Captain America: Civil War is perhaps the most exciting film of the year, bringing two old friends and allies into a head-on collision course with each other! But did this come out of the blue? Or was it inevitable that these two characters would eventually wage war on one another?
The reality is, #Marvel have been building up to this for a long time. There's an ongoing story in the #MCU - running all the way from 2008's Iron Man - that would inevitably lead us to this film. So fasten your seat belts, as we look at the reasons behind the Civil War!
Team Iron Man
"I am Iron Man."
When Tony Stark said those words, he let the genie out of the bottle - the world was awakened to the reality of powerful metahumans. Ever since the death of Captain America, S.H.I.E.L.D. had ensured superhumans kept a low profile; but hot on the heels of Tony's announcement you had a Hulk/Abomination brawl in Harlem, followed by Thor taking on the Destroyer in New Mexico.
In a sense, the events of The Avengers - where the world saw the Avengers assemble against an invading alien army - were inevitable. From the outset, people began to whisper disturbing questions; what gave these men and women the right to wield power above ordinary men? How could we be confident that superhumans wouldn't abuse their power?
At first, the answer to the question was S.H.I.E.L.D.; but S.H.I.E.L.D. came crashing down in flames in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They were publicly revealed to have been infiltrated by Hydra, and when Black Widow appeared before a Senate Committee she was defiant. She calmly told the Senate they had no choice but to accept the Avengers; because they needed them.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was a milestone moment for the world, as they first saw two Avengers wreck an entire city in battle against one another, and then saw a Sokovian city destroyed by Ultron - #IronMan's creation. Ultron had been created in part as an answer to this issue; Tony Stark intended to create a planetary defence mechanism that would leave superheroes redundant, and that, governed by logic alone, wouldn't make questionable judgement calls and thus wouldn't need oversight. It was a machinesmith's solution to the problem, in that it would never have worked; but, of course, it went far worse than Stark could ever have predicted.
The reality is that the world is stuck with the status quo - superheroes exist, and there needs to be some way to hold them accountable. So Stark has invested his genius (and his money) in supporting the implementation of the Sokovia Accords, giving the Avengers political oversight, and creating the Raft as a prison for metahumans who break the law.
It makes sense.
Team Captain America
"He's my friend."
Where Tony Stark is a man of logic, #CaptainAmerica is a man of passion. His heroism is based on his belief in the American Dream - in a sense, he's the living embodiment of it. He was a two-stone weakling, but was transformed into the living legend of World War II. Because of his weakness, his central character trait is compassion.
It's also important to remember that, only a few years ago in his experience, Captain America was fighting for freedom. He was on the front lines of battle against the most brutal totalitarian regime the world has ever known, and he knew throughout that he was fighting for the freedom of all men and women. What was more, he was not only chosen for this role; he chose it because of what is in his heart. He could never stand back and watch evil men achieve their ends. Captain America triumphed, but at a cost; he was put in suspended animation, and awoke in our own time.
The most incredible development between then and now, both in the real world and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is technology. Captain America awoke to a world of CCTV cameras, flat-screen TVs, International Space Stations, and instant global communication across the Internet. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he learned that Hydra had not been defeated; rather, they had been subtly guiding the world's development to a point where they could achieve their aim by stealth.
Hydra's ultimate goal was to establish a totalitarian regime where everybody was being watched. Project Insight would execute any who threatened it - whether Tony Stark or Stephen Strange - and leave the world safe and peaceful, under Hydra's control. Peaceful; but not free. While freedom presents risks, for Captain America, freedom is the only way to live.
I have no doubts that Captain America would have opposed the Ultron project just as much as he will the Accords; both, to his mind, establish authoritarian regimes that restrict freedom.
The Winter Soldier - The Catalyst
We know that there's going to be yet another disaster (rumors are that the Scarlet Witch is heavily involved in it). In the wake of this, it looks as though Captain America's Avengers are shut down (or, at least, certain key members are). But in spite of this, if Steve Rogers sees a need, he will always step in.
That need appears to be fulfilled in the person of the Winter Soldier. For Steve Rogers, motivated by loyalty and compassion, he simply can't abandon his friend. Even if he is no longer officially sanctioned. That action brands him an outlaw under the Accords.
Iron Man, meanwhile, has a personal stake in having the Winter Soldier held accountable for his crimes; they include the assassination of Stark's own parents. So it is that Iron Man and Captain America wind up going head-to-head, and matters will swiftly escalate.
It's one thing to have an ideological disagreement, but this open conflict is because emotions are running wild. For Captain America, this is about a human responsibility to fight for freedom and protect those who had no self-choice behind their actions. For Iron Man, it's about accountability and justice against the man who murdered his parents.
So those are the two perspectives. Here's the question: