I went and saw Captain America: Civil War last night and it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. The movie really spoke to me and kind of helped me a little to have an insight in myself. It also has cause to motivate me to make games that draw on my personal conflicts that this movie made me reflect on. I will write a lot about that and keep it as spoiler free as possible but it may be in your best interest to watch the movie first and then earmark this for reading later on if you do not want to risk it.
First and foremost, this is a story that speaks of friendship and beliefs that many people would be surprised was born of comics. I know I certainly am surprised at the depth of story and this has really given me an itch to continue developing my Super Squadron adventure or even burst Era the Empowered out when it finishes its development. These are the stories that I want to tell. The stories that have meaning.
I was sitting talking to my employee Jen yesterday over a coffee as we were looking through the Secret Wars expansion to the Marvel Legendary card game. She had just been to see the movie and liked it (she was a bit off put by something as she had read the comics – I have not) and she asked me which team I was on, Team Cap or Team Iron Man. I thought it was a bit of a weird question as here are two fictional comic book characters, both of which I rarely read and most of my exposure to them has been through their respective movies and the Avengers. I even answered based on the actors and how I really have no preference or even care for either character and I will just see how it played out. I think Jen was almost offended!
But then I watched the movie and I got it. It clicked. It spoke to me in ways I think a movie never has before. I am a little embarrassed that this is the case, after all most people would like to say that maybe a movie like The Piano spoke to them at some deep spiritual level. At dinner parties my contribution is going to be Captain America: Civil War is where I learned all about me. You know what, I have to live with that but it has motivated me to attempt to act on this information. Plus it has motivated me to attempt to build as engaging a story in a similar setting soon.
The movie is essentially an investigation of two of the greatest Avengers and how they handle their own power and the collected power of their companions. Iron Man sees the damage that the group is capable of but because he would do anything for those in the group, who are really his family, he humbles himself and tries to take the option of the lesser evil that is laid in front of them. Tony Stark is a lonely genius going through difficulties in his life, of which he shares with no one. Captain America (Steve Rogers) is out of time and all that he had is lost but instead of closing himself off he is open with everyone, replacing what he has lost naturally. He sees the danger of accepting the path of least resistance and realises that he must stand firm, take root against that which is attempting to be imposed on him and stand for what is right. Both of these things I relate to but I realised that I definitely belong to a singular one of these camps.
First, a little about me. Many of you will already know about my past and who I am but for new readers they may not realise who I am or why I write. I am a fourty two year old guy that runs a friendly local game store. I was born into a nuclear family (2 parents, two children) that were just about working class (Dad a policeman and mother stayed at home). My brother was an active, outgoing guy that was the centre of attention. I was the quiet moody kid who loved RPG’s and creative writing that people knew because of my brother. I had an OK relationship with my parents though my Father and I drifted apart during my teenage years. He was a doer and I was a dreamer, not a great combination when you throw in teenage angst.
Early twenties my parents split up and my brother got married. Brother then was soon to divorce and heading to my late twenties I had a family and solid job that my brother envied a little. I idolized my brother and then soon after my twenty ninth birthday my brother was killed in a one in a million mining accident. From that day onward I suffered a deep depression. I am not the same person and I am on some heavy anti-depressants. It is how I ended up in my job as I decided that I have to do something that means something to me and make others happy. I gave tried to go off them but I have found that I spiral way too fast into some very dark places. Beyond that my mother passed away and this has combined to make me feel very alone. I have my own family and the relationships there are important but the loss of my brother and mother means there are some things that I just can’t speak about any more. There are conversations I no longer have and being from such a small family that makes me feel very alone.
So, the reason I go through all of that is to justify why Team Iron Man is my choice. I know that some of you will want to comment about all of the above and tell me how sorry you are and that you are there if I need you and I thank you for your kind thoughts. But that is not why I wrote it and I have talked about this in a variety of other forums openly so my story is hardly unique and hardly new.
I walked away from the movie with conflicted thoughts. I identify with the Captain in standing up and doing your own thing but on the whole I understand and empathise much more with Tony Stark. I really feel that Iron Man is to be seen as the cause of the conflict in this movie and that much of the dialogue is used to make it seem that it occurred because of his rigidity. The thing is though, I get it. Tony Stark is alone. He does not share his personal life, using sarcasm and wit as a shield. I do precisely the same thing. I also tend not to be very upfront with my friends about emotions or troubles that I am having. i never speak of them but by and large I would do anything for my friends. They are my extended “family” and although I can not ever have those conversations with them I want to help them as best as I can. That is all Iron Man wanted in the movie and it turns most people against him.
So, there you have it. This movie really surprised me as it told a personal story to me that I can identify with. I am certainly no super hero but the comics are not necessarily always about supers that save the world, sometimes (and often the best stories) those stories are about their own pain and conflict with those they love. If you made it this far, thanks for reading this self indulgent post – but realise too that these things can be taken and used to make stories for your games. It was not long after the self-analysis that I started working on plots and situations that I can use for similar settings in my own games – Keep Rolling!