With Captain America and Iron Man about to throw down in Civil War, we realized that it might be a shock to some that the two men would even fight. Aren’t they both good guys? Yeah… Aren’t they friends? Kinda… Weren’t they risking their lives for each other the last time we saw either of them? 100% yes. But there was always a lot brewing between the two men that has yet to be resolved.
Both men have good arguments for doing what they’re doing, but at the end of the day, this is no different than any other rivalry ever. One just wants to beat the other. It’s like Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird. Or Ash vs Gary Oak. Or Sherlock Holmes vs Professor Moriarty. The guys just don’t really get along. Here are 11 things you need to know about Iron Man and Captain America’s rivalry before you see the movie.
11 Parental Ties
Cap and Howard Stark were rivals for Peggy Carter’s affection. Howard was an absent father for Tony. Out of sheer jealousy Howard would ramble on about Cap to his young son, priming his son to dislike the man before they ever met. The bonds of this rivalry were forged before Tony was ever born, and before Cap woke up from his frozen coma. Pretty much neither man had a choice but to be rivals. Tony and his dad had a bad relationship, but it wasn’t until Iron Man 2 where there was any sort of closure for Tony. However, instead of being able to bond over the fact that both men hated Howard on some level, they can’t see past how each man represents the businessman. Steve can’t help to see flashes of his old rival in Tony, and that doesn’t rub him the right way. Tony only sees his father when talking to Steve as the two grew up at the same time and worked together. There are many similarities between Howard and both men, and since everyone hates Howard, they hate each other.
10 They Threaten Each Other - A Lot
In both Avengers movies Tony and Steve nearly come to blows. To be fair everyone wants to kill each other at some point in the movies, but not in the same way. Who doesn’t love the moment when Cap tells Tony to put on the suit and go a couple rounds, only to team up a half second later? We, as the audience, laughed off the situation and kept watching for the epic fight scene that followed. The two men never forgot about this, and we saw flashes of their anger towards each other in Age of Ultron and even in Winter Soldier. The threats that go back and forth haven’t really been resolved, even after the two joined forces. The tension has been bubbling over for years, and Civil War is the repercussion.
9 Old School vs New School
Captain America is from the ‘40s. No iPhones, or laptops, or HD TV, or anything that we take for granted now. Iron Man pretty much personifies the tech boom with state of the art weapons and high tech… well, everything. It’s an old argument: Old School or New School? Who can win in a fight: Brains or Brawn? Captain America uses almost no new technology. Think about it, his shield is made of an imaginary metal, but at the end of the day it’s just a metal disk. Tony needs a suit that can fly, is covered in weapons, and has one of the most powerful computer processors in the world. It’s an age-old battle that was bound to happen eventually.
8 Tony Doesn’t Take Orders Well
Cap always tries to take full control of the Avengers team during every battle. He was the one calling shots during the Chitauri invasion, and also during the fight in Sokovia with Ultron. He always takes the role as a team leader. Tony doesn’t like that. He has a tough time following orders and really only acquiesced to the decision of Cap as leader because the world was in jeopardy. He was never just fine with being ordered around, he just buried his feelings for the greater good. Getting ordered around so often was not conducive for Tony’s personality, and now he is asking for a huge request from Steve, and he fights back. It’s shocking Tony doesn’t just immediately go off the rails when Steve won’t do one thing for him.
Tony saved the world more often than Cap – in all honesty, Iron Man has done a lot more for the world that Captain America has in the movies. Cap didn’t really destroy Hydra, ever, just sent them into hiding. Tony on the other hand stopped Ivan Vanko from taking over the world, stopped “The Mandarin,” and flies a nuclear warhead heading for New York into a portal assuming he would never come back. From our point of view, Tony has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to doing what he thinks is right. Cap is a great warrior, but Iron Man has just done more good than he has. Cap knows it too, and it may cause some extra tension between the two. We would love to see a scene where they list their accomplishments and Steve just walks away in pure shame.
