At the end of the movie Captain America: Civil War, we see Iron Man claiming the shield of Captain America. According to Iron Man,

It does not belong to you, Steve, my father built it.

Cap, being altruistic and all, hands the shield over.

By what right does Iron Man demand the shield's "return"? The shield was clearly a business transaction between late Howard Stark and Steve. Tony Stark wasn't even born when it happened.

In the whole movie, Tony had been extremely "bossy and bureaucratic" to say the least by making a huge fuss over "signing of accords" and everything. In fact, by the end, I expected Tony to be rather apologetic for all the miseries he caused to everyone by creating that rift among the Avengers. But rather, he was being childish and fussy...

about Bucky killing his parents all those years ago.

Given his overwhelming knowledge about all things, Tony...

surely knew that Bucky wasn't in his right mind and in fact brain-washed by HYDRA when he killed the Stark family, right?

By picking a fight over the matter, Tony just looked like another street thug. Was this the same Tony who saved the New York City from invading Chiauri aliens only a few years ago?

  • 4
    Next time you post a question about a recently released movie, put the spoilers in something like this '>!' Okay?
    – CBredlow
    May 11, 2016 at 18:40
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    Tony wasn't claiming it for himself. Like Sam's wings, it belongs to the US government.
    – phantom42
    May 11, 2016 at 18:44
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    I think the point is that Steve Rogers doesn't own the shield. The government allows him to use it to further their interests. He can't just take government property and do what he wants with it. Soldiers can't just take tanks out for a spin. May 11, 2016 at 18:52
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    What? Reacting angrily that a close friend hid information about his parents' deaths and was helping the murderer get away with it makes him 'childish and fussy'? What?
    – user33616
    May 11, 2016 at 19:39
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    @Recycle Pretty sure the quote is "That shield doesn't belong to you. You don't deserve it. My father made that shield."
    – DariM
    May 11, 2016 at 21:22

3 Answers 3


Cap's shield is made out of Vibranium and is the sole property of the US government. (Although in the movie, Tony implies that it belongs to his father. In any case, Cap doesn't own it.)

So, Tony (as the government representative) has the right to demand it back. However, Tony did it because he was mad and hurt over Cap's betrayal and it was symbolic too. Such as, it was Tony's way of telling Steve he's not worthy of being a hero anymore. And it's symbolic of Steve not being an official Avenger anymore.

As others have pointed out; Cap's betrayal is severe because he knew for a while that Tony's parents death was no accident. Cap also protected the killer's identity.


Tony got his butt kicked and his ego demanded that he get the last word.

To answer your second question: In the beginning, Tony was the rebel and Steve was the "by the book" government type. But in the movies Winter Soldier and Civil War proved that Steve has lost faith in governments and politics whereas Tony has embraced them. Basically, they have traded roles.

And to answer your other question:

Tony watched his parents get savagely murdered. That would make anyone irrational. Maybe after years of therapy he'll forgive Bucky...

  • @RogueJedi: Yes, Tony didn't explicitly say that but he did imply that his father owns the shield as he built it. I updated my answer accordingly.
    – djm
    May 15, 2016 at 22:49
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    I would expand on the part were you said "Tony did it because he was mad and hurt over Cap's betrayal and it was symbolic too. Such as, it was Tony's way of telling Steve he's not worthy of being a hero anymore." I think that's the real reason he said it. He was kinda saying "I've been youre friend this whole time, my dad even made you that shield you love so much. Yet now you betray me and use the shield my dad made you to fight me and break my suit?!?" He's basically calling Cap a traitor and trying to make Cap feel guilty etc.
    – RedCaio
    May 15, 2016 at 23:41
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    @djm, add in the fact that a man who was one of his friends for a long time as well as a fellow Avenger admitted to keeping knowledge of his parents' death a secret from him. To anyone who calls Tony's reaction to that "childish": if one of your friends knew how your parents had been savagely killed and kept it to himself for a year, then admits it to you after said year, rather than telling you right away what he knew when he found out..............would you still want to be around them, or have anything to do with them? Would you just shake it off and say "eh, it's ok. Whatever"? Dec 18, 2018 at 19:14
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    @MissouriSpartan: I added in details of Cap's betrayal. Thanks!
    – djm
    Dec 18, 2018 at 20:44
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    and if you think about it.....Steve ultimately betrayed Howard, the man who gave him the shield in the first place. He lied about his death and concealed/protected the murderer (regardless of his state of mind). I kind of feel like it was fitting what Tony did in demanding the shield back in the end. Steve had proven that he was not worthy of the gift Howard had given him as he had betrayed the symbology behind it. Sep 3, 2019 at 17:35

Tony Stark has no official authority to demand the return of the shield

Rather, the claim on the shield is an emotional afterthought to the fight between Captain America and Iron Man.

"That shield doesn't belong to you.

You don't deserve it!

My father made that shield!"

Stark's threefold claim is based on these points:

  • The shield is the government property, for the use of Captain America - a soldier; no soldier of a state army owns their weapons - they are state property
  • In Stark's eyes, Captain America has betrayed his friends and the world, making him morally unfit to carry such a symbolic weapon

Perhaps most forceful of all arguments, the shield is the creation of Howard Stark, who was murdered by the Winter Soldier, who is now being protected by... Captain America

So Stark's authority in the matter is only a stated moral authority

Though convinced that he has acted justly, Captain America tacitly concedes the argument and relinquishes the shield. In later appearances he wears a new, dark uniform, giving up the symbolism of the Captain America costume...

... until Stark hands the Captain the shield once again during Avengers: Endgame ("He made it for you").

  • Tony: "Do as I say, not as I do". Also Tony: "My armour is mine, get rekt government".
    – Clockwork
    Feb 11 at 13:20

It had nothing to do with the government, it all started with the government, and from the movie no one was clearly right, for that. Both sides had good points and no one wanted to fight. The only person that Tony was mad at was Falcon and that was because he blamed him for what happened to War Machine. Tony was trying to help Steve and Bucky until he saw the video showing Bucky murder his parents even Steve knew that he was wrong to hide that from Tony, he told him that it was wrong in the recording he made. Tony took the shield back because his father made it for him and if he helped the man who killed his father he didn't deserve anything from him. In Tony's eyes, Steve betrayed him, his friends and his father, Tony always hated Steve because he felt his father loved Steve more than him, he said that he always hard stores about Captain America growing up when he saw Steve helped Bucky and not him he was hurt.

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