From the old days Iron Man vs. Titantium Man. The battle starts at the end of one issue with Tony clearly facing a tough enemy, second issue of the fat has Tony struggling to survive against Titanium Man and it doesn't help his suit is missing a critical component. Happy Hogan gets a moment where he retrieves the piece and dashes for Iron Man only to be wounded. Then a furious Tony Stark vows to make sure Happy's avenged and spends the next issue curb stomping the Titanium Man.
Pretty much Demon In The Bottle on a meta level for tackling alcoholism realistically.
Not so meta is Iron Man taking on a dozen villains, most B and C listers, but still that's some tough odds.
Iron Man Vol. 1, #200. Stark is finally taking the fight to Obadiah Stane after so long being his drunken Butt Monkey. In the ensuing battle in the very corporate building that Stane stole from him, Iron Man is trapped in a room with Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan held unconscious. Stane comes on a comm screen and tells him that if he moves, motion sensors would detect it and send a killer surge of electricity to kill his hostages, which means Iron Man will be forced to starve to death rather than kill his friends. After an arrogant rant, Stane signs off with a smug farewell, certain of the horrible, lingering and inescapable death he has just condemned Stark to. Against this, Stark has only one thought, "Don't count me out, Stane," as he calmly uses his greatest advantage against Stane, his incredible inventive intelligence, as he calmly scans the room and finds a critical power conduit point within the firing arc of his chest piece's unibeam weapon, which is fired strictly by a neura-link and defeats the deathtrap and rescues the hostages in seconds.
Iron Man vol. 1, #259. The Living Laser - disguised as the ghost of the Titanium Man - has critically damaged a nuclear power plant... and Tony has about 70 seconds before it blows. So, he digs it out of the ground, lifts the entire structure, flies it out to sea, dumps it in the drink, digs it a half mile into the silt at the bottom and manages to get out of there seven seconds before it blows. As a feat of strength, it's not been matched by him yet. Throughout, he remains cool, calm and collected, as if it were no more than trying to get a leaky garbage bag out of an appartment without dripping on the carpet.
Iron Man vol. 1 #300. Not only does the Modular Armor debut, but so does the Iron Legion. Rhodey (War Machine), Michael O'Brien (the Guardsman), Bethany Cabe, Happy Hogan, Carl Walker (Force) and Eddie March (who was Iron Man briefly when Tony retired) take to the sky in armor to fight Ultimo.
During the "World's Most Wanted" arc, Tony manages to protect the identities of his fellow heroes and humiliate Norman Osborne, all while his brain is slowly destroyed and he goes backwards through his armors until he fights Osborne in his original. Let me repeat that: Tony Stark, near brain-death and in an armor which he admits was built in a cave (WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!), takes on Norman Osborne, at the time the de facto head of the United States and wielding the most up-to-date repainted Iron Man suit. Naturally, Tony's terrible, but that's how he wins: by shaming Osborne in front of the media. Then he royally screws over Osborne while comatose by having Don Blake, a.k.a. The Mighty Thor appointed his doctor so that he won't have his life support terminated.
During the Dark Reign story arc, when Norman Osborn (dressed in Iron Man derivative 'Iron Patriot' armor) finally catches up with the near braindead Tony Stark, and proceeds to pummel him into the ground. And after deleting his brain, evading every government on the planet, reassembling every Iron Man suit he'd ever owned, and finally getting the snot knocked out of him, what does Tony have to say? "I win." Norman, you have just been pwn'd in the hardest of cores.
Another one from Dark Reign, Invincible Iron Man 17-18. Pepper Potts successfully infiltrates the H.A.M.M.E.R Helicarrier and frees Maria Hill and Black Widow by impersonating Madame Masque(wich tried to kill her and Tony and failed), I'm not usually fooled by gambits like this but this one got me by surprise, and it was AWESOME.
"Jarvis, sometimes you gotta run before you can walk." And then Tony Stark and his brand new Mark II suit don't walk or run.....he FLIES!
"Yeah. I can fly."
