Captain America Civil War Analysis - Main Character Question

Actually I think the fight and the apparent shattering of the friendship are crucial to the meaning of the Judgment. Basically the film is saying: If you stand up for what you believe in you’ll be satisfied in the end, even if it means you have to resort to fighting your family.


Ok, so I was wrong about Captain America: Civil War

…but only a detail in the storyform, not about the Main Character–

–it’s still Tony :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I watched the film again - giving it a couple weeks after the first time to see if maybe I had missed something the first time around. After the long conversations here and the couple of podcasts I recorded, I was starting to convince myself out of my original assessment.

My thinking was that there might have been a substory with Steve and Bucky and that perhaps that was something that ended in Success/Bad…but I got to tell you there’s nothing there except the storyform positioning Tony as the MC and Steve as the IC.

An important distinction, and one I started talking about this week, is the idea that the storyform doesn’t see characters, it sees perspectives. Yes, Steve has the issues about being a “man out of time” but as far as Dramatica is concerned, that only matters in terms of a Main Character perspective. For it to be a Main Character perspective and part of a larger storyform, there needs to be an actual Influence Character perspective challenging that point-of-view.

There isn’t.

I was thinking maybe I missed something with old Buck or maybe that new girl but really all she does is stare at him and tell him what he already knows about compromise. Steve and Bucky function like I originally thought - as objective characters within the Overall Story Throughline perspective.

On the other hand, Tony as the Main Character Perspective comes with not one but TWO characters sharing the same Influence Character Perspective. I’m not sure how I missed it the first time, but Peter Parker TOTALLY takes over for Steve in the middle and offers that Influence Character perspective in Steve’s absence–classic Dramatica hand-off.

Both Steve and Peter share the same point-of-view: they don’t want to sit around when they can do something–it’s always your fault if you didn’t take action. You can actually see the wheels in Tony’s head turn when the kids says this to him (as if he’s heard it before).

Seeing both Steve and Peter as sharing this same ALTERNATE approach to solving problems, you can begin to see how they influence Tony throughout forcing him to reconsider his justifications.

No one is doing any of that to Steve from an Influence Character perspective.

The one thing though that I do think I got wrong was the Problem and Symptom – I think I had them swapped.

Instead of Avoidance as the Problem and Control as the Response, I think Control is the Problem and Avoidance (or Prevent in this case) is the Response. There’s far more chasing and stopping then there is freedom and control. In addition, Tony’s growth from Control to Uncontrolled is much stronger than Avoidance to Pursuit - “eyeballing” that shot is essentially proof of a character who has moved into an Uncontrolled motivation as opposed to his original motivation of Control (or allowing Control).

This also makes the Overall Story Solution Uncontrolled–which makes sense if you see Tony’s actions and the fight at the end as complete Uncontrol and then, of course, Steve shows up at the end to break everyone out (Uncontrolled).

I keep bouncing back and forth between Failure and Success. Setting the above I do have a choice of either Doing or Obtaining in the 3rd Signpost (the airplane battle). My original choice would be in Doing - which would give the same Plot Progression as my original storyform - but that makes it a Failure, which I don’t think is accurate (esp. with Zemo’s line “did I?” in response to failure).

Setting it to Obtaining - gives Learning - Doing - Obtaining - Understanding for the Overall Story and a Story Outcome of Success. I can see Learning in the beginning, all the disinformation and the setup of the accords, Doing is the chase through the streets, Obtaining is the capture of them and the breakout and the escape to Siberia - that actually works better for Obtaining. The Understanding is Tony understanding who was really behind the bombings and the understandings that Zemo feeds them about what his plan really was all along.

This gives Tony a Plot Progression of Progress - Future - Present - Past which is great because we have that Past part there at the end - plus, his Uncontrolled Solution and Judgment of Good shows a return to old form (previous self). Present would be the moment in the jail where Arrow-guy calls him “futurist” and all that stuff…

…which is interesting because it almost seems like Tony has two Main Character Signpost beats after the 4th Story Driver. This is why his growth feels somewhat false - it’s like Jenny in Forrest Gump she only changes because she knows she’s sick and is going to die…which is really just another instance of her using Forrest to get out of a jam when the argument was setting her up to change before that revelation.

Likely the same thing would have been better here - continue Widow’s little jibe towards Tony with Arrow guys line and the other Avengers calling him out on his Present situation, then he gets the information as he leaves and then he makes the change.

As it is now it’s like he starts to get the Understanding before that Present signpost has a chance to play out. To solidify the argument he probably should have started changing or moving in that direction before getting the information, so it’s not a matter of some extraneous piece of information generating the change instead of the Influence Character/Relationship Story dynamic.

This gives a Relationship Story Problem of Faith which is MUCH NICER than the previous Temptation one in the other storyform. The belief in each other, the belief or trust that the other one isn’t LYING about something super important - that motivates the Relationship, and then his letter at the end about how he will always be there - that’s an indication of that Faith still driving the Relationship (and proof that it’s unresolved).

This sets up Steve and Peter to have an Influence Character of Consider. That feels way better than Feelings, esp. since both are involved. The whole argument is about choice–about having that choice, and being able to choose (or consider) what you want to do.

Overall I think this storyform is reflected more strongly in the film than the previous one. It’s interesting to me the difference between a story driven by Avoidance and a story driven by Control. I mean, was Wanda’s mishap a problem of Prevention or a problem of Control? Control seems to be the stronger option, and everywhere you go control–or lack of control (Vision’s distracted mistake) cause more problems than pure Avoidance.


