From the Mailbag: “I think Tony probably had no right to demand the shield, but…” (SPOILERS)”

Anonymous said (in response to this):

I think Tony prob has no right demand the shield, after all it’s not made by his father not him. But he is right about Steve doesn’t deserve it. Steve is desperately clinging to the one piece from his past. Steve isn’t thinking about what he hurt and break because in that moment for himself, everything he did and does is justified in his mind to protect bucky, which is understandable, but doesn’t mean all he did is right. He’s also flawed and blinded, he realized it, so he drop the shield.

Hmmm. Well, sadly, I’m gonna have to disagree with you here, Nonny.

While I definitely get what you’re saying about Steve being flawed, I just don’t agree that he doesn’t deserve the shield anymore. Being perfect isn’t a prerequisite for carrying the shield (if it were, no one would be capable of wielding it), and Steve didn’t do anything that revoked his right to the shield in my opinion.

I also don’t agree that Steve dropped the shield as a means of either acknowledging his flaws or agreeing that Tony was right. Tony wasn’t right. I’m sorry, but I will go to the wall on this one: Tony was wrong. He was wrong about the Accords (for reasons I outline in another post), and he was wrong about Bucky. And he said as much to Steve before all hell broke loose. Once it did break loose, he would have killed Bucky if Steve hadn’t stopped him; he would have killed Steve if Bucky hadn’t stopped him. Both of those actions are things he would have regretted when he calmed down and got a grip on himself.

I don’t particularly blame Tony for what happened. (With the exception of blackmailing a fifteen-year-old into fighting a war veteran for him. I do blame him—or more properly the PTB—for that.) Tony’s been walking wounded through this entire film franchise, and Secretary Ross played him like a violin, which in itself was a very interesting way for the filmmakers to get around the who-was-right? debate. We can’t debate it, really, because the honest question of whether or not to accept oversight was never actually on the table.

But back to Tony. My biggest fear with Marvel deciding to do Civil War was that I would wind up hating Tony Stark. I’m not a fan of the character in comics continuity, but I’ve loved him in the MCU and I really did not relish the thought of seeing him turn into a more 616-version of himself. So I was absolutely delighted with how things unfolded. The filmmakers did a fantastic job of making Tony’s actions believable and understandable from his emotionally-compromised point of view. But by making the Accords ambiguous in their intended function and proposed implementation, they failed to make both sides of the fight equally responsible for what happened, I think. Tony should have known better than to let himself and his team get railroaded in such a fashion; in a less triggered frame of mind, he would have known better. And I think we’ll see a positive resolution of that tension in future films.

It’s interesting that Tony kept, and many viewers keep, going on about Steve’s having been emotionally blinded by his feelings for Bucky. I don’t see it that way at all. Steve rejected the Accords on principle well before Bucky was put into the mix, and even his desire to go after him in the wake of the bombing was largely motivated by a duty to protect other people from harm. Steve was actually remarkably level-headed through the entire film. He only truly lost his cool in the final fight after several attempts to appeal to Tony’s better self had spectacularly failed. (And boy did he lose it then.) But even then, he had no apology to make for that. In his letter to Tony he only apologized for the one thing that he felt merited an apology—that he had lied to Tony about what happened to his parents.

So to bring it all full-circle, as I said before, I do not agree that Steve dropped the shield as a way of acknowledging that he wasn’t worthy of it or that he was somehow in the wrong. He dropped the shield because it was important to Tony that he do so, and Tony is more important to him than the shield is.

Originally posted here.

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