Is it just me or is there a disconnect between how Tony is portrayed in CW and how Marvel treats his portrayal in that movie? Like, when I watched it for the first time, I thought he was clearly in the wrong and acting in an unjustifiable manner. Same for other people who have watched it with me. But then I feel like a lot of Marvel people act as though it was "morally ambiguous situation" or as though "both sides were right" or whatever when that really, really was not the case AT ALL.
Oh I totally 100% agree with this. Like i get that they had to be kinda on the fence about it bc the concept of getting people to choose a side is what drove the marketing campaign, but from the way they were talking i was like hmm will i be swayed? Instead I walked into the room 100% Team Cap and somehow left the cinema even more Team Cap than before I saw the movie. I’d put this under a read more but it’s 3am and I’m on mobile so apologies, bc it’s gonna be long. I have a lot of things to say on this topic.
There was nothing morally ambiguous about it. There was no “both sides were right and wrong and it’s hard to choose”, like that mentality makes no sense to me. Or rather it does make sense, but I wish it didn’t.
Steve’s stance in this movie regarding the accords was about taking responsibility for your own actions. About having the power to choose only to use their enhanced abilities to help and do good. About owning the consequences of their actions if they choose to help. It was about not handing those consequences off to someone else. It was about not allowing people with agendas to potentially send them into a situation where they’re using there abilities to hurt rather than help. Which given what happened with SHIELD, you can’t exactly blame him for.
Tony’s stance regarding the accords was one that was much more driven by ego - something that drives a large amount of his decisions throughout the MCU at large as well as the rest of this film, as noted by Natasha. Tony felt guilty. He knew his choice to create Ultron against the suggestion of basically everyone is what led to the events in Sokovia. On top of that he gets cornered by a grieving mother who says she also blames him for the death of her son in Sokovia. Tony doesn’t want that guilt. He wants someone else to make the decisions for him. He wants someone else to say “yes you can be here” and “no you can’t go there” because that way, when things go well and they save the day with little to no casualties they get to be the heroes, they get the press. And we know Tony loves to be the showman, he loves the attention, bc as previously mentioned - he’s driven by ego. However when things do go wrong, he can appease his conscience by saying “I didn’t choose to be here, you gave me the order to be here, that choice was yours, that responsibility is on your shoulders.” - He wants the glory with none of the responsibility. He also wants the accords to cut down his workload so Pepper will come back to him. He literally says that. Tony stans are super quick to call Steve selfish for helping Bucky, but conveniently ignore the fact Tony says that Pepper left him bc he was spending too much time focused on the suits and being Iron Man, and he hoped the accords would give him a medium between the two so he could fix that.
And then there’s Steve and Bucky. I cannot physically wrap my head around the idea that people call Steve’s actions in this movie selfish. Especially given where Bucky ends up at the end of this movie. Steve’s actions were not dictated by the simple fact he wanted his friend back. They were dictated by the fact that no one else was trying to help him. No one else believed there was any world in which Bucky was innocent. No one else was trying to look out for him. And when has Steve ever done anything but look out for the little guy, the underdog? Even when he was the little guy, he was still looking out for anyone without someone in their corner. Had Steve made any choices different to the ones he had, Bucky would have died. Had he let someone else go to Bucharest to get him, Bucky would have been shot on sight, despite not being guilty. The government laughed at the idea of even giving Bucky a lawyer, they’d already decided his guilt, so had Steve handed Bucky over when Tony demanded, Bucky would have been given a trial by people that had decided his fate and already believed him a traitor to his country. He wasn’t being selfish, he was trying to save a life that no one else thought was worth saving.
Tony was so caught up in his stance being right, he didn’t even register that Steve had stopped even fighting about the Accords. When they met at the airport Tony was still there about the accords and about bringing them in, and he would not back down from that. Steve wasn’t there about that. And he told Tony this. He told him that Bucky hadn’t been the one behind the UN attack. He told him who actually was. He told him about the other soldiers in Siberia. He told him about Zemo travelling there and the danger posed if he activated 5 Winter Soldiers. He told him that he needed to get there before that happened. Steve was trying to do his job as an Avenger, to help people. Tony was too caught up in his own need to be right to realise that. Tony was willing to let all that shit happen rather than admit he was wrong.
And then at the end. When Zemo plays the video of The Winter Soldier killing his parents. Tony stans try and justify his reaction by saying it was instinctive. That he reacted to seeing the guy who killed his parents in front of him. But Tony stans just see what they want to see instead of what was actually there. Tony’s reaction was not to Bucky. His reaction was to Steve. He saw the video and he didn’t react. He asked Steve if he’d known, and when Steve says he hadn’t known it was him, he asks him again. And when Steve admits he had known, that’s when Tony reacts. That’s when Tony goes for Bucky. Which the writers have said was Tony recognising Bucky was the thing Steve loved most, and wanting to take it from him to hurt him for not telling him. He knows it wasn’t Bucky that killed his parents, he acknowledges it more than once, but he doesn’t care.
And Tony gets away with it. He gets excused for it. He breaks the rules of the accords he was so strongly in support of, and he gets off scot free. Meanwhile Sam and Clint and Scott and Wanda are locked in an underground prison cell. And it’s because Tony is the epitome of both White Male Privilege and Money Can’t Buy Everything But It Can Buy Anything. He’s rich, he’s powerful, he’s white, he’s male, and that means he does shitty things and gets away with it. He doesn’t have to worry about the consequences of his actions because his consequences are never so severe he can’t buy his way out.
You remember in Captain America: The First Avenger, Erskine says to Steve “A strong man, who has known power all his life may lose respect for that power. But a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows compassion”? Apply that to Tony and Steve in this movie because it explains the way they behave perfectly. Tony is the first man described. He grew up in wealth, he grew up in a powerful family with a powerful name, he always had privilege, and now in this film he wants to use that privilege to pass off the responsibility that comes with his power. Steve is the second guy. Who was the little guy, who had to fight for everything he got. Who lived majority of his life as the little guy, and even with his bigger body and new abilities, still has the mindset of the little guy. Still knows and remembers all too well what it was like not to have any sort of power at all, and how important it is to use that power to help the best way you can. And knows you have to be respectful of everything that comes with that power, including taking responsibility for it.
That was longer than i thought it would be so tl;dr - i agree, there was a HUGE disconnect between the marketing of it vs the reality of it in the film.
I’m writing a new post instead of reblogging this onebecause I want to respond to both @one-piece-of-harry and @thealextheshipper at the same time. First, I have a lot of feelings about Tony and Steve both, and will willingly admit that when the advertising for Civil War first started, I was one of the “Steve is absolutely right and Tony is absolutely wrong” people. I don’t think that anymore, of course, after seeing the movie, but I also think that was what the trailers were trying to do: make everything seem black and white, make it all seem so stark (*finger guns*). Of course it was more complex in the movie. They were both sometimes right, and they were both sometimes wrong, and there were moments when everything was so screwed up that nothing could be decided either way. I think that’s why I loved the movie.
Anyway, that aside, in response to your responses (which, thank you, by the way). If you want to read me rambling about the Tony/Steve dynamic, it’s under the cut.