Sunday, March 31, 2024

MCU Sunday#13 Captain America: Civil War

 Preface: As promised last year, I plan to review every single currently available movie in what is known as the  Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) over the year 2024. These will appear in order of their release over that time period. This is the thirteenth installment. (Oh, and by the way, after I've exhausted all of the currently available MCU movies I will be rounding out the year with some of the other available movies made from the Marvel comics pantheon.)

Notes: In each of the MCU installments you will be seeing references to two recurring events that occur in nearly every MCU movie.

Where is Stan Lee?: Stan Lee was the driving genius behind Marvel Comics.  He usually shows up in a cameo.  Sometimes these are so quick you gotta be sure you don't blink. Occasionally he gets a line  of dialogue.

And the Credits Roll: You should always stay in the theater for the credits when watching a MCU movie, because during the credits and at the end there is a teaser (or two) that is worth the wait.  Often they were a teaser for the next installment of the films.





First: A big reveal.  Although this movie is titled Captain America: Civil War, it is basically another Avengers movie.  After all, even with the beginning (after the opening sequence), several members of the pantheon makes it's presence known in the first sequence.  We get Captain America (of course), but helping him in his endeavor are  Wanda Maximoff and Falcon.

Civil War took as it's basic story line, the story that had appeared previously in the graphic novel of the same name.  In this one we would also end up getting introduced to a couple of "new" superheroes, one that had been previously introduced in a separate (non MCU story line; see the last portion of this review) series, Spiderman, as well as a preview to one that would be on the horizon for his own future MCU movie, Black Panther.

Most  of the rest of The Avengers appeared later, during the Civil War part. Notably missing was Bruce Banner as The Hulk and Thor, which is probably one of the reasons this wasn't labelled as  another Avengers movie by title.

Captain America: Civil War (2016):

At the start of the movie, Russians, who later turn out to be a part of Hydra, revives Bucky "The Winter Soldier" Barnes (Sebastian Stan) from cryostasis to do a hit on a vehicle and retrieve some samples of super serum.

Flash forward to present day (sometime after the events in The Avengers: Age of Ultron). As stated above, Cap (Chris Evans)  and Falcon (Anthony Mackie)  and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) are on the trail of  Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), a renegade former SHIELD agent who is out to steal a biological weapon in Nigeria (which is a neighboring country of Wakanda... see it coming?).


It's almost, but not quite, more than these three can handle.  Rumlow (who has become a super villain known as Crossbones) has a lot of fancy weaponry and is not afraid to use them (but then what kind of super villain would he be if he were...?)


In the process and his ultimate defeat at the hands of Cap, Crossbones blows himself up, attempting to take Cap with him.  But Wanda, with her power of telekenisis sends the blast to a nearby building. (Remember that...)

In New York, Tony Stark addresses a group of students and tells them, basically, that they are the future, and that the Stark Foundation is going to fund their projects. After the event, Stark meets the mother of one of the people who were killed in the battle with Ultron in Sokovia.  Tony has some guilt over his actions, which becomes relevant as this movie continues.

Well, the building that was inadvertently damaged during the battle in Nigeria included 11 Wakandans who were on an outreach mission. (see the Wakanda connection now?). As the king of Wakanda says in a TV interview "Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all." 

Which leads to the appearance of the US Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt), who informs the collected group of Avengers assembled (notably missing Thor and the Hulk)  that some people consider them "vigilantes" and a "threat" and that therefore the nations of the world have created a protocol, called the Sokovia accords, which deem the Avengers to not be able to act independently, but be under the control of the United nations.  Thus they would only be able to act if that group decided their help was "necessary". He says they can talk it over, but if they do not agree to it they will be forced to retire.

(Author's interjection: Having witnessed for most of my life how such committees like this can "work together" so "well", I'm sure you can see which side of the coin I would fall on.) 

Tony, for his part, because of his guilty conscience, more or less, is behind the idea. Cap on the other hand says that if they sign the agreement they will surrender their right to choose.  There are some good points to both arguments (but once again interjecting: if you know me, giving up the freedom to make my own decisions, and giving them to another, is an anathema to me. Sorry. This may be the one movie that gets me on my soapbox.  I apologize.)

Meanwhile Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) has appeared on the scene.  He kills a Hydra bigwig and steals a book which will help him revive the brainwashing that activates The Winter Soldier.


