While the Infinity War promises to be the most destructive conflict in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when it rolls around in 2018 and 2019, it’s the upcoming Civil War that will be driving a huge wedge between our favorite heroes. Next year will see an ideological conflict unfold between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War. Although Captain America will remain the central character in the film, Robert Downey Jr. is still set to play a prominent role as the lead proponent of registering Earth’s superhumans. The big question that is currently hanging in the air, though, is whether Tony will still come off and likable and reasonable in the story, or if certain events will lead to us hating his guts. Fortunately, Downey Jr. himself has provided us a little insight to that tricky situation.
While recently speaking with Empire Magazine, the actor was hesitant to label Tony as a "bad guy" in Captain America: Civil War, saying that he "wouldn’t put it that way." However, the actor did state that the events of Avengers; Age of Ultron will force Tony to look at the world in a different way, and some might take issue with his about-face on an important issue. Said Downey,
The clues are in Ultron about where we might find him next, but what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for, quote-unquote, because he was the right-wing guy who could still do his own thing. The idea of Tony being able to march into Washington and say, ‘I’ll sign up’, wouldn’t have made sense if the political climate in the real world hadn’t shifted the way it has. It’s a little bit of things following a real world continuum in, ‘What would you do?’
It’s certainly hard to imagine the Tony we met in 2008 doing the things he set to do in 2016. He's going from refusing to give the U.S. government his armor in Iron Man 2 to working with them to register superhumans. Of course, it sounds like this stance switch isn't coming without reason, as the changing political climate and the fallout from the Avengers’ battle with Ultron will force Tony’s beliefs to change. Unfortunately, that will put him in conflict with Captain America and perhaps several other close allies, but it's interesting that Robert Downey Jr. doesn't see the character as the villain in the story - especially when you consider teh comic book source material.
If this movie adheres closely to the original 2006 story, then Tony is likely to get a bad rap in Captain America: Civil War. What started out as a ideological debate over whether superpowered individuals should give up civil liberties in the name of safety and security turned into a witch hunt against anyone who didn’t register and divulge their secret identity, with Captain America playing the part of resistance fighter. It certainly didn’t help that Tony was imprisoning his former allies and recruiting villains to enforce the Superhuman Registration Act. Topped off with Captain America being "killed," a lot of people (both Marvel heroes and real-life readers) looked at Tony as the bad guy. But it seems that Robert Downey Jr. doesn't see it that way for the big screen version.
Although he has made some questionable decisions, the MCU Tony Stark has undeniably been a superhero. Obviously Baron Zemo is filling the role of main antagonist in Captain America: Civil War, but when the "war" kicks off, Tony will definitely play the role of working against the titular hero, instead of with him. After all, this is Captain America’s movie, and while Tony is one of Marvel’s most popular characters, we can’t be rooting for him when it’s the Star-Spangled Avenger that’s set up as the central protagonist. Let’s just hope he doesn’t come off looking as bad as he did in the comics. We may not necessarily agree with him, but we can at least still respect him… for the most part.