The MCU’s Government Never Understood Superheroes – And Iron Patriot Proved That

Over the years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown and expanded in ways that drastically changed the world for those that live on it. While Iron Man and Captain America represented an era of heroes that weren’t as prevalent, the MCU’s Phase 4 and beyond have shown that normalcy is not what it used to be and there’s no stopping the global expansion of heroes and villains. As a result, the government has tried to get a handle on things to no avail. Their first attempt in Iron Man 3 in particular showed how little politicians understood the world’s superheroes.

Iron Patriot was the second iteration of the War Machine armor that was meant to test well with the masses and also bridge the gap between the world’s heroes and US government. While people responded to it well, it ultimately didn’t last long. Even Tony Stark would make fun of the look and likely made the Iron Patriot Mark II as a joke. However, the armaments were very much not a joke, in Avengers: Endgame. Nevertheless, Iron Patriot was meant to be a symbol of good faith but was instead the spark of a long Cold War between the government and the world’s heroes.

Iron Patriot Symbolized a Growing Issue in the MCU

After the Avengers saved New York City from Loki and the Chitauri, the question of how the world could regulate heroes that destroyed so much in battle arose. Not long after, Iron Patriot appeared as a beacon of progress that showed heroes and politicians could work together. But when Aldrich Killian twisted the suit’s message by trapping President Ellis in it and trying to kill him, the design was returned. After the events of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s dismantling, Sokovia and the events in Lagos, government officials knew that regulation was necessary. This led to the Sokovia Accords and the subsequent superhero civil war. However, the concept of control — the same concept Steve Rogers was worried about — was actually teased with the Iron Patriot armor.

While the outside look of the armor was meant to promote a strong connection between heroes and the government, Rhodey’s suit also carried a more secretive message: eventually, those that wore suits and masks would have to report to a higher power at some point. Controlling the heroes of the MCU meant that the possibility of collateral damage could be lowered as they would decide the missions they’d go on. However, saving lives can’t be decided from behind a desk and this fundamental conflict would be brought to life in Captain America: Civil War. As a result, Iron Patriot’s importance and what he signified in the MCU was how there would always be a conflict between heroes and people in power.

Iron Patriot Symbolized a Long Battle Between Superheroes and Politics

While the presence of Iron Patriot was supposed to be a positive sign for the MCU, it instead has grown to become a larger symbol for the Cold War between heroes and politicians. Since the superhero civil war, the government was left to lick its wounds after the Sokovia Accords were repealed. Then, in another slight to the hero community, Steve Rogers’ shield was used to sell another Captain America to the masses in John Walker. To make matters worse, as they tried to show unity the same way they had with Iron Patriot, Sam Wilson exposed how poorly those displaced from The Blip were treated by the GRC.

With Secret Invasion on the horizon, the government must contend with the coming threat of Skrulls that have infiltrated high-ranking locations. This may even include the presidency, weven though Rhodey has been operating closely with the President. Considering no other heroes will be in the series aside from Rhodey, it could also set up another change for politicians to put the blame on heroes for these growing threats. The government could thus make another attempt at controlling heroes. Needless to say, the platform on which heroes and politicians stand in the MCU has become shakier than ever. But as fans look back, it’s clear that although these issues were inevitable, it was the Iron Patriot that served as a subtle warning of things to come.

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