Tony Stark, where he hero-dodges a tank shot and returns fire with a miniature rocket launched from his forearm. It hits the tank and makes a tiny "clang" sound, seemingly doing nothing. Tony turns around and starts to walk away. Then the tank explodes. A whole new level of movie Super Hero awesomeness!
This moment was perhaps better in the trailer, as it had Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" playing as he walked, his steps in time with the opening riff.
After Tony has been captured and is moping (understandably) that he'll probably be dead in a week no matter what, Yinsen has a very quiet CMOA: "Well, then this is a very important week for you." In one line, he helps Tony find his inner hero.
Stark's introductory speech for the Jericho Missile:
Tony Stark: Is it better to be feared, or respected? I'd say: "Is it too much to ask for both?" With that in mind I humbly present you the crown jewel of Stark Industries' Freedom Line. It's the first missile system to incorporate the latest in proprietary Repulsor Technology. Today, they say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree; I prefer... the weapon you only need to fire once. That's how Dad did it, THAT'S HOW AMERICA DOES IT... and it's worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee you the bad guys won't even wanna come out of their caves.
(Instructs the operator to fire one of the missiles...)
Tony: For your consideration... the Jericho. (The mountainside behind him explodes)
Pepper Potts gets her moment when she verbally serves Christine Everheart, after she joins the list of the many, many women Stark has slept with and subsequently dumped.
Christine: After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the drycleaning? Pepper Potts: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including, occasionally, taking out the trash. Would that be all?
She gets a better one later on when the villain, Obadiah Stane, walks in on her as she's uncovering all the incriminating evidence against him in his laptop. She keeps her cool, smoothly covers up what she's been doing (clicking off the screen she was on, casually draping that day's newspaper over the device she's been using to hack his files), pretends to go along with his conversation, than walks out the room with the memory stick carrying the incriminating files in her pocket. By the time Stane realizes what she was up to (just seconds later), she's talking to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, telling him everything.
Tony survives getting shot at in his crude Mark I suit when leaving the terrorist hideout. He waits until they stops firing, and then says, "My turn." And breaks out the flamethrower.
The flamethrowersakimbo. Additionally, right after a terrorist shoots the Mk. I in a joint, dropping Stark to one knee, there is an incredibly badass shot of the fire from an explosion fading to reveal Tony Stark, down but not out, firing his flamethrower.
When Obadiah Stane is trying to get his scientists to miniaturize the arc reactor in order to power his Iron Monger suit. All but one of them immediately leave when they see him enter the room, leaving the last one to try to explain their failure to do what he wanted. The lone scientist eventually tells Stane to his face that miniaturizing the reactor is impossible.
The entire village rescue scene: Stark suits up, flies halfway around the world, then defeats all of the terrorists in under a minute. This is what you call a Curbstomp Battle.
Making it more awesome, is that this is Tony first Big Damn Heroes: While tinkering with a forearm from his armor, Stark is watching an international news report on a town ravaged by the black-market trade in his company's weapons. As the on-screen scenes get more and more disturbing, the palm repulsor brightens a bit while Tony's face darkens. Just after Stark suits up in the Mark III for the first time, he flies to the besieged town of Gulmira. Meanwhile, the Ten Rings terrorists are rounding up the village's men and generally being violently disruptive assholes, when one innocent man refuses to go any farther with them. This dude is about to catch a bullet for his trouble, right in front of his horrified, screaming wife and kids, when the boy suddenly hears a roaring sound overhead. Cue Iron Man's Dynamic Entry THUD.
Iron Man gut-punching some idiot stupid enough to fire a gun at him. When he's reached a point wherein he has to risk killing a bunch of women-and-children hostages in order to get at the terrorists, he targets each one and collectively shoots them in the heads without touching a hair on the hostages' heads. The terrorist leader couldn't hide from him for long. After taking on the terrorist group, Tony throws The Leader to the refugees stating "he's all yours."
Luring Iron Monger into high altitude where the suit freezes and falls. Especially because Monger is so sure of Iron Man's inevitable destruction given the tone of his ranting, Stark's response is said in such a condescending I-know-something-you-don't-know tone that you can't help but laugh:
Also, Samuel L. Jackson's appearance as Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD in The Stinger. Then he says: "I'd like to talk to you about the "Avenger Initiative".
