Civil War Superhero Registration

One of the biggest story arcs to hit Marvel Comics was Civil War, an event that had an impact on the entire Marvel universe from 2006-2007. And that’s why Marvel Studios making Captain America: Civil War is such a big deal to fans of the cinematic universe.

However, it seems that some haven’t figured out, or maybe just haven’t heard, that the movie will not be taking the primary catalyst for the conflict that arises between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) from the comic books and bringing it to the big screen.

The Civil War comic book conflict comes when superheroes are divided by something called the Superhero Registration Act, forcing any superhero to reveal their identities to the public and be put into a database for all to see. But the Captain America Civil War superhero registration plot element isn’t being used. So what’s the story?

Instead of using the Superhero Registration Act, Captain America: Civil War will instead be using something called the Sokovia Accords. We’ve heard about this previously in rumors, and they were somewhat confirmed when “The Accords” were mentioned in the post-credits scene from Ant-Man where Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) stumble upon Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) being held prisoner somewhere. The reference made was in regard to how these Accords would limit Tony Stark from helping them out in any capacity.

It’s in that scene that it becomes clear that Captain America: Civil War is about superhero supervision and responsibility. And Birth.Movies.Death has confirmed that fact by saying the movie is not about unmasking superheroes and exposing secret identities. And when you think about it, that makes perfect sense with regards to the heroes of the Marvel cinematic universe.

Up until this point, there have been no big screen superheroes in the Marvel cinematic universe who have a secret identity. Unlike the Marvel comics universe, all the heroes we know about have their identity known to the public. They don’t wear masks. So this entire movie obviously couldn’t be about secret identities, mainly because there are no heroes with secret identities.

You might be thinking to yourself that the introduction of Spider-Man, a hero who has always kept his identity a secret, would be a good reason for this argument to arise and thus justify the creation of a Superhero Registration Act. There’s also Daredevil in the Marvel cinematic universe who keeps his identity secret now. But Captain America and Iron Man aren’t going to come to blows along with the rest of the Avengers just because of Spider-Man and Daredevil. It wouldn’t make sense.

Instead, the conflict can be boiled down to the familiar quote, “Who watches the watchmen?” Basically, the government begins to ask questions such as who is responsible for civilian casualties and destruction caused from a battle involving The Avengers? Should someone be in charge of telling The Avengers when they can and can’t get involved in some kind of conflict?

The conflict in the movie isn’t too far removed from the comic book storyline, but its similarities are very broad. And what’s great about each side of the fight is that Stark and Rogers both have reason to believe in their own position, and each of them is right in their own way. Tony Stark believes he has a responsibility to the world, despite the fact that he’s been rather reckless in the past, and Steve Rogers has been betrayed by SHIELD, an organization who used him as a hero, but turned out to be a front for Hydra.

That doesn’t mean that secret identities won’t come into play, especially with some like Spider-Man entering the fray. But at the same time, there’s no guarantee that this version of Spider-Man will keep his identity secret. After all, the public revelation of his secret identity was a big plot point in the comics, so maybe that will end up being a small part of the story in Civil War. But the point is that it’s not the driving force of the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man.

And in case that’s not good enough for you, let’s not forget what Kevin Feige told us last fall:

I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, the generalities of the act are the same. Something happens, perhaps it’s cumulative for things that have happened though all of the movies leading up to this point. It has made the governments of the world say “we need to have some oversight of these guys. They need to report to somebody. So it becomes more… it falls under that umbrella, rather than “you have to take off your mask.” It’s not about the secret identity thing, as much as it is about, overall, who reports to who, and who can agree to oversight committee. Because as of now, in Avengers 2, there is no more security council, there is no SHIELD, obviously. Stark is paying for it, Captain America is running it, and things occur that will make governments begin to question.

Captain America: Civil War arrives on May 6, 2016.

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