It is fun to psych-evaluate the great Marvel superheroes.....more so due to the fact that in this 13th installment of Marvel Cinematic Universe, the main plot is not being thrashed around by a legendary villain. It is the division of viewpoints and ideals between two bona fide leaders of the Avengers. Why did this breach occur after all this time? They seemed to be getting along pretty well for the last 4 years since The Avengers. Zemo, the lurking up-to-no-good-and-vengeance-seeking Sokovian brings forth a true fact lost inside Hydra archives for 25 years. That fact only fueled the increasing deterioration of trust between teams #Cap and #Stark. So what the HELL happened?
Answer: the Avengers have ditched team play in this film and stuck up to their individual agendas and mindsets. The catalyst was the Sokovia Accords, ratified by 117 countries under the United Nations, which state that the actions of the enhanced beings should be brought under UN control, as their unsupervised missions leave a shocking collateral damage to life and property in the vicinity. However, surprising the audience and turning heads, Captain Rogers rears against the Governments, whereas Stark agrees to following the Accords. The rest followed one than the other, with well-defended reasons. Let us see why the two, leading the greatest team on the Earth, split up.
He is a super soldier who would give his life for his country. Inherent goodness, profound loyalty and his faith in people course through his veins, which enable him to fight against anything threatening his team. But this is a man born in a period of great political turmoil and World Wars. Back in 1945, he had a clear understanding of good and evil. Nazis, bad. Allies, good. He had three close friends: Bucky Barnes, the genius scientist Howard Stark and the SSR spy Peggy Carter. When he is defrosted 70 years later, the only one alive (that he knew of) is Carter, bedridden and suffering from amnesia.
Peggy dies in Civil War and Cap doesn't get a chance to say goodbye. He's heartbroken, and feels a man out of his time once again. When Bucky Barnes resurfaces and pleads innocent to having any connection with the UN bombing, Captain believes him as he longs for that old lost friendship tethering him to this new world ravaged by the likes of SHIELD and HYDRA. Steve only wants his friend back and preferably not chased by the authorities. Losing everyone you knew your whole life can be very difficult, so of course you would root for anyone you definitely know to be good. Now be honest, even you were smiling when the two 100-year-old pals cracked jokes about the simpler days of the 20th century. And Cap is a loyal friend whom you can bet won't leave Barnes's side ever, for better or for worse. This overprotective friendship weighs wrongly in front of the whole world including Tony Stark.
Another important question is, why Captain goes against the Accords in the first place. Well, normally he would abide by anything his country demands of him. That was easy in WWII SSR days. The mission was simple: protect the American soldiers and fight against the Axis. Now, after being 'reborn' he has been dropped into the whirlwind of covert missions by SHIELD riddled with compartmentalization, which didn't sit easy with him. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier he argues against Nick Fury because doing his patriotic job was in direct conflict with what the agency actually wanted. Feeling played and used isn't a good secure feeling, everyone would agree. Moreover when SHIELD turns out to be HYDRA, his arch-enemy group, he loses his faith in people sitting on the diplomatic thrones of the world. He now believes only the Avengers themselves can truly differentiate between good and evil, and isn't thrilled with the Sokovia Accords which might take that delicate power out of their hands. "If we sign this, we lose our right to choose", Cap says. That people running the United Nations also have agendas, he argues, and agendas are liable to change, like what had happened before with SHIELD. You can see now where the balance tips.
However he promises to Stark that he would never shy away from helping when the team needs him, when the world needs him. He promises to be the incognito member of the Avengers, which only proves that ultimately, despite all those huge differences, he wouldn't leave their side when needed. The world will always face overwhelming danger and he's aware that his duty is to help, not hide. Unfortunately going into hiding right now is better than being locked up as a federal criminal, but he's aware that enhanced power should be kept safe to be used later. This sense of duty in the end is what rightfully makes him Captain America.
This is a man who has it all. Like he says it himself in The Avengers, Tony Stark is a genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist. Brought up in an almost royal household with all the money, fame and fortune in the world, its no wonder that Tony Stark has an equally massive ego and arrogance. He used to run Stark Industries for weapons manufacture and military applications, but fortunately or unfortunately, witnessed his own missiles being used against his country and all the other innocent people of the world. With a spurt of conscience mixed with traumatic personal experience, he shuts down the weapons manufacture until he decides to put the money into good use. This is the first sign of personal and professional growth he has since he put on the burden of looking after all the business by himself.
Next comes the alien invasion, where he acknowledges that some things are bigger than him, out of his puny control. Every other avenger is out of commission, and he takes it upon himself to stop Loki carrying out his insane plan to create a portal in the sky. While he fails initially, he eventually manages to be the hero who sends the nuclear missile out of Earth's vicinity and as a result becomes a victim of severe panic attacks and PTSD. His home is destroyed, his Pepper whisked away from him just because of a 'wrong' he had committed to an over-ambitious fellow a decade ago. Life presents one challenge after another, finally topping it with the creation of Ultron. This mistake of his costs the lives of several Sokovians, and he knows it. He accepts it and has to live with it. It eats at his soul, and if he has even one chance to make all of it right, he is ready to give up his own life. So yes, painful experiences have shaped even a miserable selfish jack-ass like Stark to own up his choices and live like a decent human being. But holding his own isn't very easy, especially now that Pepper isn't talking to him. Usually one needs love and humane support to go through soul searching.
But his love for engineering and building machines hasn't been affected a bit. It's like breathing, but using his brain instead of lungs. He genuinely believes in philanthropy by donating funds to scientific advancements, no matter how big or small. Using his wealth, power and technology, Stark wants to carve out a better future, not to destroy it like he did 8 years ago. The deaths in Sokovia and Nigeria, when brought into attention by Secretary Ross, leaves him reeling under all those emotions and burden, leaving him with only one plausible course of action. To halt more imminent destruction. Because threats will always come, but the unplanned guns-a-blazing intervention of the superheroes will only damage what good is left in the world. Like his military expeditions, their enhanced powers "need to be put in check". He urges Captain to consider the gruesome aftermath of their heroism, and pleads more than once in the film to come over to the side of the Accords.
However he has a change of mind when he sees that the wrong person is being convicted for the UN bombings, and is prepared to let the whole matter slide. He plans to see it through with the Captain to put an end to the team fight, because it has been keeping him on the edge of his senses far too much than he likes to admit. But sadly now that he finds out that Barnes had killed his parents, Tony Stark snaps. One can hold on to sanity and emotions for so long. Not for any recent crimes, he only wants to see Barnes punished for the single most important loss in his life, because he feels it would justify everything he has undergone since the age of 21. Instead of blaming the circumstances, he blames Barnes along with Cap who refuses to leave his best friend's side. Shunning him outright, telling Cap, "You don't deserve that shield" is a huge turning point in the film. Once his anger subsides, he notoriously lets Captain get away with the breaking out of other enhanced prisoners, because in his heart he knows that this little feud regarding his lost family doesn't matter anymore in the grand scheme. He accepts that Captain is acting out of the goodness in his heart, and though legally he cannot co-operate with him anymore, he doesn't dispose of the possible idea of being Cap's good friend again in a better future.
[Pictures from Google images]