Captain America: Prejudiced Fans
Ok so rant post because this literally kept me up for hours last night.
Why is Tony Stark perceived as the Villain in Civil War?
There is no legitimate reason for this.
“But he made Ultron and tried to hurt Bucky!”
Ok, sit down. Let’s talk about Ultron, shall we?
If we REALLY want to discuss whose fault Ultron is, let’s go way back to this movie:
In this movie was a character called Loki, whom you may remember and might recognize as second from the left on this poster.
Loki was the main villain of the film, and Thor failed to incarcerate him at the end of the movie. Loki went on to bring the mind stone (AKA the basis for Ultron) to Earth. Therefore, it is Thor’s fault for not stopping Loki.
But let’s move on from that. Assuming that Thor couldn’t have stopped Loki, whose fault was it?
Actually, it is arguably still Thor, seeing as he brought the Tesseract back to Asgard at the end of the Avengers, but failed to grab Loki’s mind control stick on his way out the door.
Even clearing him of charges for that, we could argue that it’s Steve/Clint/Natasha’s fault, because I’m going to assume that SHIELD took the staff, and because of that, the staff found its way into Hydra’s hands.
Then we have Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Let’s pretend that Steve/Clint/Natasha DID see the staff into SHIELD custody. Apparently they weren’t concerned enough about the fact that, y’know, SHIELD was actually Hydra and therefore Hydra had the staff of mind control in their possession, which makes it their fault. At this point, Steve/Clint/Natasha becomes Steve/Clint/Natasha/Sam.
However, this STILL isn’t the end of the story.
Somehow, Thor fails to care about any of these developments in the Dark World, so it’s back to his fault.
The entire Avenger’s cast FINALLY cares about the fact that the Staff is held by Hydra when Tony comes back on the scene (huh) at the beginning of Age of Ultron, at which point Tony goes after the Staff. However, while this is the first point at which we could reasonably claim that it is Tony’s fault, we immediately switch over to this:
In case you weren’t freaking paying attention, this is Tony seeing an alternate past where the world ended and all of his friends were dead as a result of him not doing enough.
Immediately after this we get this line:
[Pietro and Wanda watch as goes Tony grabs the scepter]
Pietro Maximoff: “We’re just gonna let them take it?”
[Wanda smiles to herself as Tony takes the scepter]
Are you really going to tell me that little smug grin doesn’t belie that she knows exactly what’s about to happen? Even if it doesn’t, I’m pretty sure she said something to the effect of, “He’ll do what he thinks he has to” or something to that effect.
Therefore it is clearly Wanda’s fault.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Tony then asks Thor for permission to monkey around with the staff, making it Thor’s fault, and then Bruce and Tony work on the staff TOGETHER, making it JOINTLY their fault when Ultron comes to life.
So great, we have now found fault in every Avenger except for Rhodey and Pietro at this point.
Except, Tony/Bruce think that Ultron failed. The second they find out that he didn’t the Avengers mobilize and come fairly close to beating Ultron. Tony can easily out-program Ultron, because we’ve seen him literally hack his own equipment while fighting numerous opponents - one on one with Ultron shouldn’t be a problem.
But these two butts show up and proceed to compromise every single Avenger except Tony and Clint.
Not only does the Witch send Natasha/Steve/Thor into visions, SHE LITERALLY MANIPULATES HULK INTO ATTACKING A WAKANDAN CITY, FORCING TONY TO END HIS ASSAULT ON ULTRON FOR THE PURPOSE OF SAVING LIVES.
Wanda and Pietro are LITERALLY FIGHTING ON ULTRON’S SIDE FOR MORE THAN HALF OF THE MOVIE. So CLEARLY the fact that Ultron makes any headway at all is at least PARTIALLY THEIR FAULT, RIGHT?
Then we get the creation of Vision, supported by Tony, Bruce, Thor, and Clint and opposed by Wanda, Steve, Pietro, and Natasha. This is in spite of the fact that literally all Tony is doing is uploading JARVIS to a body, which should be a no brainer seeing as JARVIS has been immensely helpful since literally the earliest movies of the MCU.
We finally get Vision to wake up, and, what do you know, not only is he on the Avenger’s side, HE LITERALLY IS WORTHY TO PICK UP THOR’S HAMMER.
So if anything, this sequence should doubly absolve Tony Stark of guild: The success of Vision is proof that Ultron is not a mistake but rather a flawed prototype, AND Tony has just created the only weapon that will allow the Avengers to defeat Ultron.
We’ll note that he does not receive credit for either of these points, either in the movie or in the fandom.
Now, I would like to point out in spite of everything that has just been argued that Ultron is an independent being who is making his own choices and as such is the only person who can be blamed for his actions, triply absolving Tony of guilt. The only people who can legitimately be blamed here are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who chose to help Ultron fight the Avengers, but they should arguably be forgiven because they help to defeat him.
If I haven’t convinced you that Tony is innocent here yet, please message me so I can block you.
