The suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming has an "instant kill" mode that keeps coming up, and it's only used for comedic purposes in the movie. From what I know Peter Parker doesn't seek to kill anyone, and has only ever wanted to kill one person: the guy who murdered Uncle Ben, but even then he doesn't directly take his life.

So why did Tony Stark add this feature to the suit he made for Spider-Man? Is it more than a "default feature" he adds to all his designs, or could this be some kind of foreshadowing?

  • 1
    This seems like it may be answered by a future work.
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 11, 2017 at 17:29
  • I'm pretty sure it was just a joke, and you shouldn't take it too seriously. You could also explain it by being a mode that would work against super-beings like the Hulk. Instant-kill mode = anti-super mode. The name is more of a warning about using it against normal people, and the AI isn't smart enough, or didn't get enough training since it was activated before the required training was complete. Jul 14, 2017 at 20:51
  • 1
    I'm not sure if "instant-kill mode" is really a spoiler. I think it should be safe to include in the title.
    – Stevoisiak
    Aug 7, 2017 at 19:54

3 Answers 3


I believe the term used is "Instant Kill" and you're far from the only person asking. It's Karen who keeps suggesting the mode

An A.I. in the suit on the off chance that that's a spoiler

while Peter keeps refusing it. I think it's intended in part as a running gag, with him having to keep switching it back off, and in part, it's an indicating of a theme with Stark in the MCU, namely that

his ideas tend to get away from him as with Ultron and the suit itself, and despite his protestations that he's getting out of the deadly war weapons business, he's good at it, and his technology in the hands of others is problematic.

There is a second theory being floated, and that's that it's intentionally misleadingly named, that "Instant Kill" mode instead refers to the ability to shut down the suit. This seems less likely given the context in which it's cited, but it could be a safety feature due to Tony being uneasy with other people using his tech (the following being my hypothetical scenario, not actual material):

PETER: Alright! Yeah, totally turn on the Fold, Spindle, and Mutilate function!

[Armor falls off and proceeds to reduce itself to useless pieces. Tony Stark's voice emanates from the remaining bit of tech:]

TONY: Ah, ah, ah. Come back to the lab with a better attitude if you want to use the suit again.

Just to follow up, it seems, as of Avengers: Endgame, that my first theory was correct. Peter activates "Instant Kill" and it causes

the suit's mechanical arms to lash out with deadly force, killing Thanos's troops around him.

In all likelihood, that's exactly what it would have done before, a weapon of last resort.

  • 1
    "His AIs tend to get away from him as with Ultron" -- Can you explain that better?
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 11, 2017 at 17:33
  • @Edlothiad: You're right. It's a theme with one example, two if you include Jarvis and Vision. I want to say that it came up more often in the comics, much as with the distrust of others using his technology (The Armor Wars comes to mind).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 11, 2017 at 17:36
  • Where is that quote from? Jul 11, 2017 at 17:43
  • 1
    @DCOPTimDowd: From my mother wit, witless else her son, assuming you're discussing the bit at the bottom. The bits in the spoiler tags are not quotes, just hidden.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 11, 2017 at 17:57
  • I'd say your second theory doesn't match up with the common theme of Spider-Man's suit eyes going red as soon as 'Instant kill' mode is activated, leading me to believe that it was the literal meaning that was intended.
    – Möoz
    Jul 24, 2017 at 1:20

Consider the setting of "Homecoming": just a few years before, Tony Stark was part of a battle involving a horde of aliens descending through a portal and attacking New York, and then later had to go into combat against a horde of hostile robots. Given that prior history, it wouldn't be surprising that he would have built in a function like that just in case Peter also faced a horde of hostile somethings where it would be kill/destroy or be killed.

  • 1
    Can you give more info on the battle you're referring to? Did Tony ever mention anything about him wanting a kill button? Dec 18, 2017 at 23:20
  • The Avengers. Dec 18, 2017 at 23:49

Yes, definitely. I think there is most likely foreshadowing, not from Stark, but from Stan Lee. So my theory is that (I've never read the comics so I don't know what villain could be next) the next villain is very powerful so therefore Peter will be forced to use "Instant Kill" because he is too "weak", but using the Instant kill mode will come with a price.

  • 2
    But wouldn't that just cut the film short by 2 hours?
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 18, 2017 at 20:49

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.