Captain America: Civil War is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to ever since the end credits of 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That movie was phenomenally impressive, and it presented Steve Rogers in what I consider to be a character-defining light. Leaving the theater, of course I wanted more, but at the same time, I genuinely felt that if there were never to be another Captain America movie, I’d be perfectly happy with the movie I’d just seen being the last thing that audiences would remember the character for. It was the exact same sentiment I’d previously felt after seeing 2008’s The Dark Knight. In Batman’s case, Christopher Nolan came back one more time and, I feel, made several missteps. In Captain America’s case, Anthony and Joe Russo came back (thankfully not for just one more time) and simultaneously reinforced everything I love about Captain America… and pretty much drove the final nail in the coffin for the character of Iron Man.
“I can fit one THIS BIG in my mouth!”
I really don’t like Tony Stark anymore. Not even when he’s Robert Downey Jr. at his most entertaining. And Robert Downey Jr. is pretty goddamned entertaining. Fuck Tony Stank. There, I said it.
“WTF is this asshole talking about? I’m CHARMING.” “Shut up, DICK.”
For me, the character of Tony Stark never fully recovered from the events of the 2006 Civil War comic storyline. Sure, he’s a genius with a keen wit and tons of awesome tech, but he’s also a colossal, gargantuan ego-fueled DICK. Let’s recap a few of his “highlights” from that story, shall we?
“…to DICK YOU HARD AND FAST, SUCKAAAA!!”
- Convinced Spider-Man to publicly reveal his identity, knowing full well what the consequences could be. DICK.
- Recruited several super-villains into a government-funded group dedicated to hunting down the super-heroes who refused to register their identities with the government, and who were STILL APPREHENDING SUPER-VILLAINS AND LEAVING THEM FOR THE AUTHORITES. DICK.
- Used a hair from Thor, which he’d kept for several years, to create a clone (side note: Reed Richards is also a dick) specifically to combat the growing strength of Cap’s Secret Avengers. Keeping an ally’s strand of hair because you think it might be useful one day is a dick move. Using it for the express purpose of overpowering another ally is a major dick move. And, OH YEAH, the first thing that clone does is FUCKING KILL AN AVENGER. D-I-C-K.
- With help from Reed Richards (did I mention that he’s also a dick?) he created a prison in the Negative Zone, expressly for the indefinite confinement of any and all super-heroes who refused to register. DICK.
- Remember that spiffy Iron Spider suit that Tony “gave” to Spidey? Turns out that it was constantly analyzing Spidey’s powers AND developing ways to overcome them. Full-on, veiny, throbbing, purple-headed DICK.
- Decided to parade his defeated former ally in public, and GOT HIM FUCKING KILLED IN THE PROCESS. DICK DICK DICK DICKDICKDICK!!11!
“Tell.. Tony… he’s… a dick…”
And the best part? After all of that, this motherfucker ends up as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ain’t that an Arc Reactor-powered kick in the head. Don’t even get me started on the long list of dickery that ensued in the years since. $100 per day for the Extremis app? Magic, shmagic, fuuuuuuck you, Stank.
This didn’t last long. Tony lost the position to Norman Osborn, of all people. Yes, THAT Norman Osborn.
So yeah, mmmmaaaAAAAssive dick. And that’s only a few examples from a 12-year old comic storyline. Frankly, I didn’t see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Stark could possibly live up to this level of penile ego enhancement. Downey Jr.’s take on the character certainly hasn’t been without it’s character faults, but it’s been an undeniably fun ride these past 8 years, and mostly turned me around on the character. I’d probably best categorize the MCU version of Tony Stark as a “loveable jackass”. But hooooo-boy, the Tony Stark on display in Captain America: Civil War has definitely come fully into his comic-inspired roots as a Class-A Dick of the Highest Order.
“I resent that. I’m not always high.”
