“While many view you as heroes, there are some who prefer the term: vigilante….people are afraid.” (Thaddeus Ross, Civil War)
Of course people are afraid. Why? Because they have people like you running government! You want to know what is terrifying, sir? A world where there are Avenger-free zones because they are buried in red tape and paperwork.
Ross proceeds in this nauseating scene to slap the Avengers on the hand by showing a video montage of all of their massive “disasters”. Let’s review these disastrous events one by one and look at them objectively from a purely logical standpoint.
New York: An alien invasion led by an adopted magician with a chip on his shoulder. Oh, and a nuclear warhead that was just thrown in for good measure by a “legal” organization, SHIELD aka Hydra. How were the Avengers involved? They were begged, hunted down, and collected from their everyday lives to come and fight a battle they did not create. And they kicked rear, big time! Not only did they destroy the aliens, the portal, and the nuclear warhead, but they also managed to do it with as little destruction and casualties as possible. Sure, go ahead and cry over some broken glass, Ross.
D.C. The Triskellion: This was really Steve, Natasha, and Sam’s baby. What did they do? They discovered that the most evil organization on the face of the earth had grown up inside of SHIELD and was about to come out with a grand gesture: the murder of over 20 million people. But good gracious, Steve, those buildings and hellicarriers cost billions, how dare you drop them into the Potomac?
Sokovia and Ultron: This incident was the closest thing to the kind of horrifying event that Ross infers have been all of the Avenger’s battles. Here, I agree with him that what happened in Sokovia was awful. But that’s not on the Avengers, that is on the one-and-only Tony Stark who made the murder bot in the first place. If you want to blame someone, blame Stark. Don’t you dare make him your poster boy for following the “rules”. Despite it being Tony’s fault, guess what team showed up with the motto no one left behind? Yes, let’s regulate these folks to protect the innocent.
Nigeria and the bomb: This was a tragic event where innocent people died. The Avengers were saddened by the experience, especially Wanda. She tried so hard to not skip a beat; however, humans are not perfect and sometimes we make mistakes. But the very idea of Avengers being given the blame for this incident is so ridiculous it’s embarrassing. Why were they in Nigeria in the first place? An evil villain was planning an attack so that he could steal a biological weapon. I repeat, a biological weapon that could kill millions. And naturally, the Avengers were called in as they are literally the only beings capable of handling this kind of situation. Things got hairy and one of them slipped when she was trying to keep a marketplace and her team leader from blowing up. The real icing on the cake is that these Accords were dreamed up and created by individuals who probably struggle to make it to the gym once a year; and yet, they feel qualified to critique someone who is performing the impossible on a regular basis.
Are these vigilantes? Are they choosing situations based on personal vendettas? Are they going out with no regard for life and consequences to further their agendas? Do they randomly misuse their power to further their own designs?
No, that would be the politicians. They call on the Avengers to perform the impossible and then critique them for not being “perfect”. They cite, “The percentage of conflicts since the introduction of Iron Man, blah, blah, blah.” Crazy and evil people with big tech and big superpowers would have risen up whether there were any Avengers around or not. Maybe the large number of conflicts exist because there were actually some good and powerful people who were available to do the impossible.
Taking away good people’s freedom is an old and foolish concept. Trying to control forces beyond your ability is vain and dangerous. Forcing good people to be regulated more than they need only enables the bad guys.
So why did some good guys choose #teamtony and the Accords? Well, Tony was driven by his guilt for Ultron. Tony is like a pendulum, he reacts and then makes drastic choices out of those reactions. Rhodes; I am not as familiar with him, but where Tony goes, he follows. Vision; Vision is still learning to be less the formal AI and more the human, but he’ll get there. T’Challa only chose #teamtony as the best way to get vengeance on the man he thought killed his father. Black Widow is severely practical, and she saw the Accords as a way to perhaps get back in the good graces of the world (or, at least the projected percentage of the population which according to Ross, “are afraid”.) But Widow is a spy first, and one of the few people she trusts is Steve. When she found out the truth, she had no qualms about switching allegiances. Spiderman? He just did what Tony said. More on that tomorrow. Needless to say, I think the only member of #teamtony who still agreed with the Accords at the end of the movie was Rhodes. But we’ll give him some extra grace because he’s healing from a severe injury and is likely still under the influence of medication.
All of this to point out what many Marvel fans have agreed upon: the Accords are a waste of paper. Feel free to be self-important all that you want, Ross and Co; meanwhile, my back door is always open to any disheveled Avenger. They are welcome to clean up using my good towels and I will happily make them a big breakfast.
As for Ross and Friends, I feel that they need to do something worthwhile with all of the paper they used to print out the Accords. After all, many good and honest trees gave their life for that material. I recommend origami, paper airplanes, or perhaps using the Accords to light a bonfire for s’mores at the large apology cookout you should host for the Avengers.
Tomorrow, more on Spiderman and Steve.