He also deactivates JARVIS, which trivial as it is, demonstrates something important about SHIELD; as brilliant and smug as Stark is, SHIELD still has his number.
The final scene before the credits, where Tony is shoved onstage by SHIELD to make an excuse for who Iron Man is... and then just outright admits that yes, he is Iron Man. The reporters all go insane. Cue the Black Sabbath!
Even more awesome when you realize that is in there just to cue the song. More awesomeness ensues.
A very subtle Crowning Moment of Awesome also goes to the reporter Tony formerly dumped, Christine Everheart, who asks the question that spurs Tony to his decision. Watch closely as the reporters all leap to their feet: she is the only one who stays seated in exactly the same position, as if to say, "Yeah — I Knew It."
The part where Tony realizes just how effective his repulsors are as weapons by blowing out the glass in his workshop with them. It goes something like this: After being enraged by the deaths caused by the terrorist group that captured him, he accidentally blows out a window in his workshop. He's surprised, then get's serious again as he proceeds to blow out every window in turn.
Downey Jr. sums up the movie, his portrayal of Tony Stark, and what he'll be (to us) for the rest of his life, in one simple quote:
I am Iron Man.
The majority of the preceding examples fall into the category of Moment of Awesome for Tony Stark, Hero. THE Crowning Moment of Awesome for Tony Stark, Smartass Genius Playboy, occurs when it turns out that the flight attendants on his plane are strippers...complete with a brass pole that rises out of the floor.
Making it even more awesome is that this is taking place while Tony is having a deep, heart-to-heart conversation with a drunk Jimmy Rhodes, who in the previous scene was not only absolutely infuriated by something Tony did, but was completely refusing to drink anything.
Obadiah goes into a tent, leaving his guards standing in the center of the cars he just came in, surrounded by terrorists. Then he kills paralyses the terrorist leader, and comes outside, to reveal that his guards have captured and disarmed all of the terrorists-who had them in a perfect crossfire-without firing a shot.
The way Obadiah paralyses the terrorist leader deserves mention. When the leader makes his proposal, Obadiah puts his hand on his shoulder in the same "jolly old uncle" manner he has acted as throughout the film, flips out the device, and when the leader is immobilised, he tells him coldly:
This is the only gift you'll receive.
The novelization of the film included a moment for Tony: At the climax of the final battle, after Pepper has hit all the buttons and launched the EMP, freezing both Tony and Stane and collapsing the roof, Stane begins to fall into the reactor, but has enough time to give a speech rife with Contemplate Our Navels:
Stane:I guess this is a draw. The genie is out of the bottle. We've done our part. We've brought a great gift to the world and now it is time to go. That is the law of nature, Tony.
Stane falls into the reactor. Tony watches him, feeling nothing.
Casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark. Pure and simple.
The fighter pilot who looks like he's about to not appear in Iron Man 2..but then; Stark catches the falling pilot and unjams his parachute. Made. Of. Win.
In a deleted scene, Rhodes saves Stark by ramming his car into Stane, who flies into a bus and explodes. Quite awesome. Not as awesome as Stane's death scene WITHIN the movie, but still.
Another deleted scene that was still pretty awesome: during the opening ambush, Tony Stark actually picked up a weapon and returned fire on the ambushers. I can understand why it would be removed - to better show how Tony Took a Level in Badass later on after being captured - but still, that was pretty damn badass that a spoiled, irresponsible playboy had enough wits about him to at least shoot back.
Not that he didn't have a pair before, but this is the moment where you know
Pepper: Tony, you know that I would help you with anything, but I cannot help you if you're going to start all this again.
Tony: There is nothing except this. There's no art opening, no charity, nothing to sign. There's the next mission, and nothing else.
Inches? Look closer: he scrapes the damn pavement.
And all while the Awesome Music track "Driving With The Top Down" by composer Ramin Djawadi is blasting in the background.
Iron Man vs. Iron Monger. One of the best superhero vs. supervillain fight scenes ever. Even if the beginning is Stane giving Tony a No Holds Barred Beat Down (Which is one hell of a Awesome Moment for Stane), both Iron Man and Iron Monger show us how undeniably badass they truly are.