Let’s start with Pepper Potts. She and Tony are “taking a break” because, despite destroying all of his armors in a grand display of love and devotion, Tony just doesn’t want to give up being Iron Man. In a way, you could look at that as a noble act of heroism for the greater good, but considering that his last outing in Age of Ultron resulted in the utter destruction of a country at the hands of a lifeform that he created… yeah, I can see Pepper packing her bags.
“And take your fucking strawberries WITH you!”
Tony’s then confronted by Miriam (Sharpe?) Her son, Charles Spencer, died in Sokovia as a direct result of the conflict with Ultron. Tony genuinely seems guilt-ridden that his actions had put a promising boy genius in harm’s way & ultimately resulted in his death. But clearly not enough to keep him from later recruiting Peter Parker, a promising boy genius, into a conflict with super-powered beings, which will definitely put him in harm’s way and could possibly result in his death. Oh, wait… did I say “recruit”? I meant threaten. Tony used Peter’s fear of upsetting Aunt May as leverage to get what he wanted. Maybe it was a playful joke, maybe he was dead serious. It’s hard to be sure when you’re dealing with a DICK.
“Mr. Stark said he’d bang my hot Aunt if I didn’t join his team. Then he did it anyway.”
How about Wanda? After the attack on the U.N. building in Vienna, Tony’s placed her under House Arrest in the Avengers Compound. Mind you, the Sokovia Accords still haven’t been ratified, and the Avengers still haven’t fully decided whether or not to sign on. Vision, another of Tony’s creations, seems to feel some reluctance in playing the role of Warden, but he’s nonetheless carrying out Tony’s orders. And Tony is carrying out Secretary of State Ross’s orders. Like a bitch.
“Oh god, it’s horrible there! Tony walks around the house all day in a Speedo & bends over a lot.”
Ross decides to show Tony just how much his bitch he really is, when he counters Tony’s request for a 72-hour window to apprehend Rogers, Wilson, and Barnes, with a 36-hour window. Lesson, Tony: There’s always a bigger dick. This prompts Tony’s aforementioned dickery, picking Peter Parker to join his pack of pickled peckerheads. Tony used to drink a lot, okay? THE PUN IS VALID. Shut up.
“Sometimes, I wanna punch you in your perfect teeth… so I can slide my dick in easier.”
Tony, allies in tow, intercepts a lone Rogers at Leipzig/Halle Airport and “runs out of patience” with him. He calls on his promising boy genius to relieve Cap of his shield, then the big battle ensues. What’s important to note here is that, despite apparently being on the side of “oversight” and “accountability”, it’s Tony, Rhodey, and Vision who cause the lion’s share of destruction at the airport. Toppling a control tower, causing a cave-in at a hangar, blowing up small aircraft while launching air-to-ground missiles at fleeing Avengers… I was genuinely stunned by this as I watched it playing out. And yes, Giant-Man does cause a fair amount of damage himself, but most of it’s a causal reaction to enemy attacks. Either way, it pales in comparison to the damage caused by Team Stank.
“C’mon Rhodey, we got us some nefarious scenery to napalm! WHEEEE-HAAA!!!”
“Uh-MEH-ri-cuhhhh! FUCK, YEAHHHH!!!”
“…isn’t he the one who’s supposed to prevent this sort of thing?”
Karma’s a bitch though, and Tony learns this first hand as Vision accidentally shoots down War Machine instead of Falcon, whom he and Rhodes were pursuing. After Rhodes hits the ground, Falcon, who could’ve just continued on to make his escape, actually touches down next to Tony, offering his sympathy for what’s just happened. Tony, of course, swats him away with an Arc-Reactor blast, because he can’t wrap his brain around the idea that an opponent might show concern for a fallen friend. Because, he’s a DICK.
“Up, and awayyyy in my beautiful ba-EEYOWWWWWW!!”
