The Iron Giant is a massive robot of alien origin, and the star of the 1999 animated film of the same name, adapted from the original novel by Ted Hughes, The Iron Man. Though built as a weapon, the Giant's crash landing on Earth reset his programming, leaving him with a childlike sense of wonder and innocence. The dent on his head is an indicator of this. The Giant is well-armed but will only use his weapons in self-defense, is capable of flight and can also repair himself via a homing beacon of sorts in his head. He is voiced by Vin Diesel, with some computer effects.
In 1957, the Giant came to Earth and crash-landed off the coast of Rockwell, Maine. After terrifying a fisherman, who called the government upon his return to land, the Giant wandered into the town's nearby woodlands after eating a few vehicles, and set his sights upon devouring a power station. He would have been shocked to death had nine year old Hogarth Hughes not been passing and shut the power down. The Giant continued to eat local pieces of machinery and later re-encountered Hogarth, imprinting on the boy and following him home. The Giant was seen by a local train driver after the train hit the Iron Giant, who was trying to fix the railroad tracks that he was trying to consume earlier. which led to him being hunted down by persistent government agent Kent Mansley, after following Hogarth home. Slowly, the Giant began to learn, through Hogarth's teachings, how to speak, about right and wrong, life and death and some elements of culture, specifically Superman, who Hogarth thought the Giant could relate to. After relocating the Giant to a scrap yard owned by beatnik artist Dean McCoppin, Hogarth spent much of his days having small adventures with the Giant and playing psychological games with Mansley, who had moved into the spare room in his house. Mansley called the army and General Rogard in after finding out the Giant's whereabouts, but Hogarth and Dean were quickly able to disguise the Giant as one of Dean's art projects. A short time after, the Giant's automatic defense mechanisms kicked in when Hogarth pointed a toy gun at him in play, and Hogarth was almost fried by the Giant's eye beams, the Giant not seeming to understand what he was doing.
Dean was quick to shun the Giant, writing him off as 'a big gun' and ignoring the Giant's stammered protests of 'no, I not gun.' After Hogarth left in pursuit, Dean noticed Hogarth's gun, realized why the Giant had fired, and went to help. Unfortunately, Mansley spotted the Giant rescuing two boys in danger and ordered that the army attack immediately. The Giant and Hogarth fled, resorting to flight after falling off a cliff, but in one of the attacks Hogarth was knocked unconscious. The Giant naturally thought Hogarth was dead and was distraught. When the army fired again, the Giant snapped, activating as many weapons as possible, seeming to relinquish his gentle nature and firing upon the army. The only available option was to fire a nuclear missile from the USS Nautilus. Before it could be fired, Hogarth recovered and confronted the Giant. The Giant recognised his friend and returned to normal. Mansley ordered that the missile be fired anyway, ignoring the fact that it was targeted on the Giant and thus everyone in Rockwell would be killed. As the people prepared to die, the Giant looked upon the missile and made his decision. After telling Hogarth 'you stay, I go, no following', mirroring one of the first things Hogarth said to him, he took off into space, heading straight for the missile. Bracing himself for impact, Hogarth's words of 'you are who you choose to be' rang though the Giant's head, and he whispered his decision to himself before the crash: 'Superman.'
Some time later, Dean had built a statue in the Giant's memory, which was erected in town, and Hogarth received a package from General Rogard: A jaw bolt from the Giant, the only part the army could find. That night however, the bolt began tapping against the window as though trying to get out. Remembering that the Giant was self-repairing, Hogarth let it go free, whispering 'see you later.' Sure enough, the Giant's parts were converging upon a glacier in Iceland, where the Giant's head, still active and smiling, was waiting.....
Before coming to Earth, the Iron Giant was one of a series of such robots which were designed as instruments of war and destruction. It was not meant to be capable of experiencing emotions, but after landing on Earth and targeting a power station, the massive electrical surge it received damaged its brain circuitry. The Giant forgot its origins and its mission, viewing the world around it much like a human child and expressing curiosity about everything it saw.
Encountering the young boy Hogarth Hughes, the Iron Giant imprinted on him and followed him everywhere. Over several days, the Giant and Hogarth connected and became true friends. During its time with Hogarth, the Giant would learn about the world from the boy's perspective, learning right and wrong and even about life and death after watching a pair of hunters shoot a deer. It would express a variety of emotions as well, expressing happiness while playing with Hogarth and sadness after witnessing the death of the deer, and later rage after believing that Hogarth had been killed.
Most notably, the Giant discovered the ability to choose for itself. After learning about its own destructive capabilities, the Giant chose not to use its deadly arsenal to attack people. It ultimately made the choice to sacrifice itself in order to protect the town of Rockwell from a nuclear missile.
- Artificial Intelligence - The Iron Giant was programmed with an advanced set of combat algorithms and information gathering software, allowing it to analyse its surroundings and devise tactics accordingly. Its computer bran also held the capacity for more advanced thought processes similar to sentient organic life such as humans, though it seems unlikely that its creators intended for it to be capable of self-determination.
- Armour Plating - The Iron Giant's body is covered in dense armor plating. Despite being called the "Iron Giant", the metal that makes up its body is significantly stronger than iron and is near-indestructible, at least to human weapons.
- Superior Strength - The Iron Giant is tremendously powerful, capable of trampling trees and buildings or smashing them with its hands with little effort.
- Metal Consumption - The Iron Giant eats metal, most likely as a source of fuel. How it processes its "food" is left ambiguous and it does not seem to produce any kind of by-products when it eats.
- Flight - The Iron Giant has rockets built into its feet, allowing it to fly at speeds comparable to human aircraft. It is also capable of interstellar travel and planetary re-entry.
- Weaponry - The Iron Giant possesses a significant arsenal of energy-based weapons capable of obliterating entire armies. When fighting against the U.S. Army in Rockwell, it vaporized several tanks with these weapons.
- Self-Repair - Perhaps the Iron Giant's most remarkable ability is its self-repair function. In the event of catastrophic damage that causes it to go to pieces, the Giant will activate a transmitter in its head that will draw its severed parts toward it. The parts will then reassemble themselves until the Giant is whole again. The self-repair signal that the Giant's head transmits is capable of reaching over a vast area, even across continents.