Captain America: Civil War – Who’s Battling Who And Why?

Tony Stark/Iron Man


Also the product of his experiences in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) has become the guy that wants order, and oversight and a clearly defined chain of command – essentially swapping places with Captain America. The reason for this is, arguably, two-fold.

Firstly, when first we met Iron Man’s alter ego and creator, Tony Stark, he was an arrogant, obstinate arms dealer – enamoured of his own technical genius and unwilling to entertain the needs of other people. Then, he was abducted by terrorists (in 2008’s Iron Man) and had to create a weaponized, armoured suit as a means of escape and survival. He was then torn, for a period of time, between fear of the huge responsibility that goes along with owning and operating a potentially world-saving piece of equipment, and the attention and adoration heaped upon those considered to be heroes.


Secondly, his status a superhero brought the big picture into sharp focus for him, when those he holds dear began to be threatened (Pepper Potts and Happy, repeatedly, in the Iron Man franchise), and he caught a terrifying glimpse of how incredibly vulnerable Planet Earth is in terms of potential galactic threats from space (in 2012’s Avengers). These elements directly contributed to his compromised mental well-being in Iron Man 3 – essentially his most transformative experience – and his ill-advised creation of the artificial intelligence Ultron in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

This succession of circumstance has resulted in Tony Stark undergoing a fundamental alteration in attitude – which is arguably based in fear. Having been shown the big picture, the part of his personality that likes to be in charge – in the alpha male position – has never felt more threatened. He has never been more motivated to charge ahead, but has also never been more consumed with the desire to do so as part of a wider system – and this is what puts him in conflict with Captain America.