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If you’re not a hunk of weeping personhood the moment Peter Parker collapses into Tony Stark’s arms, pleading for his own life in the face of Avengers: Infinity War’s Decimation, you just might be a stone cold professional. The moment is one of the most emotionally taxing events in that film’s mass casualty finale and, for some, it’s still pretty upsetting. Of course, for Robert Downey Jr., being one of those lovable stone cold professionals, it’s a scene that didn’t really hit him until he sat down to watch it play out himself.
Robert Downey Jr.’s story of how Spider-Man’s death in Avengers: Infinity War finally hit him, and why it’s so effective in general, is as follows:
It was crazy to shoot it, but it was just another day, and then we were at lunch and doing stuff, because it’s a movie. But then I think seeing it -- and I happened to see it with this amazing Scottish kid who couldn't go to a theater -- so I saw it with him, and his reaction really effed me up. So I think what a lot of us are looking forward to is, like Kevin [Feige] always says, it's that surprise and delight experience with Endgame. It's one of those things where you go, 'Wow, I think we just made a pretty serious choice.’ But I think audiences like that. I think audiences are so smart and now so... they require to not be fed the same drivel as even twenty minutes ago. We need novelty and I think what the Russos and Kevin have been able to do is provide that in spades.
CinemaBlend was on hand to hear this story at the Avengers: Endgame press conference, as our own Eric Eisenberg was in attendance. And what Robert Downey Jr. said doesn’t sound all that weird -- as in the moment of filming Avengers: Infinity War’s big emotional moment, it’s still kind of easy to get wrapped up in the fact that there’s several takes to be filmed, so it’s easier to come back from that emotional investment.
Of course, with an audience that doesn’t know what’s coming, as well as within the confines of the narrative that Avengers: Infinity War put forth, it’s a completely different context. Despite the fact that pretty much everyone that’s picked up a comic book knows that Spider-Man won’t be dead for long, seeing Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. really sell the moment jumps right over that logical hurdle and lands straight into the hearts of anyone watching.
The fact that this particular scene landed how it did with the Iron Man actor looks to have informed his performance in Avengers: Endgame, as the recent footage showing the moment where Tony reflects on Peter’s departure suggests that very possibility. Though if some of the theories that have come out in the past couple of rounds of speculation pan out, we just might find ourselves knocked out by Tony Stark’s fate in the long run.
Everything and nothing feels like a surprise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the choices made by the Russo Brothers and Kevin Feige fit into the Avengers storyline, while also throwing audiences for a loop. But when you can draw a reaction out of an actor like Robert Downey Jr. while watching those big choices unfold in a film like Avengers: Infinity War, you know you’ve done your job well.
Avengers: Endgame puts the Infinity Saga to bed, and probably revives Spider-Man in time for his sequel, on April 26th. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Far From Home takes off for adventure on July 5th. Should you want to see what else is in the works in the MCU, and whatever their release dates may be in the future, keep our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide in your bookmarks for further reference.