Tony's suit is an engineering marvel, and they explain many facets of the technology to help give legitimacy to the special powers, abilities and weapons it has.

I never read the Iron Man comics, but in the movie they really don't have a technological explanation for how he miraculously seems to be unaffected by crushing G-forces of sudden acceleration, the inertia of sudden stops and hair-pin turns, and especially the blunt force trauma from getting smashed in the face with Thor's hammer.

Certainly it appears the suit takes punishment, but Tony always remains unscatched, never a collapsed lung, broken bone or even a bloody nose.

In my infantile understanding of theoretical physics, the same technology that would be used to counter G-forces and sudden blunt force trauma to the body inside would be the very same technology used for Anti-Gravity which in my honest opinion would be a much more stunning technological achievement than his heralded Arc Reactor.

Was their ever an explanation proferred for this and if so was it indeed attributed to Anti-Gravity?

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    Well, in Captain America we did see that his daddy was working on Anti-Gravity cars.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 15:35
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    @DampeS8N Good point... you gotta love how in the Marvel universe that even during WWII the technology that existed was at least 100 years in advance of where we are now. 2015 is just around the corner and I want my flying car! Thank you very much Capitalism ;-) Commented May 7, 2012 at 15:38
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    @DampeS8N That wasn't really Anti-Gravity was it? Wasn't it the Repulsor technology?
    – Xantec
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 15:49
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    Important consideration: In comics, everything is unaffected by G forces, inertia and blunt force trauma.
    – Tynam
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 19:28
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    The Car in the Stark Expo was an Electro-Magnetic Car, not anti-gravity (though, still impressive, and I want!). As for Star Trek, they use Inertia Dampeners (which do exist somewhat) to keep people from being thrown about while accelerating since they also have artificial gravity. Technically, this would keep them from being thrown about in battle until the Dampeners were damaged or destroyed, but that's nowhere near as exciting as seeing some Ensign being thrown over his console like a bag of potatoes.
    – Jersey
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 17:13

6 Answers 6


There is no good answer for why the Iron Man armor provides both the level of protection that it does (it has resisted blows from Thor's hammer and the fists of the Hulk, for example) without transferring any of that damage to the more fragile body of Tony Stark beneath the armor.

In the example below, Iron Man is wearing one of his Hulkbuster armors, which were heavier and provided better protection than his mainstream armors. But even his mainstream armors are capable of taking an incredible amount of physical punishment before failing.

enter image description here

Early armors (the first grey, and later gold armor, the Mark I and Mark II) appeared to function like plate mail, an armor over another armor, they were large enough and bulky enough for there to be an (undisclosed) under-padding that should have provided some insulation against physical damage. But by the time the first red and gold armors were being seen, there was simply not enough armor left to explain how the suit provided blunt force trama reduction against the enemies Iron Man was fighting.

enter image description here

So we we're left to decide exactly how his armor did provide protection. The briefcase armor, for example was able to fit in a briefcase and did claim to possess an anti-gravity emitter making it able to be carried, since back then, the armor did have some weight to it. It was the boots, gloves and helmet. Tony wore the breastplate and shorts under his street clothes. This was still during the era when Tony could not take off the armor without risk of dying.

enter image description here

The golden armor was stored inside the boots and gloves. It extruded and connected with the central power core in the breastplate. Once charged, the armor was filled with an electromagnetic repulsive force that hardened the suit making it a suit of armor. Perhaps it is this repulsive force (as well as the gravity emitter that was used in the briefcase technology) that made the armor capable of resisting damage with any form of under armor and added to its flight stability; basically it was an armor-assisted invisible force-field.

enter image description here

To be fair to the writers of the time, none of these things were important enough to dwell on, this was the era of the "transistor-powered" armors and "transistor powered, energy generating" roller skates used in several stories. The writers then weren't significantly saavy with technology and transistors to know they didn't power ANYTHING... We knew what they were trying to accomplish and hand-waved it through.

enter image description here

This hand-waving has continued on into today's writing where we talk about the Extremis armor and its nanotechnological makeup. As well as it being stored within the skeletal structure of his body and having an antigravity/repulsor power source that is always on and instantly available (a.k.a. arc reactor). Curiously enough, this armor does show some level of underarmor that could act as a form of buffer to the fleshy meat parts encased within. But very few of the many armor designs made that clear.

The movie armor that swoops in behind Tony to save him from falling did seem to be rather bulky and I would like to think in a perfect world there is a mixture of armor, padding, force-fields, hyper-oxygenation and fitness keeping Tony from being crushed by the g-forces of those amazingly tight turns and incredible amounts of physical abuse he suffers during the movie.

enter image description here

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    Wow! Great ANSWER! This is exactly what I was looking for and more. Commented May 9, 2012 at 19:54
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    Awesome answer. Now for bonus points... how does he not acquire concussion every five minutes? Can't insulate the inside of his skull... (Unless the Extremis upgrade was really radical.)
    – Tynam
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 21:31
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    @Tynam you're assuming there's something in there to concuss. I think there's just "push this button for a one liner" device in there...
    – dlanod
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 21:57
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    I am personally amazed how much comic writers DON'T seem to know about their topics. Create a character, ask a few questions about their powers, maybe see a scientist to know what DOESN'T work. Anyone remember the transistor-powered roller skates? Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 17:33
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    I feel sad now that the Iron Man movies didn't include any roller-skating scenes.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 15:40

This is essentially a plot hole. In the first film, they treat him as almost invulnerable while in the suit. However, the same suit is presented as being simply a mechanical suit with repulsors in the hands and feet, along with a few other weapons. After his mission in Gulmira, Pepper asks him 'are those bullet holes?' which indicates bullets are capable of penetrating the outer shell. But there's nothing underneath that outer shell that was designed to provide protection, it's just the harness and mechanical bits below the outer shell. They explicitly acknowledge here that the suit is not invulnerable, but don't follow the logic through properly with an explanation for how Stark is undamaged.

