Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole believes that because of the current sociopolitical climate we live in today, 2008's Iron Man would not resonate well with audiences due to the attitude of Tony Stark on-screen.
Cole explained that the Jon Favreau-directed movie would go against the philosophies that superhero movies are trying to cultivate, especially with the state of America's politics. When asked about superheroes' values reflecting or shaping culture today at a SXSW panel, Cole responded, "Think about where we are now, with this very vapid, unintelligent president and our world is crackling on the edges because of that. Think back to Tony Stark, him being douchey and being okay."
He continued, "If that character, Stark, was created in a movie today, I wonder if the response would be like, ‘Oh, it’s cool that he’s douchey and disrespectful to women … That’s fine.’ I think we’re at a different place. I think it’s a better place.” In Favreau's film, apart from Stark's arrogance, Robert Downey Jr.'s character was depicted -- albeit true to the source material -- as a lover of women and alcohol, and a very condescending white male with power.
As it stands with Cole, anything that fans could perceive as misogynistic or aggressive simply wouldn't sit well today, especially in an era where social justice is becoming even more prevalent, not just on the streets but online too. However, Stark has matured into the kind of virtuous hero (partly thanks to his engagement to Pepper Potts) who's more suitable to stop the impending threat of Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Arriving April 27, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Paul Bettany as the Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier, Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Groot, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Josh Brolin as Thanos.