Tony Stark Civil War

The second trailer for Captain America: Civil War was released Thursday, and it is good. Correction: It is excellent. It looks as if directors Joe and Anthony Russuo, along with writers Christopher Markus Stephen McFeely, will handle “Civil War” like is should have been years ago in the comics. Who is right? Who is wrong? The comic books — predictably — went with stupid political potshots instead of exploring complex issues in ways everyone could enjoy.

How do political leaders maximize security and individual liberty when man is fallible and capable of horrendous deeds? It’s a good question. Markus and McFeely appear to understand that’s it’s not as simplistic as “Conservatives, bad! Liberals, good!” as the writers in Marvel’s comics division would have you believe.

The exchange between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in the trailer portends good things to come on May 6:

Tony Stark: That’s why I’m here. We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I’m game.

Stever Rogers: I’m sorry, Tony. If I see a situation pointed south, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.

Tony Stark: Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.

Steve Rogers: I know we’re not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own.

It is telling that Captain America’s rebuttal to Tony’s call for a “check” on people with superpowers is to acknowledge that he has no self-control.

Steve Rogers is obviously a good man, but a.) Not all men are good, and b.) The individual with an all-consuming desire to right wrongs in a fallen world is, in fact, dangerous.

Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Winter Soldier showed that there are legitimate reasons to fear and distrust the federal government, but Rogers appears to have decided that because man-made institutions are subject to the shortcomings of men, then he should be given a license to act outside the rule of law. When Stark talks about punching Rogers in his “perfect teeth” it resonates with viewers because Captain America smugly but unwittingly stands upon a moral pedestal.

How strange is it that Tony Stark understands The Federalist Papers better than Captain America?

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” — Federalist 51, James Madison.

These are the questions the Russo brothers seem ready to explore with maturity and professionalism, and for that fans should be grateful. Sadly, the comic book writers tend to dish out partisan slop and then feign indignation when they’re taken to task.

Tony Stark Cap

Finally, it is good to know that Spider-Man will make an appearance in a great movie for the first time in years. While it is frustrating that Marvel Studios was not able to wrestle full control of the character from Sony Pictures, at least fans know there will be a “check” on Sony’s habitual stupidity.

Check back in at this blog opening weekend for a full review of Captain America: Civil War. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

SpiderMan Civil War

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

38 comments

  1. Honestly, I trust Sony more than I trust Dan Slott. That is an awful thing to think. At least Sony bringing the hammer down on Peter Parker BEING Spider-Man keeps THEM (Marvel Comics) in “check” for not jettisoning Peter into space for their PC golden boy.
    “Not for lack of trying…” said Alfred Pennyworth.sardonically.

    1. “Honestly, I trust Sony more than I trust Dan Slott.”

      True. But that’s why I made the distinction between Marvel Studios and Marvel’s comic book division. When hundreds of millions of dollars are a stake, Marvel Studios goes with guys like the Russo brothers for a reason.

    2. Touché. But then we must consider WHY that happened: Feige, like the rest of us, finally had it up-to-here with the comic book boy’s club crap and went “I think not!” and went straight to Disney and laid out the simple facts: What I am doing is making money. What THEY are doing isn’t. Put me in charge. And Disney, being the evil but savvy business empire went “okay. Quesada, Perlmutter, you screw with Kevin again, you’re both toast,” and from what we’ve seen, they’ve been curtailed at least on the cinematic front. Wait! Is that why their comics suck so bad!? OH NO!

    3. “And Disney, being the evil but savvy business empire went ‘okay. Quesada, Perlmutter, you screw with Kevin again, you’re both toast,’ and from what we’ve seen, they’ve been curtailed at least on the cinematic front. Wait! Is that why their comics suck so bad!? OH NO!”

      I think they make so much money on the movies that they’re just like, “You know what, do whatever stupid junk you want with the comics. Just give us some half-decent ideas for videos games, toys and cartoons and we’ll take care of the movies.”

      Now Marvel gets to put out a dumb “Arachno-Rocket” toy in a few years because of the comics. Sure, it’s stupid, but Dan Slott will be happy and some kid will beg mom for a new toy he won’t play with after a week.

    4. I keep expecting that Disney is just going to say “You make movie tie-in comics now. That’s it. Your other products didn’t make money for years and years, none of your plans have any chance of changing that, and we have plenty of back issues to pull stories from to last us until the public gets bored with superhero movies.”

  2. Yeah I trust Sony infinitely more than Marvel studio or not to handle the character. Marvel has done nothing to inspire confidence in a decade. At least Sony tries really hard, learns from their mistakes and would never sacrifice any quality or integrity for a larger shared universe narrative. Will the MCU Spider-Man films be good? I hope so but they’d have to basically churn out 9-11 solid MCU Spider-Man films to justify needlessly killing Webb’s series.

    1. “Will the MCU Spider-Man films be good? I hope so but they’d have to basically churn out 9-11 solid MCU Spider-Man films to justify needlessly killing Webb’s series.”

      I’ve got hopes that MCU Spider-Man will be good (I need some new “Spider-Man” material to be able to look forward to). I’m not a big “Webb’s series” fan, though. They needlessly killed the Raimi series to make it and it really failed on its own merits; poor writing and weak characters, IMHO. So, I think the reboot was the best decision possible.

