To a great extent, superheroes being regular Joes with faults and how people can achieve success not in spite of their faults, but because of them applies to both Man of Steel & Iron Man.
In general, the role and purpose of a superhero is to be a beacon of hope, have integrity and any other value similar to these as well as protecting the public and saving lives. In the case of Superman and Iron Man, their general purposes and roles were the same however they also have their own individual purposes. For example, Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) initial was to create weapons that would protect America. However, when he saw the destructive power of his weapons, he felt that he needed to use his tech mind to help, not harm. Kal-El’s (Superman) original purpose (although he didn’t know it) was to re-establish the destroyed Krypton on Earth, yet he spent most of his life on Earth saving human lives. Their purposes changed as their rise to power came gradually.
Both Superman and Iron Man did not instantly get to the top of their game as their rise to power was gradual. Although Superman was technically born with his power, he still had to constantly work towards honing those powers like any human would. Iron Man is a lot more relatable as he is human and his rise to power was based on his tech genius and his experience in Afghanistan. In all, Iron Man’s rise to power was circumstantial. Superman and Iron Man’ Morals and Values are also relatable to us.
Initially, Tony Stark had no morals or values whatsoever. He was an arrogant playboy (he still was a bit arrogant in the end with his bold “I am Iron Man” statement) and he had the “I’m the most important person” mentality as well as having complete disregard for other people. However, his morals and values changed after his near-death experience in Afghanistan as he realised that life was short (this epiphany came when his co-designer of the Iron Man Mark I, Dr. Ho Yinsen, died in Afghanistan) and that he needed to live a life that people would remember him for. For Superman, he lived a morally good life until his final showdown with General Zod, where his morals were tested as he had to make a choice: kill General Zod and save lives or detain him but potentially place human lives at risk.
Their morals also linked with their faults as morals are a great factor to character development and the change in morals also help rectify those faults. Like Tony Stark, he took over his father’s company and used it to develop weapons that would protect America. As mentioned earlier he was arrogant and disregarded other people and so his major fault was that he did not use his tech genius to better society. However, when he was held captive in Afghanistan and was given a second chance at life, albeit at the cost of Hinsen’s life, he realised that he needed to use his genius for good and created the Iron Man suit. This realisation also shows a development in a conscience within Tony as well as sympathy for others. For Superman, his major fault was his conscious decision to kill General Zod as he had never killed anyone. The few seconds of hesitation show that despite the fact the Superman knew Zod was evil, in his mind it did not condemn him to death. However, his final decision to kill Zod showed a mental and emotional strength of one getting past their biggest moralistic obstacle for the greater good. In doing so, Superman developed an emotional strength of allowing himself to do wrong in order to do right.
All in all, superheroes may have amazing powers and may explicitly do good things but beneath all of that, they are your average Joes, with average lives (mostly) and have morals and values. The mark of a true hero, though, is whether they use their faults as a strength.
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