What I Learned From Captain America: Civil War

On Friday night I took Carter to see the new Captain America: Civil War movie. He loves his superheroes and we hadn’t gone in a while.  It had rained early and I didn’t anticipate the crowd we faced so we ended up in the front row.

Not fun with a seven-year old!

He loved the movie.  I won’t hit too many specific plot details and I thought it did a good job making a relevant political and life statement.  Hear me out.

The point of the original comic story, and the movie, is the registration of the super humans (something the X Men franchise had tackled already) involved with Captain America and his fellow Avenger crew.

Due to the death of innocent people surrounding their battles with the bad guys, the government decides to step in and demand they act only under control of the United Nations. This splits the team and starts the “Civil War” between those who agree with the plan and those who want the freedom to act on their own will.

The story is one of consequences, brokenness, and revenge.


The power structures in our society play off a love of consequences.  Check the current political landscape for a minute, if you can do it without vomiting. The two parties in power bicker and threaten to get what they want without any thought to the end results.

As parents, we see our kids act out and we try to steer them in the right direction even as we know that falling down is sometimes a better teacher than avoiding the risk altogether.

In our marriages we can settle, stop putting in the effort and thinking that things are okay until the laziness finally cracks the facade and we face an emotional and hurting spouse.

Jesus didn’t play with consequences.

His view on them made him dangerous.  He faced down the religious establishment of the day and said, to their faces, that they were wrong. He said to love, not hate. Find peace, not violence. Serve, don’t rule.

Reach out with an open hand, don’t strike with a closed fist.

He said he was the way, the truth, and the life. The sides were clear and the gray area vanished.

Oh how we muddied the waters.

There’s a scene where Robert Downey Jr. is getting onto an elevator with Alfre Woodard.  Woodard hands him a picture of her character’s son and tells him that he had died an innocent bystander during the battle scene earlier in the movie.

She asks the question, “Who will avenge him?”

The movie holds up a valuable mirror to our relationship with those in power and, for someone attempting to follow Jesus, asks a valuable question of faith:

Are we able to trust without seeing the end result? Can we relinquish control? Can we keep believing when things get ugly?

If you haven’t seen the movie, check it out and let me know what you think!


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