Despite the big “Whose Side Are You On?” marketing campaign, the Captain America: Civil War didn’t really do much to sell us on the merits of either side. Choosing a side was about as nuanced as “Which Hero Is Your Favorite?” And that’s fine. These movies aren’t trying to be ponderous explorations on what it means to be a hero. They’re rollercoaster rides of one-liners, fanservice, and face-punching. They keep the story breezy, the action flashy, and they dial everyone’s personalty up to 11 until the different character archetypes bounce off of each other.
But the debate of what should be done with super-powered heroes in a world of super-powered villains is a good one. So let’s go over it. This will just cover act one spoilers for the movie and isn’t going to get into the twists of the story or how it all turns out. I don’t think I’m going to spoil anything that hasn’t been shown in the trailers.
The Avengers show up and stop bad guys. That’s their job. But sometimes there are casualties, and there’s always expensive property damage.
Whether or not those casualties are the fault of the Avengers or whether they could have been prevented is largely irrelevant to the in-universe debate. It’s an important point for the audience, but we have a view of the proceedings that nobody else in the world has. The people who live in the Marvel Cinematic Universe just turn on the news to see a bunch of shit all blown up and are left to form their own opinions.
Note how anytime there’s a major disaster in the real world, the news inevitably turns to the question of “What could our leaders have done to prevent this?” Even if the standing leaders did as good as could reasonably be expected under the circumstances, the opposition party will probably try to make the case that their party could have done better. There will always be the expectation that leaders “do something” or “have an answer” for how they can “make sure this never happens again”. Without getting into politics, I’m sure we can all think of examples without needing to bring them up.
So it’s reasonable that governments in the MCU will feel the need to “do something”, even if that something is uninformed, an over-reaction, or symbolic.
I don’t think the UN is ever mentioned by name, but you can see the UN-ish influence to the proceedings. A bunch of countries get together and make a gigantic document – the Sokovia Accords – that says that The Avengers need to be put under the command of some governing body.
Iron Man agrees. Captain America disagrees. The first thing this new governing body wants to do is kill the Winter Soldier, who looks pretty damn guilty of trying to sabotage this international treaty / agreement / whatever this thing is. Captain America is convinced he’s innocent. Just to keep things interesting, The Winter Soldier really is a crazy assassin who can be mind-controlled in certain situations. Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier) were childhood friends, and also served together in World War II. Everyone else they knew from their youth has long since died of old age, which gives them an emotional connection that is probably complicating an already muddled situation.
So Iron Man and Cap are at ideological odds (pro / con Sokovia Accords) and are also opposed in short term goals (neutralize / protect Bucky) and each of them thinks they’re on the right side.
Bucky complicates this debate quite a bit. Whether or not he’s guilty of the attack in this movie, it’s common knowledge that he’s guilty of a lot of other killings. Technically he’s been mind-controlled and is thus not totally responsible. But that doesn’t mean he should be running around free. But brazenly assassinating him – which some people are trying to do – isn’t really an acceptable alternative.
Ideally you’d want to bring someone like that in for observation, debriefing, and detainment. Bucky’s presence in the story creates various situations where everyone is wrong due to overly-emotional decisions. Screen Rant makes a pretty good case that the Sokovia Accords is actually just a great big red herring and the real plot of the movie is just a battle of emotions between Rogers and Stark. So let’s remove the emotional stuff – and the Winter soldier in particular – from both sides of the equation and think about this debate without everyone’s unresolved grief and PTSD creating situations where everyone needs to punch each other.
Case for: Captain America
What They don’t say: In the previous Captain America movie, Cap found that the U.S. government had been infiltrated by Hydra and he’d been working for the bad guys all along. Not just any bad guys, but the group that is literally worse than literally Hitler. This fiasco nearly caused the death of millions. That’s a pretty good reason for staying independent.
What They Say Instead: Captain is mostly focused on saving Bucky. He offers a few platitudes about doing the right thing and not wanting to sign an agreement that would make him compromise his principles, without getting into a discussion of what that situation might look like or how likely it is.
This is a tricky problem. Even setting aside that the USA of the MCU was infiltrated by super-Nazis, governments are not always awesome at governing. A hundred different countries are in on the Sokovia Accords. It’s reasonable to assume a few of them are sketchy third-world hotspots with corrupt leaders and a long history of internal turmoil.
Maybe the corrupt nation of Elbonia will let Hydra forces build a base inside of their borders, where the Avengers – bound by the limits of the Sokovia Accords – won’t be allowed to attack. All it takes is for one of these hundred or so countries to find a loophole in this massive document and they will be able to keep the Avengers from doing their job. And this document was written quickly, as a reaction to public outcry, by a committee. The chances of this document being perfect are much lower than the chances of the Avengers being perfect.
Imagine Admiral Nefarious is our super-villain of the week. The Avengers get intel that he’s planning to attack some rural hospital in Elbonia to kidnap the virtuous Dr. Helpless McDamsel. The Avengers request permission to go to the hospital and thwart this plan.
The Elbonian government doesn’t give a shit about Dr. Damsel. What they’re worried about is that the Avengers will see the new palace that the king of Elbonia is building with all of the foreign aid money that he’s supposed to be using to feed his people. Maybe the Avengers will see the mines that run on slave labor. Or the military base the government insists is a milk factory. So the Elbonian leaders start asking questions: When will your operation take place? What is your target location? How will you get there, and what locations do you need to fly over? Which Avengers will you send? Also please don’t enter any of the ten dozen “nature reserves” within our borders. Also you’ll need to submit for a search before you leave. This negotiation drags on for hours or days, and in the meantime Admiral Nefarious enacts his plan and escapes.
Then later some “terrorists under the command of a super-villain” (meaning a local militia of abused workers under the command of an escaped political prisoner with an eyepatch) attack the train that carries the ore from the Elbonian Unobtainium mines. Elbonia demands that the Avengers come and save them from this “super-villain”. The mines are the backbone of the wealth that keeps this rotten government in power. It’s a safe guess that the Avengers wouldn’t want to go around knocking over local governments, even if they are corrupt. But defending those governments? That’s arguably even worse.
The point is: If you allow yourself to be controlled be evil people, then evil people will co-opt your power and only allow you to use it when it benefits them. You will become an agent of oppression.
Case for: Iron Man
What They don’t say: In the most recent Avengers movie, Tony was fooling around with super-science and accidentally made an army of killer robots that wanted to destroy the world. The Avengers stopped Ultron, but hundredsThousands? I don’t remember. Anyway. Not important for our discussion. died in the fighting. This makes a really good case that there needs to be someone responsible babysitting the Avengers. Tony would be attracted to this idea because it would allow him to displace a bit of the blame and soul-crushing guilt that would naturally be bearing down on him. It’s not my fault for being irresponsible, it’s society’s fault for not having good government oversight and policy! I can’t do this on my own!
What They Say Instead: “We need to be put in check”, and “Without limits, we’re no better than the bad guys.” Iron Man expresses guilt over one person who was collateral damage in one of their fights. That’s about the most inept way you could possibly argue this point. I understand why. We need Captain America to be the good guy for the audience, and we don’t want to muddle that with nuance.
It’s pretty unreasonable to expect that super-beings should be allowed to run all over the world, killing people and blowing stuff up without any regulation or oversight. They routinely cross national borders without asking for permission or even identifying themselves. Like I said above, only the audience knows that the Avengers are actually good people who are doing their best. To the rest of the world, the Avengers are a bunch of English-speaking westerners. You’ve got a billionaire, a guy who wears the American flag, a guy who turns into a monster that can do Godzilla-level damage to a city, and a bunch of other unidentifiedTo the public. operatives of unknown abilities and loyalties. Lots of people around the world could come up with reasons to hate these people, even before they start wrecking cities.
So of course there needs to be someone watching over them.
Even if the governments of the world accept that the Avengers are flawless (which they certainly don’t) there still needs to be someone keeping track of where the Avengers are going and why. If Elbonia calls up and asks why four city blocks of their largest city was trashed, you can’t just reply with “None of your business.” You need to explain what the Avengers were trying to accomplish and what reason they had for doing all of that property damage. The people of Elbonia don’t get the awesome ringside seat that we do. They just know the Avengers beat up some loony in a funny costume.
Even if the Avengers are flawless now, the fact that Hydra infiltrated SHIELD shows that pretty much any organization can be compromised. The more power the organization has, the more tempting a target it will be.
What if The Avengers are infiltrated by spies? What if someone gives them bad intel that sends them on a mission that ends up doing more harm than good? What if one of the heroes gets mind-controlledLoki, Scarlet Witch, and Hydra have all demonstrated mind-control abilities.? What if one of them goes rogue? Without someone to hold accountable, you run the risk of a bunch of quasi-invincible people will end up causing chaos all over the world and you won’t even be able to tell the bad guys from the good guys.
Actually, They’re Both Right
If you wanted to be snarky, I suppose you could argue that Tony Stark needs supervision and Steve Rogers doesn’t. The ending seems to agree with this conclusion, although I don’t know if that’s deliberate. In any case, this dodges the question. Which is fine. The movie does, too.
The argument – which the movie doesn’t deal with – is over whether the super-team as a whole should be regulated. The problem you run into is the same problem you get when you create any kind of regulatory agency.
A world with no police is bad, but a world with corrupt police is worse. A world where we don’t have soldiers to defend the borders of our kingdom is bad, but having those soldiers under the command of someone evil is worse. Having restaurant inspectors is a good way to keep our food safe, but having corrupt restaurant inspectors that just extort money from eateries without actually inspecting the place is worse. Having unregulated, unaccountable Avengers would be irresponsible, but having an Avengers answer to a corrupt leadership would be worse.
You can put your governing bodies under the control of another governing body, but then who will govern them? Another governing body? Congratulations, you just created a bureaucracy. Their sheer size makes them more vulnerable to bribes and coercion, and even when everyone is honest you still have trouble making decisions and adapting to problems because of organizational momentum. Maybe that’s okay if we’re just talking about traffic laws and building inspectors, but when we’re talking about aiming the wrath of the worlds mightiest heroes, you really don’t want to have to submit an operation proposal to the review board and wait for the Avengers Action Committee to convene before you can decide if you should go punch Thanos in the face.
There is no good answer. Especially since this is a fictional universe that runs on conflict, so all roads lead to chaos. If you leave the Avengers free, that will lead to more super-fights. If you regulate them, it will lead to more fights.
Although given the damage they did at the airport, putting them under the command of a random boob off the street would probably be better than allowing them to continue blowing shit up with their temper tantrums.
 Thousands? I don’t remember. Anyway. Not important for our discussion.
 To the public.
 Loki, Scarlet Witch, and Hydra have all demonstrated mind-control abilities.
Could Have Been Great
Here are four games that could have been much better with just a little more work.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?
A horrible, railroading, stupid, contrived, and painfully ill-conceived roleplaying campaign. All in good fun.
Another PC Golden Age?
Is it real? Is PC gaming returning to its former glory? Sort of. It's complicated.
Juvenile and Proud
Yes, this game is loud, crude, childish, and stupid. But it it knows what it wants to be and nails it. And that's admirable.
353 thoughts on “Captain America: Civil War”
Make the Avengers wear white hats, so everyone can tell they’re the good guys.
There are only ~195ish recognized nations on Earth (let’s really NOT debate the validity of some national claims) – so the Sokovia accords basically covers the whole planet? That’s harsh.
Perhaps the first step is to go all UN on them and put some “good” nations in charge of the maintenance. Elbonia may have these painful preconditions, but if France and England say “Avengers Assemble!” then it sucks to be corrupt in Elbonia? (no, please, they were just hypothetical examples, let us not debate anything about France and England being ‘good’ or not)
Different direction: maybe put something in the Accords that lets them respond to an Obvious Immediate Dire Threat without the red tape, to be reviewed later? (Then again, how in the heck do you sanction a literal god from another planet? I’d like to see Tony try to explain the Accords to Thor while frost giants or something are invading the Earth)
That’s an interesting idea. I think it suffers from some of the same issues Shamus brought up in his post, though. . . what if A-land and B-land don’t agree on whether the Avengers should go in? Then we’ve got the same issue of red tape holding up the people who can help while innocents die.
You know, thinking it over, I wonder if the solution wouldn’t be to disband the Avengers entirely and instead turn the minds of Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, and the Vision towards making it so that humanity’s armies were capable of facing the sort of threats that need super-heroes. Black Panther already basically does that, using space-age armor and exotic fighting techniques to be able to take down basically anything without superhuman help.
Imagine if you put the resources of Wakanda and their vibranium mines in the hands of the Avengers scientists and then they distributed the resulting supertech. If every country had (say) elite squads of vibranium armored super-soldiers with the firepower of an Iron Man suit built into their rifles. . . suddenly the Avengers would be far less necessary in the world.
Yes let’s give all Earth’s nations better possibly world ending tech. Also how will you decide who and how much tech gets. Because you can bet no matter how you do it there will be some that will feel they were swindled of their rights.
The problem is that Reed Richards Is Useless. Superhero media is always set in “The modern world, but with superheroes”. The problem with this setting is that it should diverge from the modern world, after a decade, Admiral Nefarious should have succeeded in nuking a major country, and a hundred different mad scientists should have distributed laser guns and power armour to the world’s armies. But if that happened it would no longer be the modern world, so it doesn’t.
Joker will always break out of prison, not because the authors are making any point about the flimsiness of prison security, but because they need him out of prison. In the same way, super scientists will never change the world, not because they can’t, but because the authors can’t let them.
The most successful attempt at solving this problem is X-Men, where the military routinely shows up with lasers, psychic dampeners, Sentinels, holograms, spaceships, and Star Trek-level communications tech. None of it has trickled down to the civilian sector, of course, but they’re trying.
At some point, if you want to enjoy the superhero genre, you have to acknowledge its essential cartoonishness. The world as it is wouldn’t work the same if we had actual physics-defying demigods running around willy-nilly, but it’s also baked into the genre’s DNA that it happens in a world resembling our own in most ways. This is fundamentally a genre intended for children–which is not to say it’s immature or that it can’t appeal to adults or have stories aimed primarily at adults, but that there’s a lot of handwaving and power fantasy at play to make a world that is otherwise a reasonable facsimile of ours allow for living weapons in colourful costumes to occasionally level city blocks.
Now, there are actually places in the world where people try to live day to day lives while dangerous gangs of murderers stalk the streets and occasionally powers beyond their control or ability to reason with rain death from the skies and destroy their homes and businesses and families, but it’s getting into politics to say more than that. Only to say that, as always, when superheroes comment on real-world issues at all, it’s often better to do so through metaphor.
The critically acclaimed deconstructions of the genre that try to take the “superheroes in the real world” to logical conclusions, like Watchmen, Kingdom Come, the Gruenwald Squadron Supreme, etc., are notable for being of limited length with definitive endings, usually with the message, “And this is why a world with superheroes would be pretty fucked up or at least radically different from ours.”
And I’m not dumping on the superhero genre specifically–many genres engage in their own levels of handwaving and power fantasy to be entertaining no matter how unrealistic some of the elements are–e.g., James Bond would be a terrible spy who died early in his career. But superhero comics require so many suspensions of disbelief to work (e.g., you generally have to accept that one can develop super-science gear by himself in his basement better than what the US military requisitions from megacorporations with thousands of engineers and mass production facilities, while also acknowledging the existence of magic, mystical martial arts, telepathy, sentient AI, and aliens), the baseline of essential ridiculousness you need to accept is that much higher.
Which is why most superhero stories originated in a time when basement science could legitimately beat governments and corporations tangentially working on the same thing. Not big projects, not nuclear physics or sending people into space…. but in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the world of possibility far outreached our collective imagination and speculative fiction begged us to wonder. We constantly heard stories of the scientist, the research assistant, and the lab rat.
Some of our most well known tech startups originate from the equivalent of a basement. Some of our most well known scientific discoveries are the result of university research and happy accidents. Even today, the fringes of astronautics, physics, and mathematics are mostly up to laureates and bright individuals; it’s that pesky devilish “Reproduction” of results that makes lower end science a difficult venture today. It’s difficult to grow fungus in your garage in order to prove a point, and it’s harder today to make that point beget action , especially when there’s so many “actions” to be taken.
Superhero movies are a great vector of communicating power dynamics. One of the fun things speculative fiction can do is teach us things we already know, but don’t have a way of expressing yet. Governments, weapons, violence, the nature of the universe and why certain things matter more than others, human behavior and physiology… they’re all topics that cross the space of literary fiction and speculative fiction. Is Civil War such a film? Does it introduce an idea more profound or close to the human experience? I don’t think so, but speaking from some experience in film making, it’s supremely well made for the topics it had to discuss and the plot points it tackled, while also being entertaining and spawning discussion on things some (mostly well-educated people) might find contrived, but others find fresh and poignant.
“This is fundamentally a genre intended for children–which is not to say it’s immature or that it can’t appeal to adults or have stories aimed primarily at adults, but that there’s a lot of handwaving and power fantasy at play to make a world that is otherwise a reasonable facsimile of ours allow for living weapons in colourful costumes to occasionally level city blocks.” That was the case when super hero books were still sold in grocery stores. But then came the direct market. Now, the typical consumer of this genre is in their 20s or 30s. https://www.newsarama.com/33006-is-the-average-age-of-comic-book-readers-increasing-retailers-talk-state-of-the-business-2017.html
Also what Ninety-Three said reminded me that even with such weapons in goverment hands, the bad guys are likely to go down the same route only by gathering and training Gifted individuals. And there you go you have an Gifted arms race.
“put some “good” nations in charge”
That is the crux of the issue. Any nation is a bad nation from somebody else’s point of view.
(what follows is an example. It can be argued in any order and for any nation)
Put American in charge and Russians will imediatelly stonewall any action in their sphere of influence because they will view them as American nationals and operatives. And Euros will likely groan thinking “What will those cowboys screw up now”.
Get Americans and Russians to head it and Chinese will start throwing hissy fits about not being invited.
Get them on and Indians will do the same and so on and on. Not to mention that no matter what gets signed, whenever Avengers need to act in any nation (unless Thanos is in the process of melting their capitol) expect that nation to try stonewalling it because they will want to know details because EVERYONE (yes even them) has skeletons in the closed and an image to uphold.
Simply put the kind of threats Avengers are there to face go well beyond anything we ever faced and so any CONTROLLING body is futile. The only way to properly run Avengers is through OVERSIGHT and not CONTROL.
They need an adjacent institution (lice Sec. Council in case of SHIELD) to provide advice and review of their action. This way they can act on hot intel freely, but also have a resource to tell them when to step softly and to review their actions and possibly file charges against teammates that screw up intentionally or through negligence, and eventually revoke their Avengers status.
You probably started responding while I was editing, so didn’t notice my last paragraph, which outlines much the same idea you present in your last two paragraphs, but also raises a question: how do you sanction super heroes? (Thor and Bruce are good examples, but even Tony would be difficult to sanction if he didn’t want to be overridden – which, conveniently, he does because Guilt Trap, Man)
I did notice that paragraf but I did not respond to it because it suffers from the same problems. How do you define “Obvious Immediate Dire Threat”? And more importantly what metric should be used post facto to decide if Avengers were right in violating protocol for some threat that turned out to be a false positive or based on wrong interpretation of intel?
It just seems it would be impossible to properly define such a clause, because if it’s not properly defined it becomes just a weapon somebody might use to cut Avengers, and cause similar situation to the one in the movie.
Governments might not be able to force Thor to do anything physically, but he has “accomplices” he cares about. Why should a nation keep sponsoring research done by a known accomplice of a out of control vigilante. Better fire her and more. It’s still not going to be pretty, but most of them still want to participate in society and that access can be revoked. And if they decide to throw a hissy fit about it when unarmed sec personnel come to escort them out of the borders, well then he has just become a target for Avengers.
I just felt these two quotes were the same thought expressed differently:
“lets them respond to an Obvious Immediate Dire Threat without the red tape, to be reviewed later”
“they can act on hot intel freely, but also have a resource to tell them when to step softly and to review their actions”
Of course, originally, SHIELD was supposed to be the oversight organization for the Avengers, so we see how well that can go…
The statements are similar, but one ads the additional clause that could be argued post facto of weather the situation was DIRE CODE RED one. In the other one the only thing being reviewed post facto is the ethics of what was undertaken in the field.
A stupid example but an example:
The team is under cover in Elbonia. They are there with the grudging permission of the Elbonian government to stop Dr EvilBadDude, but permission is only valid for him. And Elbonians aren’t really thrilled to have them and only permitted them to operate out of PR reasons of not wanting to be labeled as country harboring Dr EvilBadDude.
Cap is in the street and spots a mugging of an old lady. This being Cap he immediately springs into action and clobers the mugger and returns the purse.
In one all their actions check out because they were there for the right reasons and all their actions were ethical even Cap stepping into the internal Elbonian matters to stop a mugging.
In the other some time later after they have defeated EvilBadDude (and leveled the slums he was hiding in, don’t worry Stark has said he is diverting some of his +infinity millions to rebuild it) the Elbonians can come back complaining that the Avengers, Cap specifically have stepped over their boundaries because there was no CODE RED situation in that mugging and that everything was under control of their security forces. They are basically accusing Cap of unsanctioned vigilantism.
Now replace the mugging with some goverment solders beating somebody from the opposition, who they would claim was a dangerous terrorist (and for that matter he could have been).
And now you have a shitstorm.
In the other case they would still be pissed and would be throwing hissy fits, but the accords wouldn’t be giving them ammo to throw at the Avengers.
SHIELD could have worked because SHIELD was under direction of the Director who has full executive rights to do what he thinks it’s right. The Sec Council is there to advise and sack him if they deem his actions wrong.
