7. Tony Stark
Actor: Robert Downey Jr.
“I am Iron Man” -Tony Stark
The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t possible without Tony Stark. That’s the short of it. Iron Man was a risk for Marvel Studios. Comic book fans know him and his armor is recognized by comic book novices. That isn’t enough to start a franchise. What is enough is bringing in Robert Downey Jr. A man who lived a fast life and came out on the other side. That’s the epitome of who Tony Stark is.
After Iron Man was released in 2008, Robert Downey Jr. went on to lead the MCU into the Promised Land. He was the cool hero who swore, drank, and had a cool look. Or, as he put it, he’s a “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” He proved this to be true thereafter.
You can’t talk about Iron Man and not mention The Avengers films. In the first movie, he saves the world with no regard for his well-being. A move that Steve Rogers didn’t think Stark was capable of. Age of Ultron wasn’t his finest moment (creating Ultron and all), but it was necessary. It set up his issues with Steve Rogers during Civil War and Infinity War.
Lastly, there’s the heroic ending of Iron Man. A moment that is regarded as an iconic comic book movie moment. It also helped Tony’s time in the MCU come full circle. Tony went from a man seeking attention to sacrificing himself to save the universe.