Now, on to Civil War.
The entire point of this movie is Steve saying “No superhumans shouldn’t be regulated because if they are then people might get mad at Bucky,” while the entire rest of the world is saying, “Yeah, we’d like a little oversight.” Like, yes, personal freedom and standing up for your values is great and all, but SHIELD had zero oversight and look what happened there - oh, right, people died, nearly including Mr. Holier-Than-Though Rogers and his best friend (it was still a great movie…). Yes, stand for what you believe in, Steve, but accept that there are systems in place for doing that. There are reasons that everyone in the military and in the government respond to someone else and are bound by certain laws, and superhumans should be too.
THEN, Bucky comes into the picture when he’s framed for a terrorist attack.
Does Steve go to any of his allies for help? Does he have Tony Stark or Nick Fury pull strings? Does he go to the government with the information he has about Bucky’s condition and ask for help? No, no, and no.
Queue Black Panther.
Black Panther believes that Bucky killed his father, so he decides to kill Bucky. Remember that.
We get a protracted series of fight scenes wherein, regardless of whether or not they were previously criminals, Steve and Bucky become wanted criminals and get themselves arrested alongside Black Panther, then everybody else gets themselves arrested.
Let us analyse the airport fight scene.
Steve has recruited a felon, Tony has recruited a teenager, I think those evils roughly cancel each other out.
On Team Tony, four out of five individuals depend on Tony for equipment.
Spiderman we haven’t seen before, but we know that Tony redesigned his suit. In addition, assuming that this movie Spiderman accurately reflects his comic book strength (which we can assume he does, seeing as he catches the airplane loading thing), he is obviously pulling his punches.
Then we have War Machine and Black Widow.
War Machine we have seen consistently demonstrating a single difference from standard Iron Man suits: automatic firearms.
However, in this sequence, we do not see him use the shoulder cannon once and we see him use his missiles only to address the fact that Giant Man is trying to smash him with a truck.
However, we see two NEW weapons: a sonic cannon and a stun baton, both of which are shown to be nonlethal.
Black Widow we see using her signature Widow’s Bites for the first time in her six movies in the Marvel franchise - again, non-lethally disabling Black Panther.
Are you really going to tell me that this is a coincidence? The only person we see attempting to use lethal force on Team Tony is Black Panther, whom we all know respects nobody.
Now, Team Steve.
Let’s start with Scarlet Witch, the MCU’s poster child for milking her perceived innocence.
We see her attempt to crush Tony under a bunch of cars, breaking his arm. We see her throw off Vision’s aim nearly killing War Machine. She very clearly has no qualms about killing.
Hawkeye is literally using explosive arrows throughout the fight scene.
Ant-Man tears apart the internal circuitry of one of Iron Man’s arms (possibly after the arm it contained was already broken).
Falcon is literally shooting at Spiderman.
Bucky punches at Spiderman full force.
And let us not forget Steve Rogers, who literally attempts to drop an airplane loading dock on a kid:
I mean come on.
Tony is literally the only one who ISN’T letting his anger get the best of him in this scene.
Then, in case you don’t believe me, let’s jump to the final fight scene in the abandoned Hydra base, shall we?
Tony is using distinctly nonlethal force here. If his goal were to kill Bucky, I guarantee you Bucky would be dead.
However, he uses his potentially lethal weapons in a nonlethal fashion, primarily to control where Steve and Bucky can and can’t go. His laser - which, friendly reminder, is powerful enough that he had to instruct War Machine to get out of the way - was used only to interpose steel girders between himself and Captain America. His tank missile, which is one of his iconic and most terrifying weapons, merely closed a loading door. Tony is not using lethal force - the worst thing he does is destroy Bucky’s arm, which is terrible, but worst case scenario, Tony can repair it. Yes, it is inflicting pain, but it is pain that is not dissimilar to pain that Tony has gone through himself.
That, of course, doesn’t stop Steve and Bucky from very willingly shredding his armor and, y’know, leaving him stranded in Siberia or wherever the heck that base was.
Now, final point, remember Black Panther?
Black Panther (incorrectly) jumped to the conclusion that Bucky had killed his father, and tried very hard throughout the duration of the movie to kill Bucky in revenge.
Tony WATCHED on FILM as Bucky slaughtered his parents and still showed great restraint. Did he want to hurt Bucky? Yes, very much so.
Did he want to kill Bucky? No, he did not.
This is precisely why the “But he’s my friend”/”So was I” zinger hurts so freaking much. Even in his moment of insane pain, Tony did not want to hurt Steve. Yes, he wanted to hurt Bucky, but he knew that, if he killed Bucky, he would be hurting Steve, and, as Steve’s friend, he could not conscience that decision.
I will eternally maintain that Tony is the victim of Civil War, that Steve betrayed Tony, and that Steve does not deserve Tony’s forgiveness, and nothing anybody can say will ever change my mind.