This is unlike Accords which hand the actual control to the 150+ bureaucrats and on the idea of getting them to agree before any action is under taken.
You don’t use a metric, you use human judgment with some basic guidelines. Thats how things at this high of a level generally work.
Well at least with these superheroes sanctioning them is not a problem.Thor basically respects earth as a sovereign world,and if earth leaders tell him to leave,he will leave.He will protest,but he will leave.Similar is true for steve,rhodes,sam and vision.Nat and clint would probably obey as well,as would wanda.Tony depends on his gadgets and wealth,so freezing his accounts works,and similar is true for lang.Banner would even accept if they wanted to launch him into the sun(he did try to kill himself).
So as long as its just a single hero that is rogue,they can be sanctioned.The problem comes when multiple heroes go rogue,as presented by the movie(and even then,most of them end up imprisoned).
respond to an Obvious Immediate Dire Threat without the red tape, to be reviewed later?
I would just point out the the US has something exactly like this in the ‘War Powers Act’ – and it pretty much does nothing because the threat of sanctions will not motivate you if you know the sanctioning body doesn’t have the unity of will to impose those sanctions.
And if you think Congress is un-unified, the UN is a thousand times more heterogenous.
Laying aside the question of ‘good’ governments, I think most people who are willing to call England and France ‘good’ are also willing to call the USA ‘good’, and that is a government which was infiltrated by Hydra all the way up to the highest levels. While I suppose you could be a cynic and say no one realizes this because no one pays attention to the news (surely SOMEONE would have covered the hydra thing after the events of Capt America 2), knowing that a major world government was under the control of some secret society planning to use its assets to commit mass murder would certainly throw me off the idea of wanting them to have a bunch of superhumans under their control.
I want to address the last point you made (the one about Thor). One of my first thoughts when they started debating the point was “is no one going to address what happens when Thor inevitably comes back and refuses to sign?”
Thor is the Norse god of thunder. He is barely willing to listen to Odin. Who could reasonably think he would be willing to sign an accord that pretty much puts him under the control of a random group of mortals? So what happens when he refuses to sign? The avengers end up fighting him and leveling an entire city? Even if they win they have now put the defacto Ambassader from the Norse gods in prison? Come to speak of how do you imprison Thor? I’m pretty sure he could get out of the raft.
It has been glibly pointed out that Thor and Hulk are absent because having the two most powerful avengers would make them outshine the rest of the cast but it’s kind of true. It brings up the point of what do you do when a being who is powerful enough just ignore the accords comes along and tries to be a hero? You now have to either A) Ignore them or B) Try to put them down, likely causing the kind of city destroying disaster the accords are meant to prevent (ignoring the difficulty of trying to contain said super beings).
Thor and Hulk aren’t there in the comic because Hulk got sent into space and Thor is busy in space/Asgard. They weren’t involved in the comics for much the same reason as the movie in that they are two entities that aren’t affected really by legislation (Hulk wouldn’t listen/couldn’t be made to follow it and Thor has no reason to care about Earth laws and would leave if the issue was pushed on him) and are too powerful to realistically sit it out. In fact, a huge plot point was that a clone of Thor was made to steer people to the Pro-legislation side. It’s hard to want to fight against someone who is openly displaying the equivalent of a reusable Tzar Bomb when picking sides.
As for containment, the movieverse has no way of imprisoning the god of thunder. Hulk could be kept sedated as Banner, but Thor would easily be able to break out of anything they have. Even the Raft is too paltry to matter.
I guess you could get Vision to put the hammer in the lockup, if he didn’t decide that arresting Thor for failing to sign was beyond the pale.
The only good way to prevent Thor from doing his thing is through diplomacy with Odin, and there are no established characters who would be good at that; Pepper comes closest.
Diplomacy with Odin is especially tricky now,
since he’s Loki
Very well stated as always, Shamus. You have such a talent for cutting through the bullshit and getting to the heart of what drives political battles without picking a side that I often link people to your posts, because you do such a good job of explaining what I feel.
I really enjoyed the fact that Civil War presented both sides as having good points and valid ideas. Given my omniscient viewpoint as someone watching the movies, I’d definitely side with Cap, but I think if I lived in the MCU and only saw what was on the news, I’d be deeply torn. None of it would affect me personally, since I live in the ass-end of the Southwest and probably would have never had a superhero set foot in my state, but I’d be really worried. It’ll be very interesting to see where the MCU goes from here, and I hope that we get more ground-level stuff that shows what the average mortal is thinking about all this craziness.
Well, I think there was also a larger point that he made and I agreed with that there are valid arguments that were *not* addressed in the movie, and it basically revolved down to Tony Stark getting random exposition NPC to give him a guilt-trip, and Steve Rogers getting designated former love interest to give him something similar (seriously, that was the largest message she had to share from her life?!?).
However, I think that Shamus neglected to mention Steve Roger’s complete lack of reason when it came to his friend. All they needed to do was just calm down a bit, and have Bucky surrender. Say, “My friend says that he’s innocent and is willing to come in quietly to resolve this whole issue”. Instead, they escalate the violence. When Bucky *is* captured, the story kind of pulls some BS about how this ONE GUY can instantly infiltrate and gain access to him UNSUPERVISED to pull off his master plan.
That’s exactly what Steve was doing when the police busted in shooting. He went there to talk Bucky down, not to help him escape. As soon as surrender became an option, he did so.
That message of planting your feet and doing what is right no matter what anyone says pretty much summs her up and her ideals, as we have seen in Agent Carter.
Though the quote is originally one of Cap’s in the comics. No wonder it spoke to him.
The obvious issue with the quotes it applies to good guys and bad guys alike though. A nazi can fully believe that what he’s doing is right, despite being completely wrong.
He has the right to stand up for what he believes in bot so do others, and they all have the right to fight for it.
WHIle it’s true that the movies didn’t address the real reasons for each character’s actions, it thoroughly implied them if you’ve seen the previous movies. If you didn’t, they kept it very simply and surface level.
And this is the correct move. Yes, you can perhaps make the argument that not going into all the incredible details and continuity hurts the logic of the film, but as a movie it needs to present itself to newcomers as well as series veterans. It’s really quite unfair to strike the movie for not trying to address the important history of seven significant films. By my count, Cap 1-2, Iron Man 1-3, plus Avengers 1-2 play a role in understanding the character motivations. But even boiling it down to just the two most important parts would be very hard to explain and wouldn’t add anything to a newcomer’s experience.
Basically, my point when discussing these writers’ or directors’ decisions is this: Would this actually have been better than they stopped the movie to address all of this and clearly explained the whole thing? If we’re not willing to deal with 15 minutes of exposition, then we should let it slide.
Mjolnir landed in New Mexico when Odin threw it to Earth. I don’t think your assumption is true (if only because Southwestern states are huge).
Ah, you’re right! I forgot about that. So I’d have the whole Destroyer incident to make me afraid of metahumans, that might just push MCU-me over onto the side of the Accords.
You bring up countries’ domestic agendas interfering with the efficient and moral use of the Avengers – but what is far far worse is the incredibly more likely case of the UN member countries bringing in their foreign policy agendas. (Yes, it was explicitly the UN in the movie.)
It is virtually certain that within six months of the Accords being signed, the corrupt dictatorships of Elbonia, Madeupia, and Faykcountrystan will use their voting bloc to demand that the Avengers take down the democratic government of Wejustwantobeleftalonia for no reason other than the former don’t like the latter.
Which would then hit the Sec. Council where such motion is likely to die via veto of one of the Sec. Council members. Of course that is unless all of them are about to profit from the fall of Wejustwantobeleftalonia and can spin it nicely for their public.
Yeah, it’s more likely that a UN controlled Avengers would be paralysed by vetoes than that they’d be ordered to do evil.
I think they even say outright that it would be Security Council not General Assembly deciding.
And this detail puts a wrench into Zemo’s plan (massacre in Lagos & the accords are not his doing, he just uses them as opportunity to get one-on-one time with Bucky), if all Avengers accepted the accords, they would never deploy in Syberia because Russian government would take five super soldiers for themselves. In a way this is the last chance for his one man operation to work. He doesn’t really need a face to face moment. All he needs is a riled up Tony and that video. And he might be able to get his hands on it if Russians storm the place too. Well, he needed the face to face to get the answers – where is the report and where is the base, since Russian Hydra handler didn’t give up that info under torture. Turns out the report was at the base. I’m pretty sure he also hoped that Bucky will be recaptured and unbrainwashed so the Avengers follow him with some delay. He made sure that room service will find that body in the hotel (with evidence exonerating Bucky) after all. Although he might have just hoped that his call would be traced. All in all I think his plan holds up pretty well. He is not chess master that predicted every random event, he based his plan on predictable reactions from institutions (prisoners are taken to this location, they will psych eval him etc.) and a thing that comes closest to foiling him is the titular Civil War. It’s his blind luck that the final outcome is similar to what would happen if the Avengers were not fractured (Iron Man and Cap at the same place with that tape). If the events went slightly different Zemo would fail due to pure chaos. He could have just sent it in the mail.But then there’d be no movie. :-)
To be fair, I don’t really think there was any mention of the Avengers being under anyone’s control in the sense of being told what to do, but rather just told what they can’t do.
Random nitpick… there’s a typo in footnote 3 (think you meant Hydra?). Otherwise, great article!
Hydra was outlawed, so they just changed their name slightly and reformed and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Hail the Door
My first thought while seeing the movie was “This sounds like the UN General Assembly”. And the most important thing to remember about the UN General Assembly is that, while the Security Council is perpetually deadlocked by the assorted vetos, the General Assembly is a “one tin pot dictator, one vote” model.
Even assuming that of the 200 odd countries in the world , that means that if the 100 best signed the accord, the voting majority still sits with the 49th to 100th best countries. Using the real world “Corruption Perceptions Index” that gets us about Saudi Arabia to Niger as the working majority. Of those 51 countries, 46 score less than 50 on the corruption perception index .
Maybe Tony Stark intended to put the power of decision making into the world’s hands, then just rent it back?
More likely, I predict that the Avengers will be invading Israel on alternative Saturdays.
 Let’s assume the real world countries, plus Wakanda, Latveria, Sorkovia and anywhere else that Marvel wants to be able to level without implying real damage to real nations. 
 Amusingly, Marvel avoids the DC problem of not using real US cities, but they appear to have a grasp of international geography that is dragging down the (already poor) US geography marks ;)
 Scored out of 100? BTW for reference, Denmark was top in 2015 and got a score of 91.
Except they levelled New York in the first Avengers movie, and then everyone in multiple things later refers to the events such as “nothing’s the same since New York”.
Then they have a massive fight at a cleared-out airport in Germany in this movie.
(I also loved the location transitions, they’re very snappy in Civil War, no establishing shots or anything, just giant white text with the place, it really keeps things going).
The white text was a little bit *too* giant, though.
I felt like the movie was shouting at me. “LAGOS!!!!!!!!”
Yeah; people in my theater started giggling whenever the white text showed up, which really isn’t the effect they should be going for.
It was even worse in 3D where the text appeared to be floating over the screen just out of arm’s reach.
I actually thought the 3D version was superior in that regard, just because the text demanded attention and the establishing shots reinforced it. The film is telling you: “THIS IS UDESSA” and let the establishing shots give you a moment to recognize the scenery and language and people before it closed up.
The 2D version it’s all on the same plane so it feels no different than any other text over establishing shot we’ve seen. In the 3D’s case, it provided some novelty.
There were some minor moments in the action where the 3D worked pretty well to give you context, but it was nothing like the 3D in “Mad Max Fury Road” where the action and scenic bits were incredibly well produced to give you context or let you enjoy the visuals.
That moment when CLEVELAND floated by, and I said, “That’s way too nice for Cleveland” and the people around me laughed.
… I live in Cleveland.
It’s significantly lighter on establishing shots than most things are, which keeps things snappy.
That’s the main thing I was referring to, rather than the giant white text, which simply grabs your attention for a brief moment before disappearing as it’s no longer relevant.
The MCU uses Falsenamistans in cases where naming an actual country would have been a political statement. After all nobody wants for the movie to be banned in a country because the movie labels them as the hideout of Hydra.
They didn’t really level New York though, and things are the same since it. That event was first public contact with alien life, plus ten 9/11s at once, and once the movie is over it didn’t matter.
They have this terrible “Tell don’t show” problem of saying “New York changed things”, but not even the MCU series set in New York show anything changed. Hell, I remember multiple MCU putting more effort into showing “superheroes are a thing now and the public reacts” than “aliens exist, also super-9/11”.
but not even the MCU series set in New York show anything changed.
What? Yes they did. Part of the whole reason Fisk was able to do what he did was because he owned a construction/real estate company that made a killing in the aftermath. They mention it a couple of times, in the first few episodes.
In addition, Hells Kitchen has been pretty gentrified (in the real world, and presumably the MCU) since the ’90s. It looks like the destruction from the battle for Manhattan allowed a lot of the criminal elements to come back (see the “broken window” theory of urban development), because in the Daredevil show, it more resembles the Hells Kitchen of the mid-seventies.
It would be interesting to get more “slice-of-life” views of the MCU, but beyond a handful of scenes in AoS, the Netflix series, or the first act of any given movie, the everyday ramifications of the failed alien invasion fall victim to the law of conservation of plot details.
Though while I entirely approve of the handwave to explain Hell’s Kitchen, it’s best glossed over rather than examined. Aside from that line, it’s portrayed as a neighborhood that’s been gritty for a long time prior to Fisk’s extreme gentrification efforts, not one that just turned into a disaster area three years earlier.
They’re making a “Damage Control” TV show: http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/marvel-abc-comedy-tv-series-damage-control-1201608690/
Except Fisk didn’t exist until they introduced him as a guy who got rich off construction. “Why is this new character rich?” is not exactly a “What do they eat?” that needs to be answered. Fisk could’ve gotten rich selling tiny novelty buttons for all it matters to the plot.
Fisk is rich because he used the opportunity following the Avengers’ battle to rebuild the city he loves. The characterization is key, because it pits him in direct conflict with Daredevil (or makes him a sort of FOIL), who also loves Hell’s Kitchen but stands to gain in very different ways. This is a case of setting influencing characterization, where Fisk would be nobody if it weren’t for the fact that New York got demolished (or might be somebody somewhere that doesn’t matter to the plot), and Daredevil would be nobody (or someone completely different) if it weren’t for the fact that the criminal element decided to take over.
As far as the plot is concerned, these elements are intertwined and can’t be replaceable. Fisk’s love for Hell’s Kitchen is as much a part of his character as it is the setting, because the setting demands it, and the character responds, just like Daredevil does. Since Daredevil is our principal character, he needs a villain that exposes our hero’s flaws and motivations by making them the opposite sides of the same coin.
The point is that the New York catastrophe is almost always mentioned in passing and bears a very thin relation to the plot of whatever show it is.
For the case of Daredevil, consider that if Avengers 1 hadn’t happened, and Fisk made his money elsewhere (the stock market for example), he still would have spent his fortune rebuilding Hell’s Kitchen the way he did in the show. He would then still be at odds with Daredevil the same way he was in the show.
The Avengers’ very existence as an organization is a direct result of New York.
More likely, I predict that the Avengers will be invading Israel on alternative Saturdays.
This is exactly what I was obliquely referring to in my own comment above. As an Israeli, I spent the entire movie contemplating that reality, and it informed my own opposition to the accords.
Even I, as semi-audience (only watch this stuff from afar, for example by reading this very blog post here) and resident of a western country, would feel like that. Heck, one of them calls himself Captain America and his costume is obviously designed as a tribute to the stars&stripes. I wouldn’t trust any Captain style superhero regardless where they come from. Even my own country. No, especially my own country. And as much as I like Elon Musk and what he does, if he were to suddenly don power armor and run around punching bad guys leaving a wake of massive collateral damage everywhere, I don’t think I’d be so fond of the guy any more.
The important thing you’re overlooking is that this is Captain “Punch Nazis in the Face” America. The United States has been involved in good wars and bad wars since then, but it’s impossible to argue that he’s untrustworthy because he fought to stop two genocidal empires who literally tried to take over the world.
Ah, that’s not what I meant. I meant I find him (and would any equivalent minted to a different country) untrustworthy because I (as a real in-universe person, not as audience) would never clearly know whether the guy is really impartially fighting evil, and not in fact just “evil by the definition of that country’s leaders”.
Also, imagine the silliness if every country would do that, and you’d have a Captain Finland, Captain South Africa, Captain New Zealand, Captain Brasil, Captain China etc. – and then it is expected of you to trust all of these to genuinely and impartially fight evil, by some absolute and unquestionable definition (haha) of evil.
It is entirely possible that Captain America needs just a rebranding. Only half-jesting, he could for example change his name into “Captain Earth” (not Captain Planet, or he would probably be sued by a different franchise) and his costume accordingly. :)
There’s actually a set of Captain America Comics from the 70’s that dealt with this exact thing.
Captain America (Steve Rogers) finds out that the US government is being lead by the head of a Terrorist organization (apparently hinting this being Nixon). As such he abandons the Captain America banner and starts calling himself “Nomad.”
Though apparently it’s not long before Steve Rogers comes to the conclusion that as Captain America he can represent “American ideals” rather than the American government.
Writer confirmed it was Nixon in the 75th anniversary special ABC ran on Captain America. Never stated in the story, but it was Nixon. It was written in response to Watergate.
And that is probably too far into politics, but it is all factual information.
Sadly (or not, depending of POV), the “American Ideals” aren’t considered “ideal” or “good” by everyone, either. Some countries/cultures are perfectly OK with the idea of castes, not everyone having the same possibility for growth in life, and whatever. Some believe private property is evil, and we should all share everything, and dispose of this “individual freedom” crap to strive towards “communal happiness”.
Very, very few “rights” or “freedoms” are universal, despite the name of the treaty.
If he is rebranded then you also have the problem of Don Cheadle playing multiple roles.
And then of course various countries would try to outdo each other, so you’d have Captain America, Major England, Colonel France, Lieutenant-General Russia and such.
So you’re saying he’s at least as trustworthy as Bolsevik Russia?
Lots of people fought against the Nazis. I’m pretty certain they run the gamut of human morality from absolute paragons right through to thorough-going assholes.
Indeed.If this were real world,Id definitely despise captain america.I only like him because I have seen stuff that wouldnt be public knowledge in the real world.
Hah, you know what made me laugh just now? I thought the “literally wears a flag” that Shamus referred to was War Machine. I really did. Maybe I am just remembering what they did to it in… What, Iron Man 3?
I realize now he meant Cap.
Iron Man 2 (which is a VERY GOOD MOVIE; don’t listen to the hatesters… ) was the one with Iron Patriot.
3 had Iron Patriot. 2 introduced Rhodes as War Machine, and 3 has him temporarily rebranded.
Yep, my bad, and you’re absolutely right – not Iron Man 2 (which is a PERFECTLY FINE film) after all! :D
In the end,it turns out that both iron man and captain america are just different personas of bruce banner.
Also, it turns out that Spider-Man is really a Life Model Decoy literally made of chocolate.
It’s very weird.
I wasn’t expecting both Steve and Tony to have mothers named Martha.
“Wait, your best friend is named James, but you refer to him by his nickname? My best friend is named James, and I refer to him by his nickname. Lets never fight again.”
-Dialogue from Zack Snyder’s “Captain America: Civil War”
Snake kills Dumbdoor.
And trinity holds the door.
He was a ghost the whole time, but only in the theatrical release.
Super-Soldier serum is made of people! People!
Oo, clever! :D
It doesn’t really matter how political this gets, as it’s a fictional universe, with fictional policies based on fictional people, so we’d all just be talking about it from a philosophical, theoretical standpoint
Even if you removed all the talk about the marvel universe, we’d still be dealing with pure ideas, and not “I hate X person because X person belongs to the party I don’t like and believes Y strawman and also belongs to Z country which I also hate”, which I assume is what you really want to avoid by not talking about “politics”
And honestly, no matter how mild and inoffensive the article is or isn’t, people who still want to stir up a flamewar would do it anyway, so this fear of everything political just comes across as annoying by preventing deeper thoughts on the subject from being voiced
Aye, but it’s a trade-off – Shamus talks more about the long-standing ban on political discussions here, here:
There’s a really good line Cap says at some point about midway through the film: “I put my trust in people, not governments.” It’s a bit of a nod to Hydra’s previous infiltration, and it’s a nice setup for the film’s end where Cap is once again left without any connection to his past, and why he’s going to bust his friends out of jail.
It also shows why regulating The Avengers isn’t like putting limits on nuclear weapons or rules of engagement. These are people, even if they’re capable of untold destruction, they’re also capable of restraint and knowing how to navigate a battlefield to cause the least amount of collateral damage. Nukes can’t decide to not blow up if someone crazy enough sets one off. Mind Control makes this argument a little muddy, but as far as the world knows, mind control doesn’t exist. The Avengers are also necessary, given that everyone and their mother is either out to kill them, frame them, or destroy the Earth in their wake on a quest for power.
Vision says their existence invites challenge, but I think its more of a case that they don’t understand why they’re attracting challengers. Vision himself admits that he doesn’t understand what the Infinity Stone is, but it’s literally the root cause of all their world-ending potential apocalypses: Loki stole the Space stone, which originally brought the Avengers together, but it was first stolen by Hydra in 1942 to end up in SHIELD’s hands; there’s the Reality stone that the elves wanted and is now in the hands of the Collector; and now Thanos is on the hunt for them. Vision sees a pattern in the challengers but assumes that the increased conflict is a result of a known constant: the Avengers themselves, but neglects to point out that the stone that has given him cognition is literally one of the most powerful objects in the universe, therefore outranking the Avengers on “power invites challenge” argument.
