When it comes to the Avengers, many of us take on different opinions on who and what we love about the iconic films. With so many powerful characters it’s sometimes hard to choose which of them is your favourite. The first six will always have a place in our hearts: from Captain America opening the show back in the forties becoming the first augmented human leading the war to the (though we didn’t know it at the time) temporary defeat of Hydra and the Red Skull; to Iron Man carving his way to hero-dom in a cave in Afghanistan and (though more personal than most villains) destroying the cancer that was the Iron Monger, Obadiah Stane. Though these two powerful personalities seem to the be statement of the Avengers, we cannot forget about the other four mixed in between.
Thor begins his journey as an arrogant, conceited warmonger only to be humbled by his banishment on Earth, learning to be better in time to save his home from his brother’s maddened schemes. Often his boisterous personality and larger than life actions act as part of his charm and bring optimism and life to the seriousness that permeates the founding six. Hawkeye and the Black Widow bring a darker side to the team, both coming from outside the confines of the law before being given a second chance from SHIELD; with Black Widow coming from the indoctrination of the Russian Red Room and Hawkeye handpicked off the streets by Fury for his marksmanship (though not used in the MCU, those who love the comics know that Barton learned his skills in a Circus). Finally, the original team is finished off by Bruce Banner’s giant mistake in the form of the Hulk, who came about due to Banner’s own mishap when experimenting with the Super Solider Serum. Believed to be an unstoppable “rage monster”, the Hulk proved his ability to learn and listen, fighting well with the Avengers and often times becoming the reason the scales tipped in their favour. We saw these six come together and overcome insurmountable odds back in 2012 and we have followed them to hell and back as they have gained and lost members and fought and lost wars.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
But between the main Avenger’s films, the MCU has given us many great side films following the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America each bringing to the table something new that adds yet another layer to this incredible world created for us. Yet, despite so many films (all 22 in fact), there is one particular film that stands out the most as being quite possibly the most controversial of all; that is, of course, Captain America: Civil War. This film saw the Avengers split apart, leaving them weaker than they had ever been before, with some of the team on the run from the law with the other half left behind to clean up the mess.
But what was it about Civil War that made it so controversial? The storytelling wasn’t the greatest in this film, often times themes, characters and storylines were rushed or skipped over to tick all the narrative boxes which gave us many open ended plot points and things that didn’t quite make sense. I hate to say it, but we see a butchery of Steve Roger’s character in his later feature length because the Russo brothers tried too hard to build up to their vision for Infinity war, and didn’t spend enough time adapting a story that actually illustrated who Steve Rogers is. He’s supposed to be a moral, idealistic, righteous and loyal man, chosen for his stand-up values and ideas.
In this film we see him spit in the face of the government, with no effort to compromise, ignore the rule of law and lie to a teammate and friend all to meet his own ends. Were the Accords perfect? No, of course not, but then again, no law is. Besides, you don’t have to like a law to have to follow it, I’m sure many of us know of laws we think are ridiculous, but we follow them because it’s illegal not to and we’d get in trouble if we didn’t. Yet, Rogers seems confused that the authorities are sent after his friend and his teammates end up locked up for breaking the law. Yes, he wanted to protect Bucky Barnes, and yes Bucky was indeed innocent, but anyone with a brain can tell you that many people get arrested for things they have not done, and it would have only taken a short investigation for the authorities to find that out. Plus, Barnes was an unstable ex-Hydra assassin (willing or not), legally he should have been brought in years ago, where he could have had his day in court where it could have been proven that he was not responsible for his actions during his time in Hydra. But in Civil War, Steve “I do the right thing” Rogers decides his word is enough to declare Bucky innocent and anyone who says otherwise is therefore wrong. Then again, it does seem to be a theme for Steve to ignore those in charge when it comes to Bucky Barnes, after all, it was what got him his Captain rank in the first place back in “The First Avenger”.
The Problem with Stevie
Unfortunately, it’s not just outside influences that seem to ruin Steve Rogers in Civil War. He’s supposed to be honest, trustworthy and loyal, this is what we expect of him and it’s built up over the course of multiple films – we even see him chide Tony Stark in Age of Ultron with the now famous line “sometimes my team mates don’t tell me things”. However, deep in a Siberian Bunker we find out that Rogers has been hiding a rather nasty secret of his own, and not one that can be so easily overlooked like the Russo brothers try to do. The look on Tony Stark’s face as he watches his parents’ murder at the hands of the Winter Solider is both an accurate representation of horror and grief, and a superb piece of acting by RDJ.
What’s worse, we quickly find out that Steve Rogers, the pinnacle of honesty and loyalty, knew about it and had not told Tony making him well deserving of the hit Iron Man lays on him. The irony of his line from AoU is not lost on anyone after this revelation. As it’s a Captain America film, it’s obviously slanted to have Cap come out as the one in the right, but we can’t do this with this film because our beloved character has been taken apart and changed into someone who only has one goal. Not only that, but the creative license the Russo’s take with the story outright deletes previously established facts and characteristics created in past MCU films. We see the Scarlet Witch throw her second chance away by putting the Vision through multiple floors and Hawkeye run off from his family, though he’s supposed to be retired, to save a grown woman who doesn’t seem to understand consequences are a real thing. Falcon seems to ignore the fact that the Air Force has a code of conduct and acts like the UN asking them to be responsible for the damage they cause is an offence to his delicate sensibilities, while Black Widow makes a surprising decision to back the Accords only to betray Iron man’s team later (which now that I think about it is actually quite in line with her character).
The final battle between Iron Man, Captain America and the Winter Solider is the best example of contradiction. We’ve seen the Iron Man armour take multiple beatings, including taking many direct hits from Thor and his hammer in the first Avengers film and be hit full on when Steve threw the Shield at Tony in AoU, and still be functional and relatively undamaged yet somehow the same Shield does 10x the damage and cleaves straight through the Arc Reactor in the Civil War fight.
Overall, the film itself as a picture to watch was a cinematic masterpiece, and it did lead up to Infinity War exceptionally well, introducing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and drawing the lines in the sand. However, the sheer deviation of the characters delivered to us by the Russo brothers gives the whole experience a less than stellar outcome and it leaves us angry, wanting to take a page out of Thanos’ book and make it all go away.
However, the Avengers film have undoubtedly changed cinema as we know it. There has yet to be an announcement of a new film following Endgame, but Disney can be assured that a new Avengers blockbuster will pack out the movie theaters. Avengers merchandise includes children’s toys, books and clothes; you can play at Avengers related slot sites and purchase Avengers related video games too. But with the pandemic crisis continuing worldwide and Disney with their hands full in regard to other projects it seems we will have to wait a little longer before we see a fifth installment in the Avengers series.