Hey Jim,
This is awesome! I had actually gone through with the software myself and felt that the Problem of Control fit the story better (and also I really liked the RS Problem of Faith though I wasn’t able to explain why as well as you did). But I didn’t want to add to the churn of conversations on here, so I was afraid to post those ideas.

I listened to your podcast today and was going to chime in to say that since I last posted, with more distance my views/feelings have shifted further to something like 60%-70% Tony as MC. It’s a very strange feeling because I freaking documented my reasoning for Cap as MC (above), but now when I access my memories of the story there’s a very different picture in my head.

One thing I feel is still outstanding is that I feel @decastell’s ideas of the OS being in Mind are really him seeing things at the Issue level, which I think a lot of people have trouble with, and I’d love to follow up more on that. But anyway that belongs in the other thread on Domains.

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Can I ask you to discuss how you see failure, even though you think it’s inaccurate? Could the goal be “keeping the Avengers together” and ending with the Avengers split up is the Failure?

And the Plot Progression would be something like:
Understanding that saving the day has consequences
Gathering Info about who will sign the Accords
Heroes arresting each other (or resisting arrest)
Losing the Avengers - the team is split up but even the team members that are still considered part of the Avengers team are now hampered by government control

Your list pretty much convinces me that it’s Success -

Understanding that saving the day has consequences - is not problematic, there aren’t misunderstandings…instead there’s an attempt to gain info (Learn) with Zero putting that guy’s head in the tub…

Gathering Info about who will sign the Accords - that’s not problematic either - and the 2nd story driver is the bombing of the embassy…so what you say really doesn’t happen after that event…

Heroe’s arresting each other (or resisting arrest) sounds more like Obtaining to me! (gaining control or losing control)

Losing the Avengers - team is split up - I get that one, but the other three don’t fit as well as the previous explanation:

Learning - dunking people for info
Doing - chasing through the streets creates a lot of problems
Obtaining - trying to escape, trying to resist arrest
Understanding - making people understand they should be at each other’s throats

Plus, there’s a whole heckuva lot of Uncontrolled freedom there at the end. I don’t think any of the Avengers are under control anymore - Tony can put the Sec. of State on hold and watch the light blink and Steve is back in there beating up innocent jailers just so his friends can get out…

so i think now i’m 100% in the Success corner.

just here to help! haha.
But I’m still curious how you might have been considering failure. What would the failure have been?

Can I try one more time?
How about Misunderstanding who is at fault? That explosion was going to take place on the ground and kill a lot of people. It only happened in the air next to the building because Scarlett Witch was trying to move it. Misunderstanding who is to blame for the explosion leads to people being mad at the Avengers for helping and the passing of the accords.

Gathering Mis-Information about who set the bomb leads to Bucky being framed.

Heroes fighting among themselves prevents them from looking for the right guy or going after Zemo.

Zemo Obtaining revenge means the team will be split up.

This topic should really be called Dramatica: Civil War. :wink:

I didn’t want to be left out of the casting call. So, I have something to add to this. Sorry for anyone who doesn’t want to see this post resurface. But, I just read the whole thing in one shot and I can’t resist.

Julie, my sister, and I watched it together and she instantly Identified the MC as Stark! But, man is it tough to catch that Protagonist and Antagonist difference except for the obvious slant to the goal that I can’t put my finger on how to define yet.

I agree wth Jim (obviously) on the subjective throughlines. But, I do wish I had a better handle at knowing why the story goal is written from one point of view or another and how to look at that point of view. Like how does an Inequity become an OS Problem? I’m not satisfied with the initial story driver being it. I do feel it is the result of it. But, there is almost always that back story Driver that seems more like the inequity to me. How does it get wound up via back story analogus to a change character? I know the OS is the context and it communicates author intent. But, is the goal from the Potential everytime or can it be the Resistance? Does it depend on how I set it up?

The Bucky and Cap relationship seems to me like a signpost 3 on the bigger Marvel Narrative of their friendship as RS with Cap/Nomad as MC and Bucky being a possible Change IC Character (my guess).

Signpost 1 - Captain America
Signpost 2 - Captain America Winter Soldier and post credit in the Smithsonian
Signpost 3 - Captain America Civil War and post credit In Wakanda
Signpost 4 - Black Panther White Wolf rebirth post credit scene and probably Avengers Infinity Wars

Here is my question. For the thread. Is Captain America a Holistic IC for Civil War? If so, it is an interesting way to get the audience reach to work for Marvel. If not, who occupies that POV in the story?

Please don’t hate me for being post 167 seven months later. :blush:

A very silly question. If an IC can be a group of people, can an MC be a group of people? In this case, the Avengers? Could the answer be that Tony and Cap both are MC and IC? On purpose.

And couldn’t that be part of the subtextual desire of the filmmakers? To make the whole MC / IC assignment hazy? Breaking the rules in order to create the desired effect of ambiguity?

I have yet to really dive into an analysis. But maybe they wanted to break the model (GAS) because they are breaking the Avengers.

While I don’t think this is the case here, yes you can have a group of Main Characters. In Dramatica, Main Character and Influence Character are not Characters, they’re perspectives. You can share the MC perspective just as easily as the IC perspective, if the issues stay the same.

The Men of Barracks 4 in Stalag 17 are a great example of this.