Robert Downey Jr. Reveals Why He Wants Captain America On His Side In Civil War
Captain America: Civil War is already breaking our hearts—and it doesn’t even come out until May, 2016.
If you’ve seen the trailer (or, you know, read the comics), the tension at the heart of the story is an ideological standoff between Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans).
Tony thinks there should be a government-run system of accountability in place for the superheroes of the world, while Steve disagrees, seeing it as an affront to civil liberty. This all somehow comes to a head in the form of Bucky/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), aka Steve’s childhood friend who was brainwashed into carrying out missions for Hydra for a good part of the 20th century.
Robert Downey, Jr. told Entertainment Weekly that he is totally on board with his on-screen counterpart’s motivations in this film, saying: “I’m not having to patter around what I think the worldview is. I wholeheartedly agree with what he does in this. Which is, by the way, more than I could say for some of the other movies.”
As fascinating (and topically relevant) as the ideological war may be, we’re equally interested in the interpersonal dynamics at work here—i.e. is Steve going to break Tony’s heart? Here’s what RDJ said about Tony’s mindset re: Steve heading into “Civil War.”
“I look at him like, ‘Oh, you and Falcon got a good thing going on, huh?’ He doesn’t really seem to give me the time of day,” RDJ teased, adding: “Alls I’m saying is ultimately he’s never been in a status position over Cap. It’s a crappy deal for Tony. It has been from the time he came out. I think he’s actually been pretty civil, all things considered. When he tries to bring lightness into the fact that he actually, at certain points, has the real upper hand; he just can’t help himself. Because it’s just been simmering for years and it’s very unrequited.”
The importance of Bucky in the story makes this all very personal and historic for Steve, but the same can be said for Tony, who RDJ explains is very much thinking about his past when Civil War opens: “He’s thinking about where he went to school. He’s thinking about his folks. He’s thinking all this dough he inherited wasn’t really just meant for him and he should be trying to do something with it. He’s not a kid anymore. He’s thinking about the back nine.”
This is all potentially complicated by the fact that it could have been The Winter Soldier who killed Tony’s parents (they died in a car accident orchestrated by Hydra). Will this plot point come up in Civil War? Hard to say, though the deaths of Tony’s parents is certainly weighing on Tony’s mind…
“Obviously he has this kind of tragic childhood where his folks die and all that stuff. He mentions it in the first film,” RDJ said. “He says, he never got to say goodbye to his dad.”
Where does Steve stand in all of this? Well, according to Chris Evans, Steve still thinks of Tony as family: “I think they’re very different men but this is the beautiful thing about family. In a family you know you could hate your mother, you could hate your sister but you’re my family and we have to make this work. I like the end of Ultron, when I say, ‘I will miss you, Tony’ and there is a love and respect there.”
Well, that’s a very Captain America way of looking at things, but will it keep Steve and Tony from tearing each other apart (and breaking our hearts, in the process) before the end of Civil War? Maybe not—especially when, according to RDJ, Tony is “trying everything from great earnestness to outright manipulation, emotional manipulation” to get Steve on his side. Yikes.