Episode 410: Audit The Avengers!

On the Overthinking It Podcast we discuss “Captain America: Civil War” the latest entry in Marvel’s Avengers franchise.

We discuss the bizarre structure of the film, with two movie stuck together; structures of trans-national governance; the difference between supervision and oversight; how effective regulation of The Avengers might work; the talking vs. the action; and we pay special attention to Spiderman, Scarlet Witch, and Black Panther.

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Your Panel

7 Comments on “Episode 410: Audit The Avengers!”

  1. Kevin LoadedDice #

    So you guys touched on it a little bit in the first part of the podcast, but one of the things that stood out to me about this movie that was strange and also fundamentally discordant was this:

    In the comics series, one of the most powerful lasting images/symbols was the idea that Captain AMERICA was, fundamentally, rebelling against the Government of the United States of AMERICA, over a principal that is fundamental to American identity: Privacy (and its relationship with security). It was, in many ways a commentary on the Bush Era and the Patriot Act.

    I understand there is a practical/financial reason to broaden this conversation for an international audience, but the effect is one that is fundamentally thematically different. That is to say, by making the nominal governing agency the UN (despite all the primary actors with agency being US Government officials), and also, in many ways, fundamentally changing Captain America’s reasons from the purely ideal to one of a personal relationship…well….we have a different commentary on the Bush Era. One that is, hopefully, less relevant and certainly less interesting to me. Specifically “Captain AMERICA unilaterally defies the will of the UN, and assembles a coalition (one might say…of the willing), because he believes in his own exceptional nature to deal with the situation.”

    That pretty much makes Captain America the villain in my book, but I don’t think the movie adequately addresses that at all.

    I wonder if the brief exchange during the airport battle around “pulling punches” was an acknowledgement that, narratively and thematically that’s exactly what was happening.


  2. Jason #

    On the “Zodiac Civil War” there’s sort of an anime about that – or at least a cat trying to become part of the zodiac. The name is Etotama, and the cat has to battle each of the various zodiac signs to gain entry.



  3. ScholarSarah #

    I think of Captain America’s stance as representing a sort of professional duty as an Superhero. He believes he has an obligation to help people who need it, regardless of institutional/popular pressure to refrain from doing so.

    This is analogous to Winry Rockbell’s parents in Fullmetal Alchemist and Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Winry’s parents are doctors who had a hospital in a war zone, and would provide treatment to people from either side. Atticus Finch was a lawyer assigned to defend a black man in a town that was almost prepared to lynch him.

    In the same way one might object to subjecting doctors and lawyers to the same sort of restrictions, only being allowed to act upon government direction, Captain America objects to his provision of superhero services being so constrained.


    • Crystal #

      Only on OTI does a comment reference FMA and TKAM with the same level of respect.

      Thanks for reminding me of why I love this site!


  4. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    Finally saw the movie, and I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast. I consider this the Empire Strikes Back of the Avengers movie saga. The good guys got hammered, broken, demoralized and scattered. The only official Avengers left on duty are Iron Man and Vision. The rest are in hiding somewhere. Things are grim.

    But oh man, I’m already getting tingles imagining the moment in 2018 when Tony picks up that cell phone and says “Hey Cap, I’ve got a shield cluttering up my office. You want it?”


  5. ScholarSarah #

    After re-watching it a couple times, I came up with a West Wing solution to a Marvel problem: after Lagos, in order to quell the public’s fear about her, Wanda goes on a talk show, like Oprah (or maybe Barbara Walters, but you don’t want any legal questions) and gives a heartfelt interview. Hard for the public to fear her after she tells her tearful life story on TV.


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