All The Times Someone Else Had To Save Iron Man In The MCU

Voting Rules
Vote up the moments when Tony Stark really needed an assist.

Everyone talks about how Tony Stark saved the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe with his self-sacrifice, but no one talks about all the characters who saved Iron Man along the way. Sure, there were plenty of times when Iron Man cheated death through his own wit and ingenuity alone, but it was more often his teammates and colleagues protecting the Armored Avenger - and frequently with not so much as a “thank you” in return.

It’s never a good idea to speak ill of the dead, but most can still admit that Stark was far from perfect. For a genius superhero, Tony sure got outsmarted and needed saving a lot - but that’s what friends are for.

  • 1
    92 VOTES

    Hulk Catches Iron Man When He Falls Out Of The Portal Above New York In ‘The Avengers’

    At the height of tension in The Avengers, Tony Stark saved New York from an alien invasion and a nuke by throwing the nuke at the aliens. At the same time, Natasha Romanoff saved Tony by closing the portal to Chitauri space just after he exited it. But that still left Iron Man plummeting toward Earth from miles in the air, unconscious and stuck inside a depowered suit of armor. 

    That’s when the Hulk, who had yet to make any sort of emotional connection with any of his Avengers teammates prior to that very moment, leapt from a skyscraper, caught Stark in mid-air, and then shielded Stark with his own body as they crashed to the ground. Hulk didn’t stop there, either, ripping Stark’s mask off and screaming him into consciousness. Hulk didn’t just save Tony - he genuinely cared for him. 

    Tony and Bruce Banner have been science bros ever since.

    92 votes
  • 2
    82 VOTES

    Ho Yinsen Distracts The Ten Rings To Make Sure Tony Can Escape In ‘Iron Man’

    Tony Stark gets a lot of credit for crafting his first Iron Man suit in an Afghani cave with limited resources, but he didn’t do it alone. He had plenty of help along the way from fellow captive Ho Yinsen, and the mission quite literally wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without Yinsen’s bold self-sacrifice.

    With Ten Rings soldiers knocking on the door and the Mark I armor not yet flight-ready, Yinsen offered to provide a distraction, knowing full well it would end in his demise. The gambit worked: Yinsen bought the time Stark needed, and he even stuck around long enough to offer a few last parting words of wisdom - words that would save Stark in an entirely different fashion in the long term. 

    82 votes
  • 3
    76 VOTES

    Happy Hogan Crashes A Car Into Ivan Vanko In ‘Iron Man 2’

    Lost in a franchise full of heroic moments was Happy Hogan’s incredibly impressive turn early on in Iron Man 2, as he drove onto a live Formula One track and against traffic to rescue his boss from Whiplash. Happy arrived just in time to stop Ivan Vanko from shredding a suitless Tony Stark with electricity, which he did by straight-up ramming his car into Vanko at full speed and pinning him to the wall.

    The blow should have probably slain Vanko, but it didn’t, and Happy had to face down a couple of molten whips. Fortunately, he had also delivered Pepper Potts, and she’d brought the Iron Man suitcase with her, and it was all over pretty quickly after that. Did Tony recognize Happy’s immense bravery? No. Instead, he berated him.

    76 votes
  • 4
    77 VOTES

    Dum-E Hands Tony His Original Arc Reactor When The New One Gets Ripped Out In ‘Iron Man’

    When Obadiah Stane’s betrayal was finally laid bare in Iron Man, he ripped Tony Stark’s heart out - both metaphorically and semi-literally. By removing the new-and-improved arc reactor from Tony’s chest, Obadiah thought he was leaving his former protege to suffer a long and painful demise, but it only proved to be a fatal error.

    After Stane left, Stark managed to drag himself downstairs to his lab, where he promptly collapsed. Fortunately, the lovable shop-droid Dum-E was on hand to drop Stark’s original, cave-built arc reactor into his lap in the nick of time, allowing Tony to stave off death just a little bit longer.

    After all the mean stuff Stark had said about Dum-E, the droid saved his life - and, programming or not, it did it out of the goodness of its robot heart.

    77 votes
  • 5
    77 VOTES

    Doctor Strange Cuts A Deal To Save Tony From Thanos In ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

    Tony Stark’s life was saved on a great number of occasions, but it was only bargained for once, in Avengers: Infinity War. And who better to do the bargaining than Doctor Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme? After getting thoroughly stomped by Thanos - and after taking a peek at 14,000,605 potential futures - Strange spoke up to stop the Mad Titan from impaling Iron Man. He offered up the Time Stone, which he’d previously concealed through mystical means, in exchange for sparing Stark’s life. Thanos agreed and departed for Earth.

    Minutes later, as he crumbled to dust, the only explanation that Strange could offer was that “It was the only way.” Of course, what he didn’t say was that “the only way” eventually included Tony sacrificing himself to defeat Thanos and save all of reality, so it could be argued that this was less a rescue, and more of a preserving to perish at a later date - but those extra years meant everything to Tony. 

    77 votes
  • 6
    70 VOTES

    James Rhodes Finds Tony In The Desert In ‘Iron Man’

    Tony Stark famously freed himself from a cave in Afghanistan in Iron Man “with a box of scraps,” but it wasn’t an entirely solo endeavor. Not only did Ho Yinsen play a massive role in Stark’s escape via the Mark I armor, but that whole plan also culminated with Stark crash-landing in the middle of the desert, wandering and badly in need of a rescue.

    Enter Stark’s best friend, James Rhodes, who personally escorted the search-and-rescue helicopter into the dune-strewn landscape until he finally found Stark, dehydrated but alive. From there, Rhodes didn’t let Stark out of his sight until they were safely back stateside, and he’s been an even closer companion ever since. 

    70 votes