There has been a noticeable shift in MCU’s approach to content in 2021. Unlike Justice League’s clear distinction between good and evil, Marvel is venturing deeper and deeper into the gray area. We first noticed it in the WandaVision, when the Scarlet Witch herself did a lot of questionable things in her grief and it’s becoming more apparent in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, with the conflict of Karli Morgenthau and the morality behind the Flag-Smashers, that Marvel is done with the black and white narrative of the world. In fact, ever since the blip, even though we do see the typical bad guy, we’re seeing the problematic good guy storyline even more.
The Flag-Smashers are essential to the storyline of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Even though the group gave an initial impression of being the bad guys, their raiding of properties for food and supplies to feed the underprivileged, displaced, and destitute made it clear that there is more to their purpose than just stealing from Swiss banks. But it can be difficult to discern what the Flag Smashers represent and what their cause is. So here’s everything you need to know.
What is the Flag-Smasher cause?
The Flag-Smashers, lead by Karli Morgenthau, propagate their belief that the world was better-off when half the population was snapped away by Thanos. Their intention is to create a new world order that is not separated by any kind of borders or nationality. So the Flag Smashers, lead by Karli Morgenthau, work to create a world that is without nations, borders or as the name itself suggests, flags. Even though all of this sounds very idealistic on paper, the whole deal is actually quite twisted because Karli, in a bid to power her cause, stole Super-Soldier serum vials from the Power Broker and created a small super-soldier army for her cause.
Why do the Flag-Smashers exist?
From Karli and the group’s behaviour and conversations, it becomes very clear that there has been a terrible mismanagement in the way things were handled post-blip when people returned. There was displacement, hunger and death among other issues. These were all aspects that had been fixed by the blip as humanity united to cope with a collective grief. Since there was a deficit of humans, resources were distributed more abundantly and there was a consideration that went out of the window once the rest of the population was restored. Karli established the Flag-Smashers with the intention to change the world order, to make it their version of a better place.
But on a deeper note, the circumstances after people returned is very reminiscent to actual, real-world situations that we are facing in this day and age. The Flag-Smashers genuinely believe that their approach will solve a collective crisis that humanity is facing when the reality is that they are only adding fuel to the fire.
Is the cause of the Flag-Smasher good or bad?
— BluRay𝔸ngel (@BluRayAngel) April 9, 2021
As the saying goes, one man’s terrorist is another man’s revolutionary. In this case, the Flag-Smashers have managed to rake up a lot of support from people who have been displaced. However, they are not exactly doing this from a moral highground. The group is looting food storages and banks, sometimes going as far as to kill personnel in authority using bombs. When Sam and Karli have a conversation, he calls her out on the group’s Supremacist behaviour when she claims that the group is against such a school of thought and want to help people. The fact of the matter is that extremist behaviour can never justify a good cause.
Regardless of how deeply Marvel may dabble with the gray area, they are laying an emphasis to the fact that evil may have levels, but good must be absolute. Even the slightest, most questionable action can completely sully the purity of a good action/intention. The Flag-Smashers can do all the good that they want, but it does not take away from the violence and disruption that they create as a group and despite Karli’s claims that Flag-Smashers won’t be the bad guy, she’s also willing to do just about anything to achieve her cause. The problem with staying in a gray area is that you really cannot anticipate when things start to go black.
Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment