Civil War came out on DVD and Blu-ray which if you are my normal audiences, should come as no surprise. I watched it, also no surprise, as a follow-up to Age of Ultron. In the theater, the movie was huge and overwhelming, and moved fast. On the small screen, it was a little more contained and free for reflection.
What struck me most this time was the complexity of the damage each of the characters is feeling and dealing with. This is no simple "we are angry and must fight!" This was all about family and the consequences of our actions, or our inactions. This was nigh Shakespearean.
Steve Rogers, weighed down with the death of Peggy Carter, his perceived failure of Bucky Barnes, and the deaths of innocents in Lagos, has no bend in him, and no trust for the treaty that is being proposed. He is losing what is left of the world he came from, and that makes him all the more determined to save Bucky. He is clad in red, white and blue, but it's a dark blue, and a blood red.
Diametrically opposed to him is Tony Stark, reeling from guilt over creating Ultron, his crumbling relationship with Pepper Potts, and never saying goodbye to his parents, favors the treaty as a balm, a way to shed the responsibility for all the blood he can never cleanse from his hands. In addition, Steve Rogers has been held up to him as an example for all his life, and he has been found wanting. His colors are red and gold.
Wanda Maximoff, in red and black, is mourning her twin, feeling the crush of her failure in Lagos, where her powers saved Cap, but her inexperience killed Wakandan citizens. She is also struggling with the question of whether she is still human, given her abilities.
|... I used to think of myself one way. But after this...|
The Vision, in magenta, green and gold, is struggling to find his place in a world where he is filled with knowledge, but poor in experience. He is striving to do the right thing, based on the mathematical truth he sees.
T'Challa, in black and silver, is carrying the weight of his family legacy, as well as his recent ascension to the throne, holding his dying father in his arms. Oddly, his colors are well matched to the man he believes to be his father's killer.
|Vengeance has consumed you. It's consuming them. I'm done letting it consume me. Justice will come soon enough.|
James Buchanan Barnes has a head full of confused memory and programming to kill. A victim, turned into a weapon, a man who has lost everything, his world, his self determination, even his self worth.
|I don't know if I'm worth all this to you.|
These are the primary drivers of the tragedy. Three pairs of people who will shake and shatter earths mightiest heroes when they collide.
Six people who will affect each other in ways that they can't predict.
Then we have the antagonists.
Thaddeus Ross, a career military man with a bias toward chain of command. He loosed a monster on New York, and loosed another to stop the one he created from his hatred. He claims to have gained perspective, but still can't tell the good guys from the bad. He sets the stage indifferently, applying rules for the sake of rules.
|You have fought for us, protected us, risked your lives. But while a great many people see you as heroes, there are some who would prefer the word "vigilantes".|
Helmut Zemo is filled with hate because of the deaths of his family. His is the shadowy hand that aims the protagonists at one another, to destroy from within. To be avenged upon the Avengers.
|An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again, but one which crumbles from within? That's dead... forever.|
And then we have the sidekicks.
James Rhodes has been a friend to Tony Stark through the worst and best of what he has been. Always faithful, not always approving, he backs the treaty 100% for the sake of accountability. In his world, he's a soldier, and knows that someone has to be responsible for collateral damage.
Sam Wilson has become the right hand of Steve Rogers. He backs every play, even when he doesn't agree fully. This doesn't make him a lackey, it just shows he trusts Steve to lead him into danger, and back out again,
|I just wanna make sure we consider all our options. The people that shoot at you usually wind up shooting at me.|
Big cast so far. right? And we are not done. We have the damage control, Clint Barton on Cap's team, Natasha Romanova on Iron Man's, trying to hold everything together and keep it from getting too messed up. Trying to make sure there is still a team, a family at the end. In some ways they have been with the Avenger initiative longer than anyone else. They are not the most powerful, but they are perhaps the most experienced.
Then we have the Ingenues, Spider-Man and Ant-Man, not invested in the struggle, just big fans and happy to be included. Their inexperience and sense of fun brings comic relief to the chaos around them.
|When you can do the things that I can, but you don't, and then the bad things happen? They happen because of you.|
|Jeez... Uh, look, I wanna say, I know you know a lot of super-people so... thinks for thanking of me.|
Shake, destroy an airport, and let simmer.
What began for Tony Stark as being about redemption becomes retribution for his parents. What began for T'Challa as vengeance becomes justice, as he realizes he almost killed the wrong man. What began as turmoil for Bucky becomes peace as he is given a place to rest and heal. James Rhodes is grievously injured and Cap's team is imprisoned in supervillain-jail.
Cap begins and ends being about protection of his friends, including protecting them from other, misguided friends. He lays down the shield that Tony's father made but extends an olive branch to Tony at the end, a letter and a phone to contact him. And Marvel Universe phase three begins with the Avengers, disassembled