Who Was Right in “Captain America: Civil War?”
When “Captain America: Civil War” came out, Avengers fans were pitted against each other. The movie takes place in the MCU after a battle in Lagos, where an explosion killed several Wakandan humanitarian workers. The UN creates the Sokovia Accords to keep the Avengers under control. The Sokovia Accords basically says that the Avengers caused too much damage and were too powerful to work without any supervision, so the UN would have a panel to deploy and control them. The UN gives the Avengers the choice to sign the Accords or retire.
The Avengers are torn. Tony (Iron Man), Rhodey (War Machine), Natasha (Black Widow), T’Challa (Black Panther) and Vision believe that the Avengers should sign the Accords while Steve (Captain America), Sam (Falcon), Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Clint (Hawkeye) are against the Accords.
Both sides have fair arguments, but Team Cap is clearly on the right side of things in its choice to not sign the Accords.
The UN thinks that the Avengers cause too much destruction. When Thaddeus Ross goes to the Avengers’ compound and tells them that they need to sign the Accords, he lists a number of places where the Avengers caused destruction. These places were New York (during the battle of New York), Washington, D.C. (during “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), Sokovia (during “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and Lagos (at the beginning of this movie). I’ll admit that there was destruction at these places, but let’s break down why there was destruction, shall we?
In New York, there was a literal alien attack. A God (Loki) called an alien army and was planning on taking over the world, so if the Avengers hadn’t stepped in, the world would be actually taken over, so I feel like having the Avengers step in was needed. If that didn’t convince you, don’t forget that the government sent A LITERAL NUCLEAR BOMB to destroy New York and take care of the aliens. So, the government, who sent a whole nuke to destroy one of the biggest cities in the country and the surrounding areas (because of the radiation), was mad that a few buildings were damaged? If the Avengers weren’t there, the city would be a pile of toxic ash and everyone would be dead because they sent a nuke! How can they use New York as an example of the Avengers’ destruction when they would have killed so many more innocent people and destroyed so much more stuff?
In Washington, D.C., the reason there was destruction was that SHIELD (one of America’s biggest fictional defense programs) was infiltrated by Hydra (what started as the Nazi’s fictional science division and became a huge terrorist organization). Now, Hydra managed to get a bunch of helicarriers to fly up in the sky and instantly murder anyone who was a threat to them (all the Avengers and basically every good guy, including civilians). If Captain America hadn’t stepped in and destroyed the helicarriers, millions would be dead in an instant. So, again, the Avengers caused destruction, but if they hadn’t stepped in, so many more lives would have been lost.
Sokovia is challenging because the Avengers did save the day and stop a city from dropping out of the sky, an event that would have killed millions but the problem was caused by Tony Stark, so I have to give this one to the government. Although Tony Stark (and Tony Stark alone) has proven to be unstable, make bad judgment calls in moments of anxiety and caused the issues himself, I believe that Tony should have to sign the Accords, but no one else should.
Finally, let’s talk about the final straw for the UN, Lagos. Crossbones, a known villain, was trying to steal a biological weapon. Think about the damage this insane terrorist could have done with a biological weapon! Yes, stopping him caused casualties and that’s never okay, but the options were to let Wanda contain the explosion and move it into a mostly empty building or give an insane terrorist a biological weapon. The path with the least damage and least casualties was the option the Avengers chose.
The government can’t be trusted. Besides the whole nuke issue (which I don’t think we’ve discussed enough because they SENT A REAL NUKE AT NEW YORK), we know that the government can be and probably is corrupted (in the MCU). Yes, most of Hydra was taken care of when Shield fell in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” but there are still more branches of Hydra. And even if Hydra doesn’t isn’t influencing the government anymore, we still can’t overlook the fact that an actual Nazi organization influenced one of the most powerful branches of the government for years. How are Steve and the other Avengers supposed to trust the government when something like that happened?
More than that, the government was shown to be irrational. The Hulk and Abomination were made because they tried to recreate Steve’s Super Soldier Serum with government funding. All the government wants is more power, and it is willing to do anything to get it. The Avengers would no longer be heroes but pawns without any control over what they do. If they act out, they’d be vigilantes, and if they do what they’re supposed to, they’d be used as tools rather than treated like people.
The government won’t send the Avengers where they need to go. In the MCU, we see the government taking forever to make decisions and making the wrong decisions (you know, like trying to nuke New York). They already see the Avengers as threats, so they would be hesitant to send the Avengers anywhere because they think that there will be a lot more destruction if the Avengers are there. If the Avengers sign the Sokovia Accords, they won’t be the first response, and they probably won’t be the second or third response either, due to the UN’s hesitation to deploy them. For this reason, the Avengers would be able to do much less good because by the time they get deployed it would probably be too late.
The Avengers also would be controlled by a UN panel, so multiple countries, with multiple agendas, would be controlling them and make it even harder for there to be a decision to deploy them. This bureaucracy would mean that the Avengers would never be where they had to be when they had to be there.
Tony lets his emotions speak for him. While the people on Team Iron Man want to sign the Accords for their own reasons, they are mainly just following Tony’s lead. Tony was confronted by a grieving mother whose son died in Sokovia, and he feels bad and guilty like the kid’s death was his fault it kind of was), but that’s why he signs the Accords. He thinks that the Avengers need overseers when only he causes the problems. Tony is the only Avenger to ever create a murderous robot, not anyone else. Just because he feels bad about his own actions doesn’t mean that everyone else should take responsibility for what they didn’t do.
The final battle in “Civil War” isn’t about the Accords but about Steve’s best friend, Bucky Barnes. While brainwashed, Bucky killed Howard and Maria Stark, Tony’s parents. No one, not even Bucky, knew this fact until the villain of the movie, Zemo, showed video evidence of this event, leading to Steve and Tony’s fight. The issue with this fight is that, once again, Tony lets his emotions get the best of him. I get that his parents’ death is a sore topic and the fact that Bucky did it makes the wound sting worse, but Tony knew that Bucky was brainwashed. He had no control over his actions, and there was absolutely nothing he could have done to stop himself. The fact that Tony tried to kill Bucky shows that in high-pressure, highly emotional situations, Tony can’t think. He deserved to grieve and be upset, I’ll admit, but he should also understand that Hydra killed his parents by using Bucky; it wasn’t up to Bucky at all. Tony shouldn’t have let this anger destroy his relationship with Steve.
So, there you have it. Captain America was right, and the Avengers shouldn’t have signed the Sokovia Accords, both because the UN’s reasoning is proven to be untrue and Tony only wanted to sign it because he’s remorseful of the destruction that he caused.