72

In Captain America: Civil War, when Stark recruited Parker to join the action, no mention was made of the cause for which they were fighting. All they talk about is how Stark could help Spidey essentially upgrade himself, and then bam, Spider-Man is OK with fighting well respected heroes like Captain America, someone I'm sure he also respects and looks up to!

I get that Parker and Stark have a lot in common and all that. My question is, was Spider-Man on team Iron Man just because he looks up to Stark and Stark gave him an upgraded suit etc. and that's it, or does he personally believe in the Sokovia Accords and government oversight of superheroes?

Why was Spider-Man on team Iron Man? Was it

  1. because Iron Man made him a suit?
  2. because he just looked up to Stark so much that if Stark said to punch Cap (and his team) in the face, he'd do it, no questions asked?
  3. because he believed in the Sokovia Accords and government oversight of superheroes?*

*If he does believe in the Sokovia Accords, is there anything showing where Spider-Man falls on the Sokovia Accords issue? i.e. quotes from the film, tie-in comics, supplementary materials, anything?

  • 21
    Iron Man showed up at his apartment and basically gave him a new super suit and a bunch of money for school/research. Anyone who relies on research grants will tell you, they don't even need the super suit included in order to be indebted. Also note that Spidey's role in the fight seems to be defined as support/CC. He's tasked with disabling and distracting foes, not attacking head on or trying to inflict damage. – TylerH May 17 '16 at 13:43
  • 6
    Just FYI: The fact that Spider-Man is on Team Iron Man is not a spoiler as it was in the trailer itself (Spider-Man webbing Cap, taking the shield, and landing on the side opposing Cap's team etc.) – RedCaio May 17 '16 at 23:43
  • 3
    It's not so much what's "on-screen" that happens which is important, rather it's "off-screen". Peter mentions a few times during the Airport Battle that "Tony said x", "Tony mentioned y" and "Tony said you would say z"... Clearly they've had at least one long helicopter ride to discuss their positions, and Tony seems to have informed Peter about many things, including "go for the legs"! – Möoz May 18 '16 at 21:37
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    @RedCaio: Not all of us like to spoil ourselves by watching trailers! – Lightness Races in Orbit May 19 '16 at 13:39
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    Surely it's allowable to put information from a trailer in a title. I haven't seen the movie, and that's the one thing I know about it. @Randal'Thor – Molag Bal May 19 '16 at 20:00
76

Because Tony Stark persuaded him.

And not just with the promise of a new suit. There are two things that Tony does to convince Peter to come help.

The first surrounds Peter's version of "With great power comes great responsibility" that he says to Tony Stark;

"When you can do the things that I can, but you don't, and then the bad things happen? They happen because of you."

Peter Parker, Captain America: Civil War

A first reading of this would seem to suggest that Peter would side with Steve Rogers on the Sokovia Accords (and given all the information I believe he would), but that isn't how Tony sees it. To Tony, Peter is saying that he has a chance to ensure that no more innocent people (such as Miriam Sharpe's son) die thanks to the carelessness of the Avengers, and by not trying to ensure that the Sokovia Accords are signed, the next time an innocent person dies it is his fault. We see this later when Peter confronts Steve Rogers;

"He told me that you're wrong, but you think you're right. And that makes you dangerous."

Peter Parker, Captain America: Civil War

This indicates that Tony has basically convinced Peter of the same thing he believes - that the responsible thing to do is to ensure that the Sokovia Accords are signed, so that the next "bad thing" that happens isn't their fault.


But that's not all. Even if Peter does want to go help, he himself admits that he can't.

"I can't go to Germany! I got... homework. "

Peter Parker, Captain America: Civil War

At which point Tony threatens to reveal to Aunt May that Peter is Spider-Man. It's already established early on in the converstation that "Aunt Hottie" doesn't know about Peter's super-heroics, and that "she'd freak" if she found out, so Tony uses that to his advantage, forcing Peter to come along.


In short, Tony blackmails Peter Parker into coming along with him, and on the way convinces Peter that Steve is wrong (even though he thinks he is right), and that the responsible thing to do is to help bring Captain America and his team in.

  • Well, turns out Iron Man is dangerous too. He thought he was right about what he believed about the Winter Soldier. Look what happened. Guess Spidey simply needs to know both sides of the coin before joining in on the fun. – thegreatjedi May 18 '16 at 11:01
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    He believed the Winter Soldier is dangerous. Then he finds out the Winter Soldier actually killed someone important, which causes Iron Man to super hate him. Then he finds out Captain American already knew about this, so he also finds out Cap is a self-protective jerk. I'm not sure when Iron Man was "wrong" about Bucky. Even Bucky agrees to be cryogenically frozen because he knows he's dangerous. – Nelson May 19 '16 at 6:42
  • To me, the "He told me that..." line felt more like he wasn't truly involved in what this whole discussion was about (i.e. he was more into working with Tony than caring about the accords). Maybe I'm not giving Spidey enough credit, though. – Jasper May 19 '16 at 13:25
65

First thing first: Spider-man is not taking this fight seriously

Please notice how he reacts in the fight: he keeps saying how "cool" are his opponents:

[webbing comes down, grabs Cap's shield and cuffs his hands. Spider-Man lands on a nearby truck holding Cap's shield]

Tony Stark: Nice job, kid!

Spider-Man: Thanks! Well, I could have stuck the landing a little better. It's just, new suit... wait, it's nothing, Mr. Stark. It's... it's perfect, thank you.