  3. At least the Russo Brothers are apparently willing to allow some balance, and to consider valid arguments on both sides, unlike the simplistic “Duh, registration bad, anti-registration good” attitude of the comic book series.

    Of course, it’s also a question of context and timing. The Civil War comic series was conceived and published when Bush was president. The Superhero Registration Act was an obvious allegory for the Patriot Act and its subsidiaries, the No-Fly List and the Terror Watch List. Those evil Republicans were going to use 9-11 as an excuse to declare martial law and turn the country into a Nazi dictatorship, and blah blah blah.

    Now, with Obama in office, Progressives have learned to Stop Worrying and Love the List. Anyone who criticizes the government is some gun-clinging, religion-clinging, right-wing extremist militia nut. And the government needs to “take action” whenever anyone says anything that might be interpreted (or misinterpreted) as “anti-Muslim rhetoric” or “hate speech.”

    IMHO, though, Marvel/Disney may be taking a wrong turn with a Civil War adaptation, and DC/Time Warner is on the wrong track with Batman vs. Superman. The whole “hero vs. hero” premise is mainly of interest to the hard core fanboys, the “Big Bang Theory”-types who like to argue about whether Thor could beat the Hulk, whether Batman is cooler than Green Lantern, and so on. Movies are expensive to produce and distribute, and they need to appeal to a much larger and broader audience.

    1. “IMHO, though, Marvel/Disney may be taking a wrong turn with a Civil War adaptation, and DC/Time Warner is on the wrong track with Batman vs. Superman. The whole “hero vs. hero” premise is mainly of interest to the hard core fanboys, the “Big Bang Theory”-types who like to argue about whether Thor could beat the Hulk, whether Batman is cooler than Green Lantern, and so on.”

      In terms of the comics, I am sick and tired of “hero vs. hero.” However, what the writers of Civil War and Batman v Superman are aiming for is much deeper than any of the comic book writers have done. It isn’t just about the heroes coming to blows on a superficial level. The writers are exploring serious questions of foreign policy and human nature through the characters. If it’s done appropriately, then it works on multiple levels. Christopher Nolan did an amazing job crafting layered tales with his run on Batman.

    2. Exactly!!! I couldn’t agree more. I’m also really sick of heroes fighting heroes. Sadly for some people that’s all comic books are, fist fights, explosions and campy humor.

      IMO, there are too many hacks masquerading as so called comic book writers working in the super hero genre today. 😎

    3. “IMO, there are too many hacks masquerading as so called comic book writers working in the super hero genre today.”

      Follow the money to see who the guys with deep pockets have faith in. When $200 million or more is on the line, who gets the call? It isn’t certain comic book writers who, at least theoretically, should be recruited.

    4. “Follow the money to see who the guys with deep pockets have faith in. When $200 million or more is on the line, who gets the call? It isn’t certain comic book writers who, at least theoretically, should be recruited.”

      I’m glad you mentioned that only certain comic book writers should be recruited. I can’t think of too many that can make it as screenwriters. At the very least they should have an on set consultant.

    5. Sorry Doug, but in my original post I was referring to comic book writers and comics in general, not the film industry.

    6. “Sorry Doug, but in my original post I was referring to comic book writers and comics in general, not the film industry.”

      I understood that. I’m saying that a good sign that hackery is going on is to note how few of them seem to be consulted for anything involving the movies. Yes, as you mention, screenwriting is different … but it’s actually not that much different. In fact, they’re quite similar. Heck, I don’t even see them coming on for advisory roles. You know they would be bragging about it on social media if that were the case.

  4. They put that spidey thing in there just for you didn’t they, Doug?

    I’m surprised you didn’t put the infamous quote from CS Lewis in the post:
    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/526469-of-all-tyrannies-a-tyranny-sincerely-exercised-for-the-good
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult.

    That’s the other irony. A purely evil tyrant might be eventually convinced he’s gone too far and be awakened out of his moral stupor. But how do you argue against a tyrant for good without sounding like you’re advocating evil?

    As far as comics, and principles, I’ll just post one of my favorite clips from a podcast. Language warning, but they end up reaching the point that a world with actual superheroes and comic books would end up looking far FAR different from ours on a cultural, legal, legislative level (which is probably the biggest part of why Civil War failed).

    1. “I’m surprised you didn’t put the infamous quote from CS Lewis in the post.”

      It’s a very good quote, but I think one by the Founding Fathers that makes the same point fits better when discussing Captain America.

      “That’s the other irony. A purely evil tyrant might be eventually convinced he’s gone too far and be awakened out of his moral stupor. But how do you argue against a tyrant for good without sounding like you’re advocating evil?”

      The problem with Captain America, when written incorrectly, is that he’s one step removed from the artificial intelligence that is programed to do a good thing and then it goes off the deep end and becomes evil. One would think Cap would get this after having just battled Ultron. I guess not. Sigh.