All in all, good movie. A few hiccups here and there, but quite enjoyable and one of the better layered superhero films with this many characters and this many questions to raise.
I also find it interesting that the story’s initial hook is basically the same as in Batman V Superman, except in this case, the conflict between two rational characters was handled very well. There were clearly stated positions taken on both sides, with realistic reasons for those characters to take those positions, and the conflict escalated in a natural way that further reinforced both positions depending on perspective. It also ended on a note where we expect most friendship struggles to end: with bitter sadness and regret. It’s nice that Rogers and Stark didn’t kill each other, but in some ways, there’s more drama in this case.
Which is a rather ironic thing to say when your superhero name is, and remains, Captain America.
Yes, I know how he got that name in the Marvel Cinema Universe wasn’t his choice, but he could still have changed it.
1940s Steve Rogers never would have said that.
2010s Steve Rogers definitely understands the fragility of governments.
Dude’s image is also massive. His character in universe is probably more popular than it is in ours.
1970s Steve Rogers would though…
He starts focusing on “American Ideals” and not the government after the government leaders turned out to be evil. And starts calling out US army and government officials.
And he did change it during that period to “Nomad” (Many without a country) as he went through an identity crisis. Though went back to Captain America once he settled on the “American Ideals” rationale.
They mostly try to keep really heavy references to previous movies down where possible, but they allude to most of them, including Cap’s scuffle with Hydra-Shield, which is why he’s pretty sure you can’t trust things to an overly-large organisation with room for agendas and such, he’s seen it all fall down.
It’s mostly dense on references, but at the end of the day it’s an emotional and ideological battle between two people. And it works!
This film did a fantastic job of referencing the other films without the audience having to rely on knowing every piece of Avengers lore in order to understand the current movie.
There’s too many extremes in this regard. Many franchises fall flat because they have to cater to the audience coming in fresh, which comes at the expense of just telling the story they want to tell.
Not quite.Its not just one of their fights,its their fight against ultron,the one he is almost 100%* responsible for.The person just puts a face on that thing.
There was some mind control,and the mind gem is an extra terrestrial artifact of unknown properties,but still its mostly tony stanks fault.
Stan Lee strikes again.
That is canon now. ;) The creator himself called him that.
You mean uatu strikes again.
That’s the UN symbol on the accords in the screenshot right above that sentence.
They mention it’s a UN conference in the movie I’m 95% confident.
To distinguish it from the World Security Council of the first Avengers movie and Winter Soldier. Which turned out to be infiltrated and controlled by at least two Hydra agents.
One can sort of understand Steve’s reluctance to believe “this time, for sure!” when every oversight organization he’s dealt with has turned out to be shot through with worse-than-Nazis. And the people he might have trusted to prevent that (Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Nick Fury) entirely missed it for decades while claiming to be the responsible grown-ups in charge.
I got the opposite impression.Ill put spoiler tags just in case.
Steve was right about bucky.But he still lied about tonys parents.And more importantly,he thought the villain wanted to release super soldiers and needs to be stopped,while in actuality the villain wanted for avengers to duke it out.If steve didnt do a thing,the police would get info about the villain,they would chase and arrest him(or he wouldve blown his head like he planned to do)and a whole airport wouldnt be destroyed.Also,innocent people wouldnt end up being jailed. So he was just as wrong.Like you said,what if the avengers are fed false intel and decide to act on it?Theyd do more harm than good.Despite being a perfect boy scout,and acting out of genuine concern,steve still is responsible for quite a bit of the clusterfuck in this movie.
I don’t know what it would accomplish if Steve told Tony the truth about
his parents earlier. “Hey, these evil guys killed your parents. I’m pretty sure they’re gone now, though. Sorry, dude.”They’re still disagreeing about the whole Accords thing, because until the end of the film, those Bucky details weren’t really relevant to the collateral damage plot. Steve himself didn’t know if Bucky was going to be relevant, or why he was framed, he just wanted to go talk to his friend and get some answers. When they’re captured, he’s still open to Bucky being responsible (in that mind-controlled way) but wants to get at the truth.
The only thing I can reasonably see it solving was
the shock that spurred the final fight of the film, which Steve couldn’t have known was coming (remember: they thought they were going to go fight a bunch of escaped super soldiers).
True,but up to that point steve was an honest,perfect boy scout.Then he lied to his friends face.It didnt change the outcome,or the story,but it did change his character.
When did he lie to Tony’s face? He knew something that he didn’t tell Tony, but when did a relevant situation ever come up where he intentionally chose to withhold it?
– Did you know?
– I didnt know it was him.
– Dont bullshit me!Did you know?!
Like I said, that’s not a lie. That’s knowing something that he didn’t tell Tony because there was never a situation where it was important to tell him. Until that very moment Steve had no way of knowing it was immediately relevant, and to bring it up out of the blue would mean opening old scars for no apparent reason. It’s not like Steve has some ulterior motive for keeping it secret, after all- what’s he afraid of, Tony being mad at HYDRA?
And, of course, Steve could have lied at that point. He could have said “No, I didn’t know”. Tony doesn’t even have a good reason for thinking that Steve would know, since he only found out when Zola randomly told him during Winter Soldier. But instead he told the truth.
This is a bit nitpicky, but: if I were Mjà¶lnir, there’s no way I’d allow myself to be lifted even a tiny amount by someone able to attempt to lie even for a split second, as he did in between the second and fourth lines quoted by Daemian.
(If a friend did that to me in real life, I wouldn’t call it a ‘lie’, because they turned around and told the truth so fast. But I guess I hold superheroes to a higher standard, and I reckon that initial attempt – even if he’d gone back on it himself, without being called on the bull – is sufficient to compromise any claim to extreme boy-scoutitude!)
But the statement you are using to say Cap lied was a truthful statement. Even if it was being used as deflection. Especially since Tony doesn’t specify what he thinks Cap knew. Cap had to say both lines in order for it to be the complete truth instead of partial.
It wasn’t even a deflection, though, since the statement implies that he knew. You wouldn’t say “I didn’t know it was him” if you didn’t know at all. It’s just a softer, more informative answer than “Yes”. Tony only asked him again because he was angry and wanted to here the explicit “yes”. Steve’s first answer was contains both parts of the truth, it’s merely phrased in a conciliatory manner.
A deflection would have been “Why do you think I’d have known?” since it doesn’t answer the question and subtly changes the subject. Or even just “no” would have been truthful, since the part that Tony is immediately angry about is the one that Steve didn’t know.
With what we know of Captain America’s character, it’s even possible that when he said “Yes” to knowing that he actually meant “I didn’t really know for sure, but I should have or taken some other action. Therefore it’s fair to judge me as if I had outright lied.”
I just want to point people to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iK_DYYS-oM
Futher, I’d argue an omission of truth is not the same as a lie. You can want to tell someone something but feel that their knowing the truth would be detrimental to them, which is exactly where the Cap / Iron Man argument stands in this regard. It’s directly outlined in the final moments of the film, when Steve sends the letter and phone, and explains that he thought he was protecting Tony, but was really just protecting himself from the burden of having to go through that conversation.
Enjoyed the vid! The one thing I’d say is that ‘Captain’ is of course a military rank…
On the lie – you’re right, I don’t think I would want to call it a a ‘lie’ if something similar occurred in real life. But just looking at the actual exchange – and leaving to one side everything we happen to know, or find out later, about what has gone on – it goes like this:
CA: No, not-x.
CA: OK, x.
So, here we have CA saying not-x, and then immediately contradicting it with x. As both can’t be true, one must be false, thus at whatever level of technicality, CA has uttered a falsehood.
I mentioned I was being a bit nitpicky! :D
That’s not the case though. Capt never says no to Tony. It’s more like:
CA: OK, x.
There is no deception. Just a pleading attempt to soften the blow by pointing out something that would matter to some people but clearly not to Tony.
Right, but I reckon that any y would depend on us knowing the context, and I was kinda attempting to strip all of that out in order to show that for one split-second, he did contemplate deception.
For me this is an error on the part of the film-makers, just to be clear! I personally don’t think Cap would do what I’m suggesting their version of him actually did do. (Plus I’m judging their version from a thoroughly extreme viewpoint – well, from that of a magic warhammer, no less…)
There are way more than two bits of information being discussed.
Well, symbols aren’t really my strong suit, so I suppose I shouldn’t have started down that road! Try it like this: first he says he doesn’t know, then he says he does. There are ways to explain this which put Cap in a positive light, but depend on other information.
By explicitly deciding to ignore this information, it becomes possible to say the Cap in the film was shown very briefly to be caught in a lie. This doesn’t quite accord with my own view of the character, although I have to adopt an extraordinary, unrealistic moral calculus which wouldn’t apply in real life before any mismatch begins to show, which perhaps demonstrates how well they’ve done with the character better than anything else.
The problem with those is that you’re trying to reduce an exchange in English, which is built more on context, implication, and ambiguity, to symbolic logic which is designed to avoid those things.
The first, most obvious, most natural interpretation of Steve’s first answer is that he knew that Tony’s parents were killed by HYDRA, but not that it was Bucky. If Steve was trying to avoid telling Tony the truth, he could have just said ‘no’. Or at least implied it. But he didn’t.
If Tony hadn’t been so emotionally charged he wouldn’t have even bothered to ask again, because Steve had already given him the entire truth. He’s not actually asking for more information the second time, he’s asking for something that sounds more like an admission of guilt so that he can justify his anger.
The problem is had his supervisors been given the intel he had they would have likely come to the same conclusion as he had. The only difference would have been that it might have taken longer. And you can not judge people in hindsight, but only on intel that was known to them when they made the decision.
Maybe,maybe not.But we can be pretty sure that they would not send steve and bucky there,but rather steve and someone who is an avenger,which would still have a very different outcome.Also the whole airport and jail things wouldve been avoided.
At the same time – Rogers does no worse than any number of governments that have invaded other countries based on their (being charitable here) best interpretation of the intelligence they had at the time.
And he’s held a hell of a lot more accountable for his mistake than any of those governments.
Yes there is.Nick fury needs to stop pretending to be dead and come back to reign in the avengers.
Most of these superhero universe debates come down to, “I don’t trust group X! We need group Y to keep an eye on them!” “Well, I don’t trust group Y!”
Nick Fury is a guy with presumably good intentions but who is accustomed to doing all kinds of controversial things without democratic oversight, just like the superheroes.
The thing is that Nick Fury isn’t a faceless governing body, he’s another face-having superhero. When the “We trust superheroes more than governing bodies” crowd brings up Fury as an answer, they’re essentially saying “What if a superhero was the governing body?”
It’s a very genre-savvy solution because we all know that a governing body will cause problems with the same regularity that Joker escapes from prison, but Fury, by virtue of being a likable main character, is much less likely to be used in that kind of plot.
Controversial,yes.But still actions that tend to minimize human casualties.
I mean you could put one of the objectively good guys on top,like steve,thor or vision.But the problem of all three of them is that they lack the skill and experience that makes fury fury.
That skill and experience is called heavily into question once it becomes clear that he was in charge of an organization hollowed out by Hydra for decades, reporting to his close friend and former subordinate the cabinet official/World Security Council member/Hydra plant, and overseeing and lobbying for Hydra’s flying mass murder platforms. And the superspy caught not the slightest whiff of it till the day they started shooting at him. (“You had one job!”)
Winter Soldier was a great movie taken in isolation. But it really makes Peggy, Howard, and Nick all look like chumps in retrospect.
Yeah, in yet another case of “Writers have no sense of scale”, I think they committed to the Hydra thing because it’s splashy, without giving it much logical consideration. It would be like if the entire CIA was not just infiltrated by, but actively working for Russia.
I think you meant “Phil Coulson” there. Fury is the guy who built three huge automated Helicarriers that could kill anyone — and everyone — on Earth. Coulson is the guy who shut down the Avengers Initiative resurrection branch when he found out what it did to people. Fury is then also the guy who used it on Coulson anyway.
I commented before that Civil War had to end through Coulson, given how AoS was going and the relationship of Coulson to all of them AND the Avengers. It looks like it didn’t end that way, which is sad because, given the alternatives, that’s pretty much what you had to do.
The movies seem to be treating Coulson as still dead, or at least deliberately avoiding incorporating anything that contradicts that. (Agents of SHIELD incorporates events and plot points from the movies, but there doesn’t seem to be any flow the other way.)
Yeah, but given AoS they need to bring Coulson back to the Avengers and the MCU, especially considering how popular he is overall. This would have been the ideal opportunity … especially given that it’s a Captain America movie and Coulson idolized him.
Besides, he’s probably the only character that both Cap and Stark actually LIKE.
They resurrected a beloved character and the “real series” refuses to acknowledge it. So basically, AoS is fanfiction.
It would never have ended with Coulson since he is dead as far as non Agents of SHIELD (AoS) MCU is concerned. It’s a face that GREATLY annoys us rare AoS fans.
But since AoS actually IS part of the MCU — as far as I know, that was the whole purpose of the show — and considering how popular Coulson is, they really should want to get him back into the movies, even if only in a small role, as soon as they can. This would have been a wonderful opportunity to do that.
And admittedly I don’t watch AoS anymore, but what they had set-up would have worked well to resolve this, and to put it in Coulson’s hands wouldn’t have required going through much of the backstory, just a quick summary of “We’re training the Inhumans and we used to have an Index that worked like this, let’s do that instead.”
Sure, they could do that. But it’s been made pretty clear that the cinematic side of the MCU has no interest in what’s going on on the TV shows, even to the extent of winks and cameos. They don’t have official canon levels the way the old Star Wars Expanded Universe did, but that’s functionally what they’ve been doing: the movies do their thing, and the TV shows incorporate and adapt to them. Unless someone changes their mind there, that seems likely to remain the case going forward.
It might have been different if AoS had been a bigger hit. And if it hadn’t been developed as such an insular product. The show really, really isn’t what it was originally sold to the public as when it was being put together, and I think the decision was made at some point during the first season to just cut it loose and let it sit off in its own little world.
They’re going to let it run until they have enough episodes for syndication (which these days is about four or five 22-episode seasons? I’m a bit unclear on that), and then probably cancel it.
Syndication kicks in at 65 episodes. This has been true for decades and has not changed recently. (This is, on most networks, two-and-a-half seasons.)
65 episodes is the number for cartoons, but 100 is the traditional number in live action.
(See, e.g., http://filmescape.com/how-does-tv-syndication-really-work , or http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/31/business/la-fi-ct-comedy-syndication-20111231 which acknowledges the rule but suggests that cable affiliates are starting to look at shorter runs, with this one suggesting the number is down to 88, or four seasons.)
Nick Fury is terrible.
He embezzles billions from whoever funds SHIELD. That is what ‘off the books’ means; all the ‘black sites’? Stolen from SHIELD and made Fury’s property, to be claimed by him or handed out to his friends. While he was head of SHIELD, which he had sufficient control of to sneak giant construction projects off the books? it was taken over on a very fundamental basis by HYDRA.
Is he a bad ass? Sure. Is he a competent administrator? Hell No. Should he be trusted by anyone? Briefly, and under specific circumstances, perhaps.
And yet, the Avengers were fine with bringing him aboard in Age of Ultron.
To be clear, I agree with you one hundred percent. And that’s why I’m so annoyed with Steve, because he’ll lecture the audience on questioning authority and whatnot, and then let a guy like Nick “let’s build floating assassination platforms” Fury on board with the all new Avengers. Never mind Wanda, who sicced the Hulk on a populated city. And the movie never addresses that, either.
Which brings up another point; does anyone know what the Avengers do? Does anyone know that Tony Stark built a killer robot? Does anyone know that Wanda Maximoff helped that same robot?
This may not be the best place to discuss it,but its something Id like people to ponder:
Are fictional politics still politics?Should discussing the merits of wakandas government and their king should be as taboo as discussing the merits of british government and their queen?
Should probably be fine as long as you don’t reference our world events and figures as examples.
Everything is political. Some things are more political than others.
If what you’re saying would make a significant number of people angry, probably best not to go there.
“Monarchy is stupid,” would be an overly political statement.
“Government by an absolute monarch who is also a superhero in his spare time is a weird form of government,” is probably OK.
This becomes doubly interesting when you look into the ties between Wakanda and Ethiopia, and see T’Challa as a stand-in for Haile Selassie.
It’s okay to discuss fictional politics if the arguments would only work in the fictional universe. If it could be applied in the real world, you’re presumably comparing it to every other system that could be applied in the real world, at which point it’s real-world politics.
The issue I’ve seen everyone skip over is that even Tony Stark doesn’t need regulation. Obviously creating Ultron was a massive Idiot Ball move, and someone should have stepped in to stop him, but would the Sokovia accords do that?
Stark didn’t go into Elbonia and blow something up somehow creating Ultron, he built it in his basement in one inspiration-fueled weekend. In a world where any genius can build a world-threatening super robot, the only way for a government to stop that problem is to closely monitor all geniuses, every hour of the day, and I’m pretty sure that’s not what the accords are about. The biggest problem an Avenger ever created, Tony Stark’s main motivation, is not fixed by the accords.
It’s another one of the movie’s “emotional drama before logic” cheats, no one’s argument really makes sense but it sounds good in the moment it’s said.
You are 100% correct. This is my main beef with the accords as they are presented. THEY WOULD NOT HAVE STOPPED ANY of the incidents Avengers are blamed for. Not only that they wouldn’t have stopped them they by preventing the Avengers from Avenging would have made things worse.
Loki would have been able to establish a secure beachhead in New York and it would have most likely been nuked.
As long as Vanda was able to get close to Tony he was inevitably going to create Ultron. Only question is would have Vision be made. I’m thinking NOT. Also in case they were not allowed to hit Sokovia who knows what horror Hydra would have made and how much of a metropolis it would have destroyed.
The Helicarriers would have taken off and written off anybody that dared oppose Hydra.
Ellis would have been dead and Killian . . . wait what was his plan? Kill Tony but what else? Start a war for profit?
I agree with your overall judgment, but I still think the characters are acting rationally given the information they have.
I think the Avengers are operating on the assumption that Vision’s statement is true: “By existing, we invite challenge, and through conflict, there is inevitably collateral damage.” In that sense, their concern over regulation is pretty understandable.
They don’t know if Loki would have ever showed up to get the Tesseract if the Avengers had never existed: remember that Loki’s plan to steal it was to mind control Hawkeye and sew discord among the Avengers themselves. Loki wanted to get caught in the SHIELD base so he had access to all these powerful people he could manipulate.
The Avengers don’t know if it would have been better or worse without their direct involvement.
Hell, Thor would probably argue that whole thing is Asgard’s fault because they technically hid the Space stone on Earth in the first place.
But that’s a really stupid statement which only gets un-stupid if you break the fourth wall and admit Vision knows he’s in a superhero movie. As a genre-savvy statement it makes perfect sense, of course the protagonist will attract opposition, but in the real world no one goes around challenging national armies just because they’re there.
Arguably, WWI counts as a time where “nations” went around challenging other national armies “because they were there…”
Of course it’s not quite that simple… (Archduke and Serbian Nationalists and all), but the arms races that lead up to it did help to lead to the war itself. Helping nations be more ready to resort to armed conflict to resolve the triggering issues.
It can also be argued the United States’ possession of nukes after WWII, helped lead to the intensity of the Cold War and therefore the adoption of the Mutually Assured Destruction philosophy. The USSR felt the need to get their own nukes to challenge the US and feel safe from their ideological rival, and helping to increase the intensity of the various proxy wars between the two.
This applies to just about any arms race that results in violence (cops/criminals, rival gangs, rival nations, etc.)
Still it is much more complex than Group A has lots of power, therefore Group B directly challenges them, causing collateral damage, as Vision describes. But, I believe it can be a valid factor in escalating real world conflicts.
Not to be nitpicky, but EXACTLY THIS idea is part of one of the traditional international relations theories (realist theory), the so called “power transition theory”.
If 2 great powers happen to be of nearly the same power (one the current hegemon, and a rising challenger), the appearing friction is supposed to create conflict, if not outright war. The stronger power is supposed to try deterring the rising power before the challenger is strong enough to kick the previous hegemon’s ass and thereby impose its own rules over the following period.
So: Vision needs not know he’s in a superhero-movie, just have a little bit of knowledge of international relations theory 101.
Btw: Thanks to Falcon, for already having brought up arms race explanations.
The problem with that metaphor is that the Avengers are clearly the hegemon, going around stomping on rising powers. It’s not that standing armies invite challengers, it’s that they tempt their owners to use them.
While arguably accurate, that’s definitely not the point Vision was trying to make.
While, I agree in that analogy the Avengers would be the “Hegemony” I still think the comparison is valid.
But you’re right it’s not “JUST” their simple existence that results in the problem. It’s that individuals and groups still exist which would have goals in opposition to the Avengers. And due to the existence of the Avengers those individuals and groups must therefore “up the ante” in order to address the “threat” of the power of the Avengers.
As a general example look at the villain trope where they use massive destruction to distract the Hero so they can escape. “You can catch and defeat me, or you can stop a missile heading for an orphanage, but you can’t do both!” The orphanage wouldn’t even be direct danger if it weren’t for the threat to the villain posed by the Hero (except perhaps for the psychotic villains who would still destroy the orphanage for the heck of it).
The villain still has a goal to accomplish, these powerful Heroes will presumably try to stop them, so they must intensify their methods to attempt to counter the Heroes’ power.
But, you’re also right that the villain themselves still would exist without the Heroes. Heroes just have the potential to escalate the impact more…
And more specifically, I’m not sure of specific examples of villains in the MCU really directly fit into this.
