Despite their supposed importance to the MCU, the Sokovia Accords haven’t played much of a role in the MCU since Captain America: Civil War. Here’s how Ant-Man and the Wasp changed that.
The Sokovia Accords were at the heart of the conflict in Captain America: Civil War. Requiring the Avengers to work within government power and regulation was what caused Team Cap and Team Iron Man to form in the first place and the ensuing battle between the two sides to occur.
Despite the game-changing nature of the Sokovia Accords and the deep divisions they caused among allies, for a long time the Accords really didn’t impact the MCU. The films immediately following Civil War — Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — could reasonably get away with this considering they took place among users of the mystic arts or far away in space. The U.N. was not aware of these individuals or has no jurisdiction among them, so the Sokovia Accords can’t affect them. It seemed like they should’ve had some effect on Spider-Man: Homecoming, but they didn’t other than the gym teacher’s comedic moment where he says he has to show the Captain America PSA’s even though he’s currently a war criminal. The mostly cosmic setting of Thor: Ragnarok made the Sokovia Accords a non-issue there, and the isolated setting of Wakanda did much of the same in Black Panther.
The Sokovia Accords finally came into play again during Avengers: Infinity War as the members of Team Cap have been on the run — or in the cases of Hawkeye and Ant-Man made deals with the government so they could be with their families — because of the Accords. Thaddeus Ross tells James Rhodes/War Machine to arrest and bring in the rest of Team Cap, but Rhodes basically brushes off this order. Rhodes and Team Cap understandably have bigger fish to fry with Thanos and the Black Order, and as such, the Sokovia Accords didn’t factor into Infinity War any further. In fact, they will probably be nullified for good after the Avengers inevitably save the universe in Avengers 4. This lack of overall impact on the MCU begs the question of whether the Sokovia Accords were really necessary in the first place, or if they were just an excuse to create the conflict of Civil War.
Ant-Man and the Wasp changes that as it made the Sokovia Accords matter in a way they arguably haven’t since Civil War. Audiences got to see Scott Lang in his final days of house arrest after enduring it for two years because of his decision to join Cap in Civil War and defy the Sokovia Accords. Even though they did nothing to actively oppose the Accords, Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym have been forced to go on the run because Scott used their technology when he fought alongside Cap. This caused Hope and Hank to cut ties with Scott, leading to the tension that is a big part of the film as he tries to figure how to renew their trust.
The Sokovia Accords are shown to have taken a significant toll on the lives of Scott, Hope, and Hank in a way they haven’t on other characters in the MCU. At least the members of Team Cap made an active choice to disobey the law. Hope and Hank suffered the consequences just because Scott used their technology. Also, other than Hawkeye, Scott was the only member of Team Cap whose family had to deal with the hardships of violating the Accords, something that is felt by audiences when watching the film.
Throughout Ant-Man and the Wasp, the Sokovia Accords continue to play an important role as Jimmy Woo and the FBI hunt Hope and Hank and threaten the freedom Scott has long worked toward. Because they have operated and continue to operate outside government jurisdiction, they are actively hunted by the government in a way that has real and ongoing consequences.
The Sokovia Accords aren’t the most essential thing in the whole MCU, but they’re important enough that they shouldn’t be ignored. It’s nice to see them playing a meaningful role in Ant-Man and the Wasp and receiving the significant follow-through teased by Civil War.
Were you happy with the role of the Sokovia Accords in Ant-Man and the Wasp? Let us know in the comments below!