War of the Rebellion1 of 12Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Captain America: Civil War hit theaters last week and set the stage for the next era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Between laying the groundwork for numerous future subplots, delving into the history of the universe, and splintering the Avengers, Civil War covered a ton of ground.
Even if you're an eagle-eyed fan, there may be things you didn't pick up on, or clues that didn't quite piece together through your first viewing.
Fortunately, we here at Newsarama watch these movies through microscopic lenses, using our deep knowledge and comic book pedigree to piece together important bits that signal the past, present, and future of the MCU.
Here are ten of our keenest observations about Captain America: Civil War.
SPIDER-SIGNALS2 of 12First off, this is a much more realistic portrayal of a poor kid from Queens. Peter’s money struggles are a little harder to buy when he’s got a room full of the latest gadgets in a big house. Showing him scrounging computer parts from the trash and living in a small apartment gives some gravitas to his situation – even if it’s destined to be changed by his involvement with Tony Stark.
But let’s also talk about his gadgets. Peter’s scientific innovation is back on display. As with the Amazing Spider-Man movies, Peter is the inventor of his web-shooters and web-fluid – but unlike the previous franchise, it’s not a formula he co-opted from his dad and OsCorp (apparently). It’s also implied that Spidey’s fresh new suit came from Peter’s own innovation alongside Stark. There are even small touches, like Peter explaining his heightened senses, that make his mask’s changing eyes make sense in-universe. Also he got a Spider-Signal. A freakin’ Spider-Signal.
And what about the moment where Peter and Cap bond over their boroughs? Given Peter’s comments to Stark – which basically amount to great power also coming with great responsibility – Peter could yet swing the other way (see what we did there?) and wind up siding with Cap when the time comes to bury the hatchet.
ANT-MAN = BIG THINGS3 of 12And no, we don't mean Giant-Man...
Considering how bad S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted Hank Pym's shrinking tech dating all the way back to that 1989 scene in Ant-Man, when Scott Lang is captured and imprisoned in Civil War, how long do you think it take whatever governing body is overseeing the Avengers to crack the secrets of his suit?
Reminder, Howard Stark worked with then secret-HYDRA agent Mitchell Carson to try to replicate Hank Pym's Pym Particles. When Pym found out, he resigned from S.H.I.E.L.D. and took his technology with him. Given that Carson was still looking to get the Pym-tech in the modern-day setting of Ant-Man, the elder Stark never managed to crack the Pym Particle formula.
So with Lang's Ant-Man suit in someone’s possession after the airport battle, they would have undoubtedly begun work on reverse engineering it.
It’s unclear whether the suit (along with Falcon’s wings) was on the Raft with Lang, and whether Steve was able to recover it when rescuing his team, but either way, there was likely plenty of time for Ross’s crew to get a real good look at it before Lang and the rest of Steve’s Avengers were sprung.
And don’t forget Hydra already has their hands on Darren Cross’s version of Pym Particles – something director Peyton Reed previously said would have ramifications in the MCU. Kevin Feige has previously promised the Quantum Zone would be an important addition to the MCU, but it looks like it may not be Pym’s only ‘big’ contribution.
MARVEL TV -USE IT OR LOSE IT4 of 12Though the screenwriters of Captain America: Civil War have sort of addressed why Tony Stark didn't recruit grown-up, mostly public heroes like Daredevil, Luke Cage, or Jessica Jones to his side in the film before the teenage Spider-Man, there's still a question of how long they can remain sequestered in their own corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And that’s not even mentioning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Tony or Cap couldn’t have used Quake’s abilities in Berlin?
Marvel clearly wants to have their cake and eat it too. They want the appeal of the shared universe to carry over to their TV projects without actually having to share the universe – besides some awkward exposition in the Netflix series and a few token crossover moments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (so far)
Don't get us wrong – the Netflix-verse is thriving on their own and S.H.I.E.L.D. has settled in to a zone ABC wants to keep it going, but both – particularly the latter – could be so much more if the lines Marvel has drawn in the sand dividing them weren't so visible to the viewers.