    2. I think that Captain America’s position on the registration makes perfect sense in light of “The Winter Soldier”; he’s seen first-hand how legal authority can be subverted. If he had followed the rules there, HYDRA would have taken control of the whole pot. So, he would have reason to question if the government is the right hands to put these decisions in (and given that Gen, Ross is the one in charge of it, there’s a very good argument that he is NOT the right hands at all). (Also good that they don’t frame Rogers’ argument as a “I don’t want any bosses” thing, but “What if this prevents us from doing the right thing?”)

      I also like the fact that the pro-registration argument is shown to have flaws. The examples that Gen. Ross is using to justify the act (the battles from “The Avengers,” “Winter Solider,” and “Age of Ultron”), while explaining why people are afraid, aren’t good arguments, since the existence of superhero restrictions wouldn’t have changed the fact that Loki would lead an attack on Earth for Thanos or that HYDRA was in the last stages of conquering the world. (The Ultron incident could be argued to be the aftereffects of Iron Man’s reckless mistakes, but even then it was purely reactionary to a war Ultron started.)

      Those examples are actually evidence that the world needs the Avengers (as Black Widow pointed out in “Winter Solider,” the world needs them because they’re just about the only ones who can handle these threats). The inter-superhero conflict in “Civil War” would probably be a better case for legislation.

      (It also shows that the MCU US government is very good about picking the wrong battles. In “Agents of SHIELD,” they’ve spending all their effort trying to arrest the remainder of SHIELD, which is now labeled a terrorist organization, despite the fact that HYDRA was hardly fazed by the events of “The Winter Soldier” and that Phil Coulson’s new SHIELD is pretty much the only game in town to effectively combat it.)

      On the flip side, there is a good point of “Who should have the authority?” I’m looking forward to this movie, because of the fact that both sides make very good points about the problem.

      As far as Spider-Man’s role, I really don’t much like the costume; it makes him look like a cheap CGI character (I really hope that this is just unfinished footage). I’m not wild about the changes to the costume; I prefer depictions that are just like the comic version, like in the Raimi trilogy and ASM2 (although an obviously homemade costume would be interesting). The moving eyes are a misstep. You can get away with it in animation and the comic page, but in live action it looks wrong. They will need to come up with a good explanation why Spider-Man is on Iron Man’s team; of all the characters, he’s one that I can’t see agreeing to register with the government (beyond “that’s how it was in the comics”).

    3. The point of the general’s presentation isn’t necessarily to say they should not have saved the world — it’s to hammer home the point just how much power they wield with zero checks and balances. The argument is not that the world doesn’t need someone who can step up to the plate during an alien invasion — it’s that individuals with enough power to level entire cities must be accountable to a governing authority in some capacity.

      “They will need to come up with a good explanation why Spider-Man is on Iron Man’s team; of all the characters, he’s one that I can’t see agreeing to register with the government (beyond ‘that’s how it was in the comics’).”

      Maybe Peter Parker has a dream that he turns himself into a human meteor and recklessly decides to try and land inside a heavily populated city. He woke up from the dream and said, “Wow, that’s like a bad Dan Slott comic book. I can never allow that to happen!” and he decided then and there to side with Tony.

    4. “I’m holding judgement until I see the movie.”

      That is typically a very wise position to take, but after Captain America: Winter Soldier, reading interviews with the Russo brothers, and watching the trailers it is so obvious they’re going to knock this out of the park. I would be shocked if this did not deliver the goods.

    5. Oh I’m betting it will be well played. I loved, LOVED Winter Soldier.

      Ironically with the acquiring by Disney and popular success of the movies, it seems the writers in general have ended up being forced somewhat to be considerate of more angles in the stories. Whereas the comics have become so poorly read and insular, now nobody has to consider the perspective of those outside their bubble.

      That the comics industry can’t seem to figure out this basic lesson is a depressing testament.

  5. While I heard rumors Spider-Man would appear in the second trailer, I didn’t actually think Marvel Studios would do it. But as wrote on Whatever A Spider Can and during the Crawlspace podcast, I think the way they did handle the reveal in the trailer was ideal, as it teases you about Spider-Man without revealing too much specifics. Also, while there are parts of the costume I don’t particularly care for (mainly those black bands) it’s still pretty slick, much much better than the “dirty basketball” one Andrew Garfield wore in the first Amazing Spider-Man movie.

    As for Captain America and Iron Man’s stances when it comes to registration and “checks-and-balances” on superheroes, I remember when the Civil War miniseries was coming out and in an interview with the comic’s author, Mark Millar (can remember where, unfortunately) that he initially was going to reverse the roles, i.e. Captain America would be pro-registration while Iron Man would be anti-registration instead. Which honestly, makes much more sense to me given who they are as characters, and, IMO, even moreso in the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Remember when Tony Stark was called to testify in front of the US Senate in Iron Man 2 in which they wanted him to turn over the Iron Man technology? (Not my video, BTW): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGP1qAyf1LI

    Methinks the Tony Stark of Iron Man 2 would tell the Tony Stark of Civil War “Are you out of your bleeping mind?” Also, let’s not forget the Senator (played by Gary Shandling) turned out to be a Hydra sleeper agent in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Also, putting Cap on the anti-registration side within the apparent context of the Civil War film once again makes him turns him into a fugitive…just like in the last movie. Still looks like it’s going to be great, though, and certainly better than Avengers 2.

