Despite building an Instant Kill mode on Spider-Man’s Iron Spider suit, Tony Stark never added one to his Iron Man armor. The reason for that speaks to various things about Tony’s personality, as well as his dynamic with Peter Parker after the events of Captain America: Civil War and perhaps also his morbid fear of helplessness in the face of impending doom.
Introduced in Civil war By Tony as a battle nerf to try to de-escalate Captain America, Spider-Man was immediately overwhelmed by Stark’s overwhelming protective instincts. He may have been featured throughout the MCU as “the next Iron Man,” but his self-proclaimed mentor went out of his way to protect his young charge. The Iron Spider itself was only part of Tony’s plan to keep Spider-Man as safe as possible, even as he intended to invite him to become an Avenger at the end of Homecoming. Significantly, Stark seemed to be more interested in protecting Peter Parker than self-preservation.
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That protective compulsion is why Tony built an Instant Kill mode on Spider-Man’s costumes, but it doesn’t fully answer why Iron Man himself would overlook something that could protect him should he be defeated or incapacitated while I was in danger. After all, the mode was not an expression of killing intent, but rather one of desperate protection and taking that into her own hands when faced with incredible odds. Tony fundamentally feared that Spider-Man was in too much danger for him, but his own perception was skewed by his PTSD and the weight of his belief that he was the one who should protect the universe. Despite being “haunted by knowledge,” Tony never fully accepted the sanctity of his life until shortly before losing it.
Tony Stark’s MCU arc was characterized by arrogance, even when he learned the value of humility, and self-destruction, even when he learned the value of life. He created a weapon of mass destruction propelled by his own body, effectively, and more than once he put himself in situations that seemed to end his life for the greater good (once to defeat Iron Monger, once to save New York, and finally upon boarding Thanos’ send in Infinity war). In short, his sacrifice in Endgame it was telegraphed very early and part of the same logic applies to why he wouldn’t put an additional level of protection like an Instant Kill mode on his own armor. He just didn’t see his own life as paramount alongside Peter Parker’s.
Instant Kill mode was never about bloodlust, but rather Tony’s prevailing fear, expressed in the Wakanda Archives book – that Peter Parker needed more protection. The unwritten part of that logic is that Tony himself didn’t do it, which absolutely fits the idea of who Tony Stark was in the MCU. Also fits with Iron ManThe behavior of many of which dates back to Captain America’s challenge that he would never be the one to lie on the wire for other people. It says something tragic about Tony’s worth of his own life that he developed something so useful, just like he developed the Rescue armor as the most powerful to protect Pepper Potts, and never thought to use it.
Next: Spider-Man’s Instant Kill Mode Is Not A Plot Hole (Fits Iron Man Arc)
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- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release Date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release Date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release Date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release Date: March 25, 2022
- Thor: love and thunder (2022)Release Date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: Jul 08, 2022
- Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release Date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release Date: May 05, 2023
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