In all the recent DC excitement over the new trailers and promos for the upcoming [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870), and the slightly further off in the distance Suicide Squad, it's easy to forget that Captain America: Civil War isn't far over the horizon now either.
We're just as excited about getting to see the tension point of Phrase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming to a head as we are watching Batman and Superman slugging out it; cause Civil War has it's own titanic showdown in the form of Iron Man / Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) taking on his teammate Captain America / Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
But, as the title reminds us, this isn't an Avengers film. It's a Captain America film (Iron Man v Captain America doesn't really have the same ring to it, does it?). And the first official trailer dropped recently and reminded us why: this ain't really about Iron Man, it's more to do with the Winter Soldier / Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
Directing-duo the Russo Brothers intended for [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) to act as a follow on to The Winter Soldier, not Avengers: Age of Ultron or even Iron Man 3. But just cause Tony Stark isn't front and centre doesn't mean he's not pretty gosh darn important in the Civil War narrative.
Those of us who have read the polarizing comic book arc from which the film takes its source are well aware of Tony's motivations; his guilt over the Stamford Incident and a confrontation he has with a grieving mother whose son was one of 60 children killed in the event.
In the comics it makes sense for Tony to take the pro-registration side because of the responsibility he feels over the death of so many civilians, and it's repeatedly shown throughout Civil War how conflicted he is about turning against his fellow heroes.
And of course the MCU equivalent of the Stamford Incident has already happened; the Battle of Sokovia which occurred during [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035). Hence why the Accords handed down to restrict The Avengers in Civil War are dubbed the "Sokovia Accords".
It was Tony's recklessness which led to the creation of Ultron (James Spader) and all the death and destruction he wreaked upon the world, and unlike Iron Man 2 there's no way he's going to be able to wriggle out of this one, because the guilt lives within his mind.
"[Tony Stark] now has a guilty complex and the guilt drives him to make very specific decisions... Tony has a very legitimate argument in the movie that’s a very adult point of view, about culpability, about the Avengers’ responsibility to the world, and the world’s right to have some sort of control over the Avengers. It’s a very complicated emotional arc for Tony Stark in this movie."
And he terrified of failing his team, as we see in his Scarlet Witch induced vision during Age of Ultron when de-facto team leader Steve accuses him of failing to save them.
This fear, and fear of the unknown, is what lead to the creation of Ultron in the first place. Seeing as that all went tits up the paranoia and guilt will only have been growing within him ever since, leading to his side taking in Civil War.
The Comic Book Tony Stark
The original Tony Stark isn't too far from the one we've seen in the comic books, at least in terms of his playboy personality, genius and quick wit. But one thing the films do downplay is his PTSD and alcoholism; a big part of his internal character struggle (see 1979's Demon in a Bottle if you haven't already).
Though we saw Tony fighting with these demons during Iron Man 2, and the PTSD issue was touched upon briefly in Iron Man 3, they've not really been explored in too much depth. Another issue that's been raised since the trailer dropped involves the following exchange between Tony and Steve:
The breaking apart of the Steve / Tony relationship is central to Civil War in the comics because at this point they are close friends, but we've not seen as much of this in The Avengers films. By the time Age of Ultron rolls around they've found a middle ground of sorts, settling into the teammates spectrum, arguments turned playful rather than malicious... but real friendship? There's not much meat behind that particular argument.
Because of Tony's inherent dysfunctions it's been posited that he has a different concept of friendship from Steve. Whilst Steve stands with his best friend of many years, Tony is an isolated genius who is "unfamiliar with functional human relationships".
He's got a bag of Daddy Issues stemming from both the emotional distancing of his actual father and the betrayal by surrogate father figure Obadiah Stane in Iron Man, so it's possible that he's projecting these issues onto Steve's perceived betrayal in Civil War.
Of course there's still a lot of narrative and canonical time needing bridged between The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and Civil War, and likely we'll see this particular issue being clarified some more when Civil War rolls around in a few months.
Hopefully they'll make Tony's motivations less oblique in order to properly set up the conflict, but in the meantime it always helps to look a little deeper at the particulars of Tony's state of mind and how it's changed over the last few films.
One thing is for sure, it's gonna be a pretty intense showdown when Captain America: Civil War lands in the US on May 6, 2016. Check out the trailer below!