No way would Tony blow his suits up. No. Way.
This scene is so out of character. Tony’s suits mean everything to him. Everything. The Mark I wasn’t just a means of escape from the cave, it was representative of a new beginning Tony’s suits gave him a means to change his life. To redirect his focus into helping people. There is a panel (and damn if I can find it) where he is sitting in front of them and he calls them his ‘babies’.
He spent all his time and energy and resources building them for a reason. Not just to assuage his fears (according to mcu) but to be sure they are cutting edge and capable of saving those who can’t save themselves (comic cannon). Even when he has Extremis he keeps his suits.
Tony is one of the most compassionate male characters in fiction. If he has to sacrifice himself to save another, he will. Without a moments thought for himself. The suits aid him in this. They physically enable him to be a better man. The man he wants so desperately to be. And yet according to mcu cannon he would blow them up just to make Pepper happy? No. Just no.
No way. No way in hell would he destroy them. Not for Pepper, Not for Steve. Not for anyone. He says it in Iron Man 1: “there is nothing but the next mission’. To imply that Tony would give it all up for love is to diminish his character so horribly. Tony is NOT a self centered man. To have him give in for Pepper is to imply that he thinks only of himself, his own future happiness That is not the kind of futurist Tony is. He knows, he inherently just knows that those suits will help him assist in the future of this planet. He would never put himself and his own happiness first. Never. You can see the look on his face when Jarvis blows them up. He knows it isn’t right. He is not at all comfortable with this move. Being an Avenger means everything to Tony. That he would imply he will give it all up for Pepper is wrong, so very wrong. Regardless of if they are going to put in Avengers 2 that Tony now has Extremis, the fact of the matter is that they didn’t clarify it at all in IM3 and we are left believing he doesn’t and that he has in fact blown them all up to make Pepper happy.
Tony has killed to keep the suit out of enemy hands. He has bled for that damn suit. He has lost friends and family because of it. He has literally lost his mind to keep the suit and others safe and to have him give it up for one person? No. Tony is Iron Man whether he is encased bodily in the suit or if the suit is implanted within him.
When Tony says ‘the suit and I are one’ he means it. Down to his very soul, the man means it.
Ok, I really feel like I have to make a distinction here.
Tony and the suit are one, that is true. Tony is always Iron Man, whether he is in the suit or out of it.
But Tony Stark DID NOT DESTROY THOSE SUITS FOR PEPPER. HE DID NOT HAVE THE ARC REACTOR TAKEN OUT OF HIS CHEST FOR PEPPER. AND JUST BECAUSE HE DESTROYED THOSE VERSIONS OF HIS SUIT DOES NOT, AND WILL NEVER, STOP HIM FROM BEING IRON MAN.
Tony Stark was suffering from anxiety and PTSD in Iron Man 3. And that anxiety and constant fear of being attacked expressed itself in the form of creating suits. He created a total of 35 extra suits out of fear. 35
These are not Iron Man suits.
You can see it plain as day, and Tony acknowledges very early into the movie that he is creating these suits out of fear. He knows that he’s messed up and that he’s not thinking straight, but he can’t stop, because that’s what PTSD and anxiety do! And It was stopping him from being Iron Man. The Iron Man suits, the real Iron Man suits, that he created to help people, to help channel his rage and focus since Afghanistan, they were destroyed my the Mandarin.
Tony is destroying these suits, not for Pepper, but for himself. And that is not selfish in the way your describing, because you’re implying that Tony NEEDED all over these different types of suits to save the world: he doesn’t, and he knows that.
And Tony taking the shrapnel out of his chest and getting rid of the arc reactor is another form of getting rid of fear from his life. Because what Tony comes to realize through this movie, is that he cannot be Iron Man if he is controlled by fear, if he locks himself away in his lab building suit after suit after suit.
Tony Stark is incredibly selfless, everyone knows that. But that doesn’t mean he can’t recognize that sometimes protecting people and looking out for his own happiness are the same thing. He cannot help anyone if he lets his anxiety control his life; he cannot save Pepper or Rhodey or Happy or anyone else on the planet. And those suits were the literal incarnation of his fears, and they were not necessary, so he destroyed them for his own piece of mind.
Iron Man 3 was about Tony learning that he cannot allow fear to control his life. It was also about him recognizing that he did not need 42 different types of suits to be Iron Man. So Tony will rebuild his old red and gold suits, he will learn how to move on from New York, and he will save the world because it is what he does best and fuck anyone who thinks he can’t.
Tony Stark is Iron Man, and he and the suit are one. But there is a difference between a man in an Iron Man suit, and Iron Man in the Iron Man suit.