#1 Edited by Bezza (3640 posts) - - Show Bio

In my opinion the biggest superhero characters have for some years been Superman followed by Batman and then spider-man. These for me were the top 3 based on public popularity and awareness and their influence on the superhero genre. Basically everyone knows of Spiderman, Batman and Superman. However, I strongly feel that Iron Man has muscled his way up to this top three now. Its amazing that what was a second league superhero who a lot of people knew nothing about has rocketed into the big league in just 5 years. Here's why I believe he is up there now...

1. A brilliant actor RDJ, who just totally fits the role of Tony Stark and has brought massive charisma to a superhero in a way that no one has previously managed, not even Christopher Reeve.

2. The character Iron Man is totally right for the 21st century. He is the ultimate gadget man and pumped full of tech. Just right for today's youngsters to tap into. He can be upgraded and modernised as the stories develop, without needing a controversial re-boot of his powers.

3. Marvel have dropped the baton a bit with Spiderman. Spiderman 3 was way too serious and weepy, Spiderman then took a break for a few years from the screen and the Amazing Spiderman was just a re-boot, too quickly after the Tobey Maguire films. They also killed Peter Parker in the comics. Hence the box office ratings for Spiderman last year were well below those for any of the first 3 Spiderman films.

4. Iron Man 3 joins Batman as being the only single character based film to take a billion dollars at the box office. (MOS may join them later this summer!)

5. Iron Man had the biggest role in the Avengers and RDJ's personality swamped that of other actors in that film,

6. Iron Man has introduced humour into the films that the adults can enjoy whilst the kids marvel at the fight scenes and tech.

7. Other major characters such as Wonder woman, Hulk and green lantern have either not featured in a film, or their films have been less than successful. Hence their popularity has either waned with the public or has not increased like Iron Mans has.

So, I reckon Iron Man is now up there with Bats and Supes in the premier league. Feel free to disagree!!

#2 Posted by Phaedrusgr (1672 posts) - - Show Bio

Ironman's becoming Marvel's (movie) flag, there's no doubt. With Peter Parker out of the picture for many reasons, there's a possibility that Tony becomes the FLAG eventually. There's the problem of relatability, of course, but Marvel seems to handle it really well lately.

#3 Posted by Lvenger (19870 posts) - - Show Bio

Eh he's making his way there but he hasn't overturned Superman, Batman or Spider-Man yet IMO.

#4 Edited by Strider92 (16454 posts) - - Show Bio

@lvenger said:

Eh he's making his way there but he hasn't overturned Superman, Batman or Spider-Man yet IMO.

Pretty much this. Iron Man is definitely near the top of the film superheroes because he is much easier to swallow than most other heroes. For example if you're not a comic book fan its quite hard to grasp the concept of characters like Spider-man or Superman who have actual superpowers. It's less realistic. Iron Man both in comic and film is basically just a very smart guy who can build advanced tech. Non-comic book readers find that a lot easier to understand as in theory one day something like that could happen but becoming a nigh-invulnerable alien or the human equivalent to a spider isn't.

So to answer the question no. Iron Man isn't part of the big three in comics and still has a long way to go to catch up to any of them because we comic readers don't care to much about realism or we wouldn't be reading the comic in the first place. Its the characters personality and stories we tend to look at regardless of their abilities. Iron Man is much more popular now but Superman, Batman and Spider-man have all achieved icon status something that not many characters (let alone just comic ones) will ever achieve.

Basically until Iron Man is recognizable instantly out-side of RDJ's portrayal of Iron Man and can be instantly recognizable by people who may not have read a comic in their lives then he's not as popular as the big three. I remember watching an interview with Andrew Garfield prior to ASM's release and he said something that applies to Superman, Batman and Spider-man. "Its not me in suit it could be anyone. Spider-man is anyone" (or words to that effect) and he's right Superman, Batman and Spider-man have gotten to a point were anyone can put on the suit and be that character and become recognizable and loved for doing it. Iron Man is only popular due to RDJ's portrayal which doesn't really represent 616 Stark very well anyway.

#5 Posted by Lvenger (19870 posts) - - Show Bio

@lvenger said:

Eh he's making his way there but he hasn't overturned Superman, Batman or Spider-Man yet IMO.