When the Mk I suit comes to life. All the lights go out, and all you can hear is the suit powering up and taking it's first step.
How about the reporter lady, coming up to Tony at the party and showing him photographic proof of Obadiah's double-dealing? What makes this better is that she put aside her spontaneous one-night stand with him to tell him that.
It's a sweet moment, Tony takes off on repulsor only for Stane to not be down and out. Stane swings at Tony, Tony ducks and tries to shoot the repulsor he just took off. So he uses his remaining one to jump up and slug Stane across the face plate.
Iron Man 2
It also gave us a Breaking Speech from Whiplash delivered in Mickey Rourke's trademark rumble (with a Russian accent no less) describing how the Stark family is built on lies and thievery and how they will meet their fate. This is followed by him cutting a Formula One car in half with a single strike of his whips, then skipping down the track and slamming his whips into the pavement before cutting to a shot of him laughing. Just from the trailer it's clear Whiplash is gonna be a badass.
Whiplash: You come from a family of thieves and butchers. And now, like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your own history. And you forget all the lives the Stark family has destroyed. There will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come.
From a trailer:
If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in him. I just have to sit here and watch as the world consumes you.
Countered by Tony's wonderful Shut Up, Hannibal!: "And where will you be watching all this from? Oh yeah, inside a jail cell. Bye. Recountered by Vanko by telling Tony that he knows Tony is going to die a painful death due to the Palladium Poisoning and he says it with a smile on his face.
There's Tony jumping out of the back of a plane, flying down into a building and... robots taking the armour off, revealing a tuxedo in front of a cheering audience. He has a high-kicking Iron Man-ettes chorus line!
Whiplash's escape from prison. He nonchalantly kills his fellow prisoner, arms a plastic explosive, kills a guard attempting to accost him, and walks away from his cell's explosion like it was all a walk in the park for him. Badass.
Also one for Justin Hammer who had organised the escape in the first place and especially impressive considering how incompetent he is in the rest of the movie.
The Senate hearing for Stark. From the beginning, he is unflappable and verbally serves the chair of the committee several times:
Stark: I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on which state you're in. You can't have it.
Senator Stern: Look, ah, I'm, um, no expert on-
Stark: On prostitution? Of course not, you're a Senator, come on!
As the hearing continues and Stark's rival, Justin Hammer, tries to testify against him by showing evidence of other "Iron Man" suits being built, Stark effortlessly hacks into federal computers with a PDA and zooms satellite imagery in enough to show that these suits are nothing to worry about — including Hammer's own pathetic attempts. Stark then goes on to espouse how much of a hero he really is for having taken care of several threats as Iron Man and finishes it off with this bold statement:
Stark: I have successfully privatized world peace!
Cue the senator's response:
Senator Stern: *BLEEP* you, mister Stark. *BLEEP* you, buddy!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier adds to this. Senator Steen is revealed to be a HYDRA Agent who was likely going to give them the suits if he won. Tony, by accident, went head to head with HYDRA, without even knowing it and won.
The briefcase suit. Seriously, the briefcase-Transformation Sequence has got to be one of the most salivating Technology Porn moments in the history of film. Can the suit really fit into it? Does the suit's weight difference between briefcase and suit make any sense? Does it make sense for him to go through a twenty-second-long Transformation Sequence while Ivan Vanko could easily give him a good smack with his whips? Who cares? It was so awesome that when it was revealed in one of the trailers, bloggers the world over had a nerdgasm and used that screenshot for their posts.
Let's give a hand to the SFX people for pulling off something that's been done for forty years in the comics but seemed impossible to do on film: make a suitcase armor realistic.
During the climax, Tony and Rhodey, fully armoured Back-to-Back Badasses, find themselves trapped in a "killbox" surrounded by armoured drones on all sides. What did they do? Tony unleashed Iron Man-fu, repulsor blasts all over, and finished them off with a 360 degree death blossom. War Machine let the hot lead fly, and his shoulder cannon fired behind him taking out multiple targets. The two of them lit up the screen and the audience let out a holy shiiit.