    1. “Methinks the Tony Stark of Iron Man 2 would tell the Tony Stark of Civil War ‘Are you out of your bleeping mind?'”

      I remember reading an article with the Russo brothers where they actually mentioned this. Yes, Iron Man was the guy who “privatized national security,” but he has been humbled since then. I think it works pretty well in terms of character development to have the chip knocked off his shoulder. He’s definitely not the same guy he was when he first donned the armor. He went too far and realizes that one of the few legitimate roles of the federal government is to provide for the common defense.

  6. “The point of the general’s presentation isn’t necessarily to say they should not have saved the world — it’s to hammer home the point just how much power they wield with zero checks and balances.”

    Well, during the first “Avengers” movie, the Avengers answered to S.H.I.E.L.D., which answered to the World Security Council, so that wasn’t superhero activities without oversight (that might not fly in “Civil War,” since after “Winter Soldier,” S.H.I.E.L.D. was dismissed as a terrorist organization, but still, it was all legal and under scrutiny).

    The “Winter Soldier” incident had nothing to do with unchecked superheroes; that was in incident of terrorists within an intelligence agency attempting a coup. While that could arguably prove that S.H.I.E.L.D. needed more oversight, it has little relevance to superheroes. Besides, as far as the US gov. knows, HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D. were both destroyed and all that’s left is the mop-up to get both terrorists groups that didn’t go down. The incident is a closed book. (That in actuality HYDRA was merely given a bloody nose and that S.H.I.E.L.D. is secretly rebuilding aren’t common knowledge, and even if so, wouldn’t be dealt with by a superhero registration act).

    Besides, as members of S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America, Black Widow, and Maria Hill arguably did nothing illegal; since HYDRA’s operations had essentially hijacked a legitimate agency, it would be the brass’s establishment to restore order and arrest the HYDRA operatives they could; especially since Hill, one of the planners, would be considered the de facto director of SHIELD (with Nick Fury presumed dead), and that the operation was supported by the World Security Council, SHIELD’s legal bosses. (That probably wouldn’t fly with Ross, given that SHIELD was dismissed as being terrorists by the world in the aftermath of it, but still, the point stands that the actual battle was the result of an operation authorized by those who had the legal right to make that call.)

    I could see an argument made for the “Age of Ultron” case, since Ultron was created by a reckless experiment by Stark (and Banner), the Avengers were operating on their own. So, I’m not completely sure that the provided scenarios work for the argument that Gen. Ross wants them to.

    “The argument is not that the world doesn’t need someone who can step up to the plate during an alien invasion — it’s that individuals with enough power to level entire cities must be accountable to a governing authority in some capacity.”

    All three cases aren’t the circumstances of the good guys overstepping their bounds; they’re all cases where an outside force made an attack and the superheroes were the only game in town. It would be a better argument if cases where the damage could’ve been prevented by a registration program of some kind. Ironically, a perfect example for arguing in favor of more oversight would be Gen. Ross’s own vendetta against the Hulk in the “Incredible Hulk” movie, which lead to him creating the Abomination. Unless Marvel is planning to retcon that film out of continuity (the way the “X-Men” movies do that to the point of screwing up their internal logic), I really hope that Ross’s history with pushing the limits gets examined somewhat; I like the idea of both sides having problems with their premises, and establishing that the guy who’s pushing for this isn’t the most trustworthy source (or at least explaining that he wants it because of his bad history with the Hulk) could make for some good storytelling.

    When we see the movie we’ll know for sure, but the legal setup for the registration act seems a little odd. It appears that the US is the one trying to pass it. While I don’t pretend to understand the legal setup in the MCU, wouldn’t something like this act belong to the World Security Council? The Council was S.H.I.E.L.D.’s former boss. S.H.I.E.L.D. was formerly responsible for managing superpowered people (as established in the “Agents of SHIELD” episode “The Girl in the Flowered Dress”), so wouldn’t it fall to them to decide how the problem should be managed?

    I’m not dismissing the pro-registration automatically (I’m partially advocating team Cap since I think that that’s not the popular opinion among the commenters here), but Ross’s presentation seems to be appealing to fear more than anything (I will grant that, based on what we know of MCU history at this point, it makes sense from the public’s perspective). I’m really hoping that the movie gives both sides such good arguments that we the viewers are torn between the two positions, rather then one clearly being in the right and the other in the wrong.

    1. “The ‘Winter Soldier’ incident had nothing to do with unchecked superheroes.”

      Actually, it did. Cap went rogue when he saw things “going south.” Just like Edward Snowden taking matters into his own hands in real life over a controversial issue — and needlessly breaking countless laws in the process — Steve Rogers made it clear that he was going to do things his way. Again, that is not acceptable in a world with people who possess mind-control abilities, the power to level entire cities when they get angry, open portals into different dimensions, etc. I’m glad that Steve is a stand-up guy. Unfortunately, billions of others are not.

      “Ross’s presentation seems to be appealing to fear more than anything (I will grant that, based on what we know of MCU history at this point, it makes sense from the public’s perspective).”

