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Captain America Declares a Civil War!

Updated on October 9, 2023
Robert J Sodaro profile image

Robert J. Sodaro is an American-born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

Captain America: Civil War

Come for the Superheroes, ,stay for the (action packed) morality play.
Come for the Superheroes, ,stay for the (action packed) morality play. | Source


Captain America: Civil War:PG-13“ (2 hours 26 min.)

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

The Avengers are Coming!

Okay kids, it is that time of the year again when Marvel kicks off the Summer funnybook blockbuster season with its latest outing, Captain America: Civil War where we find the good Captain — Steve Rogers (Evans) is leading a newly-formed team of Avengers in Lagos, Nigeria on an Avenger Op in the team’s continued efforts to safeguard humanity. However, the Op goes horribly south after an unfortunate incident involving Crossbones (Frank Grillo), resulting in several civilians getting killed. The resulting explosion causes not only collateral damage, but no small amount of political pressure begins to mount, with the United Nations calling to install a system of accountability, called the Sokovia Accords (Sokovia was the location of the Avengers’ last action), with the UN overseeing and directing the team.

Captain America: Civil War - Trailer World Premiere

What Side Will You Choose?

As can be expected, the new status quo causes the team to fracture, resulting in two camps — one led by Captain America (Evans) and the other by Iron Man (Downey Jr.); Cap’s team (consisting of Falcon, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) and Iron Man’s team (consisting of War Machine, Black Widow, Vision, and Black Panther) each line up behind the ideologies espoused by their respective leaders. Where Roger’s team follows his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the rest following Stark’s decision to support government oversight and accountability. Each of the Avenger teams make strong arguments for backing their particular position, but they can come to no mutual consensuses so they wind up in a fight.

Team Cap

Team Captain America!
Team Captain America! | Source

The Set-Up

At least that is the philosophies that are backing the core action, which is that Cap’s group is attempting to prove that Bucky (Stan) was framed in the death of Wakanda’s King T'Chaka (John Kani) — father of T'Challa, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), while Iron Man’s group wants to bring him to “justice” As is typical with Marvel films, it starts out with action (with the Op in Nigeria), then it moves into the ultimatum form the UN and the choosing of sides, and slides right into the big match-up at an airport in German where Stark brings in his Ace in the hole, the one and only Spider-Man (this time played by Tom Holland, who will be playing the wall crawler next year in the — now officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the Columbia Pictures film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, due out next year).

Team Iron Man

And on this side...Team Iron Man
And on this side...Team Iron Man | Source

Choose Your Own Side

What we are treated to is a roller-coaster ride where the heroes become involved in a Law and Order-level morality argument over the nature of free will (where the Avengers must rely on their own moral compasses to determine which causes require their attention), and that of having an external control group (to ostensibly keep them from running off the reservation and getting involved, willy-nilly in incidents that don’t concern them). On the free will side is the argument that the Avengers are the good guys and operate by a strong moral code of helping oppressed people requiring aid, while the government position is that what is to prevent the team from mucking in the affairs of sovereign states. The Con of free will is that Ultron (like V’Ger before him) believed that eradicating all of mankind was the answer, while there is an argument to be made (and Cap made it) what is to prevent the team from righting a wrong where the control group has a vested interest in subjugating the rights of the indigenous peoples (with far too many real-life historical incidents to cite here).

Here comes the Black Panther

And who disguised as T'Challa, Crown Prince of Wakanda...
And who disguised as T'Challa, Crown Prince of Wakanda... | Source

Standing up to the Past

Needless to say, the film all but completely winds up being the fourth Avenger film with all of the guest appearances that crop up, but after the big throw-down at airport, all of the other heroes are sent to their respective film franchises with Cap, Bucky, and Iron Man essentially finishing out the dramatic elements of this story. All-in-all, the film most assuredly holds up to not only its predecessors in the form of both story and action, but with its watchability and excitement levels. Like the other Marvel Cinematic Universe directors, the Russo brothers have a strong understanding and affinity for the comicbook source material and remain faithful to not only to the comics themselves, but to the previous MCU films.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can

Your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Guy!
Your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Guy! | Source

A Profoundly Ideological Concept

While it is easy to toss these films off as so much testosterone-enhanced fluff about over-muscled costumed heroes bashing each other about the heads with I beams and other silly nonsense that detractors like to level at them, but truthfully, the zeitgeist of the underlying paradigm that powers these films and induces us all to so readily consume them is truly a powerful motivator. Yes, yes, they are modern-day iconic mythological figures, but as we pointed out earlier, before all of the punching and explosions got fully under way, there was an intellectually engaging debate over the relative values of personal freedom versus measured restraint. Each side presented with equal weight and passion. And sure, while Captain American is the nominal star of this film, there is nothing to say that Stark’s position is completely invalid (or that Cap’s position is absolutely true). Both men are heroes and, well, “good guys” and both have totally valid (if mutually exclusive) opinions on how to go about solving problems.

Spider-Man Joins the Fray

The Hero's Mantra

Ultimately, while both heroes believe that they have taken the best possible course of action, perhaps this is the place to leave you all with the personal mantra of our own personal super heroic champion, Spider-Man who (in the words of co-creator, Stan Lee, as voiced by Spidey’s revered Uncle Ben); uttered perhaps the most powerfully succinct reason to do good against overwhelming odds “With great power must also come great responsibility.”

Stan Lee inspires Spider-Man

“With great power must also come great responsibility.”

— Benjamin Parker,

Captain America Speaks Truth

Captain America Speaks the Truth
Captain America Speaks the Truth | Source

Hey Kids, Comics!

Oh yes, and speaking of Stan, he makes his usual cameo (as a FedEx delivery person) in the film, and before you walk out, you should all know that there are two Easter Egg trailers after the main action of the film. One (mid-credit) that shows a coda to the main action and a second that runs at the conclusion of all the credits that teases, well, another upcoming Marvel film. Oh yeah, one last thing, if you enjoyed this film on any level, we strongly suggest that you locate a comicbook shop near you and check it out for the source material used for this and other comicbook films. You totally will thank us.

J. Michael Straczynski puts words in Cap's mouth

“Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is right.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — ‘No, YOU move!’”

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Robert J Sodaro


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