Pretty much this. Iron Man is definitely near the top of the film superheroes because he is much easier to swallow than most other heroes. For example if you're not a comic book fan its quite hard to grasp the concept of characters like Spider-man or Superman who have actual superpowers. It's less realistic. Iron Man both in comic and film is basically just a very smart guy who can build advanced tech. Non-comic book readers find that a lot easier to understand as in theory one day something like that could happen but becoming a nigh-invulnerable alien or the human equivalent to a spider isn't.

So to answer the question no. Iron Man isn't part of the big three in comics and still has a long way to go to catch up to any of them because we comic readers don't care to much about realism or we wouldn't be reading the comic in the first place. Its the characters personality and stories we tend to look at regardless of their abilities. Iron Man is much more popular now but Superman, Batman and Spider-man have all achieved icon status something that not many characters (let alone just comic ones) will ever achieve.

Basically until Iron Man is recognizable instantly out-side of RDJ's portrayal of Iron Man and can be instantly recognizable by people who may not have read a comic in their lives then he's not as popular as the big three. I remember watching an interview with Andrew Garfield prior to ASM's release and he said something that applies to Superman, Batman and Spider-man. "Its not me in suit it could be anyone. Spider-man is anyone" (or words to that effect) and he's right Superman, Batman and Spider-man have gotten to a point were anyone can put on the suit and be that character and become recognizable and loved for doing it. Iron Man is only popular due to RDJ's portrayal which doesn't really represent 616 Stark very well anyway.

Very well explained mate. Can't find anything to disagree with there. Ever since RDJ's portrayal of Iron Man, the comics have sort of tailored Iron Man to be more like RDJ. Which isn't always how the character has acted.

#6 Posted by Veshark (9058 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope, not quite. In terms of overall public recognition, I'd still put him below the Big 3 and maybe the X-Men and Hulk.

#7 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio

lol, no.

It takes more than one mediocre movie and two abominations to dethrone cultural icons like Superman, Batman and Spider-Man.

#8 Posted by Wolverine08 (42201 posts) - - Show Bio
#9 Posted by logy5000 (5771 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with all that except the part where you said that RDJ is more Ironman than Christopher Reeve is Superman. Robert plays Tony perfectly, but in the 80's, Christopher Reeve WAS Superman.

#10 Posted by AweSam (7375 posts) - - Show Bio

@logy5000: Christopher Reeve is overrated. I love the Superman movies and he played a great Clark Kent, but he wasn't the best.

#11 Posted by Veshark (9058 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam said:

@logy5000: Christopher Reeve is overrated. I love the Superman movies and he played a great Clark Kent, but he wasn't the best.

I'd argue Reeve plays a more comic-accurate Supes than RDJ plays a comic-accurate Stark.

#12 Posted by tupiaz (2183 posts) - - Show Bio

Being popular for few years don't make you a comic book like Spider-man, Batman and Super-man that has been it for decades.

#13 Edited by AweSam (7375 posts) - - Show Bio

@veshark: Maybe. Maybe not. He's still overrated. People think he's the best because people are nostalgic jerks who refuse to let other actors have a chance.

#14 Posted by Veshark (9058 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam said:

@veshark: Maybe. Maybe not. He's still overrated. People think he's the best because people are nostalgic jerks who refuse to let other actors have a chance.

I've only seen the first one, but I did really enjoy him as Superman, and thought it was a good portrayal. I do agree that many are too caught up in nostalgia over the Reeve movies and unwilling to give Cavill a chance.

#15 Edited by logy5000 (5771 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam:

Nostalgic jerks? Dude, I'm 16. I didn't see the Superman movies until last year. He redefined Superman. To me it sounds like you just don't like him.

#16 Posted by AweSam (7375 posts) - - Show Bio

@logy5000: Don't like him? I've loved the two original Superman movies ever since I was a kid and I love Christopher Reeve. I guess because I said he's overrated I must hate him. He didn't redefine Superman either.

#17 Posted by logy5000 (5771 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam:

No offense, but when you call people nostalgic jerks because they think that Reeve was the best Superman actor, it's not blown out of proportion to have the impression that you don't like him. He did redefine Superman. He dramatically increased his popularity and gave Superman a romantic side that was rarely seen in the comics.

#18 Posted by dccomicsrule2011 (24809 posts) - - Show Bio

No and he is not even close, Superman,Batman and Spider-Man have been at the top for decades there is no way someone who has only been popular fora few years will de-thrown them. Hell I would not even Iron-Man above Hulk and Wolverine....