      Given that he explicitly says “People are afraid,” I think it’s safe to say that he is appealing — justifiably — to fear. There is nothing wrong with fear when it is properly understood. If you were standing over a giant cliff with little to hold onto, you would rightfully fear falling and take measures to brace yourself. If you lived in a world with Purple Man, you would rightfully fear the consequences of Captain America’s preferred solution (i.e., Americans should have to register with the government to drive a car, but not if they’re a human M198 Howitzer with telekinesis).

      Since this is a Captain America movie, I suspect there will be yet another government conspiracy to “prove” that he was more correct than Tony. Just because Gen. Ross may be dishonest, however, it does not necessarily make his stated arguments less sound.

    2. “Actually, it did. Cap went rogue when he saw things “going south.” Just like Edward Snowden taking matters into his own hands in real life over a controversial issue — and needlessly breaking countless laws in the process — Steve Rogers made it clear that he was going to do things his way…”

      Oh, yeah, forgot about his going on the run from SHIELD in the second act (some good scenes, there). I suppose he could have been considered to be following Nick Fury’s last orders (taking the thumb drive, “trust no one,” etc.), but I don’t think anyone would’ve bought it. Since the same people made “Winter Soldier” are making “Civil War,” maybe that’ll come up in the discussion.

      The Snowden parallels in the movie are pretty interesting, although I don’t think it’s a one-for-one scenario, since Snowden didn’t create his leak to stop hostiles, like Rogers was (it might have been interesting if the movie hadn’t made Rogers’ decision to leak the database so black-and-white).

      “If you lived in a world with Purple Man, you would rightfully fear the consequences of Captain America’s preferred solution (i.e., Americans should have to register with the government to drive a car, but not if they’re a human M198 Howitzer with telekinesis).”

      I haven’t had a chance to see “Jessica Jones” yet. Has Killgrave’s existence been officially confirmed by the authorities yet? If so, it’d be cool if Ross were to mention him as someone with powers who abuses them. The “powerful people need to register” argument becomes really tricky, since comics have used mutant/superhero registration as metaphor for racism in the past. I think that in real life, I’d agree that a superhero registration program would be needed, but in fiction, I tend to prefer non-registration (largely for storytelling purposes).

      “Since this is a Captain America movie, I suspect there will be yet another government conspiracy to “prove” that he was more correct than Tony.”

      I hope not. While I suspect that the bill will get struck down (it’s hard to make superhero movies if they need to get warrants, have a badge to flash when they catch crooks, etc. — although that could make a cool premise in and of itself), I’d prefer if they don’t cop out like that.

      The thing about it being a “Captain America” movie, since it’s got pretty much every major player in the MCU movies in it, why is it being marketed as a “Captain America” movie instead of an “Avengers” film? Putting Cap’s name in the title seems to imply that we’re supposed to be rooting for him to win, which already biases us in his favor, when a more neutral title would suggest that either side could be correct.

  7. Putting everything else I have to say about the marvel civil war aside for a moment the existence of someone like the Purple Man is an awful, AWFUL justification for supporting registration. Someone with Killgrave’s powers could easily acquire every bit of information registration efforts uncovered and use it to make it very easy to encounter the other superhumans and place them under his control. You’d just hand a mind controlling supervillain that’s already one of the most dangerous people on the planet a dozen loaded superhumans to fire as he pleases.

    It’s just really silly even when you ignore that identification is the first step to genocide and as Cap said in Winter Soldier “I thought the punishment came before the crime” the problem with registration and regulation of superhumans is similar to the gun debates as criminals will ignore it and go about their way but registration, control or penalty that is not in response to any prior crime only serves to render the more honorable vigilantes and superhumans that mind their own business impaired even disarmed. There’s no reason to be against a database of supervillains but what about private citizens? or superheroes that save millions of lives and commit well really no crime that isn’t warranted by the context of the situation? Human society that is any social group bigger than a large family exist largely for the purpose of limiting the capacity of it’s individual member particularly the young from rising as they are to be chained for the greater good of the group or should I say the elites within the group. Even America the most individualistic culture in America could never tolerate the level of freedom granted by it’s constitution. Superhero groups are no different from the militias private citizens that are allowed by the second amendment. The constitution pretty much endorses vigilantism within the restrictions most superheroes place on themselves not serving as judge, jury and executioner.

    That is why we love superheroes they are what we wish to be men and woman with the freedom to rise higher in our good deeds than society will ever allow that is why heroes are alternately presented as beloved ideals or outsiders who live under mistrust and suspicion.

    And besides I thought the whole concept of superheroes was that they regulated their kind for us? The majority of anti registration the 90% of comic book readers did not side with Cap because of Stark’s character assassination although that was a factor they primarily sided with him because it’s hypocritical to be someone who supports the greatest cultural expression of American individualism Superheroes and support registration it’s that simple.

    1. I’ll have to start out of order here with the one thing that is disturbingly incorrect. I actually looked at your IP address to check if you were an American…

      “Even America the most individualistic culture in America could never tolerate the level of freedom granted by it’s constitution. Superhero groups are no different from the militias private citizens that are allowed by the second amendment. The constitution pretty much endorses vigilantism within the restrictions most superheroes place on themselves not serving as judge, jury and executioner.”