The 360-degree laser attack is a CMOA on its own.
Lt. Col. Jim Rhodes finally shows us how he earned his stripes and why he is Tony's best friend: he hijacks Tony's Mark II suit while Tony is going on a ridiculous bender at his birthday party, walks upstairs to deliver a What the Hell, Hero? in full armor, and manages to go toe-to-toe with Tony in a brawl despite his suit not being as advanced and this being the first time he had ever stepped into it! Awesome for two reasons: it was a well-deserved slap in the face to Tony, and it showed that when pushed to his wit's end, "Rhodey" is not someone to be trifled with and will have the balls to stand up to even Iron Man. Not to mention how this scene introduces the Chekhov's Gun that when repulsor blasts hit each other, things go very big boom.
The music playing during that scene was RobotRock!
AC/DC only have two songs in the movie, but John Debney definitely earned his paycheck with the score!
Tony Stark has a problem: he is slowly dying from the arc reactor in his chest, powered by palladium - which is poisoning him. No suitable element exists as an alternative, and the technology to create an element that would be a suitable alternative doesn't exist, so what does Tony do? He spontaneously invents the technology needed to create a brand new element to custom requirements, props it up with a replica of Captain America's shield, and makes the right element himself!
Even more awesome given what we now know about where the Arc Reactor concept came from. Tony successfully reverse engineered the Cosmic Cube!
Happy Hogan. Just the Plucky Comic Relief, right? Sure, apart from the scene where he drives a normal car on a F1 track, in the opposite direction of the F1 cars, and rams the car into Whiplash. Then, when Whiplash starts moving, he does it again. Awesome.
Also, Happy Hogan himself taking down one of Hammer's guards after a long struggle; doubles as a Funny Moment thanks to Black Widow.
Whiplash has another one. We last see him without his shoes, pillows, and parrot and there are two big guards keeping an eye on him until Justin returns from the expo so they can re-negotiate their contract. Next we see him, there's blood on his hands, he's typing away to start up the movie's climax, and those guards are, shall we say, tied up? Genius Bruiser indeed.
Also, before they cut away, the burd has been put in a bag. When they come back, the burd is on Vanko's shoulder again.
I thought it was awesome when Tony was trying to irritate Agent Coulson, who had been sent to make sure he didn't leave the premises. Coulson grins and replies that he'd tase Tony and then watch Super Nanny while our hero twitches and drools on the ground.
The smarmy senator that Tony has been using as a verbal chew toy for the entire movie finally getting his moment at the end of the film, as he pins the medal on Tony.. a little too enthusiastically.
Black Widow unleashed in all her glory. During the Climax Black Widow enters Hammer's head office to get to Vanko. She goes through the assembled security like a hot knife through butter, with a mix of martial arts, smoke bombs, taser mines and street fighting. The fact she finishes the last guard with a casual spray of mace and an annoyed look on her face makes it one BadassCrowning Moment Of Awesome.
How about when Happy attempts to hit her while her back is turned, and without looking she beats him with ONE MOVE?
One random little kid standing up to a rampaging robot with his toy Iron Man repulsor. Whether s/he actually thought it would work or he was trying to scare it off is irrelevant; that kid has a pair of brass ones. Tony dropping in, shooting the Hammeroid, and going "Good job!" to the kid before leaving was just the icing on the cake. Whoever that kid is, that has to have been the best night of his life.
Note that this kid probably prevented the deaths of dozens. That Hammeroid was going on a rampage trying to bring down Tony, and probably would have caused massive collateral damage. However, it is clearly shown that the Hammeroid can't tell if the kid is Tony or not, and freezes up.
In Vanko's first attack, how does Iron Man defeat him? By wrapping himself in one of Vanko's whips, which are visibly scarring and damaging the armor he's wearing, and then dragging himself closer so Vanko can't escape, and then punching his lights out. When it comes to showing how impossibly tough the Iron Man suits are, there's nothing better than literally wrapping a car-slicing electrified heat-whip around yourself to take down the bad guy.
