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Cinematic Storytelling, Episode 1

"You admire a character for trying more than for their successes." Emma Coats, Pixar.

Iron Man is defeated by Thanos

Two of the greatest cinematic storytellers of our generation are Pixar and Marvel, both of whom have produced dozens of well-told movies and grown huge fan bases. Their success can be attributed to rules and formulas that they consistently adhere to, that make each story compelling to the audience. Emma Coats, from Pixar, codified some of these rules, and I'd like to take a look at specific examples how Marvel follows each one.

I would be the first to confess that I am strictly on "Team Cap," when it comes to the Civil War conflict. Yet, in the aftermath of Infinity War and Endgame, I have come to realize the strength and appeal of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark.

Stark, throughout his character arc, develops an obsession with the protection of Earth, partially due to his inability to protect his parents from being assassinated, and then later compounded by his catastrophic decision to build an AI to defend the planet, which turned against him. He shows his caring and nurturing sides through his paramour, Pepper Potts, and his protege, Peter Parker.

When Thanos wipes out half of the life in the universe, including Peter Parker, this devastates Stark. And this is the true test of his character. He was killed in the battle against the Chitauri in the first Avengers movie. He was defeated by his former friend, Steve Rogers, when they disagreed on gray moral issues. But when he utterly fails to stop Thanos, it causes him to doubt all of his talent and technology, and even his purpose in life.

The most meaningful scenes that you will ever see that feature Iron Man are not his victories, but the effort that shows on his face in the process of defeat. This is what gives Tony Stark his depth of character.