Let’s talk about how he’s not like Captain America and Thor who are soldiers/warriors who’ve fought in countless battles and are used to the horrors of war.
Let’s talk about how he’s not like Clint or Natasha who have specific skill sets and are trained to not bat an eye to anything weird but to simply roll along with it. Let’s talk about how they know the best ways to defend themselves, the quickest way to kill their opponents and get the job done.
Let’s talk about Bruce Banner who despises the Hulk yet can’t do anything about this ‘monster’ who protects him. Let’s talk about he is invulnerable, unable to die, and a force at par with “gods”.
Let’s talk about how Tony Stark is none of these. How the only way he can protect himself is through what his mind creates. Let’s talk about the cons of being a genius - that is being unable to control your thousand thoughts a minute mind, and being very susceptible to mental disorders.
Let’s talk about how in line with his mental vulnerability, he is also physically vulnerable i.e a civilian.
Let’s talk about how civilians don’t have special training, don’t know how to effectively kill or incapacitate, and are therefore in a vulnerable position.
Let’s talk about how civilians protect themselves in the event that they are untrained: science. After all, isn’t that what arms races have been about? To protect oneself from a rival by making sure your technology is more deadlier than theirs?
So let’s talk about how Tony Stark was a weapons manufacturer who was kidnapped and thoroughly tortured.
Let’s talk about Iron Man: a suit of armour meant to protect himself from being vulnerable, from being tortured.
Tony being a super hero is a side-effect. Tony using the suit to save other people developed from his own personal experiences (such as saving the people of Gulmirah because of the doctor).
But essentially, at its very core, Iron Man was meant to be a defensive weapon, a cocoon for Tony.
Why are Tony and the suit 'one’? Because the suit was specifically designed for Tony’s needs.
All his life Tony has made weapons for other people. Those weapons were offensive, and he didn’t know nor care how they were used. He simply had ideas and brought them into fruition.
But the Iron Man suit was built to protect him. It’s tailored to his specific needs. It’s customised only for him to understand. The suit is essentially his 'safety blanket’. He’s territorial and possessive about it.
The reason he doesn’t want the government to get their hands on the suit is his. It was borne as a result of the troubles he went through, the suit has his 'mark’ on it. Not his surname, but everything Tony is the suit is too.
Let’s talk about how Tony never gets out of his suit.
Let’s talk about how he and the suit are so intertwined that it becomes his obsession, he cannot live without it. It always has to be in his reach.
We saw that in the suitcase armour in Monaco. He didn’t take the suit with him because he wanted to fight crime and protect people - he took the suit as his bodyguard, to protect him in the case he was kidnapped again.
So once again we can see that the suit is a defensive weapon.
The only time Tony voluntarily took the suit off in face of a threat was in Avengers, but even then he did it because he was in his own tower that was built to cater to his needs.
He had Jarvis, and he had his bracelet armour. He was a wolf in sheep’s skin and knew that he had a card up his sleeve, that he was in no way vulnerable or defenceless.
Let’s talk about the wormhole. Let’s talk about how his fears on a scale of one to ten suddenly jumped from 3 to 11.
This was nothing he had ever seen nor faced. Tony is not a soldier not a warrior like Steve or Thor, and this was his first war.
A war against aliens.
A war which was difficult to fight against because he had no idea if his weapons would be effective against them.
And when he went into the wormhole, and saw legions and legions of Chitauri armies still waiting to be unleashed, his fear of being kidnapped seemed like child’s play.
And then he woke up.
Why did it scare Tony so much?
Because he knew that the six avengers were not enough to deal with an innumerable army.
Because he knew that even with their individual strengths and powers, they were still weak against an alien force whose cavalry seemed to be invincible.
Let’s not forget Tony is a weapons manufacturer. The suit was built to protect him, and in light of a veritable army, it failed.
Which leads to Iron Man 3.
To deal with the threat of an alien invasion, Tony stepped his game up. He injected, quite literally, the armour within himself and connected it to his mind so he would always, always be protected.
He created an army of his own to match an alien one and upgraded it every day. Because he knew that six avengers were not enough to deal with the unknown.
This continued into Age of Ultron where he created and upgraded his artificial intelligence system so that there could be a 'suit of armour around the world’.
Tony is still afraid of threats, he is still distrustful of the ability of the avengers and the governments to protect the earth from outside forces. The only person he can count on is himself, so he sets out trying to wrap the world in a cocoon via robots.
And Tony gets a lot of flack for it, even though this is exactly how “civilians” respond to such situations. We create armies and navies to protect ourselves from threats, we always upgrade our technologies to deal with the threats of our time and Tony perfectly encapsulates that.
And that is the reason why he will be pro-registration in Civil War.
As a civilian, always on the lookout for threats, he needs to be able to properly identify those threats so he can figure out a way to deal with them.
And here is why Civil War is considered a continuation of The Winter Soldier: the political and humanitarian theme remains, and is only going to get more complex.
Civil War is going to be amazing not because of its star-studded cast, but because of the controversy it’s going to induce in choosing a side.
This movie will raise one question: Will you support Steve Rogers who believes that war/conflict is inevitable and is not worth sacrificing individual freedom and liberties or will you stand behind Tony Stark who encapsulates humanity’s fear of a foreign threat and the willingness to do whatever it takes to protect oneself from it?