Remember 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and the ultimate hero-on-hero battle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The movie set the pace for Infinity War and the eventual saga that culminated in the Avengers: Endgame. Civil War was a conflict between Tony and Steve – a conflict of opposing ethics that made it even more rememberable and twisted for Marvel fans. The movie saw Tony eyeing to keep the Avengers legitimate, signing the Sokovia Accords which permitted the government to oversee and control the Avengers – something that Steve Rogers refuses. The eventual fate of The Winter Soldier turns out to be the ultimate crack, as Tony fights for a greater good while Steve simply sacrifices all he has for an old friend, in desperate need of help.
The film presents a very balanced approach to both sides, showcasing them more as human beings with their own set of opinions than paragons of wrong and right. While Steve may have acted selfishly in saving his friend by foreseeing the greater good, Tony’s competence in making deals ends up in him, sacrificing his entire strength in the name of compromise.
Iron Man’s Advantages and Motivation
The Sokovia Accords came into the picture after an altercation in Nigeria where innocent Wakandans were killed. After meeting the mother of a boy killed in Age of Ultron – and having created Ultron, in the first place – Tony agrees to sign the Accords. We all know and acknowledge that Tony had made a lot of significant mistakes and is aware about how human all Avengers are. Moreover, the Sokovia Accords provided the Avengers with a UN backing, making them legitimate in a way that they cannot be private citizens and stops the government from going against the Avengers.
However, fortunately for Tony, all MCU powerhouses like Captain Marvel, Hulk and Thor wouldn’t have opted to agree to the Accords as they are all off-world. This leaves him with far more powerful heroes than Steve, including Spider-Man, Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther and War Machine. It’s an extremely powerful group and when backed with support from the UN, it stacks everything to Iron Man’s advantage.
Captain America’s Advantages and Motivation
While Steve Rogers symbolises patriotism and nationalism, he can be slightly anti-authoritarian. He had already exposed the corruption within the S.H.I.E.L.D. and had learned to fight for himself than depend on a government that didn’t care whether he lived or died and his determination to fight the war despite repeated denials proves that he does what he thinks is right regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels.
He would love to have some powerful heroes on his side but with Hulk and Thor engaged in the events of Ragnarok, he has to depend more on down-to-Earth heroes. This includes Hawkeye, Falcon, Buckey, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man. Apart from that, he relies heavily on a strategy to stop Zemo, even if it means Tony’s victory.
Winner: Capfain America
Civil War’s big tell happens to be Thunderbolt Ross, the man who has seemingly given up his days of hunting the Bulk and becoming the Secretary of the State. The whole idea of him deciding where the Avengers can act is problematic and backs up Steve’s cause in a way. Black Panther is another strong reason why Steve’s moral compass holds true. He is initially obsessed with avenging his father but later changes course when realizes that Zemo was behind his father’s death, and not Bucky. He even helps the Winter Soldier in healing in Wakanda and turns Zemo to the authorities.
As the king of a sovereign nation, T’Challa doesn’t have to ask for anyone’s permission to do anything – another point in Captain America’s favor. Even Tony crumbles at the end, blowing away Ross and taking his own route at the end of the film.
However, the most concrete proof appears in the first few minutes of Endgame where Black Widow says, “World governments are in pieces and the parts that are still working are trying to take a census.” The Snap rightfully proved Steve right because in a universe where so much evil is lurking, the good cannot always wait for permission.