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?

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    Next time you post a question about a recently released movie, put the spoilers in something like this '>!' Okay? – CBredlow May 11 '16 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 '16 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. – John Sensebe May 11 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 21:22

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...

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  • @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 '16 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 '16 at 23:41
  • I'm still heart-broken over what happened in CACW. – apollo May 16 '16 at 15:02
  • @apollo: No worries. They are still a family; there was a nod to that at the end of the movie. – djm May 16 '16 at 15:34
  • @djm I know. It was still really bad tho. I felt sorry for Tony and Bucky at the same time. – apollo May 17 '16 at 6:10

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").

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