It's not really an exaggeration to say that the #Marvel Cinematic Universe was built upon the back of Iron Man. Pre-2008 the Futurist Tony Stark was a mainstay of the Marvel Comic Universe, but not their most prevalent.
The face of Marvel has long been Spider-Man, but he was all tied up with Sony Pictures owning the rights to the character, so the franchise launched in a different direction. But then the fabled deal was struck between Marvel Studios and Sony, and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) joined the #MCU in last year's Captain America: Civil War.
And nothing's slowing down on the Spider-Man front. The wall-crawler is set to appear in his sixth live-action solo movie later this year — but his first as part of the MCU. And the new trailer reveals that it's shaping up to be quite a show — check it out below if you haven't seen it already.
But #SpiderMan was not the one to launch a $10.9 billion franchise, that accolade goes to Iron Man. And Iron Man was also one of the big points that revitalized the career of Robert Downey Jr., once down and out, now one of the richest and most sought after actors in the world.
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Blockbuster movies are often built upon the backs of popular actors (that's how we got all that kerfuffle with Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell). So of course, Downey Jr.'s rumored cameo in Homecoming seems to be shaping up to be a little more than a mere cameo.
#IronMan has featured heavily in the trailers so far — likely a marketing ploy to pull in the punters even more strongly — but the newest #trailer reveals a very pertinent moment between Tony Stark and Peter Parker.
The two haven't always seen eye to eye in the comics, and so seems to be the case in the MCU. But there's also a certain dose of a father-son relationship forming as Peter begins to worm his way into the Avengers, the Grown Up superheroes.
The new trailer revealed an exchange between the two that ends in Tony confiscating the suit he made for Peter. Peter protests, and Tony hits him with a killjoy dad line:
Peter: "But I'm nothing without this suit!"
Tony: "If you're nothing without this suit then you shouldn't have it!"
And this — though Tony is projecting it onto Peter here — is actually the crux of the fatal flaw of Iron Man's character in the MCU. It was, indeed, a major plot point of Iron Man 2, and one that has been brought up numerous times in the comics: What is Iron Man without his suit?
Spider-Man — though he relies heavily on the tech in the suit and his own custom made web-launchers — also has superhuman powers. He was shown to be working as a low level superhero without the suit prior to Civil War, and the new trailer revealed that he goes back to operating without it for a time in Homecoming.
But what is Tony Stark without his suit? In The Avengers he was a "genius billionaire playboy philanthropist" according to the man himself, but by the time Civil War came around things had changed. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) has left him because — by his own admission — he was unable to give up being Iron Man:
"A few years ago I almost lost her so I trashed all my suits. Then we had to mop up HYDRA. Then Ultron, my fault. And then, and then, and then. I never stopped. 'Cause the truth is I don't wanna stop."
According to Joe Russo, Tony's decisions during Civil War were driven by his "guilty complex". As we've previously discussed, Tony has a lot of complexes, not the least of which being the fact that by this point he can't see a life beyond being "The Iron Man." The line he speaks in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer may be directed at Peter, but it's really about him.
While Civil War was a Captain America movie both in name and content, it was in a many ways a worthy Iron Man 4. Somehow Tony has a way of creeping into every movie with his own bag of issues — even in the case of the ensemble movies. The Avengers ended up centered physically around Stark Tower and emotionally in the friction between Tony and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), and Avengers: Age of Ultron was about the team trying to fix a mess Tony had created.
So what does this mean for Spider-Man: Homecoming? It means that, while it may be a Spider-Man movie in both name and content, expect to see a lot of Tony Stark's neuroses rearing their ugly heads again. As Peter is being set up as Iron Man's de-facto successor, he may learn that with this great power comes an ever greater responsibility, and that it just isn't an MCU movie without Tony brooding in the background.
What do you think Iron Man is up to in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!