When I first read the graphic novel “Civil War” I was on Team Cap, inspired by his underdog idealism, but a year or two later I evolved my thinking. While it would be nice to have a no-strings superhero team working independently in instances where the government fails to act, there should always be checks and balances. As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben would say, with great power comes great responsibility. And that humility necessitates oversight.
Stark was/is right for being proactive enough to embrace reality. By being cooperative he managed to wrangle a position of influence over negotiating the terms. A steadfast refusal to comply would have meant a Government vs. Superhero conflict, inevitably leading to regime change, and I don’t think that should ever be decided or implemented by such a small handful of individuals (even if they have previously demonstrated sound, moral judgment). What was Captain America’s endgame, after all? In neither the comic nor the film does he ever quite spell this out. He sticks to what he believes is right in the present with little if any regard for the long-term consequences. This would be more understandable if The Avengers were forced to work for the government, but they weren’t. They all had the option of quitting if they couldn’t accept the regulatory terms.
While#TeamIronMan is the less popular side it’s undeniably the more practical and democratic one. Captain America’s motives may be pure but the domino effect of his idealism would result in a totalitarian state run by unelected officials (assuming the underground Avengers won). If he’s unwilling to respect the will of the people, the very people he claims to protect, then he’s little more than a stubborn, self-serving idealist. 119 countries vote to regulate the Avengers (in the film) and the American people vote for a law to do the same (in the comic)… and Captain America just dismisses them in both instances? That’s just short-sighted and arrogant. Tony Stark’s vision might be more cold and calculated but if his numbers add up… and they do… then I’m firmly with #TeamIronMan.