Now that all the hype surrounding civil war has essentially died down. It’s time to talk about the more intellectual side of a movie which mainly consists of people hitting each other with magic, arrows, shields, magic fingers… you get the point.
The movie was good, and one of the reasons why it was so good (to me at least) was that they actually gave us a semi-decent explanation behind why this great chasm is being formed in between earth’s mightiest heroes.
For all three people who haven’t seen the movie, Iron Man wants the Avengers to be part of the UN to allow for greater oversight and Captain America doesn’t like that because he’s an ideological microcosm of American culture and values (and we know how they feel about the UN telling them what to do *wink* *wink* Iraq). This quarrel puts us, the viewer, in a sort of moral quandary because both Cap and Stark are both, as the kids say, “bae”. They are both the flagship heroes of the MCU and choosing between basically comes down to who you like more, which is a bad way to take a side in a civil war.
So the point of this is to explain from a political theory perspective why you should be on team Cap and why Iron Man secretly supports his former bestie.
The main argument for the Avengers to go under the UN supervision is that they cause too much damage to the rest of the world. The Hulk’s best friend Thunderbolt Ross shows them a couple of videos where the Avengers caused unprecedented harm and wanton destruction.
The first one is New York the scene of the first Avengers. Because of actions which took place even before the inception of the group New York was under attack by a bunch of aliens. If we do the counterfactual, we would realize this had nothing to do with the Avengers and that if the Avengers never existed earth would probably under Thanos’s rule (on the bright side at least we get to see more than 10 seconds of him). If we go even deeper, we would remember that the World Security Council ordered nukes to be dropped on New York which would have been way worse and according to Nick Furry was a “stupid ass decision.”
No civilians were hurt in the Winter Solider and if the Avengers weren’t in Lagos everything would have been a lot worse.
The last part which describes the events of Avengers 2 is probably their case in arguing than the Avengers need supervision. This is because of Ultron, unlike other threats was built at the hands of Iron Man and therefore all damage he does falls on Tony Stark. But again let’s do the counterfactual. What would the Avengers be under UN supervision change in creating Ultron? I would venture to say not much.
Under all those scenarios the only thing that the UN would do would be to get in the way of the Avengers because all of those scenarios are emergencies. So are you going to tell me that every time something big happens the Avengers need to wait for people to convene then vote on what to do. That would only make the Avengers less efficient and wouldn’t cause less damage.
So regarding the causation, the Vision is talking about I don’t see (because there is none). Of course, we know the reason all of this stuff happens because Marvel makes them happens, but making the Avengers part of the UN doesn’t change that and it just makes them ill-prepared to handle it.
The real reason countries want to assimilate the Avengers is because of power. Power is the linchpin of our current belief structure. Power is also a zero sum game meaning that the more power the Avengers have, the less everyone else has. For most of the lower powers that isn’t so much of a problem because they maintain their sphere of influence. The problem comes because the Avengers are now a threat to the world hegemon, the United States of America.
Obviously, the United States cannot just roll up into Avengers mansion and arrest them because for the first time in centuries the US military is simply not powerful enough to contend with the likes of demigods, Iron Suits and whatever Vision is (I made this joke before Screen Junkies). Didn’t you wonder why Ross was so eager to put them in superhero hero Guantanamo? So since the use of force is no longer a viable option, they turn to a softer form of power.
So the world hegemon does what it does best, coerce Global Civil in order do their bidding for it. They force the UN to use diplomacy and put the Avengers in a place where they cannot threaten American interests.
We currently live in the age of the individual, no other time in human history was the action of a single person so valuable. The Avengers is just taking this new age to the nth degree. The last time the US tried to take control of an Avenger was in the terrible Iron Man 2. They did so via the use of force which didn’t turn out so well. During this time Iron Man, yes Iron Man gave the best argument as to why he and he alone should be allowed to do whatever he wants.
“The world is experiencing it’s longest period of uninterrupted peace because of [him]”.
“Because [Iron Man] is your nuclear deterrent, it’s working, we’re safe, America is secure”.
He is right.
For the first time in human history, there is a force so far beyond the realm of existence it is literally science fiction. The point of global civil societies which the Avengers are is supposed to facilitate the interactions of states. Usually, because these global civil societies have no military force or hard power as it were, they cannot enforce their ideals efficiently and universally. We do not need to mention all the times that UN peacekeeping groups failed in their mission and the other times where government intervention was either too slow or didn’t work at all.
The world is anarchical in nature and if tomorrow North Korea wanted to nuke everyone in North Korea they could and technically legally we couldn’t do anything, and neither would people want to do anything. This is where the Avengers come in, they have structural power. They have the ability to control how things are done. They have the potential to break international law (rightfully so) and disregard the current balance of power in the world in order to do what is right.
The only reason you would be for the Sakovia Accords, in the paraphrased words of Kanye West, “No [team of heroes] should have all that power”. But if you think about it corrupting the Avengers is much more complicated than corrupting a member state of the United Nations. Think Winter Soldier, think how easy it might be for a malevolent party to continue to block the attempts of the Avengers.
Hope you guys learned a thing or two
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