Recently I was privy to observe a very clever conversation arguing the true depth to what it means to be Team Cap (#TeamCap) or Team Iron Man (TeamIronMan). Joining in was yours truly, King of The Grid Derreck, the best Black Panther cosplayer Brent Simpson, resident Ghostbuster Ryan, and our knowledgeable nerd Nikki. The conversation took place over multiple hours through a Facebook chat among friends. Some of the conversation has been edited to remove tangents, typos, colloquialisms. Overall, it was an exciting conversation to take part it and I’d like you to be apart of that too.
Derreck: So why is everyone on Cap’s side? Seriously though, is everyone on Cap’s for personality reasons and now what they are actually doing/standing for?
Brent: I generally feel that Cap is doing the morally right thing. Even if it is unpopular.
Derreck: You don’t think people like this need to have some kind of checks and balances system? Especially after all that destruction?
Nikki: The world has gone to shit and these bamfs are saving most of us. Collateral damage is better than obliteration.
Derreck: I don’t think Iron Man’s side is: let’s all go home.
Ryan: Nope. How are you gonna check and balance a God and a big green radiation monster?
Derreck: He agrees with accountability. Ryan, so it’s difficult, it shouldn’t be done? No accountability because Hulk? That’s some lame logic.
Ryan: The government doesn’t need their hand in everything. Look what happened when SHIELD was active. They were a government branch the Avengers were supposed to report to. They got infiltrated and caused all the Winter Soldier shit. Just because it’s the government doesn’t mean it’s any more of an infallible entity than the Avengers as a team.
Derreck: Hence the checks and balances. The same problems could arise within the Avengers. So the Hulkf takes out a city block and everyone should just look the other way because accountability “might” bring problems?
Rae: I don’t believe choosing to protect civilians means they have to become employees of any such government. What happens if the UN is corrupted?
Brent: I think internal checks and balances are different than tacit government sanction. Especially as there is no world governing body.
Nikki: The Avengers need to police themselves.
Derreck: I don’t think we know that’s what’s happening. The trailer doesn’t say they are employees of the US military. As far as the UN goes, what if the Avengers are corrupted? And police themselves? That hasn’t worked so far, has it?
Rae: And,if you want to hold them accountable for their destruction you can literally rebuild.
Nikki: They’ve certainly made an effort.
Ryan: If the Avengers are corrupted, having the government involved won’t help anything.
Derreck: I like how the Avengers, a continuously growing group that includes criminals can police itself but the UN can’t.
Brent: If Hulk goes crazy, Hulkbuster and Thor can take him on. If the Security Council decides to clear the way for Hydra, what’s the plan.
Derreck: It’s just like our military today. They don’t have to listen to the President. If the UN becomes corrupt, then the Avengers do something about it. But to claim they can “police themselves” is just not realistic.
Nikki: This movie is coming out at a peak political time. Some people have lost faith in the government, others want to fix it, others think it’s fine as is. We’re just protecting our feelings onto the movie..
Brent: But the moment the Avengers take action, they are terrorists.
Derreck: Brent, I disagree. If our President gives an order that is not constitutional and the military does not obey, that is not a terrorist avct by the military.
Brent: Not obeying an order is not the same as taking an action.
Derreck: Under that logic, it doesn’t matter if the Accords** are signed or not because any corrupt military could just brand the Avengers as terrorists.
Rae: Non corrupt governments have. That’s why they’re there.
Derreck: It’s simple. There are two options: sign the Accords, show the world that you want to make it a better place and protect it. This has the chance to become a problem if the UN (or whatever agency) is taken over. Second option: Don’t sign and you’re automatically a terrorist because you see yourself as above the law and outside rule.
Rae: And that’s the WHOLE plot of the movie.
Derreck: If the UN becomes corrupt, the Avengers have literally the same options whether they’ve signed or not.
Brent: Pretty much.
Derreck: Hence, sign the damn Accords and IF the UN becomes corrupt, deal with it. It’s not like Hulk loses his powers or something if they sign.
Brent: A zero sum argument doesn’t help either argument though.
Derreck: Cap makes it personal and goes after Bucky, who is a terrorist. It’s not a zero sum. One has the possibility of ending badly, the other absolutely will.
Brent: I think it’s an absolute either way. Hydra is still out there and operating. Allowing them oversight of the Avengers means they will be pawns of Hydra. Remaining an independent peace keeping organization means the chance of that is zero.
