The Marvel Cinematic Universe has long been established as one of the premiere tentpole franchises in Hollywood, grossing billions of dollars worldwide for a period of eight years. It's easy to forget now, but there was a time when their shared universe plan was thought to be overly-ambitious, relying mainly on the company's "second tier" characters due to film rights restrictions. Marvel Studios took a gamble when they moved forward on the first Iron Man film, and the rest is history. Thanks to strong work by director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey, Jr., Iron Man became a major success and paved the way for the MCU to truly expand.
Favreau returned for the sequel, Iron Man 2, and stayed involved with the MCU by working as an executive producer on Iron Man 3 and the two Avengers films (a role he'll serve on Infinity War). He's an integral part of the series' history, laying the groundwork for the build-up to this summer's Captain America: Civil War. As fans eagerly await that film's theatrical premiere, Favreau has offered his thoughts on the latest effort from Joe and Anthony Russo, praising their handling of Tony Stark and the universe as a whole specifically.
The filmmaker spoke with IGN, where the topic of Marvel came up. After becoming the latest to commend Tom Holland's take on Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Favreau discussed his feelings on Stark and why he was so impressed with his role in Civil War:
"I think Spider-Man made me smile every second the character was on the screen. I was so pleased with the tone of the film in general, but those sequences specifically, and I just loved the way they introduced the character. I love the version of Tony Stark I saw, especially in those scenes. As somebody who was part of the beginning of the screen persona of Tony Stark, I thought that this was really impressive and a wonderful expansion of that character."
It shouldn't come as any surprise that Favreau holds Tony Stark close to his heart given his strong connections with that particular character. He was such a vital component in crafting the Iron Man audiences know and love (even lobbying for Downey, Jr. to get the part), so this stamp of approval has some significant weight to it. Out of all the heroes that populate the MCU, Stark is arguably the one Favreau knows best, and he's proven to have a great understanding of what makes Iron Man work on the big screen. That he believes the Tony in Civil War is a "wonderful expansion" of what's already been presented is a very positive development and hints at a compelling character arc.
After winning over critics and moviegoers with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russos are essentially spearheading Phase 3 for Marvel, directing Civil War and the two-part Infinity War event that'll close it out. Since their franchise installments so far have been standout (early reviews for Captain America 3 are very positive), many fans are encouraged and feel that the MCU will continue to thrive over the next handful of years. Favreau thinks that sentiment is warranted, saying that the Russos displayed a strong grasp on the material in Civil War.
"I just felt – as a filmmaker who had been part of establishing this universe – I thought that it was in really good hands with these guys and I was pleased. And as an audience member I was just smiling, and it’s nice to smile your way through a film. The audience is in for a treat, and I didn’t even see it finished so I’m sure it’s gotten even better."
With two teams of Avengers squaring off against each other, Civil War has the largest ensemble cast of any Marvel movie. The film's positive word-of-mouth and buzz implies that the Russos are filmmakers more than capable of dealing with a huge cast and giving everyone their due, which is great for Infinity War. As one would expect, that movie will have an overwhelming number of characters in it, as everything from the first three Phases boils over into one massive conflict. Right now, there's no reason to doubt the Russos' ability to deliver, meaning Phase 3 should have a thrilling conclusion.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016;Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.