“Captain America: Civil War” unexpectedly mirrors the modern divide in the U.S.


Phoebe Bradburn and Sophie Orlando

In 1861, the American Civil War broke out between two opposing sides – the Union who fought for the unity of the states and slavery abolition, and the Confederacy who wanted to secede and to keep slavery. Luckily for us, that ended nearly two centuries ago, but in this day and age, we, as American citizens, are witnessing our country going through another “Civil War” – one between the two main political parties. And as surprising as it may sound, we believe that one of the biggest blockbusters of the past decade, “Captain America: Civil War”, is a reflection of the current politics we didn’t know we needed. 

“Captain America: Civil War” is a Marvel movie better known for its actors, stunts and visual effects than political messages. It presents a divisive decision from the U.N to keep the superheroes team Avengers under strict government control. With two different opinions dividing the group of heroes, tension rises. One the one hand, Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jr.) believes that the Avengers should be under government control, and that their freedom has caused chaos across international borders. Captain America (Chris Evans), on the other hand, believes that they should have the freedom at their disposal to act promptly on social unrest and shouldn’t be controlled. The rest of the Avengers are forced to choose a side between the two heroes, while the emerging conflict is set to cause major controversy worldwide. 

Today, November 3, is a suspenseful day for U.S citizens and the world, as the U.S presidential election determines the leader of one of the most politically influential countries. The pressure rises as people vote all over the country for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, who represent the two opposing political parties – Republicans and Democrats. Between these two parties, there is high agitation with contrasting opinions on just about everything – plans on economic recovery, healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic, foreign policies, or environmental sustainability. This strikes a notable resemblance to the controversial dilemma portrayed in ”Captain America: Civil War”, but on a national level. There are numerous scenes throughout the movie that mirror the current stage of the U.S. For instance, the scene in which speeches are delivered by world leaders following a fatal explosion remind us of President Trump’s briefings, as our nation fights an uphill battle against the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the rising death toll; or the bitter arguments that broke out among the superheroes may ring a bell to how the first Presidential debate was filled with insults and interruption. It is unsure if the authentic depiction in the movie is intentional; but clearly, it prompts the audience to draw the connection between art and life, and to reconsider their choices standing in front of the ballot. 

There is one difference between the movie and reality, which unanticipatedly highlights a shortcoming in how we perceive politics in real life. Currently, there isn’t a physical civil war in the United States, but there is a division between the two political parties, with us as voters constantly being told as to what side we should support. Too often, we struggle to find trust-worthy and nonpartisan information; instead, we encounter news that might have been biased, aiming to influence our perception and decision-making. In the movie, however, we get to see two sides of an argument, neither is portrayed as better than the other, thanks to the amazing screenplay and cinematography directed by the Russo brothers. This allows us, as audiences, to decide on our own which side to endorse. Indeed, the movie offers a refreshing perspective in observing and judging events as exactly as they happened. 

 “Captain American: Civil War” entertainingly yet realistically captures the political divide in the current United States. It is an entertaining and engaging movie to watch with your family and friends when you are not voting or helping poll workers.