Tony Stark: Yeah, we don't really need to start a conversation.

Spider-Man: Okay. [salutes]

Spider-Man: Cap... Captain? Big fan. Spider-Man.

Tony Stark: Yeah, we'll talk about it later. Just...

Spider-Man: [waves] Hey, everyone.

He is huge fan of Captain, he loves Bucky's metal arm and Falcon's suit. For him its definitely not about politics. Why is he there? Well, imagine this: he is a lone, special teenager and suddenly, here comes the Famous Iron Man and offers him a job, so he thinks: "Why not just go with uber cool (and rich) Tony Stark and have a serious talk with another hero - Captain America. And since Tony and Steve are friends, so for sure they won't be any fighting, no?".

Please notice that during the fight he never really tried to seriously hurt anyone - he is just mostly swinging around immobilizing his opponents with web.

So getting back to the original question: It is not #3 and not #2, it is a bit of #1 but only because he doesn't understand the seriousness of the situation - he is just a high school kid who was asked to throw a ball in National League game.

Edit: I stand by my answer: in the first minutes of the " Spider-man: Homecoming we can see Peter talking on his cell phone just before going to the fight at the airport:

Peter: No one has actually told me why I’m in Berlin or what I’m doing. Something about Captain America going crazy.

and later:

Peter: Okay, so the craziest thing just happened, right? I just had a fight with Captain America and I stole his shield and I threw it at him-

  • 18
    Nice analogy at the end, +1. – Kalissar May 17 '16 at 9:00
  • 9
    I'm 99% sure you dramatically misinterpreted that scene. Peter is very clear why he's fighting and tells Steve so near the end. – KutuluMike May 17 '16 at 12:06
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    @KutuluMike As I recall he's just repeating what Stark told him, and he says as much, too. He's clearly not aware of the team's interpersonal history or conflicts, present melee not withstanding. – TylerH May 17 '16 at 13:46
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    they don't normally kick the ball in baseball. – Kevin May 17 '16 at 16:46
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    @Kevin since I'm not from USA for me National League would be more about soccer. – Yasskier May 17 '16 at 20:23
37

I agree with Dr R Dizzle's answer that Tony persuaded Peter to his side of the conflict, but I also want to add one very important element:

Spidey clearly wasn't expecting a real fight

  • At the very beginning of the airport scene, when it becomes clear that things won't be settled with words, Peter asks Tony what he should do. Tony responds that he should do "what we talked about," which amounted to webbing people up and otherwise staying out of the fight. Team Cap ends up putting up a better fight than expected so Spidey does end up having to throw some punches, but we still got that explicit confirmation that Spidey's planned role was restraint, and nothing else.

  • Then, during the oh-so-dramatic "line up and run at each other" moment featured in all the trailers, Spidey is the only one questioning what is about to happen. "Uh, they're not stopping..." he says as Team Cap breaks out into a sprint toward them. Again, we see that he wasn't on the same page as his teammates, and the idea that there's going to be an all-out brawl is surprising to him.

  • And finally, when Ant-Man does his Giant-Man thing and the fighting gets GENUINELY dangerous, Tony steps in and essentially sends Peter home. He tells him he's done, likely because he isn't comfortable with putting someone as young and inexperienced as Peter in harm's way like this. This further confirms that Tony, while prepared to fight Cap himself, wasn't expecting Spidey to be right in the thick of it.

All of this adds up to the idea that, while Peter can clearly handle himself in a fight, no one was expecting him to be in one.

There's a big difference between "come help me fight Captain America" and "come help me restrain Captain America so I can talk to him." Peter clearly sides with Tony based on the "he told me you're wrong but you think you're right" line, but I expect he probably saw himself as more of a mediator, someone who could force everyone to stop and talk, rather than a full-on, locked-and-loaded, Team Iron Man anti-Cap brawler like War Machine or Black Panther.

  • 7
    +1 for that, I fully agree: for him Tony and Steve are both heroes so all he was expecting was a bit of talk, or at worst restraining Captain, not the full blown fight. – Yasskier May 17 '16 at 22:12
  • This makes a lot of sense. That might explain him not entirely taking it as serious as if he was backing the Avengers against Hydra or Ultron- there wasn't any real danger. When things got dangerous, Tony sends him away. Might even explain why he didn't ask him to help against other foes. – PointlessSpike May 18 '16 at 8:14
  • This is exactly how I interpreted the scene as well. – Nit May 19 '16 at 9:29
0

I believe it's a weird combination of #2 & #3 with a little bit of blackmail thrown in for good measure. The problem I have is that it doesn't fit his character at all.

Peter would have never just joined Tony's side without doing his own research. The fact that he just bought into his BS is just silly. If he had been given all of the information its pretty clear Spider-man would have come down on Caps side. Perhaps they did this so that he can flip sides in the next Avengers movie. If not its a serious flub on the filmmakers part.

-4

Tony tells Peter to help but don't get into too much danger. Its obviously his first job interview for the Avengers and he knows it so he's looking to impress. Its not like Spiderman hasn't seen extreme danger before though (aka Green Goblin)

  • 14
    There is no evidence that the Green Goblin exists in the MCU yet, much less that Peter has fought him. – phantom42 May 17 '16 at 16:36
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    Well, there was at least evidence that he can take a collision with a bus head on (from the video Stank showed). – T.E.D. May 17 '16 at 20:05
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit - I figure if Stan Lee calls him that, then I can too. :-) – T.E.D. May 19 '16 at 13:44

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