Without the Avengers, Loki still would invade with a big army
Without the Avengers (as a powerful threat), Ultron would still have attempted to destroy humanity
You could potentially argue that the Hydra launched their Helicarrier plan in large part because the threat posed by our Heroes and others. But, Hydra doesn’t exist because our Heroes do, it exists because “World Domination TM”
Vision does seem to be implying the Avenger’s/Heroes’ existence creates the villains they face (which I don’t think is entirely true). I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the Avenger’s/Heroes’ existence has the potential to create more “super-villains” where they may have only been a more “run-of-the-mill” villain.
Vision is totally right, just out of universe. The threats the Avengers face only exist because the movies we watch need a bad guy and stakes. Take those out and nothing bad happens. An MCU where the Avengers flops in the real world cause the Avengers to deter any bad guy from doing anything exciting, because we won’t be watching it.
No, the Avengers are necessary, but it’s not because of the reasons Vision thinks. The Infinity Stones are the source of conflict, not the Avengers themselves, and wherever they’re contested is the place of conflict. The Avengers is the Earth answer to an Earth-housed Infinity Stone, but we see with other stories like “Guardians of the Galaxy” that this conflict is inevitable and heroes must oppose villains in order to keep the stones from falling into nefarious hands.
You totally missed the point of my post. All the problems in the MCU exist because we in the real world are watching the movies. If we didn’t watch the movies the problems would literally just go away. I am applying the logic of making movies in the real world cause stuff to happen in the fictional world
“Without the Avengers, Loki still would invade with a big army”
Loki got the Mind Stone (which led to Vision’s creation) in order to create that army, because he knew that Thor was involved with events on Earth, which eventually led to the creation of the Avengers… etc. It’s a nested web of dependencies where one party wouldn’t have acted as forcefully if the other party wasn’t already acting as forcefully.
Vision is both right and wrong. His statement is correct that power demands challenge, but it’s also correct that the Avengers are necessary to stem that inevitable vie for power.
He was still handling something he shouldnt have in his possession anyway:The mind gem.With oversight,any dangerous “loot” they collect while fighting bad guy of the week would end up being stored in some secure facility away from tony stanks meddling hands.Just how the tesseract and the staff were kept (relatively) safe during the days of shield.
But that’s getting mired in minutia. The problem is that Tony Stark set out to build an AI, made the idiot ball move of giving the thing network access so it could escape, and then it went all Skynet. Yes, in this particular case it went evil because it was based on completely untested mystery technology that came from a trickster (God the whole Ultron thing was needlessly moronic. Tony Stark is competing against “Shepard when Kai Leng is on screen” in the Stupidity Olypmics.), but that detail wasn’t necessary. Maybe AIs are just inherently inclined to be Skynet, or maybe Tony is a shitty engineer.
Ultron could have happened without the infinity stone, and then it’s strictly a story of “Idiot scientist builds Skynet in basement”. What are the accords supposed to do about that?
Seeing how the most advanced ai in this world without the infinity stone is jarvis,thats doubtful.
…unless Tony just takes it without telling anyone. The problem is that Tony does not slide down a slippery slope, he jumps right off the nearest cliff as soon as one of his guilt complexes flares up.
I’d argue that it’s not “drama before logic” but that the movie is full of people who are behaving irrationally for realistic and well-established reasons.
Tony has never been a rational, level-headed individual. His entire story is one bad judgment call made after another. That he’s willing to be self-sacrificing is his redeeming quality, but from the very first Iron Man movie his behavior has been more of an exercise in working out his personal issues (usually guilt) than enlightened heroism.
Creating Ultron wasn’t an idiot ball for Tony, it was well in line with his established mentality. Tony makes rash decisions and rationalizes them with bad logic instead of owning up to his real issues.
Creating Ultron was an idiot ball moment for any thinking human being. Inside the Infinity stone taken from a literal trickster god, he finds a more or less fully-formed AI, and decides that’s a good thing to run his robo-peacekeepers. Then, rather than testing the thing, he connects it to the internet, turns it on, and walks away while Skynet is becoming self-aware.
Either of those actions are the AI equivalent of deciding radioactive waste would make a good skin cream, and taken together they’re the act of a drooling moron with decision-making skills so poor I’d question the notion that they’re sapient. Because of course, Iron Man isn’t sapient, he’s a puppet of the author who does what the author needs to advance the plot.
Okay, I hope you realize that people actually did make “health” products using radioactive materials. It didn’t end well.
But, yeah, people do some really, really stupid things. Arrogance and stubborn ideology are capable of making some people utterly blind to the consequences of their actions.
Lots of them. Radium’s always warm, so it went into heating pads. They put tritium into nightlights and rifle scopes. Radium got put into face cream and toothpaste.
The good news is that we’ve totally learned out lesson and now all health products being sold are based 100% on science with no quackery involved whatsoever!
But no one acknowledges it! Stark does something more dangerous than playing basketball with nitroglycerin, and none of the characters are especially interested in so much as calling him an idiot.
In a world where super Nazis almost nuked the United States, Tony Stark is the biggest threat to humanity, and it seems like no one notices.
Forget Bucky, Civil War should have been about the government trying to kill Tony.
I’m actually not sure if the world at large is aware of Ultron’s origins. The only people who would’ve known where Ultron came from would be the people at Tony’s after party when Ultron first walks in: the Avengers and a couple of pals. Then Tony explains to those people. Unless those people go telling to the government or the media, there isn’t a way for anybody outside of the Avengers and their friends to know that Ultron was a result of Tony’s negligence.
Even if those are the only people who know, none of them seem interested in calling Tony out on “You’re a drooling moron with no ability to anticipate problems” or “You almost got the planet blown up”. Cap wags his finger at Stark once, in the softest possible terms, and that’s pretty much it.
Every one of those people has to hear “It’s Tony Stark’s fault that hundreds of people are dead and the world almost ended”, and then not only be okay with that, but decide the public doesn’t deserve to know.
Tony took time off from the Avengers after Ultron, leaving the field operations to Cap and taking a more administrative role, thereby distancing himself from a place where he could cause harm like that again. Steve doesn’t strike me as a particularly vengeful guy; based on my read of his character, turning in his friend wouldn’t do anything about what had happened, and the current arrangement with Tony was what was likely to do the most good going forward.
Sadly, since Tony is the one most willing to play ball with them, I can buy the governments deflecting blame from his specifically to everyone else in order to get what they want.
It would have been nice to have one scene where Steve points out how Tony is really the only one among them who needs and adult looking over his shoulder, but governments and the media are pretty pro at shifting the blame when it suits them.
And profit and not caring about consequences, since there wasn’t really any oversight of American medicine until the AMA. There’s actually a wonderful book called Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster that talks about those things, as well as the creation of AM radio, and lots of other interesting stuffs.
Gotta love radium. Works great till your jaw rots off.
True. But guilt does not care about that. Doing Something quiets the monkey a little bit, even if is stupid.
I always felt that the Sokovia Accords were a bit too restrictive. It fails to consider that the Avengers aren’t always acting like police officers. They do a hell of a lot of fireman duties as well and a fireman doesn’t need a warrant to act, he just needs a fire.
I think an ideal set of Sokovia Accords would acknowledge this. So if they want to invade Sokovia and hunt down Hydra (Beginning of Avengers 2), or stop someone stealing a biological weapon (Civil War) they need a warrant. But if The Chitauri invade New York (Avengers 1) then the Avengers can just suit up and intervene.
Also putting Thunderbolt Ross in control of the panel to oversee them given his history with the Hulk was pretty sketchy even before they introduced the RAFT prison…
As I think Cap alludes to Tony: if they know that a Hydra agent is going after a bioweapon that threatens hundreds of millions, will they really sit home and let it happen while the UN discusses it, whatever they may have signed? Is either of them constitutionally capable of that?
The police don’t always need a warrant (at least in the USA). If they come to your door and hear someone screaming/gun shots/anything else that indicates to them that someone’s in eminent danger, they can (and probably will) come crashing in. Also, they don’t need a warrant if you let them come in, so avoid inviting police in when you’ve left your hydrogen bomb on top of your 20 pounds of cocaine in the front hall :)
This is predicated on police paperwork. The cops come in on a situation and have reasonable cause to do their job, then they write up a report afterward that describes the details, while superior officers, judges, politicians, and the public determine whether that was the correct decision (ideally).
How do you begin to regulate an entity like the Avengers? Do you demand reports? What if those reports are sensitive to nation security? What happens when you need to cross borders? Policing is difficult enough to figure out within the confines of local laws, but across nations it gets mind-bogglingly complicated, and several of the Avengers are capable of crossing borders without notice of any regulatory agency.
Yes, the Avengers should write reports. They should be under the direction of Interpol or a similar law enforcement agency. That’s what the Avengers are: a world police. And if that’s going to work, the world needs to sit down and hammer out a functioning world police mandate.
Don’t make them subject to any governments, just the laws. Give them full authority to enforce those laws as they see fit, but make sure they are held accountable. Provide training (not just combat, also law theory and ethics).
No, this will not really work in nations where the police are the thugs of a corrupt government, but no treaty will, either.
Or don’t have Avengers. Tell any superpeople that if they want to be heroes, they are free to join any police or fire department or other community service organisation they want.
Of course, ‘evil government that wants to cut them up for no reason’ is a trope super stories seem awfully fond of, pretty much to avoid anything like the above scenarios. It frankly annoys me somewhat :(
What they need is to be debriefed afterwards. They can go chase after the bad guys on the spur of the moment, but when they get done they have to sit down and justify themselves. Then there’s time for all the red tape in the world.
Still,way better than in the dawn of justice.
You’d love the movie if your mother was named Martha.
Dawn of Justice had different goals. It wasn’t about “choosing a side”. Superman was in the right and Batman was the villain. That’s the whole point of the conflict and why Batman ends the film being inspired by Superman.
BvS was more about the consequences and motivations of these characters. Superman caused a lot of collateral in the last movie so the world is divided on him even though he tried to do the right thing. Now he’s doubting himself. Batman has fallen from grace and is using this as a means to take down Superman.
Oh, this is so much makes sense! Especially to the elbonia citizen, which i am)))
One thing that Shamus doesn’t bring up is the uselessness of trying to rule superheroes with bureaucracy. Putting the Avengers under UN control is only going to work if they’re reasonable enough to submit to being under UN control, in which case they’re reasonable enough to operate without being under strict UN control. As soon as they decide that they know better and decide to actually go rogue there isn’t anything the UN can do about it. They’ve got very limited means to actually exercise control over the Avengers.
Two cases in point: the whole Civil War happens not because Steve is uncompromisingly opposed to any kind of oversight, but because within hours of the document being signed they’re doing something that he thinks is wrong. They immediately go after Bucky intending to kill him, and then after that they get infiltrated and let the villain take temporary control of him. Steve isn’t demanding to continue being Captain America with no oversight at that point, but he sees a very specific problem and has been shown that he can’t trust the UN enough to bring it to them.
On the other side, the Accords would not have stopped Tony from creating Ultron. Tony is chronically irresponsible. Theoretically Steve was the team leader at the time, and Tony went behind his back to play around with the Mind Gem. He even goes behind their back to help Steve in the end, because Tony is ruled by impulse and the immediate guilt over putting his friends in jail overrode the more lingering guilt over fucking up in Age of Ultron. Put any regulatory agency you like in charge of the Avengers- Tony will still act out when he decides to.
The root problem is that they’ve got a small collection of exceptional individuals. They can’t fire them and replace them with more suitable ones if they misbehave- they need these people, and their very nature as heroes makes them prone to standing up for what they think is right regardless of the consequences. If Steve hadn’t been Steve he wouldn’t have been able to figure out and stop HYDRA’s plot in Winter Soldier. Iron Man wouldn’t exist if Tony didn’t decide to “privatize national security” because he got the idea in his head that only he could be trusted with that power.
Putting oversight over these guys calls for a soft touch- figure out what the worst of your issues with how they operate are, talk with them to come up with some solutions, and accept that when the fate of the world is on the line they’re probably going to toss the rules in the bin and do what needs to be done.
I was just thinking about damage costs. As part of some kind of government body, repairing the gigantic amounts of collateral damage is almost possible. Insurance agencies would either crumble or have rates so high that only a very small percentage of people could recover from their assets being too close to ground zero of a fight.
For a typical superfight like Lagos, insurance companies would be fine. (Except maybe in Manhattan, which in addition to alien invasion has had repeated flareups in Hell’s Kitchen, etc. But those are smaller scale and probably insurable.) For something like the Battle of Manhattan or Sokovia, you need FEMA and other federal relief or the local equivalent in rich countries, and international aid in countries with fewer resources.
Odds are insurance companies would at least try to treat them as already excluded (Manhattan was pretty clearly an act of war), and would write explicit exclusions into later policies.
Agents of SHIELD did have a reference to Damage Control, the private company that specializes in superfight cleanup. (One of the many great ideas brilliantly realized by the still-missed Dwayne McDuffie.)
A point I keep coming back to in this discussion is that the Marvel universe, and this movie in particular, runs on contrivance and drama, not logic. Having a serious overthinking of the sides in Civil War is like doing an engineering analysis of EDI’s robo-high-heels: you can’t find a logical solution in a world that doesn’t run on logic. You have to get into these fourth-wall breaking arguments of “this is a fictional universe that runs on conflict, so all roads lead to chaos”.
The answer to “Which side is right?” is whichever side the author says is right. A world of drama runs on author fiat, there are no rules and anything can happen.
I disagree.Yes,its true that these movies dont run on real world logic.But they still have their internal consistency.These characters still follow the rules set by their previous appearances.The movie doesnt just simply say “Iron man is evil now,so lets see the avengers fight”,it establishes an intricate scenario that would allow the characters to come to blows while still following the internal rules of the universe.Does it make sense in the real world?No.But it doesnt have to.It only has to make sense in the fake world its set in.
HAH! That’s funny. You’re funny.
Iron Man is being poisoned by his suit and Fury explicitly tells him he doesn’t have a cure
Iron Man has PTSD
Iron Man decides he doesn’t need an army of autonomous Iron Man suits (cut to next movie where he’s built a robo UN)
Hulk is an uncontrollable ragemonster who will smash up the Helicarrier for no reason other than “someone got his pulse up”, but as soon as he says a cool one-liner at the end of Avengers he’s a laser-guided missile with no more risk of friendly fire than Cap or Iron Man.
Iron Man has been sitting on Hulkbuster armor, which is way bigger and better than his normal armor, but like an anime special move, it gets held in reserve until one particular fight, then completely forgotten about.
Ant Man couldn’t even follow the rule it laid out in its own movie, at any moment it was like they were flipping a coin to decide if a shape-shifted object would retain its mass. It continued that trend in Civil War where GiAnt Man should have only weighed 100 kg and had all the impact of a cotton candy golem.
Tony cured his own Palladium poisoning. That’s what the whole Act 2 plot of Iron Man 2 was about: using his father’s notes to create a new element to replace the Palladium in his arc reactor. There’s nothing magic about the element that we’re told about which would cleanse the body, but if Palladium poisoning works along the lines of many other poisons, then if Tony hasn’t hit a point of no return on the damage, than he’ll naturally recover from the poison over time if the source is removed. Sure, none of this is spelled out for us, but is it really necessary? Old tech was killing him, new tech does not.
Frankly, Tony having to work through PTSD for every team up movie would make everything drag. Maybe it’ll be revisited in Iron Man 4. As it was I thought it was explored sufficiently in Iron Man 3.
Tony building a robot army in Iron Man 3 was a way of escaping from his issues rather than face them. Blowing them up was a symbol of his renewed commitment to the people in his life. The problem was not, in itself, building robots, so he’s free to do so in the future.
Hulk got some stuff cut out from Avengers. Originally there was going to be a bigger scene after he falls where Banner worked some stuff out. But we can’t work off of what might’ve been, rather what is, in which case, Hulk is a bit inconsistent. I don’t think it really mattered all that much. Hulk was still the Avenger most likely to cause collateral damage.
Hulkbuster armor was bigger, certainly, and stronger. I doubt it was as aerodynamic. Can’t walk through buildings. Must weigh a bajillion tons. Plenty of reasons why it wouldn’t be used again if there hasn’t been a big enemy to use it on. Hell, the only opportunities would’ve been Civil War, where Tony is not trying to actually kill his friends, and the last battle against Ultron, where the suit might’ve been in repair or something. I don’t remember the details of that movie.
I don’t remember the details for Ant-Man. Been wanting to rewatch it but Netflix doesn’t stream it, which is a total gyp. I don’t think you’re representing the rule correctly, however. Ant-Man when tiny and hopping on people’s guns didn’t cause those people to act like a full grown man was standing on their hand. Pym carried an actual tank on his keychain. Obviously impossible if the mini tank had the same mass.
That’s my point. The movie claims that shrinking doesn’t affect mass, has Pym say it quite explicitly (it’s the movie’s explanation for how a tiny man can impart a meaningful amount of force with his punches), but then half the time it forgets. It’s not just like it’s some technobabble that wasn’t meant to mean anything, we get demonstrations of things retraining mass. Thomas the Tank engine bounces off a tiny man, shrunken Ant-Man cracks bathroom tiles and dents cars.
As for Iron Man 2, I’d have to rewatch, but I could swear that movie ends with a temporary solution in place, and then the other movies just ignore the problem (which was for the best, it was a plot tumour that felt like it was part of a larger plot cut for time reasons).
It would make everything drag. Because PTSD sucks. It’s a real problem with horrible consequences, and they wrote in a PTSD plotline only to immediately discard it because they couldn’t look one movie ahead and realize PTSD was way too heavy a topic for their intended tone.
I was never especially clear on why Tony blew up the robots, but there’s not really a good resolution to it. Either he did for some kind of anti-robot reason, in which case why are there now more robots, or it’s a symbolic gesture, in which case the symbolism is thoroughly ruined by the next movie time-jumping to “Hey guys, I built more robots!”
The Hulkbuster suit got damaged, but it got replacement parts mid fight and it was (as far as we could see anyway) in perfect condition by the end, so there’s no reason not to use it against Ultron, but you’re also forgetting the opening fight of Age of Ultron, the military operation in the forest. Tony’s taking AA fire, they’re dealing with a speedster who knocks people down, and Tony demonstrates that he’s willing and able to step out of armour to use computers, so mobility can’t be a problem.
Non-sequitur. The problem wasn’t undercutting Hulk’s damage potential, it was that a sudden shift to friendly Hulk left me scratching my head. “Wait, isn’t Hulk super dangerous? Shouldn’t they be worried about him killing every friendly he sees? They don’t seem to be worried, why aren’t they worried?”
Apart from the idea that Bruce had achieved a bit more control the second time, I think the idea is that there were no enemies around in the first transformation, while in the second there are enough enemies to smash that Hulk can choose the most appropriate targets.
And of course they’re not worried about him killing every civilian he sees because they are fighting an entire army of things that are doing exactly that, Hulk isn’t going to make the situation any worse on that end.
The reason Tony blew up the Iron man suits in 3 was because he’d gotten over at least part of his anxiety. He didn’t need suits anymore to be Iron Man, he remembered that he was Iron Man, all on his own. That’s what the suitless attack on the mandarin compound was about.
The woman he loved thought he was obsessed with the suits (and he had been), so he blew them up to show he wasn’t. It was a good ending to that movie. Yes, he could build more, and undoubtedly would, but they would no longer be his obsession.
I found the Hulk’s two transformations in Avengers quite believable — that’s just how anger works. When you’re really angry and trying to restrain it, it leaks out at everyone around you and puts them in danger. When you’re angry and able to release it at a target, the bystander danger goes WAY down — you don’t lash out at them because you have someone/something to lash out at already.
When Bruce transformed the first time, his anger (the hulk) overwhelmed him and he lost control and lashed out at everyone around him. When Bruce transformed the second time, he released his anger at the target of his anger, the people trying to destroy his world and hurt his friends.
Granted the Hulk is frequently more complicated than just being a metaphor for anger, but anger has (almost) always been part of the Hulk story. (Exceptions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNJKKcE5cs )
I’ve just always thought of the Hulk as being a Barbarian in Rage from D&D 3.5, since I played in a group with one for quite a while. Things actively trying to hurt him are the most obvious targets, but it’s entirely possible (and happened more than once) that the group wizard’s slightly misaimed fireball will end in the barbarian using his drinking buddy (the wizard) as a club. Once out of rage he felt horrible about it, but at least he made his will check to use the wizard as a weapon rather than try to kill him.
(I’ve never played a barbarian (I was a druid in that campaign), and I think this was a combo of house rules based on how we all knew uncontrollable anger seems to work and the actual book rules on the matter)
Not the pan!
I’ve thought of another problem with Tony’s “We need to be reigned in” schtick.
He wants to be reigned in, but he doesn’t want to be held accountable. He made Ultron who killed hundreds to thousands of people, but he wants to just say “Oops, my bad, hope it doesn’t happen again.” If an engineer designs a bridge that fails, he’s held legally responsible, but Tony Stark wants to walk away from inventing Skynet.
It’s not just that he’s guilt-ridden yet doesn’t want to take responsibility, that could work as a character flaw. The problem is that no one seems to want him to take responsibility. The stupidest thing one of my friends ever did resulted in a broken leg, and I gave them shit about it for ages, but Stark gets nothing more than an incredibly soft “That wasn’t very smart Tony” condemnation.
The only reason for him to not be in prison is that the world can’t figure out whether to charge him with terrorism, war crimes, or a thousand counts of manslaughter.
But for all the talking about civilian casualties, you can’t make the audience actually care about the dead peasants without ruining the light, schlocky tone the MCU cultivates, and in a world that runs on drama, the only reason we’re going to have Stark arrested is to set up a prison break sequence.
