ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - the following contains mid-sized potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War. Proceed with whatever level of caution your innate SPOILER-aversion suggests is wise...)

Now, Robert Downey Jr. isn't known as a man over-burdened by an overactive sense of modesty, or one suffering from any lack of self-confidence. Which, since he's one of the most beloved actors in the world - and one of the most financially well-compensated anythings anywhere - isn't too surprising, or at all unreasonable. What's more, it tends to have the pleasant side-effect of making Downey Jr. far more willing to talk freely about his movie projects than the average movie star. Where others tend towards vague, studio-approved sound-bites, RDJ usually opts for honest and open (if sometimes intentionally, and often hilariously, misleading) reveals.

His latest such revelation?

Iron Man is Very Much the 'Bad Guy' in Captain America: Civil War, and RDJ is Totally OK With That

Now, of course, we're not going to see Tony Stark try to blow the world up, or even actively be truly villainous - but from the sounds of it, he's definitely going to be the antagonist of Civil War's story. After all, it is a Captain America movie.

What's intriguing, though, is that from the sounds of RDJ's recent interview with EW, the actor is totally on board with that being Tony's role:

"It didn’t bother me at all...I’ve always thought of it in some ways that Tony is the antagonist to himself in his own story, so this isn’t a problem. This guy understands problems ‘cause he is a problem. And he tends to create problems."

Which, crucially, doesn't mean that Downey Jr. actually thinks Tony is in the wrong. As he added:

"I’m not having to patter around what I think the worldview is...I wholeheartedly agree with what he does in this...Which is, by the way, more than I could say for some of the other movies."

In Other Words, Tony Stark Might Be the 'Bad Guy', But He's Not Necessarily a Bad Guy

Which, after al, is pretty much the exact same way things went down back in the Civil War comic-books. For all that writer Mark Millar worked frantically to maintain a balance of sympathy for both sides, it rapidly became impossible for most fans to see Captain America - the freaking sentinel of liberty himself - as anything other than a hero. That, in turn, made Iron Man the villain almost by default - just not an inherently unsympathetic one.

Sensibly, Marvel Studios seems to have recognized that much the same thing will likely happen in Captain America: Civil War. Not matter what the film-makers do, we're all pretty much guaranteed to see Cap as a hero - so the best approach is to embrace Iron Man's relative villainy, while allowing RDJ to make him a sufficiently sympathetic villain that we can still buy him as a hero when the sides eventually reconcile. It's the same approach Fox has always taken with Magneto - one which means we can happily accept Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender as either hero or villain, often within the same movie.

And if there's anyone who can pull it off in Civil War, it's Robert Downey' Jr. After all, he's gloriously immodest, cocky-as-hell, and rich as Croesus - and we love him for it, because he wears it all so well. It's almost like he's been preparing for this moment his entire life...

What do you reckon, though?



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