Iron Man versus Wolverine. Invincible armor against indestructible adamantium. A narcissistic American industrialist going toe-to-toe with a feral Canadian psychopath. A dynamic duo of self-involved assholery, finding ways to thwart the forces of evil despite themselves, with not one but two superhero franchises apiece.
Disclaimer: As this is Big, Loud, Summer Movie Month at DWH, this fictional superhero smackdown is based entirely on the cinematic incarnations of the superheroes in question. No pulling comics lore out of your butt and telling me I’m wrong.
Iron Man is the star of three excuses to film enormous explosions under the guise of plot, as well as The Avengers, which was just an excuse to film enormous explosions with a CG Hulk. Iron Man’s alter-ego is Robert Downey Jr., billionaire playboy and inventor. He’s basically Batman with a sense of humor and a lack of brooding. (He replaces the brooding with alcohol.)
Wolverine is a main protagonist in four movies, two of which should probably never be spoken of. A fifth movie, the imaginatively titled The Wolverine, is out next month. By day, Wolverine is a tiny ball of stabby fury; by night, it’s basically the same, only with the better part of a six-pack in him. Occasionally he sings.
|Pictured here: A Badass Superhero|
Explosions that probably should have killed him have seemingly no effect on Iron Man, but his suit is prone to failing indiscriminately during suspense-raising story moments. Tony Stark, meanwhile, is susceptible to hot women and has averse reactions to listening to you.
Wolverine thinks nothing of repeatedly being shot in the head. He does, however, have recurring nightmares about magnets.
Iron Man has committed war crimes against a bunch of terrorists, the Dude, Mickey Rourke, and a greedy businessman; probably genocided an entire race of aliens; and then ratted out Ghandi and that guy who can’t remember good.
Wolverine, in turn, has gone stab-happy on a furry wrestler, Gandalf the Grey, a bunch of grunts in body armor (right in front of impressionable kids!), Lady Deathstrike, Brian Cox, secessionists, Nazis, A Character I Refuse To Acknowledge As Deadpool, and what looks to be a buttload ninjas.
For the sake of my own sanity, X-Men 3: The Lamest Shit-Turd of an Excuse for a Sequel Seriouly Why Was It So Bad I HATE YOU BRETT RATNER will not be taken into consideration because I’ve blocked it from my mind and I refuse to be reminded of it.
|Brett Ratner, seen here…ruining everything.|
Wolverine is a hairy bundle of unrelenting murderous fury. He’s nigh-immortal, shrugging off mortal injuries like Nerf darts and fighting in every war known to America (despite being Canadian). Meanwhile, at least one Iron Man suit craps out on Tony Stark in every movie. The entire “big, moving, hero moment” of The Avengers happens precisely because the suit can’t do what Tony wants.
On the flipside, Iron Man is clearly more powerful than Wolverine — he can pick up cars, fire missiles out of his butt, and then fly into space. Tony Stark is smarter, and presumably he has better hygiene.
|Presumably. The bathroom situation in the suit remains unclear.|
While not exactly evenly matched, a fight between Wolverine and Iron Man would still ultimately be a zero-sum game, as each one would counterbalance the other. Iron Man can keep lasering and exploding Wolverine all he wants; Logan’s gonna stand their perpetually healing and insulting Tony Stark’s mama.
Barring a terrible decision or a poorly thought out plot contrivance, Iron Man would know not to get within arms’ length of the furry Canuck – especially once he realized what those claws could do. And, with no Colossus to Fastball Special him into the air (damn it, I referenced X-Men 3), Wolverine wouldn’t be able to do a whole lot to a hovering suit of laser armor. Iron Man would just fly around zapping him until his suit inevitably shit the bed. And, again excluding some time-sensitive plot device, there would be no incentive for Tony Stark not to bug out, go home, and get a bigger and more expensive technological exoskeleton to smack Logan around with.
Philosophy wouldn’t do much to change this fight either. Both Wolverine and Iron Man are fairly skilled at starting shit for little to no reason. And both have a tendecy to let extras explode in the background without a second thought.
In the end, a fight between Iron Man and Wolverine would come down to a mutual love of drinking. Sooner or later, Tony’s going to get bored of lasering his initials into Logan and, in his uniquely Robert Downey Jr. way, suggest the two go get a drink, his treat. Wolverine will gladly acquiese, because a) he’s currently got no skin, and b) he’s the best at what he does, and what he does is get hammered. Tony’ll talk his way out of getting stabbed in the face at the bar, Logan will let it go because free beer, and then the night ends at a strip club. Everybody wins. Even the strippers. Because you know Tony tips well.
|The only losers here are moderation and their livers.|
Eirik Gumeny is the author of the Exponential Apocalypse series and has a chapbook of short fiction forthcoming from Kattywompus Press. His work has been published online a lot, in print occasionally, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize at least once. His website is egumeny.com.