Thats because tony stank is still a spoiled child.He never really matured.And he admits it when he talks about pepper.
I had all the thoughts about this. Part of the problem is they don’t talk at all about what’s IN the accords. They just say, “we need something”, and then, surprise, that turns into immediately (a) hunting bucky down with the intention to kill him without trial (b) legitimising secret US prisons people are sent to (even ones without superpowers), etc. There’s good reason to object to that!
But also, continuing to act as an independent body is bad too. Ironically, it seems like almost none of the things that went wrong, the avengers could be blamed for AT ALL. Not like, maybe you thought it was justified but the gains were nebulous and you killed a lot of people who would otherwise have survived. If they hadn’t stopped Ultron all those same people would have died when the city fell out of the sky PLUS everyone else on the planet. If they hadn’t stopped Loki’s invasion, NY would have been nuked. Do people really want to go with the alternative option here? It’s kind of a miracle they HAVEN’T killed a lot of people by accident, they’re long overdue, but they haven’t. Well, except for Ultron which AGAIN was all Tony’s fault, he needs PTSD counselling, and needs to stop building killer robots, but he build that in his lab, the accords wouldn’t have prevented the problem.
So the actual disagreement is pretty moot. Even if the question of what sort of oversight is appropriate is quite an interesting one. I would think, someone (like Nick Fury) in direct command, and an oversight committee ultimately answerable to the UN. And a set of principles for when they can act unilaterally against an immediate threat, when they need permission from the committee, etc. And principles for which country gets prisoners, what rights they have, what guarantees you have they won’t escape, etc. Quite like the military does now, except that with aliens and supervillains, there’s more plausibility for the avengers to suddenly operate in a different country and hopefully that can be negotiated.
And yes, it would be nice if they were more truly international to start with.
As someone who doesn’t quite get the Avengers (but has seen a couple of things), I’m a bit surprised that the fronts weren’t inverted: Tony Stark, the rich guy, who got to where he is by himself etc. should be arguing against oversight (I mean, would he have started the whole Iron Man thing if he had had to apply for permission and all first?), while it would appear the more natural thing for Cap to argue for governmental oversight because he owes his powers to the government, and has directly worked for them for a long time.
Stark is used to making his own decisions and bearing the responsibility for them (or brushing it off like a gentleman playboy billionaire), while Cap is a soldier more used to following orders. So really, it would look to me like the sides should be switched.
But maybe they just tried to avoid the cliché? Would that have led to more parallels with real real-world political situations?
No, the sides make much more sense as they are.
Tony is a “rash action made out of guilt” sort of guy. He wants the Accords because he feels guilty about Ultron, and he doesn’t worry about the consequences because deep down in his heart he knows he’ll ignore them when he has to anyway.
Steve is a “never compromise when it comes to doing the right thing” sort of guy. He chaffs at the idea of the UN misusing the Avenger’s powers, but more importantly when he sees specific things that the UN is doing wrong he has to stop them. Remember, in his last solo movie Steve took down SHIELD because it was corrupt. Standing up to the authority when it’s wrong is a well-established part of his character.
But in the MCU, things didn’t work out that way. Stark has always been paranoid and distrustful of the authorities; heck, in Avengers he hacks his way into the SHIELD computers because he doesn’t trust Fury. Cap trusts Fury, but finds out that he’s hiding things from them anyway, but still works directly with SHIELD. Winter Soldier, however, is driven a lot by the fact that Fury was hiding things from almost everyone, and that was almost a disaster.
Civil War, then, could have played on that. Instead of making Stark act out of a strange — and as people are pointing out, somewhat inconsistent — sense of guilt, simply have him remain distrustful of the government. He might be able to see that some kind of oversight is required, but it’s not from the government. Heck, even have him think that it should be run by Cap; he’ll listen to Cap’s views on what’s right, wrong, or too dangerous, but not the government’s. Meanwhile, Cap thinks that things need to be out in the open, and that the public have the right to weigh in on how these things should be run, and that means working with the democratically elected and official governments of nations. So, if you want to do good, you’ve got to do it officially, as part of government sanctioned actions. If you want to follow on from Winter Soldier, have Cap believe that if he could go public with all of that, then he’d be able to get Winter Soldier captured and hopefully cured, and that the assassination attempts are only viable because everything’s in the dark, and not in the light.
Stark, then, could feel like Cap is betraying them and even Cap’s own ideals, but Cap is acting on what he has come to believe is right. And it still leaves options open for a compromise.
Tony’s guilt complex isn’t portrayed inconsistently; Tony himself is consistently erratic and short-sighted. Note that he doesn’t even make it to the end of the movie before thumbing his nose at the Accords. He’s doing the thing that most immediately mollifies his guilt, not thinking things through about how he’s actually going to feel when he’s got red tape between him and the next infinity stone that he wants to play with.
Meanwhile, Cap has also been, since the first movie when he ignored orders to go rescue prisoners of war, willing to go outside the system when it was the right thing to do. When it comes to his personal sense of honor, duty, or morality versus the rules he breaks against the rules every time.
Also, in the above scenario, it wouldn’t be “Civil War”, it would be “Iron Man goes rogue”, because who is going to side with Tony there when paranoia is the main reason for him disagreeing?
When I heard about Civil War I had no idea which side would be which. I agree about Tony, but cap has a history of standing up for what’s *right*, what the government *should* be, not what it is now. IIRC the first Captain America comics were specifically advocating for America to enter WWII before it had.
I haven’t seen it yet, but when lacking information “I’m following Captain America” is a pretty darn good way to pick a side. He’s a better hero and person than even Superman.
As a general note: whenever there is some schism in the Marvel Universe: it’s best to be against.
For example: in the original Civil War story, it wasn’t about Avengers oversight, but mutant registration, because people are afraid of their powers. I would disagree with that; I do not believe that people should be registered because of biological properties they exhibit, but sure, I can see why some should. However, even if you agree with that, it also included a clause which allowed the government to recruit any and all mutants to a sort of special forces, and jail them indefinitely if they did not. In this case, Magneto is right: never again.
There is now an ongoing event which is called Civil War 2, which inevitably is going to end the same way. It basically follows the plot from Minority Report they’ve found a guy with the super power to predict the future (which in itself makes no sense at all; there were already people who could do that), and some of the supes want to set up a future crime agency.
Also: in the Marvel comics universe, they are completely right never to trust the government, ever (at least the American one). I mean, come on. At some point, the bloody Green Goblin was chosen as the POTUS.
This is one of those ‘what would they have done yesterday’ situations.
10 years previously Stark would have opposed the Accord – basically he did (in hindsight) by announcing that he’s Ironman, thumbing his nose at Congress, and damn near self-funding and controlling the Avengers.
Pre-freeze Rogers would have sided with the UN oversight and control.
Today Stark is struggling with the burden of guilt that his actions were excessively harmful and the very real possibility that he’s been doing all this *solely* out of self-aggrandizement and any useful outcomes are purely coincidental – and that that makes him not a whole lot better than any of the villains they’ve faced.
Post-freeze Rogers has seen and internalized the truth that governments are made up of people and people have their own agendas and their own incentives – none of them are innocent, none have clean hands, none are ‘good’, just a small handful aren’t ‘evil’.
Somebody made the point (I cannot recall who) that the accords are actually a woefully inept response to the rapidly changing world. Would they expect say, Doctor Strange to sign onto them? Isnt that just a little absurd? Hey, Sorcerer Supreme one of the most powerful people in the universe you only act when the UN says from now on OK? There is no response they could even have for when he says no.
Also I don’t know how much I was reading into it but I got the impression that a large part of the reason Steve wouldn’t sign on was he knew he wouldn’t follow them. He knew that the moment he thought the oversight was making a bad call he would break from it it, so he didn’t pretend he would do otherwise.
Yeah, one thing that made me want to slap Ross was when he made a comment about them “losing” Thor. Thor is royalty from another planet, and he left Earth to go deal with what he feared was a threat whose scope was more broad than our one little planet. The idea that the UN would have any kind of authority over Thor is so arrogantly presumptive that it single-handedly undermines the idea that they should be in charge of anything.
I have the same reaction to some scenes in Supergirl. Some army guy (and he is comically stupid and mindlessly authoritarian as all army officers are in comic book stories) turns up and tells her that she has been assigned to his unit and has to take part in his stupid tests whether she likes it or not, and has a piece of paper signed by the president to back him up.
And her response is, bewilderingly, to sullenly go along with it as though this has any kind of binding authority over her at all.
I’m sure there are all sorts of discussions to be had about the extent superman / supergirl can be coerced by human governments, and at what point the destructive consequences of maintaining your own autonomy outweighs the benefits (leaving aside discussions of where the borderline is between reasonable caution by a government for the protection of its citizens, and outright tyranny at the expense of a few individuals), but much like most of the stupidity in Mass Effect 3 (and 2 for that matter), no-one has these discussions or even appears to give them any thought.
General Lane’s a cartoon, but Supergirl considering herself bound by law until/unless given a strong reason to be otherwise is reasonable. She clearly considers herself an American citizen (vs. Thor who’s a foreign prince). If forced to go outside the law to save lives she’d do it (and like her cousin she isn’t visibly troubled by immigration or identity issues), but she needs a reason beyond “this guy is an officious jerk who’s being rude to me”.
Just as Steve won’t just sign the Sokovia rules with a mental reservation to go along. If he signs, he’d consider himself bound by their strictures, and he knows he’s not prepared to do that.
Except that, in (IRL) America, a letter signed by the President has . . . pretty much 0 legal authority. The President can’t just ‘assign’ people to Army units and put them under military control. We don’t even have a draft any more – and that’s still a *legislative* prerogative.
She’s no more legally bound to acquiese than you or I. But that’s a *writer* problem, not a characterization one. Likely your explanation of her motivations is correct – *assuming* the order had legal authority.
Yeah, that’s more the line I was thinking along, although I didn’t make that clear. She may voluntarily consider herself a design facto US citizen, but she never signed up to be in the military, is working with the DEA (?) voluntarily, and had no reason to be considered part of the military heirarchy. They are in no legalitarian or moral position to be giving her orders.
I always say, more superhero shows should end in fierce courtroom legal battles.
Did Supergirl ever fill out her immigration paperwork? While the President may not be able to order her into the service, he can possibly deport her if she refuses.
I’m pretty sure, in the show, Supergirl was drawing a paycheck from the DEO, so she could have refused, but then she wouldn’t have had the job anymore.
I’m pretty sure Supergirl is a volunteer at the DEO. (Being paid for superheroing is generally Not Done, and Supergirl is the four-colorest hero of all the Berlanti shows.) Kara’s paychecks come from Catco Worldwide Media, despite her taking increasingly long unexplained breaks in the middle of the day.
Except thor has specifically said that he would honor earth sovereignty.So if leaders of the earth tell him “dont come”,he will not come.
That’s the aside from the core issue, though: people aren’t worried about superheros being reasonable. They’re worried about them going rogue. If you predicate all of your thinking on them being willing to submit to authority at any time then you’ve got a minor issue over procedure, not a “Who watches the watchmen?” scenario.
Also, we can’t tell him not to come, because we kind of need him. It would be a lot easier if they could just disband the Avengers and be fine, but part of the problem is that they need these exceptional, not at all easily replaced individuals.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the idea is that if you can get enough superheroes to sign on to it — or even relatively powerful agencies like SHIELD — then any superhero who breaks the accords becomes a supervillain for the heroes to hunt down and arrest. This is somewhat how it played out in the comics, and one of the main reasons a number of heroes disapprove of it.
I think one of the reasons these movies are so good is that the characters are consistent and different from each other.
Rogers won’t sign because he knows he’ll end up breaking his word. That’s important to him and he won’t do that lightly. He’s honest and upfront.
Black Widow has no problem signing even though she telegraphs quite clearly that she’s still going to do her own thing. If that thing is IAW with the Accords, then all good, but if its not she’ll break her word without even a ting of conscience.
What I personally find most strange about the accords is what they bring up to make them seem sensible.
1. The avengers did massive damage to New York! That’s true they did do damage but I’m fairly certain that the nuke that was launched at the city would have been much worse. A city at that point which was in no way clear of civilians.
2. Destroying the Helicarriers did massive damage! Well kinda they most just fell atop shield run facilities and blew up shield. Which is still better then the option of them taking off and killing hundreds of thousand people.
Having re-watched Winter Soldier, yeah, the helicarriers landed on SHIELD. But SHIELD’s on the Potomac, the river that goes through DC (the Georgetown neighborhood’s on the banks of the Potomac) and is very close to DC. It’s a combo of phenomenal luck and the fact that all 3 were going more or less straight up to get into satellite range ASAP that meant one didn’t come down on a neighborhood or the Capitol, though I will admit it would have been a cool cinematic moment if one crashed onto the Mall.
So yeah, if I lived in that world, I’d be making a HUGE deal out of that. Especially since I suspect that if one of them had been in a position to crash in a bad spot, Cap would have still blown it up. He would have felt horrible, and yes, the thousands who just died cause a helicarrier crashed on their neighborhood would haunt him, but thousands dead is still far better than 20 million.
He would, but a story in which Captain America has to kill thousands to save millions is generally not going to be a very good Captain America story. (The villain may set up the dilemma, and Cap may fear that he’ll have to make the devil’s choice, but ultimately much of the fantasy of the superhero lies in there being a third option to be found.)
Just as a mystery where it turns out that the killer just can’t be identified, or can’t be brought to justice due to pragmatic concerns might be realistic, but isn’t a very good mystery. (Though it might be a very good noir story.) Occasional subversions and deconstructions of a genre can be powerful, but they take place against and draw their force from the background of existing conventions.
A story which says “Captain America can’t really save the day” (at best, he can stop it from being much worse) is basically saying that the ideal of Captain America can’t exist. Which a) is sort of shooting fish in a barrel, and b) raises the question of why we’re bothering with a Captain America story.
Billions of people. MOST people.
Commander Nefarious got promoted? I wonder what happened to Captain Iama-Badguy and Admiral Bone-to-Pick…
Oh I think 20th Century Fox would have something to say about that.
I am so glad someone caught that. :)
I can’t help but wonder if you’re glad he caught the Admiral Nefarious promotion, or a potential “rogue” pun…?
Or perhaps both…
Hopefully this won’t step over the line here – but its a politically charged movie and its hard to discuss without even a little reference to the real world.
My problem with this (otherwise pretty well done movie) is that at no time does anyone, not even the Avengers themselves, point out that the destruction they caused was both a tiny fraction of the destruction caused by those they were fighting and never ask ‘what would have happened if we had stood by’.
Its wasn’t the Avengers that created an interdimensional rift and imported an invading army, it wasn’t the Avengers that lifted a gigaton of dirt up into the air with the intention of creating an extinction level event. It wasn’t the Avengers that suborned the governments of several nations – and it *was* the Avengers that took the time and care, at great risk to themselves, to ensure those carriers crashed in a fairly ‘safe’ place when they came down.
I don’t know what the *civilian* authorities are like in the MU, but here in the real world Russia has been caught *routinely* clusterbombing in cities, bombing from helicopters, and even using IEDs rolled out the back of helos – anyone who wants to an idea of how accurate bombing from a helicopter is can go ask the Philadelphia Police. Even the US – who are pretty good (as far as these things go) at avoiding collateral damage still do a hell of a lot of collateral damage. I don’t believe the MU states are supposed to be significantly different in quality, if anything most of them are worse.
Now that we’re well into TL:DR territory – they never attempt to defend themselves and the case for oversight is never made convincingly. Capt America is right, they can’t trust any of these governments, Stark is right that its a heavy burden to take on – but Rhoades question, ‘who are we’? Is a non-sequitor. Who is the government of China, Saudia Arabia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc, who are these people that *they* should be the ones to make these decisions? Who are they that they should have the overriding say in how Stark disposes of his resources, what Capt America does, etc?
Well, it kind of was in that case, given how Ultron was created. Tony’s “we need to be reined in” is really him recognizing that he does, given that he’s the cause of, as well as the solution to, at least half of his problems.
(And I think the movie knows that, to its credit.)
I’m of the opposite opinion, the fact that no one is interested in holding Stark responsible for war crimes/terrorism/near-apocalypse makes it feel like the writers don’t think he is responsible. So a robot he created went insane and tried to kill everyone, but eh, that’s robots for you, whadda ya gonna do?
Tony pretty clearly thinks he’s responsible. Not in the sense of accepting legal consequences, because he’s a superhero and they almost never submit themselves to the law in that way. (And when they do– e.g., the Flash back around 1980 when he killed the Reverse Flash and allowed himself to be tried– the results are such a slog that it becomes clear why it’s a genre convention that they don’t.)
But the guilt over Sokovia is a major driver of his actions in the movie. (In much the same way that learning that every responsible person or organization he’s placed himself under the authority of was either a traitor or a dupe drives Steve’s.)
Responsbility without consequences isn’t responsibility. I agree that “hero on trial” stories tend to be terrible for various genre reasons, but the authors painted themselves into this corner by having Tony do something stupid, and their solution seems to be to just walk out and hope no one notices the blue paint footprints they’re leaving everywhere.
Furthermore, it’s conspicuous that none of the other characters even blame him for it. Even within the Ultron movie, he gets a brief wag of the finger for it, then people just accept it and move on.
Responsibility to *who* though? The Sokovia Accords are basically saying that the Avengers should be responsible to a large number of people who are not themselves responsible to anyone (short of actual violence).
And if you’re being told to submit to a guy that doesn’t himself have to submit, why not be *that* guy? What makes him special?
Nevermind the accords, Tony Stark was directly responsible for killing a ton of civilians and nearly destroying the Earth. Local governments should be competing with international courts for the right to lock him up.
There already are systems in place that ought to respond to “Man creates Skynet”, if only in a punitive, after-the-fact manner, and their absence from the story is never explained.
No one tried to reign him in over Ultron because it’s a superhero story and that’s not how they work. Bringing up the topic of regulating superheroes after Stark got a pass for Ultron would be like if someone in season 5 of Star Trek said “Wait, how can a gas creature be sentient? That’s thoroughly impossible for hard science reasons A, B and C.” The audience was happily ignoring it because that’s the genre expectation, but now that you draw focus to it they’re going to think back to the sentient crystal creatures from season 3 and the space whale from season 2 and it all starts falling apart.
It’s a recurring feature of the genre. I’m pretty sure the same “feels guilty and some people blame him for it occasionally, but not enough to keep him off the team or put him in jail” dynamic applied to Hank Pym’s creating Ultron in the comics. (He gets more grief for hitting his wife that one time than for the recurring global threat.) Ditto Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes, whose out-of-control invention killed a member of the team, and whose other out-of-control invention nearly destroyed the universe.
I can see where it’s a disconnect. But I think they’re adapting the idea pretty straight here. So the important thing is Tony’s internal guilt directed outward (since if he needs oversight, then obviously so do all these people who aren’t as smart as him) rather than people reacting plausibly to “I was tinkering one weekend trying to impose unilateral peace, and accidentally almost destroyed the planet”.
He gets more grief for hitting his wife that one time than for the recurring global threat.
The worst thing is: he didn’t really. The writer’s idea was that he was gesturing, basically throwing his hand around in a wide arc and accidentally hitting her. It was the artists ineptness which made it look like it was a thrown punch, and the apparent non-communication between writers which caused no one to pick up that he didn’t intentionally pimp-slap his wife.
The MCU kicked that to the curb at the beginning of Iron Man 2. Senator Stern (the late great Garry Shandling) is making the very reasonable argument that a private US citizen has the ability to wage small-scale war around the globe, and has no oversight, and isn’t that kind of fucked up? This is a guy who shot down a USAF fighter jet by accident in the first movie, which most nation-states don’t have the capacity to do, and this tech billionaire did it with his weekend DIY project. Isn’t that something the US government should be rightly concerned with? But Tony Stark just goes on about how it’s his property and the government can’t have it (never mind that his company was built by his father on government contracts, that paid for his education and status and facilitated his exposure to cutting edge tech and until halfway through IM1, he was perfectly happy accepting Uncle Sam’s dime). And just so we’re clear that Senator Stern is in the wrong, Winter Soldier makes it clear that he’s also a HYDRA stooge! Just in case you found his reasonable arguments…reasonable.
No one will ever see this, but just want to say:
The fact that he was secretly Hydra I think actually makes a better point for Civil War. Here is a guy making *really reasonable* points who just so happens to be a spy for one of the most evil organisations in the MCU.
A completely rational person could have agreed with his arguments (which are basically solid) and as the one to make said arguments, he might likely be put somewhere in the oversight body where he could have ‘influenced’ things for Hydra.
Here you have the problem with the paranoia that anyone can be an evil agent bent on controlling these Super beings vs the fact that you can’t simply ignore logic and reasoned arguments because that can just lead to a different oppression.
*Stark* created Ultron – not the Avengers.
And no amount of oversight of the *Avengers* would have prevented Stark from creating Ultron. The Avengers just cleaned up the mess created by one of their members on a weekend bender.
So I can see Stark thinking he needs a minder and the Accords to the the best thing available – except that he’s the guy who’s explicitly refused to deliver the secrets of his PA tech to his own government, the closest he comes is leasing out Warmachine, and he’s somehow going to think that 194 other countries *together* are more trustworthy and can provide better oversight?
But then again, this is Hollywood UN – not the real world UN – which is always the shining beacon of good and international cooperation even though its composed of real nations with real agendas at cross with each other.
An Avenger created Ultron in Avengers headquarters, with another Avenger, while the Avengers had temporary custody of a powerful artifact. Which they otherwise left unwatched by as much as a single security guard.