      I may be a little rusty with my Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, but I believe the goal is to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

      You can’t have “big-J” Justice with vigilantism. Regardless, the Constitution spells out the limits on the federal government.

      The Tenth Amendment states: “Those powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      That has nothing — I repeat, nothing — to do with promoting vigilantism.

      Now, back to the Second Amendment since you wanted to liken superheroes to guns.

      The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      Note “well regulated.” No matter how you slice it, that indicates that a governing authority gets to set down some rules for those weapons. You do not get to simply own automatic weapons. Likewise, there is not a chance in hell that any society would allow living nuclear weapons to walk the streets anonymously. The government would require some form of registration and it would do so because the people would demand it.

      It would be incredibly fun to run for office against you in a world with superheroes. You and your buddy Steve Rogers would go down in a landslide with your current platform.

      “Someone with Killgrave’s powers could easily acquire every bit of information registration efforts uncovered and use it to make it very easy to encounter the other superhumans and place them under his control. You’d just hand a mind controlling supervillain that’s already one of the most dangerous people on the planet a dozen loaded superhumans to fire as he pleases.”

      And Killgrave would be able to gain access to the nuclear launch codes under the right circumstances. That wouldn’t mean the U.S. should unilaterally disarm. Your point is a total red herring. Federal, state, and local governments would have a vested interest in knowing who the heck lived in the U.S. with superpowers, and anyone who was caught not registering would be charged with breaking a federal law. You can say it’s a “simple” decision to side with Cap all you want, but that is not the case. In a world with a real Incredible Hulk or Killgrave, you would have a hard time finding a majority — anywhere in the world — in support of your position.

    2. I don’t have time to makeva complete point but like I said at the end of the day registration only benefits the villains the exact rebbutal you problem is it’s even stupider to identify regulate and control law abiding or properly vigilant superhumans than guns as it would manifest the same flaws on a grander scale and it’s just unethical because you can’t separate the person from the power (if it’s even ethical to do so) the same way you could a gun there isn’t the same dividing line. a slippery slope to eugenics, genocide and other practices as has been pointed out countless times. I’m apolitical with a worldview that leans socially and economically conservative in most respects. The second ammendment is rooted in the basic right to self defense guns were the most advanced means at the time a right of individuals and citizenry it’s always blown me away how much people cling to and pay attention to the gun part virtually ignoring the rights afforded them by the other. Way more people would support registration in real life but in a day and age when this country is very nearly unrecognizable would we really want to make that last push off the slope? I wouldn’t find a majority or be part of one I’d be a minority the individual is the smallest minority and the most precious.

      With the Killgrave thing I was making a specific point about your use of that as an example registration would do nothing about Killgrave the best case scenario in a registration world is a superhero miraculously delivered him alive and unconscious to the police and by some miracle they have the ability and sense to handle him properly and he doesn’t just take advantage of the situation. In this best case scenario registration does nothing to stop Killgrave his incarceration is reliant upon superhumans and the police not being stupid and wasting valuable time trying to arrest the people who delivered him if they were unregistered. Registration doesn’t work because criminals aren’t going to register and it would be very easy for ones like Killgrave to insulate themselves. As much as he values his privacy in a registration world Killgrave could very well just stroll into a registration office, police station or prison or let himself be seemingly defeated as a Trojan Horse and collect all that data on other superhumans for himself and destroy the authorities copies of the files information that would not exist without the registration act. Sure Killgrave could access the launch codes but registration only offers him more options and opportunities especially given he had an obsession with controlling Jessica another superhuman would you realy want him with a list of heroines to abuse?

      I may not have superpowers, a nuke or a gun but anyone can kill anyone with their bare hands does that mean I should be registered as an able bodied man? Where does it end?

      Even assuming there’s no mutants and I must say you’re argument is eerily similar to Senator Kelly’s in the first X-Men movie there’s still the matter of children. What if a superhuman is just a kid or the child of one or two two superhumans how would the laws evolve? What if superhumans were castrated or forbidden to reproduce? This doesn’t even touch the regulation of people like Stark who don’t have powers.

    3. “Like I said at the end of the day registration only benefits the villains the exact rebbutal you problem is it’s even stupider to identify regulate and control law abiding or properly vigilant superhumans than guns.”

      If a man is a walking nuclear power plant, it would not be stupid to demand he register with the government — especially since doing so would probably prevent countless people from developing terminal cancer. If such an individual did not register, then the federal government would have grounds to try him for murder. Again, I would beg you to try and make the “it’s stupid to have Mr. Walking Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant register or face federal charges” argument before a national televised audience in the 616 Universe. You would rightfully be deemed a fool or a madman.

      “Would we really want to make that last push off the slope? I wouldn’t find a majority or be part of one I’d be a minority the individual is the smallest minority and the most precious.”

      There we go. If only the rest of us were as knightly as Ryan Knight, we would see the folly of rules and regulations imposed upon the guy who has the ability to turn himself into a living Electro-Magnetic Pulse Attack. Sure, the federal government has regulations on how much milk fat a nog must have before it is called a nog, but we’ve really gone “off the slope” if Radioactive Man is required to live outside New York City.

      “I may not have superpowers, a nuke or a gun but anyone can kill anyone with their bare hands does that mean I should be registered as an able bodied man? Where does it end?”

