Skip to main content

MCU star Chris Evans spent nearly a decade playing the righteous and morally upstanding Captain America, before relinquishing his shield in Avengers: Endgame. When he wasn’t delivering impactful soliloquies and high-impact punches, he had time to analyze the various superheroes existing around him.

While he got to play the “moral compass of the MCU,” as he explained to Men’s Journal, he does not believe his character is the meat and potatoes in the bunch. Though vital, he understands that Captain America serves a unique and unifying purpose, yet is not the studio’s most prized possession. Captain America lacks the pizazz that such an honor tends to demand.

MCU star Chris Evans
MCU star Chris Evans | Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Who does Chris Evans label as the MCU’s “crown jewel?” From Scarlett Johansson’s Russian spy turned relentless heroine to Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-swinging God and Robert Downey Jr.’s quick-tongued genius, there are several options to choose from. However, in the end, Evans gives the esteemed award to the hero who started it all. 

Why Chris Evans believes Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man is the MCU’s ‘crown jewel’

During an interview with Men’s Journal, Chris Evans explained why he believes Robert Downey Jr.’s character is the MCU’s “crown jewel,” and one specific factor sets him apart from the other heroes. Evans stated:

Downey’s character is obviously the crown jewel, constantly making mistakes and finding redemption. Cap is the steady hand on the wheel.

Men’s Journal 

Though Steve Rogers learns to loosen up over the course of several Avengers installments, he remains reliable and steady — two qualities that also serve to make his character quite predictable. Captain America’s narrative arc is ever-present, as he comes to accept that he holds the right to America’s butt in Endgame; however, his transformative journey is, arguably, not as potent as Iron Man’s. 

Iron Man’s ten-year saga makes him the MCU’s ‘crown jewel’ 

Tony Stark, in the early stages, is a man who can’t seem to step down from the pedestal he has created for himself. Ego comes before responsibility. Being right is more important than maintaining peace. The list goes on and on. Tony Stark even calls himself a “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” in The Avengers (2012), yet comes to sacrifice himself in Endgame. 

Stark, always putting himself first, finally puts humanity first in Endgame. He sacrifices the life he had with his family to save all the other broken families in existence. Though a talker known for running loquacious circles around peers and adversaries alike, he uses few words before finishing Thanos – I am Iron Man — embodying the character’s growth right before his ultimate death.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man had to die, for he had to be the one to sacrifice himself. Iron Man started it all, and it was his job — it was in line with his journey — to finish it all. Robert Downey Jr is the MCU’s “crown jewel” for he is the character who has come to represent the franchise. He has grown alongside the franchise, transforming with each installment, until ultimately growing into the Avengers’ most vital savior.