Stark created Ultron in *Stark’s* skyscraper – not Avenger HQ (though I could be mistaken – the skyscraper was his company’s but it has a big A on it in that movie – plus there’s no need for the skyscraper to be Avenger HQ when they have the ‘Avenger Compound’, at least that’s my interpretation), with *Dr Banner* from an artifact the Avengers recovered. Without so much as a security guard watching over them.
Stark and Banner are/were *in* the Avengers, not everything they do is done *as* Avengers.
Its quite likely that had the US government recovered the artifact Stark likely would have ended up with access (even if only temporarily – but he didn’t need long) anyway.
IMO, the extent that Ultron is an Avenger-created problem is the extent to which the rest of them trusted Stark (not very far) and left him unguarded (very negligent considering how, afterwards, they all basically admitted they knew he wouldn’t leave it alone – but hey, weekend!)
Which, I guess, is a long-winded way of saying that yeah, Ultron was an Avenger created problem.
Regarding the helicarriers (as mentioned above, I rewatched Winter Soldier last night), at NO POINT does ANYONE mention or even seem to pause to consider what might happen on the ground when those carriers crash. As far as the movie shows, they’re all focused on the 20 million who will die if even one of those carriers gets fully operational, and I don’t fault them for that. No matter how many might die if one crashed into Georgetown, that’s still (probably) going to be at least an order of magnitude less than 20 million. It’s the same sort of math that led to the Fat Man and Little Boy being used, and that might be useful as a real-world analogue. In the case of the nukes, an elected government did what they thought would cause the LEAST deaths (though they likely valued American lives over Japanese and I can understand that as we all tend to value our own side), and 70+ years later there’s still a lot of argument and anger around that, so there being anger and argument and fear over a PERSON (however awesome) seeming to make the same sort of math decision without any oversight, yeah, the response seems pretty normal to me.
Edited to add: It’s entirely possible (and probable) that Steve and Co’s plan did take possible ground casualties into account, it’s just never shown or mentioned. I’d honestly be shocked if it hadn’t crossed anyone’s mind, especially Steve’s or Falcon’s, but 20 million dead (and likely more as people continued to be people and the algorithm kept running and once one carrier’s up it doesn’t need to come down ever (though eventually they’d run out of food and bullets, that might take a REALLY long time and assumes HYDRA has no way to resupply) trumps however many thousands on the ground.
Note: Let’s not get sidetracked by the bombs, k? I just thought they’re a good historical example that we’re probably all at least vaguely familiar with, so let’s set aside whether what was done was right or good or evil or bad or whatever and focus on the MC universe!
Quick typo check, Cap is from Brooklyn, not the Bronx (mouseover text on the team Cap picture).
This is the sort of thing that always interests me about superhero stories; how would the world really change, if they were real? Batman who stops being our point-of-view character is just a serial killer who picks on poor people (in that, without the privileged knowledge of their guilt that we get from the movie camera, we don’t know that the muggers are criminals) and occasionally manages to leave a victim alive. (Yeah yeah, I know Batman fans; he never kills. All of those many many people that he runs over, punches off of tall buildings, jumps on top of from 3-story buildings, yanks off their feet by the neck with a cable, etc. etc. – all those guys survive, honest. I think the Tooth Fairy saves them.) Everybody thinks that a hero who didn’t let the rules stop him from stopping crime would be awesome… right up until we get another round of police shooting unarmed black kids. You know that probably every one of those cops thinks he’s Captain America, right? Just stopping obvious crime, but held back by all the red tape and bureaucrats?
Superheroes are a fantasy genre. If you have vigilantes in costumes beating people up without oversight in a realistic story without genre conventions protecting them, you don’t have superheroes. (Powers notwithstanding.)
(There are some real world attempts at playing costumed hero. They mostly seem to divide between people who spend most of their time visiting kids in hospitals to cheer them up, and people who eventually get arrested because you can’t reliably pick the right people to punch in the face.)
“Maybe the corrupt nation of Elbonia will let Hydra forces build a base inside of their borders, ”
You don’t even need that obviously-plausible scenario. What happens if there is a Loki attack in New York but a massive fire in Dehli? Who decides where they go? Why are all these superheroes stationed in the US again? Clearly they could save way more lives in rural China…
Threading dangerously close to religion territory here but…
What about the case of a being (or beings) so powerful that they might as well be gods.
How do you “control” an all powerful being with no nationality, which ignore all borders and the laws of a nation do not apply to them (as they are above and beyond mere mortal laws).
At which point do you stop being suicidal and just kneel and bow your head to such powerful beings? If someone can flood the entire livable world or scorch the earth. How do you control them? And should you even try? Will blind faith in them being good, be enough
They touched briefly on this in Batman vs Superman.
The core issue is that an all powerful godlike being would be neither good nor evil. If they where good they would make sure to end all suffering. If they where evil they’d make sure all suffered (if we use the traditional view of evil).
Take Deadpool, even he himself states that he is not good (but he never states he is evil either). Loosly said Deadpool is possibly neutral/pragmatic.
Now imagine if Deadpool had the powers of Superman and/or Thor or more combined. Half the world would see him as an evil godlike being the others would see him as a devil. Governments might try to kill him and if he fought back entire nations could be wiped out.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” – Lord Acton
There is a series of books called Steelheart that actually deals with this as one of its central premises. The governments attempt to fight at first but eventually cave and pass a law that essentially exempts superpowered entities from reprisal in a manner akin to their being forces of nature. You can’t sue a storm, or arrest it, or prevent it. You can only hunker down and wait until it passes. They adopt similar strategies for supers and just pick up the pieces once they’re done.
This actually bothered me in BvS, that they didn’t explore the idea of “god-like” beings more. They touched on it (enough for the trailer shots), but then promptly stopped caring once the “plot” got moving.
No need to imagine,we have watchmen.Doctor manhattan basically is god in the real world.
It seems like the best thing for the Avengers to do is simply voluntarily submit documentation to the public. Have them all wear super-durable Stark-tech video cameras and put everything they do and say on a twelve hour time delay broadcast. Without secrets, people can see what was happening, hear their reasoning, and make their own judgement on whether they want to call for help or not.
That kinda has issues
Firstly, I imagine that would kinda give away their plans which could alert their enemies
For example, In the start of Civil War, we see Cap and friends in a stealth mission tracking down Crossbones and it’s implied to have been a couple days so far. If they’re publically broadcasting what they’re doing, then Crossbones pretty much knows where they are and that he’s being followed. That makes it impossible for the Avengers to ever do Stealth missions. Hell, Natasha’s whole deal is that she’s a spy so it’s going to be hard to do her job in particular.
In Age of Ultron, we see the Avengers taking on a Hydra Base and it’s implied to have been planned well in advance. If it was broadcast that the Avengers are going to attack this specific HydraBase, then that gives the Base lots of time to prepare either by making better defences, or just running away.
Secondly, it’s likely a privacy violation depending on how far you go with the cameras and a logistical nightmare.
Do the Avengers only have to wear it whenever they’re on mission? If it’s only on mission, then what counts as a mission? If Steve gets attacked by AIM on his way to a local McDonalds and he decides to fight back, does that count as a mission? If yes, then the dude basically has to be wearing cameras 24/7 and that’s a privacy violation. What if that attack happens and Steve left his uniform in his car?
And what about characters like Hulk? If he ever loses control, even if he has a camera on him, that won’t help his image. If anything, it would make it worse since it would show him as an unstoppable monster.
Thor is not even from Earth. Most of his stuff is in Space. Is there even Wifi in Space? Would he even consent to being ordered to do this?
What about T’Challa? He’s the leader of a soverign nation. Or Peter? He’s a minor.
All right, enough about Marvel, time for the obligatory “who in the DC universe would be pro- or anti-reg” question.
(IMO it’s somewhat irrelevant, because Superman and Batman would both be anti-reg. Even if the other member of the Trinity–Wonder Woman–was pro-reg (which she arguably might be), there’s no way the majority of the heroes would go against something both Batman and Superman say is a bad idea. As a result, the question would never gain enough traction to become a serious issue.)
(Plus, similar ideas have cropped up in the DC universe before, with regards to the JLA, and they’ve consistently rejected the idea. But it’s still an entertaining exercise.)
Well, to be honest: the JLA kind of is that authority in the DC universe; they are the ones making decisions from time to time about the proportionality of the responses of the heroes. For example:
remember the time that Reverse Flash was killed by the flash because he tried to kill the Flash’s fiance? I seem to recall that the Justice League stepped in and had some sort of trial-like thingy.
I don’t remember what role the JLA played, but there was definitely a jury trial in a regular court that served as the centerpiece of the finale.
Maybe I was bringing my own thoughts in with me, but while they didn’t outright say “What They don't say”, I felt they used the imagery and character development from previous established events to imply it. So it did suffer a bit from “hey, remember that stuff from before? let’s build on that”. They could have done a bit more work establishing those motivations for people who haven’t been watching all this time.
We’ve seen Iron Man fret over “not doing enough to save the day”, we’ve seen the guilt he feels over Ultron. So when he takes the side of “someone needs to be in charge”, we understand why. He knows first-hand the chaos he can bring, and it terrifies him that him or someone else could lose control. Granted as others pointed out, the Sokovia Accord wouldn’t have prevented Ultron, but we get why Iron Man would want *something* to be done. He just hasn’t figured out what, and closely monitoring the big players is the best solution he has been able to come up with.
Same for Cap. We know he has both seen what the Nazi’s did as a government, and what Hydra managed to pull off. He even saw how Sokovia used their corruption by Hydra to try to block the Avengers from saving the day. Even his initial foray into enemy territory was because he disagreed with the chain of command refusing to commit troops. He knows that governments are inherently bureaucratic at best and corruptible at worst. So we get why he’s on the side of “sure, hold me accountable, but I’m not going to ask your permission before I do what’s right”.
One issue which I was saddened that the movie doesn’t bring up is the following: apart from Cap, Widow and Hawkey, and even not them, I’d argue, are trained for the kind of missions that they do at all. What makes Wanda or Iron man at all capable of handling these missions? They have had no tactical training, they can’t work for shit as a team and are generally out of their comfort zone most, if not all of the time.
In that sense, it reminds me a lot of The Boys by Ennis, where at some point the Seven, the Justice League analogue of the series, show up to
stop one of the planes flying for the Twin Towers at 9/11. They have no idea what to do, fuck up and crash the plane into one of New York’s large bridges.
I’d have bought the argument a lot more that it’s not just for oversight of what the Avengers are doing, but also making sure that they’re the right team to intervene, and are trained for what they’re doing. For example, at the start of the film
why was stopping that d-list villain a task for the Avengers? It looks like a huge fucking amount of overkill, a SEAL team would probably have done a lot better job there, since they’re better trained for situations like that.
As far as the last part goes – its part of the problem of condensing a much larger work down into movie format. That guy, Crossbones, is – outside of the parts you get to see in the movie – a fairly bad-ass dude with a bad-ass team and the reason the Avengers were there is because the Seals (and plenty of others) had *already tried and failed* to take him down.
In the Comics.
Here he’s just one dude among other dudes who go down so fast you;d think they were cheap . . .
To be fair, if Winter Soldier is incorporated he’s the ex-head of a top-flight SHIELD(/Hydra) team that almost managed to take down Captain America, and was certainly a tier above any sub-Avengers level opponent.
Granted, there’s a balance between series continuity and the movie standing on its own, but for the villain in the cold open I think it’s not unreasonable to treat the seriousness of the opponent as largely given. (And reestablished by the fact that he gets reasonably far, almost manages a standoff, and comes reasonably close to at least taking the hero with him at the last minute.)
Stark may have created Ultron, but he is likely not completely at fault.
We have one of a few possible scenarios:
1. Ultron is not a person. In this case yes it’s Stark’s fault because he is the moral actor, just as if he let loose a drone. This requires us to consider whether anything other than a homo sapiens is not a person by the law.
2. Ultron is a minor person. This is possible because of his age (measured at most in months from the movie and possibly in days). At that point Tony bears some responsibility, but not all of it. Think of if your kid breaks someone’s window while playing baseball, although in this case he broke the window several days after he ran away from home.
3. Ultron is an adult. In this case, Stark is a neglectful parent, but Ultron’s deeds are his own.
4. Ultron is a predictable, bad adult. If you break a serial killer out of jail, their deeds are their own, but you clearly bear significant moral responsibility.
Stark found an AI in a rock held by a literal trickster god and decided the smart thing to do would be to connect it to the internet, turn it on, and then not even watch the proceedings. It’s not that he negligently handled a child, he negligently handled an obviously dangerous situation, and it’s reasonable to hold him responsible for that.
No, Tony was playing around with highly dangerous technology that he didn’t understand. And then he left it hooked up to the internet. His negligence is less of the “I didn’t feed my kid” kind and more of the “I didn’t bother to properly store those 1000lbs of explosives that just cratered a neighborhood” kind.
We don’t have to blame Tony or Ultron. Moral culpability is not a zero-sum game- sometimes something is nobody’s fault, sometimes two people are both 100% to blame, and sometimes one person is 100% to blame, but the other guy is a good 50% to blame too. Ultron’s actions were entirely his own, and he doesn’t get to defend himself by blaming anyone else, but the people who helped him are also responsible because of the decisions that they made.
I kind of wonder just how “independent” Ultron really was, since at one point in the movie he has a crazy fit in which he acts EXACTLY like Obadiah Stane, even down to the tone of voice: “DON’T COMPARE ME TO TONY STARK!!” right before he hacks the arm off the vibranium dealer.
I don’t see people mention that much, but I found it VERY creepy and a strong sign that Ultron’s elevator may not have gone all the way to the top, so to speak.
I was unclear on whether or not Ultron was meant to be genuinely insane, or if he just decided to kill all humans because that’s what lazy writers think robots want. They gave him exactly enough characterization that I can’t tell if he has a motive that just goes unmentioned, or if he’s as crazy as he seems.
“Crazy as he seems” should be an obvious indicator, but this is a world where Tony Stark is apparently not the stupidest human alive for booting up an AI from Loki, connecting it to the internet, and not even monitoring it. Real world logic has broken down.
I got the feeling Ultron was from Thanos, not Loki (Thanos gave Loki the scepter in the first place) , and so his insanity in part was driven by knowledge of what Thanos was going to do.
So, like, Indoctrination Theory;; Ultron thinks he’s preparing the world to survive Thanos, when he’s actually preparing it for conquest.
This is how I always viewed it: Stark and Banner both say they were nowhere near creating Ultron. The second they step off it comes to life and it is immediately evil.
The fact it came from the casing housing the mind stone, something created by Thanos, and he movie ends with him saying “Fine, I’ll do it myself” after Ultron fails…
Yeah, that makes the most sense. Might just be head cannon…
I also think major of the events in Thor 2 (other than his mother’s death) was all Loki’s plan to escape prison…
During the scene where Ultron “wakes up”, he goes through a ton of footage of Tony Stark’s doings (the stuff that’s in Jarvis’ memory, essentially). It’s all mixed up and confused. I really do think that Ultron was meant to be crazy in an effort to show how crazy Tony’s idea of “solving” peace was.
The whole movie is basically an attack on the entire concept of a “Final Solution”.
He was crazy before that, though, brushing Jarvis aside to talk about strings.
I thought it was more of a honey pot thing; Thanos baits a trap with a chance for world peace and Tony runs straight into it because he wants to rush an answer.
Although whatever the theme was, it was a lot more muddled than the first movie. The Vision vs. Ultron part at the end just felt surreal. Like, Killer 7 surreal.
Ultron was a mess. Whedon really failed at coming up with a consistent characterization for him. Over the course of the movie we got:
-He wants to take over the world for our own good (because we suck at self-rule)
-He wants to destroy the world because Darwin
-He wants to destroy humanity because we’ll destroy ourselves eventually, and he doesn’t feel like waiting.
-He’s Mr. Silly Crazy Robot who does silly crazy things
-He’s a dark reflection of Tony
The movie of flitted from one idea to the next without committing to any of them. Which was pretty much how the rest of the movie went too. Looking at this thread, it’s clear if nothing else that Civil War was substantive enough to support a lot of good analysis, but looking back at Age of Ultron all there really is to do is a lot of head scratching.
Interesting. I actually thought he sounded a lot more like a more agitated Tony.
With the whole Civil War thing going on, I can’t help but miss Watchmen.
The problem with applying real world logic to the MCU (or Marvel Universe in the comics) is that things have gone on this long w/o issue, which couldn’t happen in the real world. At some point taking the logical step to alter a system that has been working, despite the fact it shouldn’t, ceases to make sense. Shamus himself knows this first hand. When Good Robot was a few weeks from shipping he tweeted “Good Robot has reached the point when you see code that [does 3 impossible things], but is working, you leave it alone.” Despite the fact that fixing it would have been better in the first place Shamus realized, correctly, that the cost of changing it now would be much higher than unintended consequences of the insanity.
IRL Iron Man would have had his suit ceased the moment he took it off after the first test flight and Captain America would never be allowed to leave the army. Hulk would be thrown in prison in the most remote place we could find, if not sent into space to die and Thor would be attacked with increasingly powerful weapons the moment he showed his powers until he either left or surrendered.
In short the Marvel Universe is sufficiently different from the real world that certain logic doesn’t apply to it anymore.
“IRL Iron Man would have had his suit ceased the moment he took it off after the first test flight and Captain America would never be allowed to leave the army. Hulk would be thrown in prison in the most remote place we could find, if not sent into space to die and Thor would be attacked with increasingly powerful weapons the moment he showed his powers until he either left or surrendered.”
So, in real life experimental aircraft are instantly seized by the government (oh, wait, they aren’t), “the army” randomly conscripts people for life (they don’t), people with uncontrollable conditions are executed (they aren’t, in fact, most people with mental illnesses roam at will), and Iran and North Korea have been nuked off the face of the earth (wait, nope again).
What “IRL” is this that you’re living in, again?
Actually – the government *will* seize your experimental aircraft if you operate it without asking permission first.
And the military can keep you in for life (plus 6 months) with some finagling. They can even conscript you first – though that would take Congress re-enabling the draft before *that* can be done. As an example, ‘Stop-Loss’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop-loss_policy was used to keep people with critical skills in service past their ETS during the 1st Gulf War and has been used on multiple occassions since. If we’re in the middle of conflict (even if *you* aren’t in the middle of the conflict) you can be kept for the duration +6 months. And we’ve, technically, been in the middle of a conflict for a decade and a half now.
Name me one person whose uncontrollable condition could cause the building they are in to be destroyed and then we will talk about real world examples of the Hulk. And find me a person, not a state, that is half as powerful as Thor and showing that power off and not have increasing amounts of force brought to bear on them to make them stop. The closest thing we have is mass shooters, who generally trigger at least half a dozen guys with automatic weapons coming to the scene and staying until the threat is confirmed to be neutralized.
In the real world I’d be 100% on the side of Iron Man, but in fictional “nazi conspiracy literally took over the government that one time” world I’m a lot more wary.
Anyways, I kinda came to the “Tony needs to be babysat, Steve doesn’t” conclusion that the movie (kinda) does, although I really didn’t like it. A lot of the conflict in the movie felt driven by the incompetence of Tony and the inability of Cap to communicate Bucky’s situation in service of a big dumb fight scene.
Cap’s inability to communicate effectively or even just articulate his viewpoint bugged me, too, but considering Tony Stark’s usual communication style (babbling endlessly, delivering an ultimatum, then waltzing off before listening to any counter-arguments) you could make an argument that it wasn’t really his fault.
“There is no good answer. . . If you leave the Avengers free, that will lead to more super-fights. If you regulate them, it will lead to more fights.”
Not really. There is a twofold solution. Basically: body-cams and a clear, stated mission.
Firstly, they’re required to record everything they do and they’re accountable for it–for their protection AND the protection of others. No secrets. Secret, clandestine organization was what allowed Hydra to hijack Shield in the first place. Where this sort of thing has been instituted in police departments, complaints have declined DRAMATICALLY, by 78% or more. Simply having a record of WHAT REALLY HAPPENED goes a long way. Why does it NEED to be clandestine, other than that’s how the various super-spies and assassins are used to operating? Corruption flourishes in the dark. They haven’t yet done anything that has BENEFITED from being secret.
The usual counter to this is that you need espionage to fight espionage, and also some things are simply “too dangerous” to be let out. But the thing is, if SOMEONE has it, IT’S OUT. And the worst threat to secret operations isn’t counterintelligence, it’s an informed populace.
Where people usually go wrong with this kind of thing is that they think in terms of PREVENTING bad stuff from happening. How? Uh . . . paperwork. But this is actually impossible and even counter-productive. All the red tape in the world will not make any person or group omniscient, but it will make them angry, adversarial, inclined to circumvent things in any way possible, inclined to inform on each other, and turn people who were supposed to be working TOGETHER into a mass of vicious self-devouring back-biters whose only apparent goal is to throw each other under the bus.
If the nations of the Sokovia accords wanted to hash out EXACTLY what the Avengers MISSION was supposed to be, that’d be great. But there was never any discussion of MISSION, only of OVERSIGHT. No “this is when and where and how you’re allowed to operate” only “this is WHO is going to TELL YOU to operate”. Clear, objective rules are the other fundamental tool besides clear, objective records for keeping abuses in check. When the rules are there, people can generally be trusted to follow them, or held accountable if they don’t. Nobody can be trusted to follow the random whims of a committee that may change ten times in the course of a single mission.
The superhero genre is generally militantly opposed to both a clear, open record AND a clear mission. Superheros do everything from apprehending petty thieves to stopping natural disasters. But you can’t formulate any kind of clear mission out of that, so it’s no wonder most superheroes are basically psychotic living WMD’s. And as for the other . . . secret identity, anyone?
