Captain America: Civil War online movie review - Values of Freedom vs Values of Security
The "Civil War", of course, can't avoid comparisons with the recent "Batman v Superman" film. In both films their authors decided to create confrontation between "good" heroes, thus adding philosophical depth and psychological authenticity to the heroes.
Also both films have raised up a problem of the so-called "collateral damage" and responsibility for consequences of superheroes actions.
While not referring to the question "which movie is better", I'll try to ask myself a question "why the theme of confrontation between the "forces of good" appeared in the film adaptations now?" I think the answer lies in the domestic US problems. Criticism of Bush's foreign policy and national security measure, I think, were essential in raising "collateral damage" problem and control of power in original comic book series. Coming to power of the "leftist dove of peace" Obama that has transformed now into a crisis of the US political establishment, manifested in the appearance of presidential candidates like socialist Sanders and populist Trump, tells about upcoming serious reformatting of traditional American values. What twenty five years ago has seemed unshakeable foundation of the US - individual freedom, liberalism, individualism, Christianity, reliance on the middle class, the belief in the "American mission", the constitutional rights, the right to freely carry weapons, the belief in the intransigence of good and evil (so- called "freedom values") - is increasingly shifting now to the so- called "safety values" - strengthening of state control and regulation, taxation, reliance on large corporations on the one hand, and people with low incomes, on the other, with the simultaneous impoverishment of the middle class, atheism, restriction of the right to carry weapons, moral relativism, non-interference in the affairs of third countries. This US' "offset of values", with the polarization of the supporters of "freedom values" and supporters of "safety values", I think, is reflected by the both blockbusters.
In the previous Russo's work with Captain's story we already saw clash of these values when heroes revealed that evil has grown up inside of SHIELD and its operatives and head were converted to the HYDRA's side arguing that security and control will finish the world's chaos. In this Captain's story the same message was hidden by Ross brothers more subtly, when right and wrong sides are not so clear. As in life, it is difficult to see the evil in someone everyone accustomed to consider to be a hero and who considers himself to be good (as well as all villains).
On the one hand there is Captain - the embodiment of the "freedom values" - who believes that you can not shift the responsibility for your actions on others including the state (like, for example, the Nazis did) or a coalition of states, knows that there "at the top" just ordinary people with their ambitions and desires, and that he won't become a puppet in the hands of cynical politicians only in order to get rid of guilt and absolve himself of responsibility. He is the embodiment of belief in uncompromising, absolute good and evil, inviolability of principles, justice, even if they are not supported by the majority, which out of fear is ready to give up freedom in exchange for security, to exchange risk-taking birthright for a guaranteed onion soup. On the other hand there is the Iron Man, oddly enough, the epitome of the "security values" - he comes from large corporations, he wishes to subdue the group's activities to external control, to absolve himself of responsibility, and thus in some way (how?) to protect others from "collateral damage".
If motivation of Captain America is transparent - responsibility, adherence to the principles and concepts of good and evil, even if they are contrary to written laws, as well as loyalty to friendship, the Stark's motivation is questionable. Does he made his decision due to the conscious or unconscious desire to split the group and take the leadership from Captain America, isn't there monstrous selfishness hidden behind the rantings about the need to "control" (again, it is not clear how such controls could prevent "collateral damage"), maybe it is thirst for power and, at the same time, desire to absolve himself of any responsibility for the "collateral damage"? Look at the motivation of the real villains (Commies, Nazis) - they wanted to create a perfect system with total control for the "security" of common fellows, who they sought, were unable to bear the burden of freedom. Ultron was alike, but he grabbed his delusion ideas from Stark. For me, Stark is the main villain of the film. He begins to pursue those who disagree with him - put a pressure on them, put them (Wanda) under arrest. It is similar to most of the tyrants, a typical villain who wants to trample his opinion as one and only and to eliminate all who disagree.
Behaviour of Black widow seems illogical - she is a clear candidate for Captain's team (unless she has stayed with Stark for sabotage like in the hangar scene). But suffering from guilt Wanda would rather choose Stark's side that allows her to shift responsibility to someone else. But she has chosen the right path of "growing up" - accepting responsibility. In the "Age of Ultron" she had read Stark's mind and warned Cap that Stark is "capable of anything".
Distracting from the current political and philosophical background of the film, it may be noted that in terms of action this Marvel's cinema-comics keeps the style and the brand - despite the seriousness of the plot, Marvel's ease and jokes are still there even during fierce battles. The flick is dynamic and quite fun, though perhaps not as deep as the "Batman v Superman", but more fully revealing of the motivation of the main characters.