      Yep. You and your bare hands are no different from a public-safety/national security standpoint than Radioactive Man. It’s totally irrational for a government to be concerned with the guy who kills people just by walking down the street while leaving you to your own devices. You got me. Haha.

      By the way, you are registered with the federal government — it’s called a Social Security Number. You got it when you were born. You also registered with Selective Service System when you turned 18 years old. But since you aren’t leaking nuclear waste out of your pores each day there is no need for you to contact the EPA, the CDC and countless other federal agencies.

      Carl, Patrick…someone…throw the towel! Throw the towel! Throw the damn towel!

      Since I’m not like Ivan Drago, I think it’s time this match ended.

  8. It’d take a document as thick as Obamacare to go through all the issues with registration It’ll be a long time before I’d get exhausted debating this. You’ve yet to really refute the many ethical issues registration raises. Like many political conflicts and wars I don’t believe there’s a right side in this merely a wrong side and a wronger side. As the prophet Jeremiah and his secretary Baruch recorded “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” humans don’t have the right or abilty to determine their own course properly so I’d be hard pressed to trust a superhuman community but going by the same principle it makes even less sense to trust anyone to control others. After all God said after the flood in his heart: “Never again shall I call down evil upon the ground on man’s account, because the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up; and never again shall I deal every living thing a blow just as I have done.” Not to mention that God kind of disdains human rulership we only have to look at the book of Daniel or when the Israelites asked for a king and he took it as a personal rejection or what about during the reign of King David where it says SATAN INCITED David to register the people for military service?

    1. “As the prophet Jeremiah and his secretary Baruch recorded…or what about during the reign of King David where it says SATAN INCITED David to register the people for military service?”

      Ouch. Your attempts to craft Constitutional arguments were torpedoed and now you’ve reached the point where you’re using religious straw-man arguments that boil down to, “What you’re suggesting is the work of Satan, young man! Don’t make Beelzebub your buddy! I’m warning ya, I am.”

      Game. Set. Match. Although, truthfully, I do hope someone takes up your argument. Next challenger!

  9. Religion is merely one of many, many angles to this issue I jut can’t run out of material I respect the constitution to a degree and I’ve somwhat expressed my views (sorry if you feel my argumentwas somehow torpedoed ) but we’re talking scriptures you’re catholic when push comes to shove which trumps which?

    I hadn’t communicated it yet because I don’t think anyone would have the time to make a full case in one or many sittings but yes we must render Ceaser’s things to Ceaser if a registration law were passed we should obey it respecting governments relative position not because it is right or the best but because it doesn’t conflict with divine law. So I’d never support registration but I’d comply with the law if it were passed and just pray that the damage the wicked ruler of the world who’s influence is as pervasive as the air itself inflicts by taking advantage of such a situation were limited.

    The angels holding back the winds of destruction didn’t stop WWII but they did prevent nuclear war; in a world with superhumans I’d trust them to protect humanity and superhumanity from doing something stupid and wiping ourselves out but I don’t think they’d stop atrocities on the part of governments equivalent to what happened in the 20th century.

    You’ve never refuted any point I’ve made so I’ll add another one what about shapeshifters? Remember way back in FF #2 when the Skrulls tried to ruin the Fantastic Four’s reputation by framing them in order to turn pubic opinion against the people’s protectors and leave man vulnerable. Shapeshifters could already cause a lot of havoc in a non registered world how much more injustice could be perpetrated by them if superhumans were registered.

    There’s a difference between treating superhumans like everyone else legally and going all preemptive or perhaps even minority report if we are to judge by Civil War II.

    1. “I respect the constitution to a degree and I’ve somwhat expressed my views (sorry if you feel my argumentwas somehow torpedoed ) but we’re talking scriptures you’re catholic when push comes to shove which trumps which?”

      They were torpedoed. You said the Constitution encourages vigilantism. You are wrong. It was demonstrated just how painfully wrong you are, and I’m confident that the vast majority of people who read that exchange — from now until the internet explodes — will see that.

      Your “Hail Mary” pass (no pun intended) to try and get me into a theological discussion on what Jesus would do if The Incredible Hulk existed does not interest me. The merciful thing to do here is to not further engage the argument. You lost. Badly. If you don’t believe it, then have fun with that. The readers will take it from here.

      “You’ve never refuted any point I’ve made.”

      Keep telling yourself that, Ryan Knight. I really must refrain from continuing with you on this particular blog post because it is not right to kick a man while he is down.

    2. I think the problem of discussing the idea of the registration act is separating the realistic look at it from the allegorical aspects. In the comics, registration programs have been usually used as commentary on racism or the government overstepping its bounds. So, it’s really easy for readers to bring that perspective when discussing the legal implications of registration, if real life had superheroes in it. (There’s also the thing that unregistered superheroes are often more interesting to read about. My favorite superheroes tend to be the ones who work pro bono and are doing it because they want to, not because its their job or their legally forced to.)

      But, if I was a person in the MCU who had superpowers and was told that I needed to register for general safety, I’d probably be thinking: “Okay, I can see how this protects others and the government from me, but how does it protect ME from being taken advantage of by those running the program?”

