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The Superhero Registration Act makes sense in the comics, as does the tension about revealing an identity kept secret lo these many years. But in the MCU they apparently decided (according to this question) to not bother with the whole secret identity thing. If that's the case, what's with the SRA in the movies? I mean, yes, the SRA is more than just revealing one's identity, but in the comics at least, that was absolutely a main point.

But if everyone is just like "oh yea, I'm Tony Stark, here's my address, I'm Iron Man," then that's no longer a concern. And the rest is just registering with the government so that you get a pension and a paycheck- which I should point out can be pretty attractive to many of the non-independently wealthy superheroes. Yeah, I can see some being upset over becoming government employees rather than doing good for the sake of doing good. But I don't see it raising the stakes to a Civil War level.

I do understand that the impetus for the War in the movie is apparently Winter Soldier/Bucky, but the setup just doesn't seem plausible enough to start an all-out war.

So can someone please explain what is happening in the MCU that really acts as the driving force for the Civil War, what people object to in the SRA? Or is it just contrived blather?

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    Are you aware that the SRA does not exist in the MCU? The Civil War movie is about the Sokovia Accords, which are fairly different. – Ixrec May 6 '16 at 8:54
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    I was not aware of that, as a matter of fact. That does explain a great deal tho. – Broklynite May 6 '16 at 10:30
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    In the comics, the SRA is about arguably more about regulation than secret identities. So, in a sense, the SRA is still being proposed in the MCU, just from a different angle. – phantom42 May 6 '16 at 11:11
  • I think this question would have been better to ask after seeing the movie. – Kimberly W May 6 '16 at 17:28
  • I wasn't planning to see it and missed a bunch of the previous ones which is why I ask. – Broklynite May 6 '16 at 19:18
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Superhuman Registration Act

The SRA does not exist in the MCU, most likely because of the number of "superhumans" in-universe at the moment. The Avengers are currently the only real organisation in the MCU that are in the eye of the media. They have no secret identities so to speak of, aside from:

Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Matthew Murdock (Daredevil)

For more info on secret identities in the MCU please see: Does the general public know who superheroes really are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The Sokovia Accords (the MCU's SRA equivalent)

The Sokovia Accords are the focus of the MCU Civil War. The Sokovia Accords are a set of legal documents that put the Avengers under the control of the United Nations (signed by 117 countries).

Sokovia Accords

By signing the Accords the Avengers would surrender their right to choose where and when they intervene in situations across the world. If they do not sign the Accords, then the UN will attempt to neuter the Avengers. (Could they really...?)

The Sokovia Accords are put into place after the events of:

  • The Chitauri invasion of New York (The Avengers)
  • Malekith's attack on Greenwich, London (Thor: The Dark World)
  • SHIELD/Hydra Helicarriers crashing in Washington, DC (CA: The Winter Soldier)
  • Hulk vs Hulkbuster (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Ultron's destruction of Sokovia (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

and:

Lagos (CA: Civil War)

All of the above events have killed or injured a number of civilians, and the Avengers have not been held accountable for these damages.

Not to mention the boom of catastrophic events since the Avengers have come into play. There are examples in almost every MCU movie to date of stuff going wrong, because of the actions of "superheroes":

  • Thor - Puente Antiguo was leveled by Thor's fight with the Destroyer.
  • Iron Man 2 - Ivan Vanko devastated the Monaco Grand Prix, and caused large collateral damage at the Stark Expo.
  • Iron Man 3 - The introduction of AIM and the Extremis virus led to various civilian casualties and collateral damage.
  • Ant-Man - The total destruction of a building, various collateral damage, and the almost-sale of a weapon of mass destruction (the Yellowjacket suit) to parties including Hydra.

What's the conflict then?

This causes a "Civil War" because half the team feel that they need oversight, they need to be held in check. As General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross says:

In the past 4 years, you've operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That's an arrangement the governments of the world can no longer tolerate.

The other side of this coin, as Steve Rogers says, is that: The UN is run by people, people have agendas, and agendas change over time.


Who's right then?

Tony Stark: We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I'm game.

The crux of the MCU Civil War is that Team Tony believe they need someone to be responsible for them, someone to take the heat when things go wrong. Team Cap believe that they should be responsible for their own actions, and not be tied down to a group of people that, for all intents and purposes, could be motivated to divert/misuse the Avengers for their own ends.

Team Tony believe that having a "boss" for the team to answer to will not just legitimize the Avengers as an organisation, but absolve them of the blame that currently falls at their feet. In Civil War we see:

A woman attends Tony's MIT talk and accuses him of murdering her boy, who was working relief in Sokovia when Ultron decimated the town.

I believe this is a primary driving force for Tony Stark, and most of Team Tony.

Team Cap believe that they cannot trust an organisation to oversee them. Specifically, Cap believes that by signing the Accords, they would become lapdogs of an organisation. What if the Avengers need to be somewhere, but the UN says no because a small-time dictator doesn't want international interference with their regime? What if the Avengers are instead sent to this dictator's country, but with the mission of putting down the rebels/freedom fighters?

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    SHIELD no longer officially exists after the events of TWS. This is dealt with heavily in Agents of SHIELD and is the origin of the name of our chat room. – phantom42 May 6 '16 at 10:43
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    @Broklynite They were until SHIELD fell apart during Winter Soldier. – Ixrec May 6 '16 at 10:43
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    Wow. So Stark isn't looking for all super humans to have oversight, he just wants someone else to have to shoulder the responsibility and accountability so he doesn't feel like he has to, from how it sounds. – Broklynite May 6 '16 at 10:57
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    @CearonO'Flynn added that to my list, thanks! – Stormie May 6 '16 at 12:47
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    Probably worth noting that there is already an example of your last point - in the first Avengers the world security council was willing to Nuke New York city to stop the Alien Invasion rather then let the Avengers close the portal. – Mark May 6 '16 at 13:07
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In the MCU, there is no Superhero Registration Act. The analogous piece of legislation in the recent Civil War movie is called the Sokovia Accords, which does not involve registration at all. In that movie, General Ross introduces the bill to the Avengers as follows:

In the past 4 years, you've operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That's an arrangement the governments of the world can no longer tolerated. But I think we have a solution: The Sokovia Accords. Approved by a hundred seventeen countries. It states that the Avengers shall no longer be a private organization. Instead, they'll operate under the supervision of the United Nations Panel only "when" and "if" that Panel deems it necessary.

This evokes similar ideological issues to the SRA in a way that makes far more sense in the MCU, since whether this is a good thing or not depends largely on how much you trust conventional authorities compared to how much you trust the Avengers. These accords wouldn't make sense in the comics since the comics have far more metahumans out there than just the Avengers, but the SRA wouldn't make sense in the movies because as you said most of the important metahumans' identities are already public knowledge.

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It's about being made accounted for or controlled by the governments of the U.N. This is why there is a Civil War because Steve is against the idea of being governments 'police unit' used to fight their agenders instead of the right one.

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There is no SRA in the MCU, but the Sokovia Accords which seek to place the Avengers under UN control. The issue is less about exposure of their identities and more about being managed by committes with various agendas.

The notion is relevant to todays's world and a police state, but it missed the mark by painting the UN as some sort of effective agency versus the reality of what they are IRL.

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