A villain moment for Vanko. As he slowly walks down the race track in his jumpsuit and turn it on the exoskeleton to burn his shirt into ribbons.
And then, he energizes his whips and cuts a F-1 race car almost in half.
Tony and Pepper's conversation when Natasha arrives:
Tony: I want one.
Mickey Rourke turned D-List Villain 'Whiplash' into such a remarkable badass, he makes even a simple request into a memorable line:
A little Fridge Logic but the fact that Agent Coulson is even in the second movie is a pretty CMOA moment. Remember how at the end of the last one he went up against Stane in his armor and lived? Despite the other agents that we see getting pretty much massacred? Either he's very lucky or a lot more Bad Ass than anyone realises.
Definitely badass, as "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer" and The Avengers prove. And the best part: rewatching the movies again, it becomes clear that Coulson definitely knows what is going on, and is playing everyone while pretending to be a dumb, harmless, boring federal agent.
It was all a bunch of bluster and hot air and existed mostly as a setup for it's hilarious failure, but taken in and off itself out of context Hammer's description of the "Ex-Wife" mini-bunker-buster is pretty awesome.
These are the Cubans, baby. This is the Cohibas, the Montecristos. This is a kinetic-kill, side-winder vehicle with a secondary cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst. It's capable of busting a bunker under the bunker you just busted. If it were any smarter, it'd write a book, a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon. It would read it to you. This is my Eiffel Tower. This is my Rachmaninoff's Third. My Pieta. It's completely elegant, it's bafflingly beautiful, and it's capable of reducing the population of any standing structure to zero. I call it "The Ex-Wife."
Similarly, while there is a dark undertone to it from what the audience knows will happen, out-of-context, the debut of the Hammeroids and War Machine was pretty damn cool. The fact that each Hammeroid for each branch of the service is introduced with each service's individual theme...Say what you will abouttheguy, but Justin knows how to present a product.
Genius Bonus on Hammer's sales pitch speech. Two things he says gives away just how full of crap he is, and how much intelligence he actually possesses. First, he rattles off the full chemical name then follows it up with the letter abbreviation of the same name. He is just quoting a spec sheet. Second, Ulysses WAS written in crayon. James Joyce's eyes were failing him, and he used crayon so he could see his writing better.
In a small moment, overshadowed by Natalie's introduction, Tony and Happy are sparring in the gym. Tony takes his focus off of Happy for a moment to discuss something with Pepper. Happy takes the moment to tell Tony "Never take your eye off your opponent", and Tony turns right around and pounds Happy right into the corner. Suitless doesn't necessarily mean defenseless.
Followed up by Happy trying the same thing on Natalie and getting caught in a hurricanrana armbar for his trouble.
Iron Man 3
Jarvis tells Tony he can only carry four people with the suit after thirteen people had been sucked out of a breaking Air Force One plane. Iron Man then saves them all anyway, gives a little "yay team, yadda yadda yadda, whatever, I'm gonna go now" speech, and promptly flies into the path of semi and breaks into several pieces... before the scene flashes to Tony using remote controls to do all of this.
Iron Man 3 proves that the original build-a-suit-in-a-cave-with-a-box-of-scraps feat was not a fluke, and did not depend on terrorists with military-grade weaponry. Stranded in rural Tennessee, Tony builds a bunch of Improvised Weapons, with parts he bought at the local hardware store and some borrowed children's toys, in an auto mechanic's garage. A long-neglected garage, for that matter. And while the weapons he builds are not as effective armor as even the Mark 1, he did it in only a day.
Problem: it's Tony Stark, Jim Rhodes, and 40 or so suits of armor against all the bad guys. The armors can be piloted by Jarvis, but much less effectively than with a human inside them. Tony can just jump from armor to armor, but none of those are fitted for Rhodey. He has to get his own armor back for that. So he does. Even though it's suspended by cranes, over a Death Trap, with the President as hostage inside it, in the middle of a huge battle. Very Bad Ass.
Pepper fumbles and Does Not Know Her Own Strength in armor near the beginning, because it is one of her first times inside the armor, if not the very first. Presumably she's a fast learner, though, because once she has Extremis powers she can put them to good use and kill Killian herself.