      In the Marvel world, the government is full of black ops and secret programs that break the law over these things when it suites their agendas, and even legitimate authorities will happily violate superheroes civil rights “for the greater good.” From what I’ve observed from the Marvel franchise, the superheroes are the ones who need more protection from the world, instead of vice versa). In fact, if I recall correctly, in the original “Civil War” comic, not only was registration going to be mandatory, but those on the list would be forced to work as government-backed superheroes regardless of whether they wanted to be superheroes or not.

      There have plenty of arguments here that the superheroes need checks and balances. So, what kinds of safeguards would you say that the registration program should have to prevent abuse of the system by those in authority (particularly, since in the fictional Marvel world, people in power that would abuse the registration program for their own ends are really common)?

    3. “I think the problem of discussing the idea of the registration act is separating the realistic look at it from the allegorical aspects. In the comics, registration programs have been usually used as commentary on racism or the government overstepping its bounds. So, it’s really easy for readers to bring that perspective when discussing the legal implications of registration, if real life had superheroes in it.”

      Fair point, but it’s also not my problem if someone can’t separate the two. Heh. 🙂

      “From what I’ve observed from the Marvel franchise, the superheroes are the ones who need more protection from the world, instead of vice versa). In fact, if I recall correctly, in the original “Civil War” comic, not only was registration going to be mandatory, but those on the list would be forced to work as government-backed superheroes regardless of whether they wanted to be superheroes or not.”

      The writers did that on purpose to make Tony’s side the “bad” guys. It was so obvious, even if they publicly stated that wasn’t the case. (“Sure, this is a Bush administration allegory and we’re all liberal guys, but the “Bush” side is going to be treated fairly.” Ummm, not buying it, guys. Nice try.) The Russo brothers are on record as saying they’re not going to be that transparent about it, which is a good thing.

      Just having it recorded in a government database that “WebLurker lives in [insert city, state] and can shoot nuclear energy blasts out of his eyes at will] is not a big deal. It becomes a big deal when the government forces people to become S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, tools of the government, etc.

      “There have plenty of arguments here that the superheroes need checks and balances. So, what kinds of safeguards would you say that the registration program should have to prevent abuse of the system by those in authority.”

      All the “safeguards” that exist now to prevent government overreach would exist in a 616 Universe. In fact, the government has every incentive not to screw with superheroes who just want to live a quiet life. Are you talking about blackmail? Who is easier to push around — you, WebLurker as a regular human, or The Incredible Hulk? I’ll go with the former.

      If you’re a citizen from Florida and some shady White House pulls that junk, then you a.) go to your congressman, senator, and the media with a press conference. “Hi, my name is Weblurker, I have the power of 10,000 suns, and the government is trying to blackmail me into espionage I have no desire to take part in. If this continues, I will be forced to defend myself and my family. Someone put an end to this — NOW — or else me and my friends may be forced to flatten Miami. I really don’t want to do that because the people are nice and the beaches are amazing. Thanks.”

      If you wanted, you could just give an interview with all the major networks with your face blacked out and your voice disguised. Either way, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long before the harassment stopped, there were congressional investigations, people went to jail, etc.

      My guess is the government would not want to start a “Civil War” with its super-powered citizens. But it would want to know where Mr. Electro-Magnetic Pules lives, check him out, and make sure that when he’s 75 years old and has a heart attack that it doesn’t take out the entire U.S. power grid. For anyone to argue that is somehow not reasonable or the work of the devil **cough**see earlier comments**cough is ridiculous.

  10. At some point in these movies the “illusion of realism” breaks down. You can be sure, that if someone popped into view who actually could fly, shoot death-beams out of his/her eyes, lift a dump-truck, and was resistant to bullets, the American government would Freak Out on every level. Even if that person was as good-natured and benevolent as a daisy. Every satellite lens would be trained, predictive algorithms calculated, CCTV cameras in all fifty states would be scoured for data, the FBI and CIA mobilized, to find that person at all costs. It’s only in the unrealistic, narratively-convenient world of the MCU that this issue waited even THIS long to gel. The only guy would could likely get away from all of it would be Thor, since he’s an extra-terrestrial who goes home regularly, and who is probably too powerful to threaten anyway.

    1. Humanity crucified Christ, so I have no doubt in my mind that that it would seek to destroy Superman. As I said when the first Man of Steel trailer came out:

      “The truth is, the world would reject Superman. And in his love for humanity he would offer himself up to them. No matter how strong and powerful he was and no matter how much he tried to convince humanity that he loved it they would fear and, ultimately, seek to destroy him. A world in which Superman exists would thrust a moral weight upon the shoulders of its citizens that would be too uncomfortable to bear for millions (possibly billions) of people, and they would seek to find ways to cast off such a burden by banishing him from earth, discrediting or destroying him all together.”

      I would not be in favor of executing Superman in real life — but I would certainly not fault my own government for wanting to know exactly how man men like him were citizens and where they lived. That especially applies to superheroes whose very existence would pose significant health risks to the population if they remained anonymous. It would be highly irresponsible to allow “The Human Pathogen” to live in Philadelphia without telling anyone about his powers. Some of the comments I’ve seen in this thread against registration have been incredibly strange.

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