No spoilers ahead!
I’m not a big fan of Tony Stark; usually I find him egoistical, whimsical, chaotic and dangerously inpredictable. Well, it looks like he agrees with me on that matter. On the other hand, I used to be rather firmly on Captain America’s side, as it happened to be the more “lawful good” one; you know, public good, society’s benefit, and peace on Earth.
Somehow, in Civil War, it’s no longer that easy. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’re aware that the plot of the movie resolves around two main points:
- the idea that superheroes should not be above the law,
- Captain’s quest of redeeming Bucky Barnes’ reputation, and saving him from any prosecution.
I’m not going to discuss the latter in much detail, as there would be spoilers. I’ll satisfy my need to share my opinion by saying only this: that’s a fool errand, and a bit of goodwill and communication (plus taking into account the existence of technology, like [careful, it is a massive spoiler!] THIS), would solve all problems easily and without any wars. Sorry, I’m just really tired of miscommunication used as a plot device. If you’d just sit and talked to each other!
Anyway, back to number one. The team of law-abiding superheroes, who agree with the notion of putting themselves under some supervision, consists of Ironman, Warmachine, Black Widow, Vision, Black Panther (kind of) and Spiderman (he’s just happy to see all of his heroes up close). Of those six, some are actually thinking of law and order, some of guilt, some of revenge – as usual. And then there’s Natasha who’s first and foremost a spy and strategian, regardless of all her survivior’s guilt, assassin’s guilt and all other guilts or remorses.
Why I’m on Team Ironman? Oh well, because I do not have any superpowers, and in case of superheroes existing I’d like them all registered and governed, thank you very much. Mutants as well, sorry X-Men. I don’t want to have shapeshifters, phasers and demigods impersonating politicians, extracting information, or even saving me from supernatural threats they’re attracting. Without. Any. Supervision. Or. Responsibility. I hate vigilantes. It always leads to lynches.
But even without my personal opinion, registration and putting themselves under some external authority is the only option, really. Let’s think for a moment about a superhero group like Avengers; how do they operate?
- Private sector, sponsored by Stark Industries or something similar;
- Private sector, an organisation like S.H.I.E.L.D;
- Public sector, ruled by US government;
- Public sector, ruled by multinational organisation like UN.
Option one is what Avengers are at the beginning of Civil War. They’re running free, picking their own battles (on what grounds?) even on territories of independent countries, all of the damage is either unpaid or paid by Stark’s company – which would very quickly drive him to bankrupcy; I don’t care he’s a multibillionaire, money does not work like this. And Pepper, as the CEO, would probably just punch Tony in the face. The Avengers as a private group are also extremely easy to sue by virtally anyone who happened to have their car/clothes/house damaged or destroyed during any fight. It’s USA, they would be sued. I understand that Tony Stark has the best lawyers, but – again – law does not work like this.
Option two, quasi-governmental organisation with resources and political power. I’ll say just one thing: agendas. Any group working for an organisation like that would be subject to many agendas, most of them either completely unknown to the group or known, but only partially. Both options are not ideal. And well, you know: Hydra.
Option three, government. That would result in World War III. It’s bad enough if a country possesses an atomic bomb; a squad of superheroes or normal soldiers in super-powered suits would result in arms race, and on an epic scale. More than that, any country which does not possess a superhero squad would feel threatened by mere presence of superheroes (come on, one of them is called Warmachine! I dare you to tell me that his sole purpose is defending the less fortunate). Actually, as the group would have to be considered a military force, its appearance on other’s country territory could be recognised as an attack; and rightly so! Just imagine that on US soil there’s suddenly a group of Chineese superheroes trying to catch a villain, they claim coming in peace, but at the same time proceed to destroy three blocks of Manhattan – 97 injured, 23 dead. Personally, I’d be terrified any country has a force like that. On the plus side, superheroes are theoretically just following orders, so it saves them from legal troubles and paying for damage; that also means it’s paid by taxpayers.
Option four, UN or other global organisation. Truth is, UN is mostly powerless at this point. And it would be ridiculous to keep a task force that would have to sit and wait for UN resolution to even heed into direction of any threat. For this to work, there’d have to be a system allowing for quick decision-making; but it’s XXI century, we can do that much! Having a bunch of superheroes subject to multinational organisation, having them as an official task force ready to deploy in case of threat to humanity, would make preserving world peace (not that we have one) much easier. Having it as a loose cannon makes it impossible for official police or military troops to do their jobs; how can you plan an action to take down some terrorists if you cannot be sure no superhero will arrive at the most dramatic moment? Ah, actually you could sue them for not arriving. Or for arriving. Whatever’s appropriate in given situation.
Putting themselves under a global organisation is actually the only logical choice. It helps with legal matters; it helps with financial matters; it doesn’t make them governmental puppets; it’s not a casus belli. True: there could be situations when superheroes won’t be allowed to join the fight, when they’d be told to stay back. But, you see, that’s how it should be. There’s more fights and more threats on Earth than superheroes. The threats are created by normal – non-super – people and they should be the ones to resolve them. Let’s keep supersoldiers and artificial-intelligence-in-flesh ready for Thanos or Loki, or Apocalypse. And fight our own battles.
Oh, and let’s make a Black Widow movie, okay? And make it a good one. It’s long overdue.