Tony Stark is one of the biggest reasons to see this film. Stark is one of the most dynamic characters in comic book history, and he shows no signs of stopping.
Stark is a genius of child prodigy level, but also quite a hedonist as an adult. He's set his father's burgeoning weapons manufacturer Stark Enterprises to pretty much function on his own – something that works a little too well, as Stark sees his weapons used by insurgents in Afghanistan during the time of his capture. Upon his return, Stark decides to reinvent Stark Enterprise's direction away from armaments.
Tony is an alcoholic. This is only lightly touched upon in the movie, but might provide the bulk of Tony's inner demons in later films.
Tony's secretary is Pepper Potts, and as the movie illustrates, she's more than that. Confidant, aide de camp and right-hand woman, Pepper has the unenviable task of keeping billionaire playboy Stark in line in the beginning, and forms the logical counter-argument to Tony's epiphany-driven quest for redemption. A key difference from the comics: Pepper learns about Tony's alter ego early on, further intensifying their relationship.
n the comics, Jim Rhodes is Tony's eventual rescuer from the war zone, and though he plays a similar role in the film, there Rhodes and Stark are depicted as long-time friends. Rhodes is seen as Tony's liaison to the military, and takes all of his responsibilities extremely seriously, making him a visible foil to Tony's carefree playboy ways. As hinted in the movie, however, Rhodes later dons one of Tony's prototype armors as War Machine. Actor Terrance Howard has stated interest in this direction, but his role in the first film is largely on the sidelines.
Another key character is Iron Man mythos is Obadiah Stane, Tony's mentor, business partner, and ultimately, adversary. The last of the movie Iron Man's notable assistants is undoubtedly Jarvis – in the comics he's a wry English butler, but the movie Iron Man depicts him as a super-intelligent computer voiced by Paul Bettany. Lastly, there is also a heavily-hyped appearance by Colonel Nick Fury, the head of SHIELD whose appearances heralds Marvel Studio's effort to interconnect its characters.
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