Feature Article

Why Iron Man's Armor Looked So Cool In The Avengers: Infinity War Super Bowl Trailer

Beyond Extremis.

If there's one thing Tony Stark is known for--aside from being a billionaire philanthropist playboy--it's his massive collection of Iron Man armor. He seems to get a new one with every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, from the remotely operated drones in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Iron Man 3 to Age of Ultron's massive, city-destroying Hulkbuster.

Infinity War is going to continue that trend. We've had a couple of looks at Tony Stark both on set and in footage so far, but it wasn't until last night's 30-second Super Bowl spot that we got a clear look at Tony's new armor in action. And boy, did it look cool.

The shot is quick, so you might need to rewind a few times to really catch it. Tony turns toward the action and removes his sunglasses, and his armor literally materialize over his body, almost like an organic exoskeleton.

That ability is shared by several of Tony's suits in the comics, but this particular outfit resembles two models specifically: Model 37, the "Bleeding Edge" armor, and Model 51, the "Prime Armor."

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The Model 37 was first featured in the comics back in 2010 and was the next step after the Extremis armor--the armor most famous for being a fluid gold undersuit within Tony's own body that allowed him to mentally link himself to the whole system. The MCU's never technically done an Extremis armor, but it did borrow elements of the idea for both Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, where Tony's biology is dramatically affected by (and interwoven with) his armor systems. Obviously, Robert Downey Jr. has never spontaneously manifested a shimmering golden body suit, but, well, we've got to learn to manage our expectations sometimes. The point is: the spirit of Extremis is something the MCU hasn't shied away from.

This makes the Bleeding Edge suit a pretty easy grab as far as source material is concerned. It doesn't require as much of the pulp sci-fi logic as its younger brother Extremis does, but still gives Iron Man a quick and easy way to "summon" his suit to him at a moment's notice. In the comics, Bleeding Edge is made by "nanomachines" that literally build the armor out from around Tony at his mental command--something that could explain the way the armor in the trailer seems to materialize out of thin air. The nanomachines are able to construct virtually any structure as they build the armor out, making it an incredibly versatile and advanced suit, ideal for rapidly changing gears and adapting to whatever is being thrown at it--something that will probably be useful when it comes to fighting an enemy like Thanos.

The second most likely source of inspiration for this armor is Model 51, a more recent addition to Tony's armory, popping up in comics in 2015. Model 51 was actually born of some professional jealousy Tony experienced when 16-year-old Riri Williams managed to reverse engineer some of his earlier designs. Model 51--the Prime Armor--was Stark's attempt to make something so advanced no one would ever be able to copy it. Functionally, it resembles Bleeding Edge quite a lot, though without the technical caveat of the nanomachines.

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It's able to "build" itself out with a series of incandescent hexagonal scales that cascade out from a watch Tony wears on his wrist. The 51 can also camouflage itself, looking invisible to outside observers, and also manipulate itself into looking like any other armor in Tony's collection, all by mental command.

The Prime armor would make some thematic sense, given that Tony was introduced in passing to Wakanda's Vibranium technology through his encounter with Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. Given just how much Wakanda is being featured in Infinity War marketing, it wouldn't be too huge a leap to assume that Tony was inspired by the tech in T'Challa's suit when it came to reimagining his own.

Both the 37 and the 51 are likely a little too advanced to make the jump from page to screen wholesale. But we'll probably see elements of both come together, with some MCU flare thrown in. One unique feature of Tony's Infinity War armor is the triangular chest plate, a feature that neither the Bleeding Edge nor the Prime armor sported on the page. And given that we've only gotten the briefest possible look at the new set up, there are still plenty of chances for us to be surprised.

Hey, you never know. With the Guardians coming to Earth, maybe we'll see some inspiration drawn from the model 45--AKA the Space Armor--which Tony wore back in 2013 during his brief stint as a space-faring hero himself. Nothing's impossible, least of all Tony Stark inventing something new and weird to help him save the world.

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Mason Downey

Mason Downey is a entertainment writer here at GameSpot. He tends to focus on cape-and-cowl superhero stories and horror, but is a fan of anything genre, the weirder and more experimental the better. He's still chasing the high of the bear scene in Annihilation.

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