Tony Stark: My old man had a philosophy. Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy.
Tony Stark: They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only need to fire once. That's how dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.Downey does a good job with what he is given from a hackneyed script and we are treated to the kinds of crash bang special effects that seem to be required in this kind of movie. However, the problem with this movie is the sucker punch that director Jon Favreau and his writers land on the audience*. This is a movie with a moral center as empty as all the donut holes in the world combined. It is so callous that even my 10-year-old son called it: Daddy, if he can make a cool suit like that will all those cool weapons, why doesn't he just take the bad guys guns away and tie them up like Batman does?" Forget '"With great power, comes great responsibility." There is no transformation, no redemption, no moral dilemmas in this movie.
Tony Stark: I never got to say goodbye to my father. There's questions I would've asked him. I would've asked him how he felt about what his company did, if he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch of man we remember from the newsreels. I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them. And I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero-accountability.For a brief second, after he is captured by jihadists in Afghanistan, Stark seems to have had an epiphany about the nature of the business he is in. But rather than wrestling with his conscience, he goes back to his circuit boards. The answer to the nature of good and evil is that the white hats must just have bigger guns than the black hats. Simple. Spider-Man meet Rambo. Then they can wreak revenge on whoever they choose to. And we can get back to the tedious Transformer-ending that all the kids in the movie theater (of whatever ages) are waiting for. It is, in fact, the perfect movie for the Bush era. Both the good guys and the bad guys repeat the sickening nostrum of using their weapons to make the world a safer place.
Press Reporter #1: Mr. Stark, what happened over there?
Tony Stark: I had my eyes opened. I came to realize that I had more to offer this world than just making things that blow up. And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: Tony, you know that I would help you with anything, but I cannot help you if you're going to start all this again.Iron Man is a cheap and cheapening rental.
Tony Stark: There is nothing except this. There's no art opening, no charity, nothing to sign. There's the next mission, and nothing else.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: Is that so? Well, then I quit.
Tony Stark: You stood by my side all these years while I reaped the benefits of destruction. Now that I'm trying to protect the people I've put in harm's way, you're going to walk out?
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: You're going to kill yourself, Tony. I'm not going to be a part of it.
Tony Stark: I shouldn't be alive... unless it was for a reason. I'm not crazy, Pepper. I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it's right.
* The character is of course based on the eponymous Marvel Comics superhero.