#19 Edited by AweSam (7375 posts) - - Show Bio

@logy5000: Sure, but when all everyone can say about MoS is how Cavill isn't Reeve, you can smell a hint of nostalgia. Even for Superman Returns. The only positive opinion people havd of it is how Routh looks like Reeve. Reeve is not Superman. He is an actor who played Superman. There are better actors. Just as Heath Ledgar is not Joker, but an actor who played him.

#20 Posted by logy5000 (5771 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam:

I liked Man of Steel more than the originals, but Reeve still played a better Superman than Cavill. Both movies are better than Superman Returns; I really can't say anything good about that one. He played Superman right. He isn't truly Superman, but that's how people saw him at the time.

#21 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio

@wolverine08 said:

@fadetoblackbolt:

LOL! You seriously think Iron Man 1 was "mediocre"?

Yes, due in large part to the fact it wasn't very good. [

Ad-libbed script for 1/2 the movie followed by a painfully terrible final fight which slapped Chekov and his gun in the face.

#22 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29500 posts) - - Show Bio

He'll never be more popular than Batman or Spider-man, sorry.

Good to know he isn't a C-lister anymore though. Now if only he could get a decent rogues gallery.

#23 Posted by SandMan_ (4528 posts) - - Show Bio

Big 3 in Marvel, yes, but big 3 in Superheroes are still Superman, Batman and Spiderman.

#24 Edited by Bezza (3640 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey can I just clarify something. I didn't say RDJ was more Iron Man than CR was superman, I said he brought even more charisma to the role. The guy just reeks charisma and personality and instantly outshines all others in a room, as he did in some of those Avenger's scenes.

Chris Reeve was a great superman, I watched superman 1 as a 9 year old and I will always respect him, just like many people think Connery is the definitive Bond.

I still think that all these Iron Man films and appearances will mean that the current young generation rate him as one of the top characters now and it will stay with them when they get older. Still perhaps you are right, for now Superman, Batman and Spiderman remain the big three!

#25 Posted by FlashKnight (451 posts) - - Show Bio

IMO he is definitely a better character than Spiderman. I agree with you OP, I think he has worked his way up there.

#26 Posted by Deranged Midget (17599 posts) - - Show Bio

The Iron man films were great but it's a shame the comics can't replicate the charisma and charm that RDJ brings to the character. That's why he'll never come close to breaking "the top three".

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#27 Edited by novi_homines (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

@flashknight said:

IMO he is definitely a better character than Spiderman. I agree with you OP, I think he has worked his way up there.

I also am beginning to agree. Not only that, but if any of you have watched the new Avengers tv show Avengers Assemble, Iron Man is officially the leader of the Avengers, not CAP. It seems as though Marvel realizes IM's newfound popularity, and with the IM trilogy over with, they seem devoted to making sure his popularity and significance stays where it is.

And I have no problem with him leading the avengers, he has always been a co-leader, much likes supes and bats. And just as I wouldn't have a problem with bats leading, I don't have a problem with Stark leading. He is more intelligent, and simply a more powerful hero than CAP. He's a more complete hero imo. In terms of the balance of intelligence and ability. And CAP has been leading the Avengers for decades, but it hasn't affected his popularity much. You give Stark the leadership role in comics and tv shows alike, and his significance and popularity will skyrocket even more. This is all in MY opinion though.

#28 Posted by Jack Donaghy (1025 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man WHEN played by Robert Downey Jr. might be in the top 3 I'll give you that. But I'm just not sure if people really like the character or only like him when he's played by RDJ. Think about it like this, if he was played by Brandon Routh, Val Kilmer or Tobey McGuire how popular would he be? Superman, Batman and Spider-Man can be played by people who aren't really good at portraying their characters and still be popular. I think he's really benefiting from being played by such a charismatic star, plus there's no way he's more famous than any of those 3 they've been famous for decades. He's only achieved this level of popularity 5 years ago. I still see more people with Batman, Superman and Spider-Man merchandise and more kids with their toys, can't really say the same for Tony.

#29 Posted by ULTRAstarkiller (6171 posts) - - Show Bio

@lvenger said:

Eh he's making his way there but he hasn't overturned Superman, Batman or Spider-Man yet IMO.

#30 Posted by The_Brave_Family (13 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man is just a very modern hero I guess... Like someone said above, he's the right kind of superhero for the 21st century - I think that yes, RDJ made Iron Man popular, but does anyone remember the good ol' 60's Batman TV show (in other words DC's attempt/success in getting people into Batman)? Every superhero's success has to start somewhere, it doesn't matter if its from a movie or a toy.

