The debate of who is the best hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a matter that has ignited several fights over the years. It wasn’t made better after the release of Captain America: Civil War in 2016. The film divided fans even more than they already were, as the premise of the movie was branded as Captain America vs. Iron Man.
The debate is still ongoing, with fans passionately defending whichever side they chose. I have no shame or guilt in admitting that I took the side of Tony Stark and always will. Tony Stark, as opposed to Captain America, will always take the greater good into account at his own expense. From the very beginning, Tony Stark has been known to ignore his own happiness if it meant the general public was safe. Additionally, Tony Stark has some of the best character development in the MCU. In every project he’s in, Tony has learned some sort of impactful lesson that has greatly affected him and pushed him to change and be better.
This is not to say that Captain America doesn’t change and develop as he adapts to the modern world, but after he came out of the ice, Steve Rogers’s personality certainly took a shift. I will admit, I loved the character of Steve Rogers up until Civil War. It was then that I saw his hypocrisy and stubbornness. All throughout Age of Ultron, Steve scolded and berated Tony for his accidental creation of Ultron with Bruce Banner. He repeatedly expressed his frustration and distaste for secrets, only for fans to find out he kept the biggest secret of all. It is revealed in Civil War that, not only were Tony’s parents killed by the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed Bucky Barnes, but Steve knew about and had known about it since the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. Steve has many more missteps during Civil War, such as his refusal to compromise or have a conversation with Tony so they could figure out the Accords together, but his lies and hypocrisy stand out the most to me.
Additionally, Steve and Tony were polar opposites in the final minutes of Avengers: Endgame. Tony sacrificed himself and the happiness he had built over the past five years to help save the universe and bring half of all life back. I am not denying that Steve greatly helped in the saving of the universe, but it was still in shambles afterward and half of the team he was in charge of had lost five years of their lives and God knows how many loved ones. But instead of sticking around for at least a week to help his friends adjust, mourn, and settle back into life, Steve jumped at the opportunity to physically undo all of his development, leave all of the friends and bonds he had formed and go back to the 1940s to live a life with Peggy Carter. Meanwhile, one of his best friends is trapped and being mercilessly tortured by HYDRA and Steve has no qualms or hesitations about going back to a point in time where he can do nothing to stop it.
I am not saying that Steve Rogers is the worst character in the MCU, but as we got deeper into phases two and three, it became glaringly obvious to me who, in the grand scheme of things, was the better hero.