Derreck: But that’s based on the claim that it is impossible for Hydra to infiltrate a member of the Avengers. That’s not a fair claim. Ant-man was a criminal and Scarlet Witch was a bad guy. Who’s to say Hydra can’t get involved? Add Bucky to the list as a terrorist, programmed or not.
Brent: But then we are back to self policing. If they sign and they are infiltrated, they can do nothing until sanctioned. Especially because Hydra controls the team. If they do not, they are capable of taking action against that individual.
Derreck: That’s just red tape. If Hulk wants to smash, he’ll smash. The Avengers need to be responsible for ensuring Hydra doesn’t take control, yes. But on the flip side, why should they get to dictate what classifies as acceptable destruction and loss of life? Because they have powers or suits?
Brent: I don’t follow the logic that they are able to classify anything. Independent organization doesn’t mean they aren’t required to answer for their actions or explain themselves.
Derreck: But who are they answering to at that point? Is this the whole point of the Accords, accountability? I feel like Iron Man’s whole point is that they should answer to some group. And right now, they don’t. They operate using his money and his technology but on US soil.
Brent: Answer to the government where the loss of life and destruction of property took place. We have international law. You don’t have to be a part of the UN to be tried for a crime or called into a tribunal.
Derreck: So, what the trailer leaves unanswered is, has that happened? Or have they been protected from all of that? It’s not like they can bring Bruce Banner to trial. Or Vision. If they have had to answer to the local governments, then it’s a different conversation because the Accords don’t do much at that point and the scene with the videos seem out of place. It’s a super similar question to what Superman has to answer to after the destruction of Metropolis but at least we know he ends up in court. Should Scarlet Witch be protected after she helped Ultron? And what about Bucky? Does he get a pass because he’s Cap’s old buddy?
Brent: He ends up in a congressional hearing, but it’s a fair point. Bucky is such a unique criminal case to me. You have his initial disappearance, which could be construed as kidnapping. Which makes his later actions justifiable as he was under duress, in addition to the psychological trauma he suffered in his conditioning process.
Rae: Should everyone in the MCU who has been tortured and brainwashed immediately demonized without rehabilitation?
Brent: I can’t answer to that point. There are a lot of issues with his case for a direct answer.
Derreck: I don’t disagree with that but what Cap does to get him is illegal. He is operating outside of the law. The Avengers don’t get to be the judges. I’m not demonizing anyone. I’m simply saying if the UN can be so easily corrupted, why can’t the Avengers when it’s actually happened to some of the members? I don’t fault Cap on a personal level but his actions are still illegal.
Brent: Which brings us back to moral vs. legal.
Derreck: Looking at just the existing MCU before Civil War: Hawkeye was brainwashed, Scarlet Witch helped Ultron, Ant-Man was a criminal, and Bucky was a terrorist. That’s not good odds. The issue isn’t about whether or not we understand Cap’s personal feelings, it’s about whether or not the Avengers should operate within international law. I understand Cap’s dilemma and I feel for him but that does not justify acting outside of the law. A law that was, at the time, not a covert Hydra corruption situation.
Brent: Which is very gray. Extradition and detainment varies by country.
Derreck: Agreed. It’s complicated which is exactly why Cap doesn’t get to act as Judge Dredd here without serious reprecussions. Even in the trailer, Cap says you can’t always save everyone. Maybe Bucky is one of those people the Avengers can’t save.
Brent: Which I’m sure he’s willing to face.
Derreck: Does it suck? Yes. Is it sad? Absolutely. But it doesn’t erase the rest of the world the Avengers have to operate in.
Brent: Can we just appreciate how much more nuanced this Civil War is?
Derreck: Oh, absolutely. This is definitely not a punch/smash/bad guy down movie.
Brent: As an independent organization, I think they will be called to ask for their actions. However, I can’t agree that they need to be directly responsible to one organization doesn’t cover everywhere. Strike responsible. Sub accountable. Cap’s “issue” is that he will look at this as a soldier. He will accomplish his mission, then turn himself in for a court martial. He can explain himself the and accept whatever punishment is proper. As an outsider looking in, his character and morals mean that he will do what is good and right. Even if it isn’t legal. Guns pointed at civilians 24/7 was legal after all.
**In reference to the Sokovia Accords, the fictional documented contract that the Avengers are being asked to sign in the upcoming film.
So what did you think? Did any of this change your mind? Whose team are you on: Team Cap? Team Iron Man? Let us know!