Iron Man is the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, is the most popular character of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the character that brings the most attention to the Avengers. I attribute this to the fact that he is the most relatable character of the Avengers. He has a long list of character flaws that make him the most human of all of them.
Unlike Captain America who has a near flawless character and motivation for all of his decisions, or Thor who is a demi-god, and the radioactive Hulk, Tony Stark is completely human and makes decisions like any normal human would. He is selfish, egotistical and at times moody. Even in the moments when he makes the heroes choices, he makes those choices off of a very real very tangible human motivation—anger, revenge, desperation, fear of death, and love.
Black Widow and Hawkeye, although they do seek revenge in the Avengers against Loki, are also portrayed as doing it out of duty and training. Captain America makes his choices out of a seemingly God given desire to always do the right thing for no other reason than that it is right. Captain America may be our ideal, but Iron Man is the one we relate with. Which begs the question, should he be a hero that captures our imagination?
As a comic book fan, I say yes. As a Christian, I still say yes, so long as we know the direction he is heading. The story that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is telling of Tony Stark is one of growth and change. He moves from the first movie as a selfish narcissist with many moral and relational failings, to one that has hope and a purpose for his life that motivates him to press on towards good.
Although we see his character flaws plainly, I do not believe that is what captures our imagination when we watch him, that is not what influences us after the film is over. What influences us is his victories and his sacrifices. In the first movie his heroism is out of recklessness, anger, desperation and a love for Pepper. In the second, it is out of an idea that that is what heroes do. In the Avengers we see him finally grasp on to doing good because it is the right thing to do as he risks getting trapped in the worm hole.
If we pattern our lives after this pattern and movement towards good for the right reasons, then we have caught the good in Tony Stark. The character defects are there, raw and in your face. But those make him more tangible and a better example of overcoming personal issues more than any other marvel movie to date. To the Christians, I say do not forget, that there is not one Biblical character who did not have serious moral issues other than Christ, and many of the worst (Sampson) are in the Hebrews hall of Faith.