Superhero accountability is a pretty hot word (well, it’s technically two words, but let’s not get caught up in the nuances of grammar) right now. Batman v. Superman touched on this theme, and the central conflict of Civil war is based upon the very fact.
I know what you’re thinking – what exactly is superhero accountability? See, just like we as individuals are responsible for our actions and their consequences, the principle that superheroes should be too is known as superhero accountability.
When you think about it, it makes a ton of sense. We have these all-powerful beings among us exercising their powers, and while they save humanity in nearly every instance, the collateral damage is not inconsiderable. In fact, at times, it reaches a level of absurdness (ie. Man of Steel) that makes it inevitable for this theme to be touch upon.
The Sokovia Accords are one such attempt at establishing superhero accountability. While Man of Steel faces the most criticism with regards to its destruction, the truth is that Marvel movies aren’t far behind either. With the exception of Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Ant-Man and The First Avenger (exempted because it takes place in a different era and all destruction was human and happened in real life too), nearly every Marvel movie has indulged in the best of their Michael Bay-esque explosive tendencies.
This was most apparent in the Battle of New York, the finale of The Winter Soldier and most recently, Age of Ultron where the absurdity of the destruction surpassed Man of Steel.
But hey, you create a murderbot, you get a murderbot.
In Age of Ultron, Ultron destroyed nearly all of Sokovia and the loss of life and property finally woke the world up to the possibilities and consequences of all these powers and autonomy. The events of Age of Ultron could especially have been avoided if a regulation structure was in place that would have stopped Tony Stark from creating Ultron before he started.
Anyway, after the events of Sokovia, a document was passed which regulates the activities of these superpowered individuals and establishes boundaries as to how, why and when can they operate.
There are both positive and negative connotations to this.
If a regulation mechanism is in place, events like Sokovia can be avoided, as discussed, but can you imagine what would happen if there was another invasion, and the Avengers couldn’t react immediately due to the lack of proper clearance and jurisdiction? Who would explain that? Would the Government answer to the relative of every life lost and tell them their loved one died because the Government couldn’t clear The Avengers in time?
That’s what’s dividing Tony and Cap. While Tony thinks they need to be put in check, Steve actually realizes the negative connotations of the Accords (check out my full article about their ideological divide here!) and when his best man Bucky is in danger, things turn violent.
While it remains to be seen if the Sokovia Accords carry the same weight in the movie as the Superhuman Registration Act did in the comics, there’s no reason it shouldn’t because it touches on a timely topic that deserves to be fully explored.
Civil War is out on 6th May (or 29th April, depending on your region) and it couldn’t come sooner.
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