Superman started as the first (impact) on superheroes,

Spider-Man was practically the creation of modern heroes and the connection to real-life experiences

and Batman was the influence on heroes without powers, basically supposed to tell readers that you don't have to be "super" to be a hero.

^Those^ 3 will forever be the Big 3 - Iron Man will unfortunately never be placed in there because he can be considered all three of them combined. You could put Wonder-Woman in there as she's become an icon towards female readers, but she's always (for some reason) always been placed at 4 or 5, which I'm fine with. I would place Iron Man in the top 10 if he wasn't already.

#31 Edited by ScarletBatman (365 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man is popular today but in 20 years, will people still know who Iron Man is? Iron Man's popularity is tied directly to the films. Now that there are not going to be any more films (save avengers (at least for the next few years)), I'd wager his popularity will slowly die down.

#32 Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg (2243 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man's rogues gallery just pales in comparison to the Big 3.

#33 Posted by harff4 (5 posts) - - Show Bio

@bezza: superman is no longer in the top three know its hulk, batman, and spiderman or iron man

#34 Posted by GodDamnIronMan (1553 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think IM is a part of the "big 3" ...

"big 3" in Marvel, yes, but not in the whole comicbook in history. Superman is the 1st Superhero, he's a pioneer in modern comic book industry. As for Batman, he is the 1st superhero that tell us that you don;t need to have superpower to be superhero. It's hard to say who is the 3rd one, cuz the influence of the 1st 2 superheroes are phenomenal

#35 Edited by batmannflash (6219 posts) - - Show Bio

No. he's rising a lot recently, yes. But he has yet to pass Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine in terms of popularity. I think people seem to like RDJ Iron Man more than the actual character himself. Which is why Iron Man's comics aren't as popular and don't do well as Superman, Batman, Spidey or Wolverine. I like Stark but he won't last as long as the 4 I've mentioned. He's only recently become very popular due to the films. Once RDJ stops being Iron Man and the movies die down, Iron Man will drop a fair amount, unfortunately. He also doesn't have the history to him. Superman, Batman and Spidey have been extremely popular waaay longer than Iron Man.

#36 Posted by batmannflash (6219 posts) - - Show Bio

The Iron man films were great but it's a shame the comics can't replicate the charisma and charm that RDJ brings to the character. That's why he'll never come close to breaking "the top three".

#37 Posted by Millennian (25 posts) - - Show Bio

No. he's rising a lot recently, yes. But he has yet to pass Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine in terms of popularity. I think people seem to like RDJ Iron Man more than the actual character himself. Which is why Iron Man's comics aren't as popular and don't do well as Superman, Batman, Spidey or Wolverine. I like Stark but he won't last as long as the 4 I've mentioned. He's only recently become very popular due to the films. Once RDJ stops being Iron Man and the movies die down, Iron Man will drop a significant amount, unfortunately. He also doesn't have the history to him. Superman, Batman and Spidey have been extremely popular waaay longer than Iron Man.

Wrong on the part about when RDJ stops being Iron Man, the character will die down. I've said before that every character's popularity (or whatever you want to call it) has to start somewhere. Iron Man certainly doesn't have a history but you're comment overall was pretty stupid. Downey has basically made Iron Man the Bond for superhero movies and has boosted his comic-recognition the same way Smallville boosted Green Arrow's recognition... All of this is ironic, people never argue about how Green Arrow only became popular through Smallville - Why? Because the actor didn't pull off the character like RDJ has with Iron Man. This goes to show how people will never be able to accept success.

#38 Edited by batmannflash (6219 posts) - - Show Bio

@millennian: What are you talking about? I never said that the character will die down. Just a drop a fair amount (it's a tiny bit different). What I meant is that once the Iron Man movies aren't as popular as they are now and they make the inevitable reboot, the character won't be as popular. Yes, I said he will drop a fair amount because RDJ's acting brought a certain charm that everyone loves but he will not die down. He will still be popular but he won't contend for top 5. My point was that Iron Man most likely won't be in the top 5 farther down the future and that he isn't a top 4 hero in terms of popularity currently. And yes, I can accept success. The Iron Man movies are very, very successful and have done a great job with the rise of Stark's popularity. The problem is that Iron Man, who has been around since the 60's has only recently become really popular, mostly due to the movies. What's going to happen when RDJ isn't Iron Man anymore? Comics, and animation haven't been able to achieve a Stark as good as RDJ's in the past or even now. The chances of future comics to make a Stark just as awesome (or even more) isn't very high because comics hasn't been able to do that for the past 50 years. There's still chance, though, if Stark's fortunate enough to suddenly get amazing writers.

We can predict that Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine will mostly likely stay extremely popular in the future, based on the fact that they have been doing well for decades.

And how can my comment be stupid? It's my opinion, and I'm making my own predictions and speculations. Not need to lash out for having a different prediction. No one knows the future, how can you be sure? It's all opinions and judgement.

#39 Edited by novi_homines (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm glad someone mentioned James Bond because by the end of IM3, that's exactly what went through my head. I don't know why but he seemed very Bond like to me. He seems like he can be a more charismatic James Bond. And it's weird because Kevin Feige and others thought the same thing.

"I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it." - Kevin Feige

"So basically what it comes down to is coming to terms with the universe of comic book movies, being similar to that of the comic book world. We can have multiple iterations of the same hero, but we don't necessarily need a new origin story or even the whining that comes with having a new actor step into a superhero role. And if there's one superhero who is worthy of immortality like James Bond, it's the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark. But the question is who could live up to the perfect performance that Downey has delivered thus far? Kyle Chandler comes to mind, especially after his turn as Bruce Baxter in King Kong. What about Billy Crudup, Timothy Olyphant or maybe the more A-List choice of Leonardo DiCaprio? Actually, Colin Farrell would be pretty damn perfect.What do you guys think?"

Link

If they go this route, which works, Iron Man's popularity will transcend comics. As Batman and Superman have.

#40 Posted by batmannflash (6219 posts) - - Show Bio

@novi_homines: Very, very cool! I just think very few, if any, actors could capture what RDJ did as Stark. It's a great idea and it could work. I don't think this applies to just Iron Man, though. It could honestly work for any hero, if done right. Unfortunately, it's unlikely the film industry would do this for any superhero. They could do it for 4-5 movies but won't last nearly as long as the James Bond film industry.

#41 Posted by novi_homines (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

@novi_homines: Very, very cool! I just think very few, if any, actors could capture what RDJ did as Stark. It's a great idea and it could work. I don't think this applies to just Iron Man, though. It could honestly work for any hero, if done right. Unfortunately, it's unlikely the film industry would do this for any superhero. They could do it for 4-5 movies but won't last nearly as long as the James Bond film industry.

Well the film industry has done the same for Batman and Superman for the past 30 to 40 years. Spiderman is entering that field as well, and Iron Man looks to be next. It has already been done. Lol.

#42 Posted by batmannflash (6219 posts) - - Show Bio

@novi_homines: no I mean the part about skipping origins and using the James Bond treatment. Casting new actors and basically stringing all the movies together without a reboot.

the Batman movies have gone through a few reboots. Superman and Spider-Man, a couple. Superhero movies tend to reboot, as will Iron Man. It is most likely that they will reintroduce Iron Man's origin again rather than making a new IM movie every couple years for a really long time with different actors without rebooting(like James Bond).

#43 Edited by novi_homines (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

@novi_homines: no I mean the part about skipping origins and using the James Bond treatment. Casting new actors and basically stringing all the movies together without a reboot.

the Batman movies have gone through a few reboots. Superman and Spider-Man, a couple. Superhero movies tend to reboot, as will Iron Man. It is most likely that they will reintroduce Iron Man's origin again rather than making a new IM movie every couple years for a really long time with different actors without rebooting(like James Bond).

Oh I see what you mean. Well, going off of what Kevin Fiege said, Iron Man looks like he might be the first to do this.

"If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it."

Could start a new trend. I'm surprised that Batman still does reboots, he seems like he could be a character who could pull off being successful without an origin retold. Due to his recognition, and rich history of material.

#44 Posted by batmannflash (6219 posts) - - Show Bio

@novi_homines: Yeah I've been pushing for Batman movies to quit it with the origins. I hope the next Batman move skips the origins and goes straight to him being Batman. It seems unlikely for superhero movies. The general film industry usually doesn't think much of superhero movie franchises. They'll rather build a trilogy and be done with it for 5-10 years.

#45 Posted by novi_homines (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

@novi_homines: Yeah I've been pushing for Batman movies to quit it with the origins. I hope the next Batman move skips the origins and goes straight to him being Batman. It seems unlikely for superhero movies. The general film industry usually doesn't think much of superhero movie franchises. They'll rather build a trilogy and be done with it for 5-10 years.

true.

#46 Posted by slade_wilson (461 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.