Everything you Need to Know about Captain America: Civil War before entering the theatre

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
First off, the good news. 
I know, we both got burned by Batman v Superman but not this time. The initial critics reviews are already in and it's unanimously positive, calling Captain America: Civil War the best in Marvel's Cinematic Universe till date. So definitely book your show.

Civil War is based on one of the most popular and controversial comic book series from Marvel in the last decade.

In the 2006-7 comic book series, when a mishap occurs while trying to apprehend a superpowered criminal leading to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, the government demands that heroes unmask and register under them - the Superhero Registration Act - rather than operate with no law governing them. With some superheroes fearing attacks on their loved ones if their identities are revealed or worse, becoming stooges of the government, two groups soon form led by Captain America and Iron Man. 
The resulting war involves all the superheroes and even super villains including the likes of Spiderman, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four and the X Men, breaking friendships and even resulting in tragic deaths.

In the movie world, the issue of secret identity is not that big a deal since everyone basically knows who the Avengers are. The divide here is however going to be linked to the events of the past movies - the destruction following the battles at the end of both Avengers movies, including the one where they destroyed an entire country, Sokovia (hence the name, the Sokovia Accord). 

The need for a governing body who can regulate them is not likely to sit well with Captain America, who watched (in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as the only body he was loyal to - SHIELD - was found to be working under the nefarious organization HYDRA. Tony Stark (Iron Man) however would favour the need for someone controlling them, the memories of his own creation Ultron & the havoc it caused still fresh in his mind. 

The Winter Soldier is likely to be a major bone of contention.

This is where things get murky. 
Captain America sees the Winter Soldier as his childhood friend Bucky who has been turned into a programmable killer by HYDRA. For the Captain, Bucky can be saved and brought back to normal. But from an alternate standpoint, you can understand the government demanding Bucky be answerable for crimes of his past. Plus, sequences in the trailers do seem to suggest that we will meet the Winter Soldier early on in the movie as a guy whose mind has been programmed once more. 

Captain America choosing his friendship with Bucky over that of Iron Man is not likely to sit well with the latter.

The fight between Captain America and Iron Man has been foreshadowed for awhile.

Look at their early encounters in the first Avengers movie and you can see that this was a battle that was long in the making. While they've been working together as Avengers, their views have been polar opposites. They have been friends but its been an uneasy friendship.  

Thor and Hulk will be sitting this one out.

At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor returns to his own realm because of the disturbing visions of the future he saw during that movie, worried that someone is pulling the strings behind all the attacks upon them. Dr Bruce Banner a.k.a the Hulk too went into self-exile after the destruction he caused during his fight with Iron Man.

Getting Spiderman from Sony is a HUGE casting coup.

Marvel has been unable to use Spiderman till date as all movie rights rested with Sony. And it matters because Spiderman is a huge part of the Civil War comicbook storyline.

In the comics, a young Spiderman is heavily influenced by Stark (who he sees as a father figure after the death of his uncle Ben) and unmasks in a conference, revealing his identity to the world to show his allegiance. 

When a member of Team Iron Man ends up killing a superhero from the other side, Spiderman is left disillusioned and turns away from Tony. Young Peter Parker is almost killed as an enraged Iron Man uses the assistance of super villains to apprehend Spidey, only to be thwarted by everyone's favourite anti-hero The Punisher. From that moment on, Spiderman joins Team Captain America in helping rescue fellow superheroes who are imprisoned for the crime of not signing the Registration Act.

In the movies, it is unlikely he will play as big a role, since any opinions of his is less likely to have a major impact when we don't know 'this version of him' at all.

But keeping long-term plans in mind, the Spiderman you meet here (played by 19 year old Tom Holland - an actor & trained dancer) is going to be a young teenager still in high school and living a middle class life with a single guardian salary.
The return back to the classic plain comic book suit is quite befitting under the circumstances.

What has surprised me a bit is that critics have called this 'the best version of Spiderman till date', even though he is apparently there for just 30 minutes of screen time. Must be some impact! 

The Black Panther

A few people are confused over who the guy in the black panther outfit is, successfully chasing down (on foot) the Winter Soldier (who is on a bike!)

That would be T'challa, the ruler of the fictional African country Wakanda. 
You have been to Wakanda before in the movies as Ultron was seeking vibranium to make himself stronger in Avengers 2. Vibranium - the unbreakable material from which Captain America's shield is made - is predominantly found in Wakanda. 
The Black Panther suit too is likely to be made from some form of that metal, making him impervious to bullets. Him having claws made of the same material does not bode well for the enemy.

As to why he's here... well, they don't reveal much in the trailer but seeing him on Team Iron Man leads me to believe the Winter Soldier may have killed someone he loves while being mind-controlled by HYDRA.

In the comic books, the Black Panther is a regal and just figure; someone whose advice everyone looks up to. 

P.S. There is a Hydra villain here.

The man manipulating the Avengers here is Baron Zemo. The comic book version has him wearing a hood which was unfortunately attached permanently to his face following an altercation with Captain America. 
While I don't think we will see him in costume, he will have a Lex Luthorish role to play, pulling strings in the background. And he may actually have done it, since he does break up the superhero team from the inside.

The Teams

Team Captain America: Captain America, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Ant Man, The Winter Soldier, Hawkeye.

Team Iron Man: Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, War Machine, Black Widow, Spiderman

Somebody we care about will surely die.

