As one would expect, the game is based on the first two movies in the Iron Man film series, about genius billionaire industrialist Tony Stark and his various suits of Powered Armor. Defeat Ivan "Whiplash" Vanko and his energy whips, shoot down Justin Hammer's computerized drones, then face Obidiah Stane in his Iron Monger suit when it rises out of the playfield. Engage the US Air Force in aerial dogfights, rescue Jim Rhodes to recruit his War Machine armor, then unleash the Jericho Missile Mayhem and "Do Or Die" modes for some explosive high-scoring action, all to the tune of an original soundtrack and accompanied by digitized film clips.
In Fall 2010, Stern announced "Iron Man Classic," another attempt to reach the home marketnote with a lower-priced alternative (around $1,400 lower than the original). Compared to the arcade game, the "Classic" removes several game elements, such as the kickback mechanism and the playfield magnets, while the cabinet incorporates various cost-saving manufacturing techniques.
In Spring 2014, Stern announced a remake of the Pro version of this game as the first entry in their Stern Vault series. It was given another run in 2020.
The Iron Man pinball by Stern demonstrates the following tropes:
- 1-Up: Averted; Iron Man is a rare modern-day pinball game that doesn't have any awards for Extra Balls & Specials besides a lucky SHIELD Award.
- Chest Blaster: The final indicator in the Mark Ladder is Iron Man's Arc Reactor, which lights up when the Mark VI Armor is reached. The lower playfield is drawn to resemble Iron Man's upper torso to further tie into the trope.
- Combos: Downplayed. Shooting a Bogey ramp in succession after the other one will double the points that would have otherwise been awarded.
- Large and in Charge: The massive Iron Monger is the most prominent antagonist in the game, even though there are more characters from Iron Man 2 featured overall.
- Match Sequence: Iron Man lands (and crashes into) his garage, then gets sprayed by his household robot with firefighting foam, with the match number appearing in the mess.
- Nintendo Hard: This game is notorious for forcing the player to make dangerous shots to advance progress, as well as unusually unforgiving outlanes. Getting to the Wizard Mode is considered to be a remarkable feat even by skilled pinball players.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: The table features War Machine, Iron Monger, and Whiplash action figures from Hasbro.
- The Remake: The "Iron Man Pro Vault Edition", which takes the Pro version of the original but adds LED lighting, updated cabinet construction, and molded one-piece playfield figures.
- Score Multiplier:
- The Iron Man targets enable several temporary multipliers: "Fast Scoring" (all switches are worth at least 10k), "Double Scoring" (all scores are doubled), and "Ironman Scoring" (shoot targets for 1 million hurry up).
- If the Do Or Die hurry-up is collected, Jericho will be started and the values will be doubled.
- Secondary Adaptation: The game is based on Iron Man and Iron Man 2, themselves adaptations of the original Iron Man comics.
- Skill Shot: A standard lit upper lane skill shot is available, though foregoing it by short-plunging awards a M-O-N-G-E-R letter.
- Spelling Bonus:
- Played straight with Iron Monger, as spelling M-O-N-G-E-R enables the Iron Monger Multiball mode. During the mode itself, spelling M-O-N-G-E-R will make it recede and light the Super Jackpot.
- Played with for Iron Man himself; spelling I-R-O-N-M-A-N starts various timed Score Multiplier modes, but the letters only appear on the dot-matrix display. The playfield targets are labeled only with pictures of Iron Man, as Marvel refused to allow "IRON" and "MAN" to appear on separate sides of the playfield.
- Whip It Good: Averted by Whiplash's action figure, who's missing his iconic whips.
- Wizard Mode: The game has two sub-Wizard Modes and a genuine Nintendo Hard-to-reach Wizard Mode.
- The first sub-Wizard Mode is "Jericho Missile Mayhem", available after advancing the armor to Mark VI. The player must complete six tasks/targets; achieving each one awards a progressively larger reward, and doing all of them yields an extra 50 million points.
- The second sub-Wizard Mode is "Do Or Die", which is enabled after collecting Iron Man and War Machine, defeating Iron Monger and Whiplash, and defeat two sets of Drones — all with one ball. Shoot the center lane to start a 50 million point countdown, then shoot it again to collect the current value.
- The actual Wizard Mode is "Do Or Die Multiball", which is only available by collecting Iron Man three times, getting the Super Jackpot for War Machine, Iron Monger, and Whiplash, and defeating four sets of Drones. This is a three-ball multiball, where shooting the Bogey ramps collects the Jackpot, and hitting key targets raises them. The player with the highest score is recognized as the "Do or Die Multiball Champion".