Psychologically, this even traces back to the fundamental idea that operates at the base of all superhero stuff–if you’re not “super” somehow . . . you’re nobody. You’re one of a faceless mass of “lives” to be dispensed with by the super-humans, who are accountable only to each other. A clear mission and clear record brings the Olympians down to earth. They are just people among other people–maybe smarter, stronger, faster, or whatever than most people. But they are no longer outside of the common clay.
But isn’t that kind of the POINT?!
This is also one reason why the Uncle Ben “With great power comes great responsibility” quote pisses me off. Taken one way, this translates as “if you can do more stuff, there will be more consequences” and it’s meaningless. Well, yeah, of course.
This, however, is not what it’s taken to mean, which translates more accurately to “if you CAN fix something, it’s your JOB to do it”. Which is nonsense. I’m a worlds better planner and organizer than almost every manager I’ve ever worked for. Does that mean I’m obligated to break into the store at night and re-do the schedule? Uh, NO, and I’d probably get fired if caught. Just because you’re tidier than someone else doesn’t mean you’re obligated to clean up their messes. Just because you’re smarter than someone else doesn’t mean you’re obligated to do their homework.
There’s a reason why the “citizens” are always such helpless babies in comic books. ZOMG WHO EVER THOUGHT THAT LIVING DIRECTLY UNDER A DAM MIGHT BE DANGEROUS!!! WOW LET’S TOTALLY HAVE NO EVACUATION PLAN IF THAT VOLCANO EVER BLOWS UP!!! OMG A TIDAL WAVE NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY!!!! OMG PETTY THEFT WHO WILL SAVE US!!!!
Don’t get me wrong, super-powered people running around doing ossum stuff is ossum. But that’s no reason to decide that the entire human race is composed of helpless infants.
You may or may not have an obligation to bring scheduling conflicts and ideas for improvement to the manager’s attention. If the manager ignores it that’s on them, but presumably someone involved would make the schedule better if they could and it would suck if they had to deal with a bad version because the people who knew how to improve it didn’t want to get involved.
Conversely – your intercession changes the status quo and some people will lose from that. Those people may use *their* special abilities to alter things more to their liking, even if its at cross-purposes to yours and the conflict between you two could extend enough to be a detriment to the company as a whole.
And then you get the ‘supervillain only came into existence because of the actions of the superhero’ trope going on.
The world does not live on the Pareto Frontier; there are ways to improve some people’s outcome without making anyone’s outcome worse.
But that is assuming that the people ‘making some better’ care enough and have the wisdom to seek that option.
Rather than ‘hey I have a good idea’ without having the requisite knowledge of *everyone’s* motivations and incentives.
Even something as simple as changing a schedule to ‘be better’ can set this off if the changer is not aware that Bob really, really likes his shift-slot and Bob has enough pull and is bastard enough to make things unpleasant for others if he loses it.
This is assuming that there is no objective measure of what a good thing is–that it’s only good or bad in relation to one person, which is nonsense. If peoples interests actually contradicted each other in this way it’d be literally impossible to ever accomplish anything and your only hope would be to snatch as many guns as possible and barricade yourself in the biggest bunker possible.
It would, in fact, already BE the zombie apocalypse.
Except there is *literally* no objective measure of ‘what a good thing is’ because that relies on your definition of good.
You may see a dozen permutations of the schedule that increase what *you* consider good (and may actually increase overall good, insofar as the *group* may be better off – again, buy your definition of better off) but others see as *bad for them*.
Trade barriers between nations are ‘good’ – for specific producers even though they harm *all* consumers. But the injury to any specific consumer may be small (though much larger than the good created on a national scale) but the ‘good’ to those specific producers is large.
So you can try to change that – to increase the ‘good’ to the nation – and you’ll be fought viciously by those who will lose out with the change.
And the difficulty of figuring out what is ‘good’ for a group increases *exponentially* as you add members. One more guy is not one more guy, its x^(n+1) relationships you have to manage.
I would think better scheduling would be in everybody’s favor, but that kind of conflict and lack of knowledge is why it’s really dangerous to try to cut out the manager. As long as there’s a single person in charge, they can resolve those kinds of problems before they get really big.
If someone in the office is trying really hard to keep things worse for others to make it better for themselves, that’s a long-term problem in the company, and someone with the right people skills should probably bring it up to the chain to see if they can find a solution.
And, in fact, a well-planned system is usually in EVERYONE’S best interest at NOBODY’S expense.
Sure, and communism is the best economic system – when its well-planned and run by selfless and ethical people. In the real world, run by real people and not Superman and Captain America its not worked out so well.
Its the difference between theory and ‘best possible world’ and ‘the world we live in’.
Now, I have no idea how the schedule you’ve been talking about actually is or the quality of your ideas for improvement or even the level of care and attention that’s actually placed on creating it – but please *consider* that the manager making the schedule might actually have more insight into the diverse needs of the company and the employees and that that schedule, like the real world, may not be the best one *possible, just the best one *achievable* and that any tinkering will, at best, just wander around that mean.
IOW, there *may* be things that you don’t know about why the schedule is the way it is and that interfering with it may, even though you’re doing it for heroic reasons, prompt the rise of your own office nemesis with all the attendant carnage, destruction, and bloodshed that would entail.
Paper cuts are pretty nasty.
Too far into politics. Let’s stop this here.
I think this is just a special case of a more general tendency of genre adventure fiction. If the story is about a private detective, then (aside from their loyal sidekick or trusted operatives) civilians are victims and the cops are useless or corrupt. If it’s a space opera, the billions of groundhogs whose planet may have a bad day if the plucky space crew fail tend to range from sympathetic (but unhelpful) to people who don’t Get It to faceless statistics.
Good stories in all genres will foreground the fact that these are real people, some will try to paint the world in more dimensions, and there may be a competent local or two to engage with and assist. But the reader is largely there to see the detective/space captain/superhero engage in awesome feats of deduction/space derring-do/super-punching. If this problem is something that doesn’t require our hero’s unique capabilities and could be solved by the folks on the scene, then the hero doesn’t really need to be there, does he? (In which case, we can close the book on that case and start chapter one on the problem that does need our genre hero.)
In the case of supers in particular, the argument for body cameras and a mission is basically the argument for an organized, legally sanctioned force that reports to a legitimate authority and abides by the Bill of Rights. It’s not wrong— if there were such a thing as people with superpowers I’d probably support it over freelancers in circus costumes following their individual consciences. But it results in what might be an interesting cops-with-powers story, but isn’t a superhero story.
Actually one of the pretty interesting facets of the MCU is that they’ve had a fair number of competent “normal” people running around–and a lot of the villains have been regular joes of one stripe or another–it’s just the two Avengers movies (and Guardians of the Galaxy, sort of) that have much of this problem. Now contrast that with DC’s most recent Superman stuff. Interesting, no?
If you really want to dig back, the contrast is almost identical to the one between Homer and Virgil. In the Iliad and the Odyssey (Homer), the humans are the protagonists, and the Olympians are like a bunch of irresponsible squabbling frat boys. In the Aeneid, on the other hand, the gods are definitely running the show and Aeneas just kind of stumbles around going “huh?” and occasionally whining.
You can have a hero story that centers around your hero without necessarily turning everyone else into a boob, but if you choose to go this route it’s very telling.
Heck, the first Captain America movie is all about how Cap’s important qualities–why he was selected for the program–ARE his moral qualities and ability to see deeper into things.
It’s too bad that they didn’t do any callbacks to that in Civil War. It was a neat movie in many respects but the THEME just wasn’t there the way it was in Winter Soldier.
You’re just calling back the feels. The feels man. Captain America is the Superman movie I’ll probably never live to see.
Well, you never know – it’s just possible that … you know the way reboots come thick & fast these days? It’s juuuuust possible that’ll turn out to have a benefit or two.
This is true. It was only two years ago today that they released the horrible botch of a movie that was The Amazing Spiderman 2. They fixed that problem with the proportional agility of a radioactive spider.
Maybe Snyder will be fired faster than a speeding bullet.
Also, an interesting twist on this might be to do a series where the heroes HAVE a mission . . . but it’s not revealed directly until the very end and you have to piece together what their purpose/goal is from what they do and don’t do along the way.
That’d be really fascinating (and difficult) to write.
They really do need a “Okay, you handle natural disasters & man-made disasters with approval of the affected nations, and non-human threats, but you aren’t allowed to get involved in wars, rebellions, or go into a sovereign nation without their approval unless their actions affect their neighbors negatively enough (think Chernobyl or Windscale/Sellafield (a UK nuke site that’s had one level 5 (out of 7) nuclear incident and about 20 level 3 and 4 incidents and has contaminated the Irish Sea and negatively affected at least one Scandinavian nation).)”
Obviously the above has some big issues… who decides what’s negatively enough? Who decides if something’s non-human (is a supervillain like, say, Red Skull non-human)? But at least this way there’s some basic parameters of what is a reasonable thing for the Avengers to get involved in and what isn’t.
Note: threw in Windscale/Sellafield because I’d learned about it recently and also so I had at least one example from each side of the Cold War where an accident in a secure facility affected other nations negatively. I’m sure the USA has some nasty accidents too, I just wasn’t sure if they’d affected other nations.
Our peacetime experiences with nuclear contamination have largely been domestic (e.g., the Hanford site) or, where international, premeditated (e.g., Bikini Atoll). I don’t know of any cross-border accidents offhand.
(Though if there are any, I’d expect there’s a Canadian poster who can fill us in. :-) )
But practically, they can never really get that specific about the limits of superheroes, because they don’t want to cut out story possibilities. Doctor Doom may be off in Foxland for the moment, but if Marvel manages to negotiate the rights back they’re not going to have the Avengers held completely at bay. (Though something like the Sokovia Accords or US government pressure could certainly delay them, or force them to operate covertly.)
And what’s the difference between Victor von Doom and, e.g., Kim Jong-un, such that they don’t do the same thing in North Korea? … …Hey, look over there, is that Galactus?!?
Concern with “cutting out story possibilities” is precisely the opposite of how writing and plotting actually work. *Everything* you do in writing cuts out story possibilities–and creates dozens more. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum–the more “limits” you have, the more you can do.
Ever tell somebody “just write something!”? They’ll stare at you blankly. When you can write anything, what you actually write is nothing.
In this case, we’re talking about actual superhero storylines that have been used by Marvel before, and will likely be used again.
There’s nothing wrong with writing about people with superpowers being successfully deputized into a legal regime like cops. It’s just not going to wind up looking a lot like Marvel superheroes. That’s an issue if you’re doing an adaptation of Marvel superheroes.
In principle, sure, they could say, “No, this iteration of the characters will agree that they absolutely won’t enter Latveria or Genosha (or even some sovereign state that we actually have the rights to use at the moment), and they will abide by that agreement and only punch aliens and underground secret societies and magicians.” It would be a departure from the source material, but they’ve done plenty of those, artistic license and all that.
But given that Steve and Tony (and the Black Panther, himself the king of a sovereign nation) violated the borders of Russia before the ink was dry on the Sokovia Accords, it seems safe to say that’s not a direction they’ve chosen to go in.
More generally, stories are about making choices, but superhero universes are generally about sprawling, messy, limitless possibilities. That’s as much a handicap as it is a virtue (it can make it really hard to have concrete stakes). But the MCU, which already has a half-dozen sources of superpowers, multiple flavors of aliens, and magic, is clearly not tying itself down to anything easily systematized.
I was discussing it more as an abstract problem of “ideas on how to handle this kind of thing in a world with super-powered people” rather than “here’s what Marvel specifically should do in their movies”.
The movies are doing their own thing–you can appreciate or not appreciate the merits of that, but the state Marvel Universe doesn’t dictate what superhero stories IN GENERAL should be like.
The modal superhero story is a free agent vigilante whose mission parameters are self-selected (and more likely to widen than narrow), who doesn’t recognize the supremacy of any authority that conflicts with the hero’s conscience, most of whose plots reinforce the correctness of that stance.
 They may well say they do. But in practice, that lasts only as long as the law endorses their mission. If the two start to conflict, it’s generally a sign that something’s gone wrong with the authorities, not the hero.
Individual stories that play with or question one or more of those parameters may probe interesting new directions. But it’s hard to say that superhero stories generally should be something other than what they are, any more than we can say that someone with a Holmesian talent for crimesolving should go to work for the cops instead of limiting himself to the cases that happen to walk through the door and interest him sufficiently. That might be a more socially responsible thing to do, but that’s not necessarily what readers are looking for in a detective story.
Applying general principles to particulars always requires thought–which is why you don’t want to leave it to a committee to decide individual cases, because committees don’t think. Individuals think.
You could probably restrict The Avengers down to just dealing with specifically Alien threats–that’s what they’ve dealt with so far. Loki, the Tesseract, Ultron (who arose from Loki’s staff in some weird way) . . . that’s as far as their mandate needs to run.
Disasters should be handled by evacuation plans and insurance. :P
There’s also Hydra, which has threatened megadeaths in multiple instances not directly involving alien tech. (The Helicarriers in Winter Soldier, the virus in Civil War.) The Avengers are clearly inclined to go after Hydra regardless of national borders, whether or not there’s an alien element involved, and the onscreen evidence indicates no agreement will stop them from doing so.
(Agents of SHIELD says that Hydra itself is at root of alien origin. But that’s not something the movies will likely ever incorporate, and it’s unlikely the Avengers even know about it given the compartmentalization between them and Coulson’s SHIELD.)
>” Why does it NEED to be clandestine, other than that’s how the various super-spies and assassins are used to operating? Corruption flourishes in the dark. They haven’t yet done anything that has BENEFITED from being secret.”<
Playing Devil's Advocate but the Avengers have plenty of missions where they need to be covert where having body cams kinda gives away what they're doing.
For example, In the start of Civil War, we see Cap and friends in a stealth mission tracking down Crossbones and it's implied to have been a couple days so far. If they're publically broadcasting what they're doing, then Crossbones pretty much knows where they are and that he's being followed. That makes it impossible for the Avengers to ever do Stealth missions. Hell, Natasha's whole deal is that she's a spy so it's going to be hard to do her job in particular.
In Age of Ultron, we see the Avengers taking on a Hydra Base and it's implied to have been planned well in advance. If it was broadcast that the Avengers are going to attack this specific HydraBase, then that gives the Base lots of time to prepare either by making better defences, or just running away.
Cap’s got a point, but if his principles matter so much, he can retire.
In the real world, if a civilian tries to intercede in policing, be a vigilante, they’ll be arrested or shot. Especially if they do it with firearms, killing people, like Black Widow, Cap (When he throws around regular people, no way all of them get back up), Hawkeye. And you’re on even worse footing when you entered a country, avoiding immigration in your stealth plane, before committing what are, at best, extralegal acts of policing, at worst, outright terrorism.
The Avengers started off under SHIELD, which did turn out corrupt (In a MASSIVE retcon). But this is the UN saying that they should do so, based on a majority of nations on the planet. Cap’s literally willing to ignore democracy and freedom because he feels he, as a superhuman, has a right to oppress who he likes. Maybe Ross could have been shown more, because he’s not a good guy, but as far as the film is concerned, he’s just a hardass.
I don’t feel like the film gave a good case for Cap at all, probably as a result of trying to balance things out adapting from the comic to the film. Just his actions during the film justify the Accords. He frees a wanted terrorist, attempts to escape custody, in the process, destroying an airport, numerous bits of property, and clearly murdering several members of the teams sent to take down Bucky. “Choreography” pfft. And there’s obviously reason they’d feel Bucky is too dangerous to go easy on. He and Cap literally demonstrate that. He then drops an airbridge on a teenager, before walking into an obvious trap, because apparently psychotic steroid users can bring down a government. That’s one of the biggest problems with the film. The motivating plot is nonsense. Zemo gets too little development, his plan makes no sense, relies on coincidence, and is just another Dark Knight ripoff, like The Avengers, like Skyfall, etc. It’s super tiresome already. Psychic bad guy who’s plan relies on things he can’t predict (Iron Man and Cap arriving together at the end, he literally has to get the info out of Falcon), nobody recognising him sneaking in, Bucky and Cap escaping the airport, etc. I know he left the body for the maid to set it up, but sorry, that just isn’t good enough.
Cap does have a good case for wanting to save Bucky, and disbelieving it. However, Bucky’s at fault too. He didn’t come in at the end of TWS, and Cap is told he’s been brainwashed again. But Tony doesn’t want to murder Bucky. Ross does, but Cap loses his ability to have a say by refusing to sign, because he feels like he’s above the law. Tony, numerous times, tries to take Bucky alive. They could have worked together. Instead, Cap’s obstinance provides the obstacle, and ironically enough, prevents Bucky from getting the help he needs, and makes him a wanted fugitive.
Honestly, I had such a moment of schadenfraude watching Cap’s side imprisoned. Screw them. Hawkeye especially. Like wth man, I liked your speech to Scarlet Witch in the last film, now you reference it while attacking your team mates?
Maybe if someone on Team Cap had died to demonstrate how awful having to answer to democracy was, but nope. And if someone had to die, my vote is for Hawkeye, or Falcon. Hawkeye for sacrifical lamb.
“In the real world, if a civilian tries to intercede in policing, be a vigilante, they'll be arrested or shot.”
POLICEMEN. ARE. CIVILIANS.
Also, as long as they stay within the bounds of the law, any private citizen can do *any amount of policing they like*, up to and including blowing a violent criminal’s brains out in defense of self or third parties–if it’s a clear case of defense, they often won’t even be DETAINED.
Being a vigilante does not mean that one is doing “police work”. It means that one is breaking the law, by, say, breaking into someone’s house to search it. Policemen are permitted to do this under very specific circumstances (probable cause, warrant issued). But private citizens may do all the legal investigating they like. If this weren’t true, it’d be illegal to have surveillance cameras on your property. :P
To add to that, let’s not forget Wanda being put under hour arrest and Bucky being imprissoned without due process.
Things definitely stink…
Bucky was only imprisoned because Cap managed to interfere with the execution squad long enough to make Bucky’s surrender public enough that summary execution would have been impossible.
If Cap was a little smarter, instead of punching his way out, he would have just handed Bucky a smartphone, pulled out his own, and yelled “I’M LIVESTREAMING ALL OF THIS ONLINE RIGHT NOW!!!!” when they booted the door in. No punching, just a lot of public embarrassment. “What, Tony, you said you wanted oversight. Now we’re in the sight of the whole world.”
I think we can forgive a ninety-eight year old man for not immediately thinking to use a smartphone.
(I’m also not sure that the livestream would play as other than “Cops take down enhanced bionic terrorist in hail of gunfire, while Captain America inexplicably tries to protect him.” Bucky wouldn’t look harmless even if he just sat there and took it. Which he probably wouldn’t.)
Ok, fair point. Police officers are civilians.
However, my point still stands. If you try to interfere with the police, you’ll be arrested.
If you try to do so with a Hammer, with a shield you’re throwing, with a weapon, you’ll likely be shot.
However, investigating a terror plot, and trying to take them down in the streets, is a policing action.
I’m not saying it’s not justifiable, in universe or out. I’m saying that they’re still acting as vigilantes without permission. Hence, Wakanda and Lagos being less than impressed.
“Cap's literally willing to ignore democracy and freedom because he feels he, as a superhuman, has a right to oppress who he likes.”
But you said that if people’s principles bother them so much, they can retire. So why should they object to Cap doing whatever he likes? They should just retire. Like you said Cap should do. I don’t see why Cap should retire when the whiners can just retire instead.
Have you even thought for two seconds about what that would MEAN? Everybody who ISN’T corrupt should just retire and leave the field free for the worst people in the world? Why, because “democracy?”
“Democracy” killed Socrates.
I hear the complaint on Zemo’s plan but it’s actually surprisingly simple: he wants to break up he Avengers.
I keep hearing that it’s a huge coincidence that Bucky survives but that’s not HELPING his plans: There’s no way in hell any “normal” policemen are killing or even catching Bucky. If any of the Avengers kill Bucky then Zemo ALREADY WINS. Bucky surviving wasn’t lucky, it was unlucky.
Zemo uses a red herring to try and get the three of them together. If that had failed, he’d just lemming and try again at a later date.
The only true X factor was T’Chala. Had he killed Bucky that would not break the Avengers and his plan would fail. But I can hardly fault the man for not planning for the king of an isolationist nation to don a Vibranium cat suit and chase the guy across the world…
Not even all three.All he needed was cap and tony to watch the tape.Heck,even if tony alone saw it that would be enough,even if bucky was imprisoned at the time.His plan worked surprisingly well due to coincidences,but even without it it still wouldve worked.
Except the avengers arent civilians.Shield was disbanded,but the avengers still remained as something akin to a military unit.Especially since one of them is current military and a couple are ex military.
Cap's literally willing to ignore democracy and freedom
Except that the majority of nations on the planet are nothing close to democracies. As an example – the EU is barely democracy (even though most/all of its member states are some form of it). When the EU was first formed MEP’s were not elected (though they are now) and the President of the EU is elected by the EU *parliament* and all legislation by the EU must be implemented by member nations without change or comment.
Then there’s North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia (or, even in the MCU *Wakanda* – which is ruled by an autocrat, however enlightened he might be).
Rogers is not ignoring democracy and freedom – he simply understands that ‘democracy and freedom’ and ‘nation-state’ are not synonyms, that democracy is not two wolves and a sheep deciding on dinner and that freedom is not ‘being allowed to do what you’re told’.
I’m not saying that Stark is wrong (though I kinda think he is) but that you’re reasoning supporting Registration is flawed – even though its basically the reasoning for supporting it offered by the movie and championed by Rhoades.