The only real threat to him in the first film is the threat of being physically crushed by the Iron Monger, as the suit is presented to provide protection from the weaponry of the Iron Monger. While testing the Mark II, he does pull a Gwen Stacey style last-moment save after the suit ices over, which probably should have killed him from the G-forces. While in Gulmira, a tank shoots him down, he plummets from tens of feet in the air and gets up without injury.

In the second film, Whiplash's whips seem to be powerful enough to damage the suit, although again, the damage seems to damage the outer shell and weaken functionality of the suit, but there's no piercing of the suit to the squishy Stark center. Similarly, in The Avengers, the suit takes a pretty massive beating, but no scratches on Stark himself (and again he does a last-minute save which should have caused him damage from the G-forces). The especially egregious example of this from The Avengers is in

the Helicarrier attack sequence. He works with Captain America to fix one of the Helicarrier's turbines. Upon starting it back up, he gets sucked into the turbine and chewed up. Once he escapes, the suit's all scratched up, but he doesn't have so much as a bruise or a broken limb.

When he's in the suit, it's presented as though the suit takes all the damage, and he's fine afterwards. In addition, the suit's integrity is never compromised, no enemy manages to hack through the armor to expose Stark underneath. At least in the comics they go through the effort of explaining the suit as being capable of generating force fields, magnetic/anti-gravity fields, or some other technobabble. The movies instead present a physically grounded design for the suit, then grant him implausible invulnerability while he's wearing it.

  • 4
    Thanks for the great retrospective of the plot hole in the movies. Iron Man was never a comic that me or my friends had subscriptions too when we were children (we had a number of different comics that occasionally featured Iron Man however) so I had no idea that the movie would provide so little in comparison to the comics. Also +1 for squishy Stark center Commented May 10, 2012 at 2:28

There is no good explanation for this. The Iron Man suit does not appear to have any particular form of insulation that would defend Tony against feeling like a tooth in an empty tin can during some of those instances you mention. Fiction is fiction, and likely the closer we got to your answer the closer we'd get to some ridiculous weapons.

As for defense against impact, I'm assuming the suit is made of a metal with qualities similar to wolverines adamantium - or that there is some additional effect caused by the suit being "whole" which produced a force field local to the surface of the suit.

If any have seen the Iron Man cartoon back in th early 90's (where Iron Man constantly went up against the Mandarin) there was a "magic like" effect to the suit, when it was fully put on that didn't seem to exist when it was deactivated in pieces. In particular, the suit, in pieces, seemed to have "cloth" like attributes, being bendy, and fitting into a normal suitcase. However, when Tony on the suit, it suddenly becomes hard as IRON, making one believe that the electric interconnectivity of all the pieces comes into play.

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    Thank you for being brave enough to answer that it is probably a giant plot hole. I am going to wait and see if anybody else has some good answers. Commented May 9, 2012 at 19:19

In the comics he is quite frequently subject to a lot of body damage. Usually, walking away (or being carried away) after getting his ass handed to him until right at the last moment resulted in broken ribs and bones. He also stated that the suit injects painkillers into the affect areas upon damage.

As for the initial question of him not being affected by g-force in the films in the second film, where he is being chased by Hammer drones and decides to fly through the Stark expo big globe thing, he plots a course and then JARVIS says something along the lines of 'AirBag deployed.'

Hope that clears some things up.

  • Thanks for the answer... I never though much about when JARVIS said, "Air Bag Deployed", I thought it was just a snarky quip that JARVIS's personality mirrored Tony's. Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 12:42

Your understanding is correct as the other answers already pointed out in detail.

But if you really invent time and have the space to fill the armor with cushioning, you can create amazingly effective systems to protect the human body:

Troy Hurtubise in Project Grizzly

Troy was fascinated by the idea that if you add enough protection you will be able to study wild bears in proximity without fearing that an attack could harm you. After seven years he tested this thing he is wearing. The first test was being rammed by a car with 30 mph. The second test was giving bikers baseball bats and telling them to hit him as hard as they were able to. Result: Not even a scratch.

You also asked about g forces. One effect already used is immersion in a fluid. If you increase pressure in a fluid, the force an object in a fluid experiences is coming from all sides. If you dive in a closed cubicle of water and the cubicle is accelerated, the wand holding the fluid experiences a sudden force, but in the fluid itself the forces cancel out. The only force you are experiencing is caused by the different density of your bones.

This principle is used in the anti-g suit Libelle (Dragonfly) of the German Luftwaffe for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Libelle suit


In the Ultimate Version they have answered this issue by showing Tony being insulated by a green liquid/gel of some sort that serves as the cushion/shock absorb-er between him and the rest of the Iron Man systems. In the 616 universe (Main Marvel Universe) when Tony had his Extremis abilities he had a healing factor on a similar level to Wolverine that would have accounted for blunt force trauma, g-force debilitation. With the new "Bleeding Edge" suit he now employs being made of nano-machines that he excretes from the pores of his skin it's probable that his healing factor is still in play.

  • That green liquid also appears similar to anti-freeze so it must also serve as a tempurature regulator.
    – Monty129
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 16:28

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