Sunday Roundtable: Team Cap or Team Iron Man and Why?

JLA Roundtable rawSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

This week it’s a simple question, Team Cap or Team Iron Man? Most importantly, why?

Janine: Here’s my “review” which is obviously all wiseassery, but I stand by my final judgement #teamironman

“Captain America: World Police was pretty good. I don’t love that they let the third Olsen twin into the Justice League any more than I like Jeremy Re…See More

Brett: I saw you post that and was howling with laughter.

Janine: Lol, yay! I also feel like Captain is the superman of Marvel, and I’m not one for Superman.

Elana: Cap is not suposed to be Superman though. He’s a product of NYC and a specific left wing politics. Here’s my fave explanation (as explained by our guest this week, Steven Attewell)

PS I love your review Janine.

Troy: Team Cap. That the government would assume it has tactical or moral superiority to decide action on super natural and super human threats to me is a dangerous ignorance. To quote the impeccable Nick Fury . “I decided not to argue with the God who did.” When arguing about Thor’s decision to take the Tesseract. That to me encapsulates the folly of the Sokovia accords.

Ashley: I honestly came out of the movie down the middle. In the case of the MCU, the Avengers do need oversight, but the Sokovia Accords honestly did not seem to be the right way to go about it. Perhaps I should just say “Team Black Panther.”

Troy: I think a lot of the lingering questions left in Civil War set up Black Panther perfectly. I am very curious about how the insular Wakanda would deal with a super-powered incursion, proposed oversight, or even espionage. Politically BP’s involvement in the MCU conflict made me curious, as did his actions during AvX. “Not in my backyard” politics is always a one way, hyprocritical endeavour and when you tick off a country with as big of a stick as you yield, it always invites reprisal. But yes whatever side the movie made you land on….these themes may not be over just yet.

Ryan: Team neither one. I know I’m in a minority with this view, but I don’t feel like “Civil War” did much to address the underlying reasons behind the philosophical rift in any meaningful way. The differences played out like a plot device to separate the heroes into two “camps” for the purposes of fighting each other, which is fine as far as it goes, but didn’t give me enough by way of an emotional or intellectual reason to firmly side with either group.

Brett: I reread the comic after seeing the film and it completely changed my view of the comic, it actually was much more focused on the issue itself, unlike the film which I think is more like you describe. Plus, there’s a line about killing Goliath that is so dark and different reading it today versus 2006.

Elana: I think you are largely right Ryan. The movie was not about politics. The movie was about interpersonal relationships. I enjoyed it none the less. But it is not a political debate established in the movie. Since the debate in the comics wasn’t exactly well written I’m not sure how to think about that.

Ryan: Here’s my full review of the film for anyone even remotely interested.

Madison: I see both sides to the argument–while I get the desire for oversight, it would also, in theory, not work for a lot of the reasons Cap listed. What I’m more interested in are Tony’s motivations. I saw a post that slammed him for starting this whole fight over a child being killed in Sokovia and then dragging another child into the mix without telling him the hows or whys. I think this was more about Tony growing more and more desperate to find a fix for his grief and his guilt, because throwing money at things can work for so long. I’d like to propose that they postpone Infinity War so everyone can go to therapy and deal with their grief in a healthy way. (Because, arguably, that’s kind of what motivates Cap, too.)

I’m probably reading way too much into this, but I also don’t want to think that the Russos would be lazy enough to write Tony off as so “who gives a crap” about children.

Ashley: Tony’s obviously got some PTSD he’s not properly dealing with.

Steven: Although I may be bias since I write under the surname Steve Roger I am team Cap. Steve Roger’s is the ultimate do gooder, he won’t do something that’s not right. Unfortunately sometimes there are casualties that’s what happens in war ( which is very unfortunate). Hawkeye is the same way as is the falcon and scarlet witch…..ant-man is interesting since he is a former felon but has good ideals. The world is safer when super heroes are free to take care of any major threats that are out there. I think Tony stark is way out of line

Sarah: Team Bruce Banner: I’ll be in Madripoor doing something useful until all you idiots work out your issues.

Brett: And Thor is off getting drunk in Asgard.

Alex: I wouldn’t say no if Thor offered me some mead.

Brett: I would. I’ve read too many stories where that goes off the rails.

Alex: Touche

Elana: I’m sure we will dig in to this more on our next episode of the podcast with Amanda Marcott, but honestly I found the whole #TeamCap vs #TeamIronman to be insulting. It is good marketing. But it makes the fight trite. Either you believe its a debate between two serious political positions or it’s a debate that destroys a friendship and the lives of others (Rhodey!).

Alex: As a marketing tool, it’s great. But I agree with you when you say it reduces the impact of the choices within the movie. Both sides have their merits, and by suggesting a choice between either Cap or Iron Man you’re not acknowledging that.

Elana: But we really concluded that ultimately this movie is about a conflict between characters based on their relationships and not based on their ideologies. I’m not going to compare Cap’s pain to Tony’s pain. They all have pain. I just want everyone to hug it out now.

Madison: I totally agree! In the end it seemed like the Accord stuff was surface level, but in reality everyone was trying to figure out how to work out their grief, and doing it badly.

Elana: as someone who lives for politics it is disappointing that the movie refused to actually take politics seriously. Luckily I enjoy watching men work out their feelings — and that is largely what this movie delivered on beyond the wonderful set piece fight scenes. God the fight scenes were good!

Madison: Black Panther’s triple kick was one of my favorite things. I wish Supergirl had the budget for Civil War’s fight coordinators.

Elana: Of course in the comics its Team Cap all the way because Iron Man was freaking fascist and despicable. And the accords as written in the comics were way over the top beyond Sekovia Accords in the movies.

Alex: I felt that the movie did a better job making Tony’ pro-registration position more understandable than the comics. I found myself agreeing a lot with Black Widow when she said (paraphrased) “sign it, and then fight the good fight. Ignore them then.”

John: Oh man, I have so many feelings about this.

What I love about the comic version of the conflict (although I understand there’s a lot of critique), is that there’s many nuances, but one perspective is that it’s about ends and means. To be more than reductive, I (and many progressives) tend to reject the “ends justify the means” argument. But what Tony and Reed and others are trying to posit isn’t about process, it’s that they can all come to only one conclusion after the reality show disaster–terrible violence and horror.

To answer the question more directly, I remain Team Cap always and forever, but I can’t help but be troubled by the idea that it might be a principled but actually-heartless move–what if pursuing the “most free” choice also happens to ignore the actual safety and security of entire worlds?

Brett: There is something very “American foreign policy” about it when you put it that way.

John: Brett, ha, even as I was typing it, part of me was like AM I MAKING THE EQUALLY TROUBLING ARGUMENT THAT WE SHOULD CURTAIL PERSONAL LIBERTIES FOR NATIONAL SECURITY…

But to be a little bit more apples to apples, I think the better analogy might be gun control, although that obviously grossly dehumanizes super- and metahumans.

Brett: Just invade Latveria after loose connections between Doom and Hydra are a slam dunk according to SHIELD.

John: Brett “Mission Accomplished!”

Brett: “You’re doing a heck of a job Fury.”

John: SOMEONE MAKE THESE MEMES

Brett: Fury Heck of a JobAnd with that, we wrap up this discussion! Sound off with what you think below in the comments readers.