For Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, which are rebooting the franchise a second time with Spider-Man: Homecoming, hearing Robert Downey Jr. compare his experience on set to that of 2008's Iron Man is undoubtedly welcome praise. After all, that film was not only a commercial and critical success, it also launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Being back with Tom Holland and Jon Favreau was just crazy," Downey recalled on Disney Channel's recent Spider-Man: Homecoming TV special. "It reminded me of that kind of first Iron Man experience."
While many initially assumed Downey's role as Tony Stark would be little more than a cameo connecting director Jon Watts' film to the MCU, the trailers have made it clear his presence is substantial, and pivotal to the story of young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he struggles to balance high school with his new life as a costumed hero.
"It's a straightforward Spider-Man movie," Downey said. "There's always opportunities for heavy-hitters to drop in and kind of support him."
According to Holland, convincing Downey to "drop in" didn't require much arm-twisting. "Jon rang me up and was like, 'Rob is gonna do it,'" the young actor recalled. "I was like, 'That's amazing! I thought it would take, like, a huge amount of persuading, y'know, but, nope, we rang him up and asked him, and he said yes! He loved being here. He was like a happy little kid on set."
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
Arriving in theaters July 7, Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.