I disagree entirely.
The UN isn’t formed entirely by democratic states. However, undemocratic ones do not control it, and the UN basically forms the best possible version of a world government, given the flaws that exist in the states that make it up. In reality, the worst thing about them is how useless they are. Thanks to the influence of powerful states and their allies, real interventions don’t happen, and real sanctions don’t occur against the powerful.
However, I don’t think Cap’s solution is any better. I think he’s wrong. Basically because he rejects oversight outright, which I think isn’t a tenable solution. What he’s saying is that autocracy, and his judgement, are meant to be the decider. That he can fly his stealth jet into whatever country he wishes, and potentially cause a massive incident. People say, what if a country says he can’t come in, with oversight? That can happen without it. There’s nothing to stop the police or the military being deployed against the Avengers. In fact, they have been before, even if it is usually the Hulk. Cap’s solution is basically interventionism. Ironically, and I know it’s bordering on the political, that’s very similar to the foreign policy of the US in recent decades, and the behaviour of parts of NATO, and even the UN itself, and it has not proven to be a great system. I think we can at least agree that the Team America solution isn’t a good one?
Don’t get me wrong, I think there is an argument for Cap’s position. I just don’t think the film made it well. Ross is a bad guy. That prison is built for the Hulk. He usually wants to weaponise the Hulk. He’s clearly acting in a way that is not good for things going forward. Giving him access to the Vision and Scarlett Witch? VERY BAD. And Bucky is innocent. However, Cap’s side isn’t really given a chance. For me, had one of Cap’s side actually been killed early on, it would have given Cap a point. Like in the comic version, he resists because he refuses to arrest other heroes for being vigilantes and potentially expose their secret identities, which would let villains potentially hurt them or their families, and he refuses to go out and fight them after they’ve risked their lives to help people. Instead in the film, Cap waffles about how he has the right to intercede, before the issue with Bucky makes it a big problem. In fact, in the comics, Cap eventually turns himself in, because of the damage done evading capture. I think that’s a far more sympathetic perspective, and it makes him much more reasonable. I think in adapting it, they’ve weakened his case, rather than arguing for not persecuting heroes, he’s arguing that he has the right to do as he pleases, even if the UN or a government is unhappy about it. That’s outright extremism. There’s also something lost by taking Mutants out of the equation, who can’t help their condition, yet face registration, and potentially conscription.
I’d like to say that the issue with Bucky made it better, but it didn’t. Because while Cap’s intervention did lead to him being taken alive, by War Machine and the police, War Machine was willing to take him alive. Stark doesn’t try to kill him either. Stark even presents a good case for why he should go after them, the Avengers are more likely to survive an encounter with the Winter Soldier. Really, it’s only the intervention of Zemo that ruins that, because Cap’s gotten what he wanted there, Bucky got taken alive. But, at least for me personally, this is undermined by how pointless it felt when Cap and Bucky seperated at the end of TWS, and how awkward their reunion was.
I think they could have done better, because I’d like to have sympathised more with Cap’s side. Bucky’s one of my favourite characters, and I think they really did him wrong at the end there. I think they could have presented a better case for Ross being bad (Because frankly, locking up the idiots who wrecked an airport helping a wanted fugitive escape was sensible). I’m sure we’ll see Ross being bad in the future too.
Instead, we have Cap refusing oversight by the UN, which, while flawed, is the closest thing we have to a world recognised authority, one with a humanitarian mission with representatives from governments across the world.
Like Jennifer Snow said elsewhere, I think they need some oversight, but I don’t think the accords version here is the best (Since it seems, though the chain of command isn’t made completely clear, that they answer to Ross, though I’m not sure who sets their mandate). I think they need a clear mission statement, and transparency to make them accountable to the public, and they need to consult. They definitely don’t need to be at the beck and call of SoS Ross. That said, they need to make an effort to do so. Kinda like Tony said, sign it and make the changes later, but I’m not so strong on that one. Enter into a diplomatic process to write decent accords. I know, not so exciting a movie. But they do have the Vision and Thor, even Tony as leverage, the heavy hitters. You want their help, you’re going to have to be reasonable. That’s what I mean, they have a choice, act with some sanctions, or retire, and saying that they won’t help would be a blow. They have leverage, they can argue. If Cap said, Tony, you’re being irrational, these accords won’t do, we need to work things out, also, BTW, screw that Ross guy, that I’d agree with. Instead he refused to consider any limits, and that is impossible to agree with.
Like the start. We start of with the Avengers running an operation, without assistance from local authorities. The guards don’t know an attack is about to happen (Most of them die), civilians litter the area (And again, some die). It’s justifiable to the viewer-a nazi group was trying to steal a dangerous bioweapon, that would be used for an attrocity down the line. But it’s not something that you could justify as an observer in the universe, it’d be outright negligent. How much effort would it be to have assistance on hand to clear the area? How much effort would it be to reinforce the guards at the facility, I guess they just don’t matter? It makes sense in a film’s conventions, but this is exactly why you can’t do things on your own, because when things go wrong, you’re solely responsible. And that may mean civilian deaths. If they hadn’t been trying to enact their little plan, maybe nobody need have died. Security could have been beefed, Hydra would have gone away.
I’d like to like Cap’s side more, I really would. Scarlett Witch and Bucky are two characters I really enjoy and want to see more of. I think the film, on whole, needed a better justification for Cap’s side, because it just wasn’t there. He just wants to plant himself like a tree, and so does every other extremist. The Accords are flawed, and Tony’s more interested in signing to ease his guilt at the start, without paying attention to the consequences, but going rogue, and deciding that you’re right, screw everyone else, is exactly the wrong thing to do. That’s not what the Cap that I liked, who appeared in his first film, would have done. He’s a hero. He doesn’t want to kill anyone. He just doesn’t like bullies. He’s self sacrificing. He wants to do the right thing, and help people. It doesn’t feel like me made that case there. He feels like a bully. He’s right, you’re wrong, he’s got a stealth jet and super steroid muscles, if you disagree with his point of view, he’s not going to consider changing it even if everyone’s against him, because he’s strong, and he must be right, and I guess might makes right. That just really disappointed me. Felt exemplified when he fought Spidey. The Cap that I thought we were following wouldn’t drop an airbridge on a kid. I feel like Cap never lived up to his speech about laying down on the wire from The Avengers. Tony did, he sacrificed himself at the end of the film. Cap, Cap does fight for himself. And in the end, demonstrates that it was all for nothing, they were being misled, they kept information from the authorities about a threat, went to deal with it themselves, and fell stupidly into a trap that could have been dealt with by just communicating.
Cap didn’t say the governments were wrong to want to control them, he just thinks they can do more good without it.
At no point in the movie did he seem to condemn the Accords being written, he just didn’t want to sign it. He seemed pretty okay with doing good deeds outside the law by the time thre movie ended…
Sorry Shamus I’ll go RAWR somewhere else
100% up for body cameras and review consoles over what they have done. I am probably going to have to include that in my setting.
And probably some sort of “This damage was done by a super group that we are responsible for, we have this pot of money to pay for this stuff”.
Also if I remember right, Stark was like “I don’t remember this being in the accords” over the sea lair prison which just manifested out of no where, so it just sounds like Stark didn’t read the tome of legal document.
I am actually pretty glad that the story didn’t focus on that too much because of the investment of time required to actually make anything reasonably engaging. Essentially there are far more pitfalls than this story is willing or able to navigate.
To be fair, a prison for super powered inmates isn’t really something you’d see under the Accords…
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.
Ross is a Hulk nemesis, and that looks like a wannabe Hulk prison, one of the things he loves trying to build.
There’s a subplot that could have dramatically swung the movie about Ross, specifically, that he’s awful. Unfortunately they kind of gloss over it.
Stark read and learnt a whole new area of physics just for his homework before showing up on the Helicarrier. At the very least, his computers have read it.
There are two details the movie did not make super clear but…
1) The Accords were created to appease T’Chaka.
Wakanda is a massively rich and technologically advanced isolationist country. For as far as anyone remember they’ve been staying away from world affairs. Now, under the rule of T’Chaka they have finally decided to enter the world stage. They have access to unique materials (the only source of Vibranium* in the world) and the trade possibilities are immense, both for resources and tech. NO ONE wants to step on their toes.
One of their first ever delegations to step into the world stage in recorded history just happens to get killed by the Avengers. Their king calls for the Accords and you bet your ass everyone and their grandmother lined up to sign it.
2) the new Secretary of State and what seems to be the liaison to the Avengers is former general Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross: this is the asshole in charge of “capturing” the Hulk in basically every story you’ve watched/read/heard of. He’s a terrible human being. So the idea that the Accords MIGHT cause them to have to work under someone despicable isn’t just a possibility: it is already happening.
When I was watching the film I felt that an ideal compromise would have been for the Avengers to create a small internal bureaucracy to manage PR (which would solve the whole “everyone blames these crises on us” problem necessitating these measures), which would have authority over membership in order to cultivate an organization that can withstand public scrutiny.
Thanks for writing this, Shamus. :D I had this exact same debate with my friends a few weeks back after we saw Civil War. I’m pretty like you with being on the fence here; I can see the pros and cons of both sides, and think that neither extreme is the right answer. We’d probably need a solution somewhere in between. The Avengers are an extranational organization devoted to the protection and guardianship of Earth and its inhabitants from superpowered, extraterrestrial and terrorist threats who pose grave danger to people and/or property. They have the power to act unilaterally and under their own authority, but if any member of the Avengers is deemed to have compromised the goals of the organization (aka going rogue), or caused unnecessary death or collateral damage in pursuit of those goals, they must be held accountable and make reparations to the families or countries who suffered as a result of their actions.
When they were showing the footage of them fighting in New York, etc and complaining about the collateral damage, I was wanting someone to say something along the lines of…
“Pass me that orange.”
Sets it on the table and points at it.
“This is the Earth.”
Squashes it flat with their fist and points at it again.
“This is the Earth, if we hadn’t stopped the bad guys”…
(Works for Man of Steel too…)
I’m not sure people seeing Iron Man or Superman crushing the “world” like a grape would necessarily take the larger point.
Yeah, that could easily be misinterpreted. How many dictators have used internal or external threats to keep themselves in power? Heck, a few created threats just so they’d have a target for everyone to be angry at instead of being angry at the dictator.
Many people would see that as “You’re doomed if we’re not around, give us whatever we want and let us do what we want, or we’ll leave and you’re doomed again.”
You could make that argument if it hadn’t happened yet but in this case you can point out what would have happened if they hadn’t stopped that large chunk of rock from smashing into the earth (global extinction) or those crazed aliens from invading (enforced slavery). This is not warnings of vague future threats but ones that have already happened and been stopped.
Tangent: The alien invasion made no sense. The army planned to nuke them, and it would have worked. Maybe it wouldn’t have taken out their big space station, but even if the army never thought to throw a bomb through the portal, they could have just spawn-camped the thing indefinitely. What were those aliens trying to accomplish?
But its true. Especially in Man of Steel.
The Kryptonians were trying to alter Earth’s Gravity to match Krypton’s. I don’t know how much Superman you’ve read but Krypton has really really high gravity, so much so that it serves as a partial explanation of Superman’s super strength. Probably every building would collapse aside from maybe small ones made of a really strong lightweight material, every creature weighing at least a few pounds would be crushed and probably many smaller creatures would be dead too. They were set to kill pretty much everything on the planet that wasn’t them. If a few thousand people died to prevent that, its regrettable but a small price.
The real problem is, they needed to write a story that didn’t force Superman to kill. I’ve argued the other way in the past (realism) but I’ve been won over. Superman stories aren’t supposed to work that way. They just aren’t.
In the latest “Really That Good” MovieBob explains the real problem with Man of Steel “Superman can only exist in a world where good is the natural state of things….” because if that is not the case it essentially means Superman needs to go Justice Lords on the world.
For me the problem was they didn’t capitalize on it.
At first, I defended the ending, because it seemed to me that it was setting up a character arc for Clark, who is not yet Superman. He killed Zod, basically made his race extinct, and literally snapped his neck with his bare hands. He didn’t have much in the way of choice, but I thought it was meant to be a defining moment.
I thought the sequel would lead us to a place where Clark seeks redemption in some way, whether by travelling, consulting with his mother, or some Fortress of Solitude bit. I took it to be a classic dramatic setup for a sequel, where he’d come to the conclusion never to kill again, and he’d let, what amounts to a failing, failing to stop Zod’s rampage because he didn’t try to kill him, and then failing to stick to his principles by killing him, drive him.
Instead, we got Batman Vs Superman. That just feels so narratively wrong for me. Superman hasn’t even finished his origins, worked out his ethos, and instead, he gets dumped into a collaborative effort with another character, who despite being the nth version of Batman, also is confused as hell.
I also think, for good or ill, that BvS and the production of these DC movies, is cynical as hell, and they listened to the reaction to Man of Steel, even the most trite complaints. Rather than improving on them, they either doubled down to make themselves different, or retroactively made the same points. Batman’s angry at Superman for the same reason that people were going “He destroyed Metropolis!!!!!”. It feels like they decided to validate that instead of making it a part of Superman’s arc. They aborted his arc, and that feels wrong. People were annoyed at the deaths, so they doubled down on the killing, because I guess that makes it mature.
I think whoever wrote these films is a hack. It’s Goyer, so you know he’s a hack, but it’s really, really bad. Man of Steel at least potentially laid the groundwork for a traditional Superman. They could have done it, they could have focussed on character, and actually having an arc. Instead, they went, ok, he screamed about it afterwards, guess he’s fine now, Superman doesn’t need to develop now, Batman just needs to accept him. Which was absolutely the wrong way to go.
I feel like they jumped the gun to kickstart this DC universe, and they also dropped Batman in because they were concerned about the post-release backlash that Man of Steel got after the fact. I think they should have ridden it out, I think the backlash was overwrought, and not very sound (In particular, Moviebob’s was very amusing. Not because it was smart. The opposite). Superman definitely needed a proper sequel of his own. And hell, him going adventuring would have given them much more opportunity to tease elements of their DC universe, which at the very least, needed at least one other character film. I don’t think that DC thinks their characters can carry a film on their own though. It feels like they panicked and went for Batman because he’s the solid box office draw, and they went for The Death of Superman and elements from The Dark Knight Returns, because they haven’t done those and they’d get comic fans talking, rather than building a solid Superman.
I’d argue BvS is a good continuation of what MoS started.
MoS’ main idea is that “Superman is optimistic and wants to be a hero, but the world is pessimistic and sees the worst in everything”. Supes can’t just go saving people on his own, people would be afraid of him and best case, he’d be made an outcast from society. Worst case, the US government would try and capture and experiment on him like in Flashpoint. So he has to learn how to be the best hero he can in this kind of world and hopefully then inspire them to be better
MoS ends with the fight with Zod for the reasons you explained, the whole “He killed Zod, basically made his race extinct, and literally snapped his neck with his bare hands. He didn’t have much in the way of choice” except it is a defining moment for those reasons.
But because of Clark’s actions in MoS, the world is divided on him. Clark may have saved the world from Zod but the damage caused in the process, not to mention the fact that Superman is alien like Zod is what fuels a lot of the hatred against him. Clark is dealing with this. We see in his conversations with Lois and Martha and a vision of John that he’d doubting his actions and if he’s doing the right thing. He has that soul searching you’re asking for.
In the end, because of characters like Lois and Martha, Supes reaffirms his belief that the world is worth saving even if they hate him because it’s the right thing to do. He does this by sacrificing himself which shows the world he was genuine.
Basically, you say that Clark needed another film, I’d say BvS gives him that.
As for Batman, he’s not there to validate people’s criticisms on collateral. He’s there to show the opposite, what happens when you let that fear control you. Batman has fallen from grace and thinks Superman is the enemy even though Alfred tries to convince him he’s wrong. It’s only at the end that Batman realizes Superman was more human than him
I’d argue making Superman kill works in the story.
Firstly, there have been many Superman stories where Supes has had to kill. Even Zod.
Secondly, it works for Clark’s character. He killed the last of his kind to save humanity. He’s horrified by it. But because he didn’t do it immedtiatly, it changes the way people see him
I’m not going to get into the debate. I just wanted to say that I love reading your writing. You have a knack for it and it makes what could be a pedantic boring concept quite interesting.
“Then later some “terrorists under the command of a super-villain” (meaning a local militia of abused workers under the command of an escaped political prisoner with an eyepatch) attack the train that carries the ore from the Elbonian Unobtainium mines.”
Well of course he’s a super-villain! He’s got an eyepatch!
Why is Director Fury glaring at me like that?
It seems to me that Cap – and only Cap – needs to be the undisputed tyrant-overlord of all Avengers decision-making. Most particularly, he needs to be given the explicit authority to smack Tony Stark in the face (and he may use his judgement about whether to use the shield) if Stark is about to do something dumb like create a hostile artificial intelligence from mysterious alien super-technology. Or, you know, throw a really wild party. Seriously, the man has impulse-control problems.
As a necessary check against the perfect man being corrupted by his power, there is a privy council composed of Vision, Thor, and Bruce Banner – if those three unanimously agree that Rogers has gone off the deep end, he’s removed from office and the Avengers have to disband immediately.
Of course Cap being Cap, he’d refuse any tyrant-overlord position. (Though he’d probably be briefly tempted by the Tony-smacking privileges.)
Well, he might if it were called that. Not if it was something more innocuous like “Avengers Team Leader” – he’s been exactly that in the comics more often than not since coming out of the ice, and significant parts of that time he’s been leading an iteration of the Avengers that had no official government sanction, too.
332 comments reminded me of this:
I feel like crafting a story where nether side of the conflict is wrong is one of the strongest strengths of civil war. This holds especially true in the comic version.
Shamus, I agree with your points broadly, but a couple of clarifications are desperately needed:
1) The hunt for the Winter Soldier is based on a single blurry photo that does not actually show him with anything that could be used to cause the blast. It’s extremely, obviously a flimsy to get Ross’ hands on a supersoldier he can imprison.
2) Thaddeus Ross is a known horrible, corrupt person in-universe. Asking the Avengers to work under him is like asking non-white people to work under someone who displays the KKK flag in his office. He’s that blatant and open about his hatred for non-normals.
3) The UN is generally corrupt and any sane person would absolutely object to working as their personal hit squad, which is what the Accords boil down to. The Accords are not a fair, balanced document enforcing oversight, they’re a blatant power grab and the details mentioned in the movie are incredibly skeevy. That’s leaving aside the speed at which things happen – the UN simply cannot move that fast, which strongly implies blatant collusion.
Side note: I’m seriously surprised you didn’t think this movie was going to be political. In a world dealing with overt corruption among law enforcement and politicians, rising non-state actors, devastating violence in multiple places around the world and where political oversight is a hot button topic…of course this movie was going to be political. The trailers were clear, the directors (who wrote Winter Soldier, which was blatantly a political thriller) were clear. Civil War was a movie talking about politics. I’m pretty surprised that you apparently didn’t pick up on that.
To be fair,about #1,he was a known assassin guilty of numerous things,one of which was the whole fiasco in the winter soldier.They really did not need anything other than his whereabouts to initiate the hunt.The bomb was just icing on that cake.
I think this gets to exactly what politics is all about everywhere, everywhen. We either have 2 good things which conflict with each other, or two bad things which are inevitable and we must choose. Some people will find themselves leaning towards one then the other.
That there’s no easy answers is why politics continues to this day and will for our children’s children’s children and many generations after.
You might say your post is philosophically political, but not issue specific. Which is just right for me.
One of the things I find interesting is that fandom argues for one side or another while the movie basically says both sides have a point.
Cap was willingly sign if they had safeguards and Tony left to Russia the moment he realized there was a threat no one was going to take seriously.
The accords were flawed( no lawyers, the raft, Ross, competing agendas) but they could reach a middle ground but Zemo prevented them from reaching it.
But seriously? A shot on sight order? Why not send War Machine to get him? Why didn’t Nat ask to help?
It is really hard to decide which one is right and which one is wrong. But it is really sad to see both iron man and captain america fighting against each other!
Let’s take a look at a similar debate: The US is a country that believes everone should be allowed easy access to guns. Most of the world disagrees, which makes the US pretty much of the extreme end of the spectrum. But even among the most pro-gun people you won’t find many people who think everyone should also be allowed to own an artillery gun, a tank, or a nuke. So even the extreme end of the spectrum mostly agrees that there is a limit.
Superheroes are nukes. They have powers that no mundane means can hope to counter. A cop can stop a robber, he can’t stop Iron Man. An army plattoon can stop an invading force, but they can’t stop the Hulk.
What complicates the problem is that sometimes superheroes are simply needed to stop supervillains. Not all the time, but at least some of the time. Hydra for example is not invincible (neither today nor in WW2). They were heavily armed, but still human. They could have been stopped with enough conventional firepower, even if it meant that ten good guys died for every Hydra goon they took down. Loki on the other hand is a god, and there’s probably nothing on earth that could kill him.
So in some cases you simply need superheroes. In others, adaequately equipped normies could do the job. And it’s not like that equpiment would be so hard to get. Hydra produced super-modern weapons in WW2, in the first Avengers movie SHIELD did have them, hell, Tony Stark invents and produces this kind of weapons. He could build and train a whole squad of Iron Men. He kinda did in his third movie, only unmanned.
So I guess the world powers would need some sort of risk assessment: How often do you really need superheroes? How often can normies solve the problem with acceptable casualties (and what are acceptable casualties)? How often do superheroes solve a problem and how often do they make it worse?
Answering these questions would move the question more into familiar terrain, aka already existing political and military thinking. Which is not perfect, but might help clear up the debate a bit.
Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>
You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?
You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.
You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!
You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>