One of the more consistent bits of snark I've encountered, during the build up to this movie, has been how it seemingly has little to do with the grandeur of Marvel's original Civil War comic book series. Those critical have pointed out how there are far fewer characters involved, which cripples the sheer scale of the events, and that bringing Bucky into the fold as what most gets between Cap and Tony, on an emotional level, makes the whole thing come off like some petty little melodrama. For the purists out there, [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) doesn't seem to be Marvel's Civil War at all.
These people are quite right.
Because you see, Cap's not actually choosing Bucky over Tony; he's deciding between the worlds each of them come from. Bucky is the old world, his old world. That world of honor, conviction, and decency Cap was taken away from, and has never really gotten over.
And what happened to Bucky in his almost seventy year absence? Well, his effortlessly reliable, best boyhood friend had his very identity hijacked by the modern world that came to replace theirs; his good heart was eroded away to the point of absolute corruption... just like Cap is secretly terrified his is in the process of further becoming, every minute of every day he's forced to deal with that world.
And who, more than anyone else, is the living, breathing embodiment of this new, soul-corrupting world? The one Cap is stuck with, despite his quiet, eternal protestations?
That would be Tony Stark, of course. The guy Cap has never gotten along with or trusted... the guy Cap had to tolerate and work with because of a situation he had no control over... the guy who's never seen an angle he wasn't willing to work... the guy who needed to build a literal, impenetrable suit of armor simply to deal with the screwed up issues he freaking created... the guy who's just decided to put everyone else in check as a response to the terrible events in Sokovia which he set off by flippantly making Ultron in the first place... the guy seemingly incapable of ever being as steady and true as someone like Bucky.
So yea, of course Cap feels compelled to stand by his old friend, the only remaining relic of everything Cap had stripped away, his sense of moral clarity resting highly and comfortably above all else. Why wouldn't he innately prefer to go down with that particular ship, rather than continue to engage in the moral calculation and compromise he sees - and feels tainted by - every moment of every day from all those around him? Even his new friends?
How could he possibly be expected to quickly and casually toss Bucky and the world they both came from aside, in favor of whatever else Tony is offering in our new one? Even if it really isn't the decision he should be making? Who or what could possibly be there to help him work through this entire ordeal? How in the hell is he supposed to come to terms with all of these powerful, palpable elements swirling around inside of him?
In other words, yes, this isn't Marvel's Civil War. It's Cap's.