On the plus side, Tony does finally seem to come to his senses momentarily, as he learns that Bucky didn’t actually have anything to do with the attack on the U.N. building. He actually sets out to find Cap and HELP him confront Zemo and his potential squad of Winter Soldiers. But of course, Tony is still Tony, and when it’s revealed that it was the Winter Soldier (which is technically NOT Bucky Barnes) who murdered his parents, his immediate reaction is “Imma whup some ass“. When Cap admits that he knew about this (all of this is movie-specific, BTW, it’s not taken from any comic story,) Tony knocks him across the room & all bets are now off. CIVIL WAR. THIS TIME, IT’S PERSONAL.
“Yeah, I killed your parents. I THOUGHT YOU’D BECOME BATMAN, YOU DICK.”
Although it’s never specifically stated in the movie, Tony undoubtedly knows about the Winter Soldier program, or at least enough to know that Bucky was forced to perform all of these assassination acts while in a state of absolute mind control. If he doesn’t at least know that much, he’s doing an uncharacteristically poor job of keeping himself informed when heading into a situation. Regardless, I’ll grant that anyone would feel an instant surge of rage at discovering that your parents were actually murdered, and the man who choked the life out of your mother is standing right next to you. I don’t think that the additional discovery that your teammate withheld this knowledge from you necessarily warrants smacking him across the room, but hey, heat of the moment & all that. Half-dick.
So now, Tony’s out for blood, and he, Steve & Bucky all beat the living shit out of each other. Bones are broken, limbs are removed, diapers are soiled, it’s just fucking fantastic! Bucky’s pretty much defeated, Cap’s on the ropes, and Tony’s got the upper hand. We get the “He’s my friend”, “So was I” exchange from the trailers, but even the filmmakers know that’s bullshit, because they’ve replaced Tony’s butthurt take with a more ominous, determined one. With the exception of Pepper, and maybe Happy, Tony’s never been anyone’s friend in any of these movies. At most, he’s been a mostly reluctant ally who’s never hesitated to take credit for any contributions he’s made. There’s a difference between being a friend and being an asset. But Tony doesn’t know that, because he’s a DICK.
“Wait, can I do that line again? Even I’m not falling for it.”
Back to the battle, and Cap’s come back hard & is just pummeling Tony. He hammers him over and over with his shield and actually knocks his helmet away, and just as it looks as if he juuuuust might go too far & decapitate Tony (I can’t be the only one who thought this – Tony even held his hands up to protect his neck,) he delivers one final blow… to the Arc Reactor on Tony’s chest, forcing the suit to power down. Anyone in Tony’s position would be relieved that Cap ended the fight & got up to walk away. But, Tony’s a DICK, and can’t resist a parting shot – Cap’s “not worthy” of the shield that his daddy made (despite having just proved exactly how worthy he is by walking away without killing or seriously injuring Tony – something Tony wasn’t capable of when it came to dealing with Bucky.) Tony has always been jealous of Cap, and being soundly defeated by him is just too much for his ego to handle.
“Awwww, your Daddy loved me more than you? Gonna cry now, little bitch?”
If I’d been in charge of the script, Cap would’ve gotten up, heard Tony’s “not worthy” quip, and replied with “Hey, kid, catch” as he hurled his shield at Tony, decapitating him, then walking off to get a Coke. Then, five more heads would’ve grown back in place of Tony’s original one, but they’d be penis heads. Then, Tony would become entombed in one of those black dildo things from Man of Steel, and launch off towards his home planet, dying along the way, Poochie-style.
The point of all this is to underline the most basic core truth about Tony Stark, and it’s really been there all along since 2008’s Iron Man: He’s pretty much fine with death & destruction, even when it’s the direct or indirect result of his own actions. But, if anything should ever directly affect him, then it’s open season on whatever or whoever caused it, consequences be damned. On those rare occasions where he actually feels remorse or responsibility, those feelings are quickly cast aside the moment he realizes that he can just suit up & take out a city block, or a country. When push comes to shove, Tony’s really only looking out for Number One, and he always has been. I hope that he can somehow redeem himself in future MCU movies, but until that happens, he’s no hero in my eyes.