The New Captain America Movie Looks Intense … and Troubling

The New Captain America Movie Looks Intense … and Troubling November 25, 2015

As we go into this holiday weekend, we all can take the opportunity to consider what we’re thankful for. And I, for one, am thankful for this new trailer for Captain America: Civil War. Sort of.

This makes for a pretty provocative 156 seconds—and frankly, kind of hard to watch. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers … enemies?

“Sorry Tony,” Cap says in the trailer. “You know I wouldn’t do this if I had any other choice. But,” he adds, referring to his old pal, Bucky, “he’s my friend.”

“So was I,” Tony says. Argh.

The Civil War referenced in the movie’s title is that of a war between superheroes—those who submit to a worldwide governmental registry and those who don’t. Iron Man—so long a rebel with a cause—is, ironically, the face of submission. “If we can’t accept limitations, we’re no better than the bad guys,” Tony says. But Cap—a one-time member of another well-meaning organization that proved to be riddled with bad guys—is more inclined to steer clear of the registry and, oh yeah, save Bucky in the process.

For me, this trailer is more than a way to get me pumped for next May: It’s a strange test of allegiance. Captain America has long been a favorite superhero of mine, ranking perhaps only behind the Dark Knight on my personal geekometer. But at the same time, the idea of submission is a deeply held tenant for me, too—in part because I sometimes struggle with it, and yet it seems such an important part of Christianity.

But that said, we do see lots of instances of righteous rebellion, too—from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Bible tells us to submit to authority, yes, but to a clearly evil authority? One that denies basic human rights and precepts? I’m no theologian, but perhaps there’s some wiggle room there.

This is attention we’re supposed to feel in Civil War, I think. It’s pretty obvious that Disney/Marvel wants us to feel some dissonance with this trailer, and I’ll be really interested to see how it unpacks these themes in the finished movie. I hope that, in spite of what we see here, Tony and Steve’ll patch things up and find another Hydra hideout to attack … but I’m a little scared that might not happen.

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