Saw Captain America Civil War again tonight. In case you’re a geek like me, I’m firmly on Team Cap. And here’s why. Obviously this post contains spoilers for the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet and plan on it, don’t read any more here until you do. Fair warning.
So our heroes split up into two groups. Team Cap has Cap, Falcon, Ant-Man, Bucky, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch. Team Iron Man has Iron Man, War Machine, Vision, Black Panther, Spiderman, and Black Widow (kind of). The most important difference I can see between the two groups is their motivation.
Tony: At first he is motivated by guilt to take action based on regret for his former actions, not examining whether his current actions are morally correct. Then he is motivated by his own ego, and finally he is motivated by revenge at the end of the movie, attacking Cap and Bucky for no reason other than that he is angry.
War Machine: he is following orders from the general. When discussing the accords, he states they should sign it because the whole world wants them to, not because it’s the right thing to do. He mentions later on in the movie (while rehabbing) that he thinks they made the right decision, but not why it was “right.”
Vision: he follows orders without critical thinking. Everything is black and white with him, with no nuances.
Black Panther: revenge.
Spiderman: he fights with Tony because he’s impressed by Tony. He never asks WHY they are fighting. In the comics Spidey is actually very much against the registration act (which is what the Sokovia Accords are based on).
Black Widow: she is really on the fence, and isn’t really on either side.
And then we have Team Cap.
Captain America: his motivation at the beginning is that he wants to have the freedom to continue to follow his conscience and do what he feels is right. He makes a statement about “If we sign, what happens if we need to go somewhere and they say we can’t, or if we shouldn’t go somewhere and they tell us to?” Later on his motivation is to keep his friend from being killed, which is a moral choice to protect the innocent (aka “brainwashed”). And then finally he travels to Siberia to fight to protect the world from super soldiers (he thinks).
Bucky: he fights for self-preservation. He also fights to protect his friend Steve, and travels to Siberia with Steve to protect the world.
Hawkeye: He retires rather than sign a document he can’t obey, and then he joins the fight when asked by Steve (not ordered) to rescue Scarlet Witch, to whom he owes a debt due to her brother sacrificing himself to save Hawkeye in Ultron.
Ant-Man: He also believes what he is doing is right, but there’s not much to reveal his motivation.
Falcon: He agrees with Steve at every point, and follows his moral compass, not because Steve says it, but because it’s right.
Scarlet Witch: She acts to protect her friends, and she even acts against her budding love interest (Vision) when she feels it is right.
Generally speaking, Team Cap makes decisions and takes actions based on their moral compass, their friendships, and relationships. Whereas Team Iron Man makes decisions and takes actions based on vengeance or orders they have received and are obeying without question.
The accords were written in order to keep these heroes from taking action that the world disagrees with. The conclusion I came to is that the people who NEED the accord to help guide their moral decision making process are the very people that signed it because of their lack of morals. These are the people who operate from revenge. The people who didn’t sign the accords are those who have strong morals and don’t actually NEED the accord.
Of course, by the end of the movie the sides realign so that Black Panther and Black Widow switch over to Team Cap, leaving Iron Man with Vision (who he created), a crippled War Machine (wearing a suit he created), and his protege Spiderman.
And this is why I am on Team Cap: not because it’s popular, not because it’s easy, but because Steve stands for what is right. One of my favorite quotes from the comics is mentioned by Sharon Carter in the movie:
“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 something 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.”