7 Bucky and Steve’s Friendship
It’s important to understand how deep Bucky and Steve’s friendship is. Bucky stood by him from when they were little, and even protected him when Steve couldn’t protect himself. Now the situation is reversed and Cap owes the Winter Soldier a debt for it. We don’t know too much about Bucky’s recent past as he has been a Hydra Assassin for a long time, but now that Cap has saved him there is very little that will stop him from protecting his old friend. A friend who has done horrible things, yeah, but a friend nonetheless. We’ve already seen in the trailer that Cap obviously cares more for Bucky than he does for Tony, which may be a huge reason why the fight will continue to rage even after both teams know it needs to stop.
6 Tony and Rhodes’ Friendship
We saw that Rhodes will get hurt in Civil War. While we don’t know the fate of Tony’s best friend, we do know that it will tick him off. When Happy Hogan was put in the Hospital in Iron Man 3, Tony went on a crusade to get revenge for his friend. Expect that exact thing to happen again. Rhodes is the only true friend Tony has. Happy is a good guy, but he’s not the guy saving Tony’s butt half-way across the globe. Rhodes and Tony’s backstory goes a lot deeper than the movies really explain. The two men have a few origin stories. Sometimes they are childhood friends, sometimes they met in captivity as prisoners of war. Their bond is just as close as Bucky and Steve’s and shooting Rhodes down will not sit well with Mr. Stark.
5 Tony and Steve’s “Friendship”
The two men aren’t exactly friends. In fact, Tony saying that he thought they were in the trailer threw some fans for quite a loop as we never really imagined the two men as more than teammates. Yeah, they would die for each other, but chances are they aren’t going out and grabbing a beer. We always kinda saw it as Hawkeye/Black Widow, Hulk/Iron Man, and Cap/Thor when it came to picking buddies. Obviously they aren’t enemies, but they aren’t far from it. They actively threaten each other, and are seemingly always at odds. Tony even tells Steve that he doesn’t trust him at one point in Age of Utron. Though it is worth pointing out the respect the two men have for each other. In Tony’s vision of the world ending, it’s Cap who tells Tony it’s his fault, building an insurmountable guilt that he has trouble getting past. It’s no shocker that they start the civil war, we just hope they end up on the same side again.
4 Steve Has A Dark Side
Going back to when Tony said he doesn’t trust Steve in Age of Ultron, that was one of the better scenes in the entire movie. To recap, the two men are cutting wood outside Haweye’s cabin (in an obvious competition for who can cut more). Tony remarks that he can’t trust a man who doesn’t have a dark side, and Steve rips a freaking log in half and calmly tells Tony that he just hasn’t seen his dark side yet. This is an obvious bit of foreshadowing that Marvel was planning out in Civil War already and that fans would be treated to the darker side of Captain America. We are all pumped to see this side of the boy scout come out.
The entire movie all comes back to the fact that Tony invented Ultron. The world blames Iron Man for the destruction of Sokovia, as does Tony himself. And how can he not? Him creating Ultron directly led to the death of many people, and we already know Tony has a hard time dealing with that. The biggest problem here is that Tony had the world’s best interest in mind when he made Ultron - it just got out of hand. The scene where Tony defended his logic in creating the machine started the civil war, his thought that the Avengers must disband one day. He’s not in the wrong for thinking that, but Cap thinks that the Avengers are enough to always defend the world, even if Tony doesn’t. That is the ultimate argument: who has the power to protect the people?
2 Everyone Knows Tony is Iron Man
Throughout the MCU, the public knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man. He says it at the end of the first movie, and uses the persona as advertising for his company. Because of this, people have been able to hold Tony Stark specifically accountable for all the terrible stuff that happens when the Avengers need to get involved. They aren’t going after Steve Rodgers, or even Nick Fury in the same way. Iron Man is the face the public sees and thus has a bigger responsibility to apologize for what happened. Cap doesn’t share the same burden, so doesn’t understand Tony’s point of view on holding themselves accountable.
1 They’re The Same
The two men are basically the same. Both stand up for what they believe in, don’t back down from a fight, will do whatever it takes to defend those they love, and will win the fight against all odds. Yet at the same time they have one major flaw: their pride. It’s the most common superhero trope of all time, and rarely do you find two heroes who exemplify it the same ways that these two do. Both refuse to compromise because they can’t imagine that what they are doing is wrong, no matter who tells them. They both want to do good, but won’t consider that there is something better. That’s their downfall and why they fight.