening Stark and his close bodyguard Happy Hogan, he goes after Stark’s girlfriend and Stark Industries’ CEO Pepper Potts. These actions were done in hopes that Stark would help him develop Extremis, Killian's regenerative serum.

While all of these villains posed their own threats to Tony Stark and the greater good of the universe, they were all avid members of the “I Hate Tony Stark” Club — before Quentin Beck’s actual evil crew even existed. This is strange because most of the Avengers are pitted against villains with more widespread agendas and motives: The Red Skull and HYDRA don't only despise Captain America; Kree commander Yon-Rogg poses a great threat against intergalactic species rather than solely against Captain Marvel; and although Killmonger personally went up against T’Challa for Wakandan sovereignty, he harbored a general disregard for the world at large.


This trope isn't going to end as the upcoming War Machine series, Armor Wars, is expected to follow Stark's closest friend James Rhodes as he defends and protects the Iron Man legacy. In this series, the designs of the Iron Man armor supposedly "falls into the wrong hands" and Rhodes must track these villains before they do severe damage.

Although the Iron Man villains have been quite repetitive, it is definitely going to be missed as Phase Four plays on. However, as seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home, never say never.

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