• Total Nerd

The Heaviest Political Issues in Captain America: Civil War

List RulesVote up the controversial political topics you're most surprised to see Captain America tackle

This list looks at political topics in Captain America: Civil War and how the film plainly states what other, more "serious" film can't. At the heart of Marvel's Civil War is the idea that nothing good can come from the "You’re with me or against me" argument. The political theme of the movie is that disagreements can occur between people with similar ideologies, but who believe in different methods. It would simple to break the movie down intoT ony Stark and the government (the bad guys) against Captain America and his crew (the good guys). But almost everyone in the film is motivated by a desire to do the right thing and bring about their idea of peace.

Admittedly, this is a Captain America movie, so there’s a lot of explosions,  gratuitous shots of muscles, and fighting. But the film also delves into Captain America's politics and uses its ridiculous characters to examine real concerns. On the surface, it might seem like Cap’s recalcitrant attitude towards the UN is driven by his love for Bucky Barnes, but as the film progresses, it becomes obvious that Steve Rogers has a specific idea of what freedom is, and how he should be allowed to fight for it.

Captain America: Civil War takes on a lot of weighty issues, and you can vote up the ones you think it handles most intelligently.
  • 1
    48 VOTES

    The Polarization of American Politics

    Photo: Polar
    In 2016, America is in its most politically polarized era in recent memory, and the film welcomes comparisons to the contemporary culture war throughout. But there's a very important moment late in the film, when a character says that an empire toppled by its enemies can be rebuilt, but one that tears itself apart on its own is dead forever.
    Did they handle this well?
  • 2
    74 VOTES

    Government Overreach

    Photo: Disney
    The entire concept of making a group like the Avengers into a federally subsidized team of super soldiers is kind of silly (but in a scary way), and the UN's desire to put the heroes in a box until they need them is paralleled with the way Bucky and his Hydra super soldier crew were handled in the early '90s. This notion of the militarizing a team that exists for the public good also reflects the increasing in heavily-armed police forces throughout America.
    Did they handle this well?
  • 3
    46 VOTES

    Force vs. Diplomacy

    Photo: Disney
    This is a political ideal that isn't discussed enough in action films. Black Panther's discussion with his father makes the centrality of this clear enough, but more familiar characters also return to it again and again. Before the heroes split up and duke it our in Civil War, they do something incredibly interesting and have a conversation about how they should proceed. 
    Did they handle this well?
  • 4
    49 VOTES


    Photo: Disney

    Films like Born on the Fourth of July, and The Deer Hunter have shown the horrors of PTSD, but the characters pretty much just scream a lot before committing suicide. Civil War boasts  at least two very different depictions. Obviously, Bucky Barnes is tortured by guilt over the atrocities he's committed under HYDRA's control. The memories keep him withdrawn, isolating himself in order to save others he might harm as, essentially, a living weapon. 

    On the other hand, James Rhodes openly admits to Tony Stark in one of the final scenes that the things he did and saw while fighting in the Air Force are why he thinks it's important that the Avengers do what they do. Rhodes has compartmentalized his affliction and managed it overall, but the trauma of war is still very much a part of who he is. Those are only two sides to an incredibly nuanced disorder, but it shows that Marvel understands that everyone who suffers fro PTSD isn't the same. 
    Did they handle this well?