*Warning the following is all spoilers*
In all honesty I was devastated for Iron Man and started rooting for him towards the end of the movie. The Civil War aspects of the story certainly fall by the wayside because Captain America was right and Iron Man was wrong. But he wasn’t. Ultimately the freedom provided of unsanctioned Avenging affords Steve the opportunity to do what he wants. The movie plays the premise out through the role of the Winter Soldier and his capture becomes all-important, as it should be for a known assassin, a suspect of a terrorist attack and a murderer during the course of this film. Steve is arrogantly defiant throughout the course of these events and that only he should and can be allowed to protect Bucky because he was once his friend. He flounces in the face of superiority and is certainly no longer acting as the soldier he once was. The Sokovia Accords are just legislation as there does need to be some accountability and consensus for worldwide policing. Steve disagrees because he is willing to take the risks of lost lives to execute his moral judgement. He is the philosopher leader who wishes to preside over self-motivated politicians, which include the President of the United States and the King of Wakanda. With where the story goes, he is ultimately correct because Ross was wrong and Bucky was innocent. However I am sure that if a fair prosecution was carried out, the right evidence would have been located and Buck released. This is how the justice system is supposed to function, and Rogers operates outside of the law because he is arrogant to think he knows best. Unfortunately Baron Zemo confuses the plot line because he manipulates incredibly successfully and reveals the cracks in the task force. Seriously how is a psychological evaluation the first part of investigation for a terrorist? Meanwhile Tony is having even more personal crises…
Iron Man 3 saw Tony retire and come to terms with the person he is, putting his anxieties to rest by destroying all of his suits. He finally decided to settle with Pepper and the film served as the character resolution the series needed. Unfortunately Age of Ultron happened and Tony made a mistake leading to almost worldwide collapse. This must play on his conscious as at the beginning of this movie we notice that Pepper is no longer with him. Instantly we see the great character work from Iron Man 3 undone. He is then brought fully into meltdown mode as a mother unashamedly holds him responsible for the death of her son in Sokovia. I would genuinely like to see how Cap would handle this conversation, as the blame also lies with him. Steve seems to reconcile his guilt significantly faster than Tony and Wanda but not a single person calls him up on it. He remains dignified in his defiance and is almost mocking in tone when inquiring about Iron Man’s personal life. When Tony looks to himself as an unrestrained and unfettered danger to society, Steve does not.
Iron Man is constantly inventing and his ideas have repercussions whereas Captain America is a soldier, there to save the day. Inherently Stark is a bigger danger but he realises it and opts to join the government to control his own activities. This is a noble and honourable motivation and should only be applauded. Unfortunately the film does not see it that way because not only does he have to be wrong, he has to be tortured further. In finding out that Bucky killed his parents and that Rogers knew, we see a final confrontation that if fuelled by anger and love. Steve loves Bucky and will protect him at all costs and fails to placate Tony, who is in a rage filled frenzy. Do not forget that War Machine, Tony’s best friend, has already been paralysed by this confrontation so Iron Man is really not having a good day. The film is deliberately cynical towards Tony Stark and portrays him as a mad man, so much so that Steve fails to show any genuine sympathy or elements of kinship. He focuses on what he knows best, how to beat him and does so. He walks away with his best friend in his arms and drops the shield that Tony’s father created. In the background is a broken Iron Man shouting petty retorts like a sore loser. I was left distraught at the end of the confrontation, and even more so when we see Tony helping Rhodey with his rehabilitation. These feelings amplified further when he reads the sanctimonious letter from Cap, but at least Steve admits his failings as a friend. With a few subtle adjustments it would be easy to turn Cap into a bad guy, especially as he breaks out his Avenger friends from prison with a diamond smile on his face. Alternatively it would take only a couple key lines of dialogue for Rogers to show he cares for Tony, even refuse to beat him into submission. That would be exceptionally difficult given how intent Tony was on killing Buck, but let us not forget this is Captain America we are talking about.
Rogers may have finally lost the love of his life, but he gains another and many friends. Stark realises how his parents were brutally murdered and his best friend is crippled, whilst the remaining Avengers all take their stand with Steve. As War Machine says very eloquently, he believes in the Sokovia accords and what they stand for. Principally they are a worthwhile piece of regulation, as long as the intentions of the people upon high are noble in origin. But that is not what this movie would have you believe, but I guess after all it is Captain America’s movie and Iron Man has already had his trilogy. Oh well then…let’s go #TeamCap!
Nice post. This was always going to be a tricky movie – one of them had to be the bad guy after all.
Have to say though, I never saw Steve being driven by arrogance or the feeling that only his moral compass was the one worthy of following. For me it was about control. To Steve the accords represented a form of control. It would essentially make him a weapon and leave him without the freedom to fight for causes he thought worthy. Wasn’t this what the Russians did to Bucky? Sure, it’s a prettier, more democratic way of doing it but I think to Steve the end result was the same.
nice review, though I will disagree, because of course I would 😉
“The film is deliberately cynical towards Tony Stark and portrays him as a mad man” this line confused me, at least from what i got from the movie. I thought they justified each side without making one overly right or wrong. As in, there was no bad guy, well, besides Zemo..but between Cap and Tony, each had good reasons to make the choices they did.
In fact, the Airport fight was not as intense because there was no fight to be had, but more like the Tony group had to stop Cap’s group. The fight at the end wasn’t based on the accords, but more because of the reveal on the video tape.
The premise of – should superheroes be regulated isn’t an easy choice, I don’t think there’s right and wrong, or there shouldn’t be and I don’t think the movie says so. The fact that Bucky was innocent was a twist, but the accords were already in progress, that was a way for Zemo to further his plans and drive the wedge. The accords were due to the past events and the latest one involving Wanda, and Steve didn’t seem to disagree, he just didn’t agree with the particular methods.
Steve is a soldier and so he understands war and battles and casualties, Tony (and guys like me, I can’t speak for you) but he’s not use to that kind of thing. Sure he’s a superhero and people do die but more than most, Ultron was his fault, so the deaths in Sokovia would weigh heavily on him. It showed a real human side, I think most people saw Tony as a real person, rather then the enemy. Most people who say they wouldn’t sign the accords are probably full of shit, I don’t know of anyone who would like to see a private untouchable group of police going around and having no one to answer to
I thought Tony’s & Steve’s points of view were consistent with their experiences and motivations from the previous movies.
Tony needs to protect everyone and the accords were his way of achieving this.
Steve fights for freedom and the way the accords were presented represented a threat to it. After the events in Winter Soldier I can understand why he would hesitate and would ultimately side with his own morals over any groups. Still, sharing Intel and informing countries when he’s planning to conduct missions on their soil shouldn’t be an issue for Steve.
The fight at the end was rightly justified. Steve has to stand by his brother from another mother who was being controlled when he acted (which Steve feels responsible for?) and Tony has to avenge his parents. Should Steve have told Tony about his parents? Yes. Should Tony have seen how he was being manipulated by Zemo in the moment and found a different solution to the situation? Yes, but as randomeshane pointed out this made them both human.
In spite of some glaring plot holes (wouldn’t Friday or Wakanda experts have been able to determine it wasn’t the real Bucky at the Nato attack?), the fact that the story was balanced enough to leave ambiguity for us to make up our own minds and debate who’s right and wrong is a win!
As much as I looked at Tony’s history in the movies, I didn’t with Steve! Some great comments, thank you!