When it comes to Marvel's greatest heroes of the MCU, it's hard not to list Iron Man Tony Stark as one of its best. Robert Downey Jr.'s character served as the backbone to the success of The Infinity Saga and had a plethora of memorable moments in his run, many of which serve as crowning moments to their respective films.
Tony Stark has had plenty of memorable moments, but which among them are his most heroic? I've compiled a list in no particular order that, without a doubt, highlights the top moments the character had throughout his many MCU appearances. These moments not only show he's a hero but perhaps among the best in the MCU may ever see.
Tony Saves New York From The Missile - The Avengers
The Avengers did what they could to defeat Loki and the Chitauri, but they reached a point where six superheroes could only do so much. With New York seemingly a lost cause, the World Security Council attempted to turn the tide with a nuclear missile directed straight at Manhattan. The missile would destroy the Chitauri, but also scores of innocent lives and The Avengers.
Of course, Tony Stark didn't let that happen and used the power of the Iron Man suit to its absolute limit to intercept the missile. He then carried it to space through the portal used by the Chitauri, completely unsure of whether or not he'd be able to return to Earth. His effort destroyed the Chitauri mothership, which saved Earth. As a bonus, Tony survived to tell the tale, as his broken Iron Man suit fell through the collapsed portal just in time.
Tony Saves The Kid In The Iron Man Mask - Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 is not a perfect Marvel movie, but the Iron Man sequel had its moments. One of those moments came when Justin Hammer's drones go rogue thanks to some hacking by Vanko. The drones tore through the area and did tons of damage with the intention to destroy Iron Man. Unfortunately, these drones weren't that smart, and one targeted a child who was in the crowd with Iron Man gear. The kid is almost fried, but a last-minute move by Iron Man saved the child.
It's not the first time Tony Stark has saved a child, though we can now say that kid was a bit more important than the others saved by Iron Man. That's thanks to an added part to canon down the line, in which it was revealed that little boy was none other than Peter Parker. That's right, Iron Man saved Spider-Man before he even knew who he was, and despite that being a little corny, it does make the moment that much more heroic.
Tony Saves The President And Others On Air Force One - Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man was off in a bad way in Iron Man 3, but his crisis of self-confidence and anxiety were in check when it really mattered. When Savin took Air Force One hostage with President Ellis and staff on board, the situation looked pretty grim. Tony Stark had to save 13 people all in free-fall, and despite the odds against him, got it done.
The Marvel hero's feat isn't his most heroic in terms of scale, but damn, is it one of the most impressive. Iron Man had to think on his toes and somehow remain calm enough to get the cooperation of the staff to lock arms so that he could glide them to safety. It definitely would've been better had he done all that and brought Savin to justice, but honestly, he probably wouldn't have gotten the job done had he spared the villain's life.
Tony Helps Spider-Man Save The Ferry - Spider-Man: Homecoming
Iron Man's mentorship of Spider-Man is one of the sweetest and saddest arcs in the MCU. Of course, the sadness isn't too rampant in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where Tony is resigned to the role of the chastising father and had to bail Peter Parker out a few times. The worst of these incidents is when the Marvel hero tried to stop a split ferry from creating a massive disaster but was unable to do it on his own.
Tony did his thing and made the impossible task of resealing the ferry look relatively easy compared to Peter's effort. Unfortunately, Iron Man wasn't too understanding of Peter's mistake and chastised the hero for his recklessness. What's worse is the lesson never took, especially when one considers the situation Peter is in after Spider-Man: Far From Home. At least the people on the ferry got another chance at life because of it, so the heroics of the feat still stand.
Tony Saves A Village From Terrorists - Iron Man
Tony had only just developed his Iron Man armor in his first Marvel movie outing but put it to the test in a big way with a flight to Afghanistan to take on the Ten Rings. The hero arrived in Yinsen's village of Gulmira and looked to right some wrongs when he learned the weapons the terrorists used came from Stark Industries. Tony made short work of the baddies and saved many lives in the process.
The moment is heroic and epic for obvious reasons and a good show of Tony Stark forced to reckon with the sins of his fortune. Though he made right refusing to further manufacture weapons, the decades of damage Stark Industries' weapons have done was clear. Tony's resolve to be a hero and do what he can to reverse that impact in the world is first shown here, which makes it one of the greater moments in the hero's arc.
Tony Uses The Infinity Stones To Defeat Thanos - Avengers: Endgame
The five years that followed Avengers: Infinity War was hell for some, but for Tony, there were upsides. Despite that, the hero knew there would only be one chance to defeat Thanos, and when the moment came, he didn't hesitate to save the world when he had to. Tony swiped the Infinity Stones from Thanos at the last moment and gave his life to defeat the villain.
Tony didn't save the world because it was in his best interest to do so. He did it because it was best for the world. Far and away, Iron Man's sacrifice is his greatest and one that, I believe, would be greatly diminished should the character ever be resurrected. Sorry, Tony, you gotta stay dead to keep this one the most heroic.