We are reminded that Steve Rogers did not become captain for his strength or for his fortitude, but for his ability to discern what is right from wrong.
Although Chris Evans has given us legitimate reasons to swoon over his biceps, the latest movie instalment of Marvel is not just a braggadocio movie. Captain America: Civil War has taken us into new heights as it offers us more rhetorical questions to answer while remaining true to the Marvel brand of humour and awe-inducing fight scenes any kid and adult unconsciously gape at. Its timeliness to the heated election in the United States (and in the Philippines, now that a new president is going to take over) makes us think that not all unpopular beliefs are wrong. Well, we already know that. But emphasis is not bad nowadays where people have become more stubborn.
The Avengers is posed with a grim problem as each ops they undertake leads to more deaths than rescues. Despite their willingness to use their super-genetics for good cause, the world is not their oyster. There are buildings to rebuild, deaths to account for, and government leaders to answer to while they are trying to save the world. They are given a choice to be supervised by the United Nations or retire. While most of them agree to the deal to save the little dignity they have left and bring peace to their lives once more, Captain America doesn’t see the good in it.
He says the safest hands are still their own, that their job is to save as many people as they can but it doesn’t mean everybody, that putting themselves under supervision means yielding to people’s agenda. Captain America knows what he wants, and sees the goal of the Avengers crystal clear, despite the diversions, despite the irregularities of the system.
During the funeral of Steve Rogers’ former girlfriend and founder of Shield, Margaret “Peggy” Carter, Agent Sharon Carter delivers a eulogy meant to utter what the captain intends to do for the whole duration of the movie: “Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, to look them in the eye and say, no, you move.”
Before, there was a time when Avengers worked like the How I Met Your Mother series, wherein Iron Man was the Barney Stinson of the group and everyone else is a Robin or a Marshal meant to depict each stereotype there is. Until now, he gets paid much more than anyone because his swag and charisma are what draws the crowd to watch. But not anymore. Steve Rogers has stepped up from being the scrawny little boy we knew from Captain America: The First Avenger to becoming this brusque leader of the Avengers with perfect white teeth.
But underneath it all, Cap’s spirit remains, his faith in humanity intact. We are reminded that Steve Rogers did not become captain for his strength or for his fortitude, but for his ability to discern what is right from wrong. Cap is still the same Steve Rogers who applied to the military several times, who embraced a fake grenade to save the same people who belittled him, who sacrificed himself as a specimen for a genetic experiment, who ridiculed himself as a mascot for the American soldiers if that would mean boosting their morale. It is difficult to stand by an unpopular judgment, most especially if it means losing your friends and the people’s trust in your capabilities. In Civil War, Captain America is labeled as a criminal, a vigilante in the process, but he tunnels his vision to saving the same people who prosecute him because it is his moral obligation. He is just doing his job, which is easier said than done.
The presence of an all-star cast almost made me pee. Imagine Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, Falcon, War Machine, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Antman and Spiderman fighting in the same scene. The whole battle is orgasmic. Each superhero is given enough time to prove that spandex can still look cool, and that there is no greater battle than with your friends and with your ego. It almost looks like a new Avengers movie, but it wasn’t. It damn sure wasn’t.
I am not saying Captain America is an epitome of leadership, or the next Nelson Mandela, but he’s a hero. The true definition of one. I can say with all confidence that among all the Marvel characters, it is he who has the most impressive biopic (if I may call it that).