Tony Stark has a black eye. He’s sitting on a leather sofa in an international intelligence task force center with blood on his silk shirt and tie.
Somebody got a hold of him when he didn’t have his metal suit handy.
Really, this is a set for Captain America: Civil War on a studio lot outside Atlanta, and Robert Downey Jr. is feeling a different kind of punchy. He can’t say who beat the hell out of his character, but it wasn’t Captain America.
“No, I mean, look, if he and I are gonna beat each other senseless, that should be an Act III thing,” the actor says. “We haven’t written Act III yet? No?” he says to some passing crew, who don’t really hear him. Downey smiles. “That’s the only way we can stay ahead of the guess-thing – actually not write it until we’re there.”
There is an Act III, fear not. Downey’s just being Downey. He’s actually the one who likes to rewrite on the day.
In this 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which Downey helped inaugurate with 2008’s Iron Man, his hero clashes with Chris Evans’ Captain America in a conflict over whether superheroes should be controlled by the governments of the world. Iron Man is for that idea, and Cap’s against it.
They don’t settle the disagreement by using their words.
Iron Man isn’t necessarily the “bad guy,” but he’s definitely the antagonist. “It didn’t bother me at all,” says Downey. “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.”
It so happens, he also doesn’t think Stark is wrong. “I’m not having to patter around what I think the worldview is,” Downey says. “I wholeheartedly agree with what he does in this.” The actor adds with a smile: “Which is, by the way, more than I could say for some of the other movies.”
Stark was once the anti-authoritarian firebrand, but having unleashed Ultron on the world, among other more venial indiscretions, the billionaire, playboy, philanthropist is starting to appreciate boundaries.