There is no escaping it. The Civil War story line ends with the tragic death of one of the superheroes, assassinated while he's handcuffed. The killer and the victim are both visible in trailers of the movie and heartbreaking as it is to say, my money is on directors Russo brothers reenacting that moment.

In God Joss Whedon Russos we Trust 

Let's take a moment to applaud the Russo brothers too. Seriously. You have been watching their names on television without really knowing who they were. The brothers have been building their own credible fan base for years, doing some of the best episodes of comedy sitcoms like Community & Happy Endings, both of which enjoy a cult following from their fans. I guess it was the 'Die Hard paintball war' episode in Community that caught Marvel's eye since they took a huge gamble giving these people the job of tackling one of Marvel's biggest movie franchises.

That was the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was loved by critics and fans alike for its unique spy thriller feel with well choreographed action sequences, good twists and wonderful banter. 

They seem to have done it again here with this movie which is quite a feat since this is a movie where everyone we ever knew for a decade is meeting up onscreen and it cannot be easy maintaining a balance with so many characters.

For me, this article I read today sums up the commitment of the Russo brothers to giving the fans everything they want. They actually went and called up the directors of last year's action hit John Wick and asked them to help as co-directors for the action sequences because they wanted a really good battle.
That humility in accepting where you may not be the best and being able to ask for help has borne fruit - all reviews point to the 'airport battle royale' (seen above) being one of the best action sequences in comic book movie history. 

The Russo brothers will next be in charge of directing the phenomenally ambitious Avengers: Infinity Wars (a two part movie wherein again everyone we have ever seen till date will have to come together to finally face up to Thanos who decides to take matters into his own hands.)

So what do you think personally? Are you #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan?
Is Captain America right in thinking that superheroes being forced to follow government orders is a bad idea? Or is Iron Man right and there should be a Sokovia Accord, the guidelines of which every Avenger must adhere to?

Got any more doubts? Ask away... because the movie releases in USA & India on May 6th. I will do my best to clear them up.

Post a Comment


Let me know what you think.

  1. Your blog suggests you already watched it ;-).... Waiting for this weekend when its out up here.... Amazing reviews from other parts of the world though.

    1. Havent seen it yet :)
      Just a comic book enthusiast :D

  2. Awesome analysis... wow you are really good at this :D
    the moment I saw Spidey in trailers I was really blown away... can't wait to watch the movie. But I really hoped I didn't have to choose between superheroes.

    1. They couldn't keep carrying on the story of a new bad guy appearing and blowing up a country... this seemed a logical next move. Have all the varied internal energies collide and see what happens

  3. Okay, so I have no clue who this captain is...(don't roll your eyes, I can see you...:-P ) and I don't know anyone else, except the spidey guy....(yea and I feel like I'm a hundred years old) But my elder one loves this guy apparently and he happened to peek in as I was reading, and ended up reading this whole post. I saw his eyebrows go up in all sorts of shapes, and I have no clue why...He's asked me to thank you for this lovely post and he's asked me to ensure that I book tickets for the movie preferably on the 6th of may.

    1. I gratefully accept his thanks... of course, my eyes still hurt from rolling them at his mother!!!

  4. I think you're wrongly calling yourself an enthusiast. The correct word is devout student :D I am a big fan of the Marvel Universe and once joked to my husband that this is like reading a parallel History book and learning of all the characters. I should just point him to this post. Very curious to see what role Spidey will play and am eagerly waiting for the movie. Did not watch batman vs superman because of the bad reviews.

    1. devout student it is then... didnt know you were a fan too :D
      And yes, everyone who's seen it abroad is raving on Spidey's role which I still find surprising!
      Batman v Superman sorely disappointed me at all levels... and I was a huge fan willing to forgive a lot.

  5. Soo much information about Captain America. I am aware of the series but never watched it.

    1. ooh... you are way behind... this is probably the 10th movie in the series!

  6. I am a big fan of Marvel!! Thank you so so much... your post has ensured that when I go to the theatre I will enjoy the movie!

    1. Great to hear that... I'm as curious as you are to see how much of this will get incorporated into the movie.

  7. Okay, you might hate me, but I have never been fascinated by this genre. However, I do appreciate all you've put into this post, Roshan. I'm sure it's well appreciated by the fans.

    1. Hehe... thanks Corinne :) I certainly hope so :D

  8. Great analysis. And a good 'quick guide' for both fans and newbies alike.
    Your FB status suggests that it's a fabulous movie. As someone who has watched every Marvel movie since Iron Man, on the day of release itself, I hang my head in shame - due to travel plans, I wont be able to see this until later :(

    1. Do try to watch it before getting stuck with spoilers from anyone else... totally worth it. The movie was brilliant

  9. You remind me of Raj Koothrapali the way you talk about comics!

    1. I would fit right in with them.. especially in geeky Star Trek and comic book stuff :)

  10. I really enjoy your post on the movie and you make it pounding despite I am clueless and haven't watched. Way to go:)

    1. Thanks Vishal... I did get to see it and its lovely. You should watch it when u get the chance

  11. I haven't read a lot of comics. But watched all movies so this background has come very handy to me right now. BTW I have seen civil war and yup spiderman's best on screen ever! I particularly never liked spiderman series else.

    Roshan also wanted to tell you something my husband digs your TV series and comic series posts a lot :D He always mentions your blog to me at home :D

  12. very informative! you are really fond of comics! visit paperwriting-services.com and maybe you will be able to write your own one!

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