Cap attends the funeral of his enamorata from the 40's Peggy, where he hears her daughter deliver a eulogy which inspires him to stay firm in his conviction. as he tells her later, despite the agreement of some of the others on The Avengers, he just can't agree to the accords.

At a conference to sign the accords, while the king of Wakanda is speakin,  the event is bombed, killing the king.  His son, T'Challa (Chadwick Bozeman) vows revenge. It turns out that The Winter soldier was behind the bombing. Rogers, still having a deep friendship for Bucky, thinks he can reform him and wants to take him alive, however.

Cap and Falcon track Bucky to Bucharest, despite the fact that others have orders to either arrest or kill them. He finds Bucky, but his attempts to try to take him peacefully are thwarted by the appearance of a group of police forces.  Bucky attempts to escape and runs smack dab into T'Challa, now transformed into the Black Panther, who attempts to exact his promised revenge.  None are successful however, as Rogers, Wilson, T'Challa and Bucky end up arrested. Tony attempts to get Steve to give up and sign the accords, promising that they can be amended later. (yeah, right.)

Zemo appears, disguised as a psychiatrist to talk with Bucky.  Meanwhile, he initiates a plan which shuts down the security grid of the prison, among other things. And says the words that reinstates his brainwashing.  Goal? To discuss what happened in 1991 (Remember the opening sequence?) 

During an ensuing battle, Rogers discovers that Bucky was framed and it was actually Zemo who bombed the accords and framed Bucky. And that Bucky is not the only "Winter Soldier".  It seems Zemo has some ulterior motives.

Eventually Cap and Falcon decide they can't wait for "authorization" to go after Zemo and recruit the help of Wanda, Hawkeye and Ant-man.  Iron Man, on the other hand, still trying to keep the Accords in action, forms his own team which consists of Black Panther, Vision, War Machine, Black Widow and newcomer Spiderman, not to go after Zemo, but after these renegade superheroes who are acting of their own initiative.  (The "civil war" of the movie's title).









(And Spiderman by the way has already been established as a viable superhero had an arc that created his background, but is only briefly touched on in the film. If you want to know his background watch this site after the MCU cycle and I'll get to those).

Allies and brothers should NOT have to fight each other, and it usually doesn't go well when they do. (Remember that disagreement from the US history past?)  Things go better when you work together for a common good. And these guys are much better when they do that.

We get to find out in the battle that Ant-man has another power in his suit that no one else knew about which helps the situation get better.

The ultimate outcome is that eventually there is sort of a reconciliation as everyone has to come together.  Leading up to our final battle. Which is a battle on on one with Cap and Iron Man.  Which as it turns out was Zemo's whole plan in the first place, as revenge for what happened in his home country.

Where is Stan Lee?  

Stan shows up at the end of the movie, as a FedEx driver, delivering a package for Tony "Stank"...


And the Credits Roll:

In mid credits Bucky, now in Wakanda, . voluntarily goes back into cryostasis, hoping that some time in the future somebody may figure out the secret to getting him un-brainwashed.

And post-credits: Peter "Spiderman' checks out a new gadget that Tony made for him.


Captain America: Civil War has some problems. For one thing, the villain is not all that impressive.  He's just a psycho and doesn't even have any super powers.  So he ought to be a quick meal for the Avengers, right? But then if you watched until the end you know the REAL reason he was doing what he was doing. Despite that, I really, really liked it.  Especially that battle between the two sets of friends.  So this one ALMOST, but not quite, ends up surpassing The Winter Soldier

Well folks, that's it for this installment.  See you next week.  Drive safely.



  1. This is my second favourite MCU movie after "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Personally, I like Zemo as a villain precisely because he's not a typical over-the-top super-villain. Zemo's plan is convoluted as hell and requires a lot of good luck and fortunate coincidences to pull off, but he does succeed in the end to destroy the Avengers. I also like this movie because it sets the course for the Winter Soldier's ultimate rehabilitation and redemption, not to hero status perhaps, but at least to anti-hero rather than super-villain.

    Oh, a small nit-picky point -- Sharon Carter, who delivers Peggy's eulogy, is Peggy's niece, not her daughter.

    1. I have to stop the movie every 5 or 10 minutes just to note down thoughts, but I missed that. Thanks for reading.


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