(WARNING: The following contains mild potential plot SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War, as well as speculative discussion about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Proceed with whatever level of caution suggests is wise...)
The title of Marvel's latest installment in its Cinematic Universe might not be Captain America v Iron Man: Dawn of Infinity War, but it's probably fair to say that in terms of both the film's central conflict and its ultimate goal, that's pretty much what we're set to see in Captain America: Civil War.
That being said, one of the most intriguing elements of the MCU is its capacity to engagingly explore multiple plot threads and character developments without sacrificing the larger whole — something that was indirectly highlighted in the latest TV spot for the movie...
Y'see, for all that Cap and Iron Man's relationship is at the heart of Civil War — and Peter Parker and Tony Stark's looks set to be key to Spidey's upcoming solo movie Spider-Man: Homecoming — there's a whole lot more to the MCU than just those central relationships. Iron Man, after all, isn't the only key figure at the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, let's take a look at...
Why Spider-Man's Relationship With Captain America Matters For The MCU
So here's the thing. At this precise moment in time, we don't know what the future holds for Captain America, Iron Man or the vast majority of the Avengers. Until Captain America: Civil War hits theaters, we can't be sure who's going to live, who's going to die, or what state everyone's relationships are going to be in.
What we can be sure of, however, is that Spider-Man is going to be doing well enough to web shoot his way to a shiny new solo movie, coming next year — in which it looks as though he'll be mentored by Tony Stark.
However, there's one caveat:
Having Tony Stark As A Mentor Doesn't Mean That Spider-Man Is Iron Man's New Sidekick
If the comic book version of Civil War taught us anything, it's that Spidey can always be relied upon to do the right thing. Eventually. While he started that war on Iron Man's side, he ultimately began to feel that Cap's position was the right one and later switched sides. That seems unlikely to happen in Captain America: Civil War (at least, in the same way), but as the newly released TV spot above makes clear, that doesn't mean that Peter Parker isn't conflicted inside that Spider-Man suit — or that he won't ultimately reject Tony Stark's more authoritarian position in favor of his own individual style of superheroism.
Captain America Has Always Been A Hero Figure To Spidey In The Comic Books
And, from the looks of that very same TV spot, it sure does seem as though the MCU's Spidey shares the same respect and reverence for Cap that his comic counterpart has held for decades.
Now sure, he might typically express it in the form of snark (for more on the Web Slinger's irascible charm, check out this story), but Spidey has always been prone to hero worship, especially toward a figure as inherently decent and noble as Cap.
As the comic book Spidey himself once put it, Cap is "the one hero who will never betray his convictions, never betray those who followed him."
Cap is, in other words, Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, only in a catsuit.
The point being?
Even If He's Allied With Iron Man, Spider-Man Is Still Going To Be Influenced By Captain America
Here's the thing. It's entirely possible that Iron Man will use Uncle Ben's motto — "With great power comes great responsibility" — in his own favor, turning it into an argument for government oversight and more authoritarian views. It's even entirely possible that Spidey will buy into that wholesale and cheerily become a government operative.
Y'know what might just be more likely, though? Spidey realizing that it's Cap, not Iron Man, who lives up to those words every single day. Billionaire playboy and former arms dealer Tony Stark is trying his best to be a better man and to do right by the world — but he's usually betrayed in the end by his own ego and sense of self-worth. Steve Rogers, on the other hand, is the ultimate underdog, transformed by fate into the hero he always was inside. Every ounce of power he owns has, since the 1940s, been dedicated to protecting the world around him and to saving lives; to taking responsibility for his own abilities and his own limitations; to being a hero, the best way he knows how.
Whatever happens to Cap, it's tough to imagine Spidey ever seeing him as anything less than a hero — and no matter the influence of Iron Man, the MCU as a whole will be all the better for that.