GOING NOMAD5 of 12By the end of Civil War, Tony Stark is left with the official Avengers team (and Cap’s shield), while Steve Rogers goes full-on Nomad and breaks his pals out of the Raft, promising that they’d still be doing their jobs – kind of like what happened to his team that refused to comply in the comic book version of the story.
So now that Steve’s on the run with Ant-Man, Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and possibly even Black Widow (who bolted from Stark’s compound pretty quickly after letting Cap and Bucky escape), what’s their place in the world? Operating out of the shadows, striking quickly, and getting out without a trace. Sounds kinda familiar…
Steve’s also got an agent inside the government – Agent 13, that is. Sharon Carter, the niece of Steve’s oldest friend, Peggy Carter, has shown just how far she’s willing to go to help Steve – and why. In addition to helping him stay one step ahead of Tony’s team, she also gives Steve his first romantic kiss. That’s not a relationship that’s going away any time soon.
ZEMO'S FUTURE6 of 12Marvel villains die. It's almost a rule. The ones that don't die definitely survive on purpose. Loki, Thunderbolt Ross, Arnim Zola, Abomination - they all had larger purposes in the MCU (some of which are still ongoing) which seems to suggest that there's more to Helmut Zemo's story than simply being locked away.
Black Panther even says as much when he stops Zemo from killing himself after the completion of his mission. And why not? Zemo - at least the film Zemo - seems redeemable, or at least like he can be aimed. A man with his skills and gift for scheming is a powerful asset in the right hands, or...dare we say... with the right team.
But that is a discussion for another day ... soon.
MRS. MAY PARKER-STARK7 of 12Tony Stark and Pepper Potts haven’t always had a great relationship, and it appears things have taken another downturn as of Civil War, as Tony makes it clear that his decision not to retire after Iron Man 3 drove a wedge between them.
But that doesn’t mean sparks weren’t flying onscreen. Tony had more than a little chemistry with Peter Parker’s “unusually hot” Aunt May. What’s more, Tony acted like a father figure to Peter in several scenes, threatening to call May and offering Peter guidance.
Is Tony’s role in Spider-Man: Homecoming more as an ersatz father figure than mentor? Could May Parker and Tony Stark forge a romantic bond? Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei were a real life item at one point, and the pair have shared the screen before in both Chaplin and Only You (see image at left), so their chemistry makes perfect sense.
BLACK PANTHER - DOUBLE AGENT?8 of 12In the first post-credits scene of Civil War, Black Panther hides Winter Soldier in the bounds of Wakanda – a decision Captain America makes clear Tony Stark and the government have not approved of, nor have any knowledge of.
Given Black Panther’s status throughout the film as something of an outlier. He allies with Iron Man for the film’s big throwdown, but generally operates on his own terms. Would anyone really expect the king of a sovereign nation to take orders from anyone – even Tony Stark?
Black Panther may very well prove to be the link that reunites the Avengers, bringing Steve’s fugitive team back into the fold for Avengers: Infinity War (or whatever the final title winds up being), playing both sides as he works with Stark.
And oh yeah, Cap may have given his trusty shield to Tony, but it turns out he winds up in the one place he might be able to score a replacement.
INFINITY WATCH9 of 12As a character, the Vision gets a lot of development in Civil War. From his struggles to find some level of humanity, to his rocky friendship (or more?) with Wanda, his lack of depth in Avengers: Age of Ultron proved an asset in his second film appearance.
But perhaps the most interesting struggle for the Vision is his quest to understand the Infinity Stone that gave him life, and provides his connection to Wanda. In many ways, Vision’s arc is actually quite similar to that of Adam Warlock – the fan-favorite enemy of Thanos who has the Soul Gem embedded in his forehead.
Like Warlock, Vision has an Infinity Stone in his head. He is an artificial being given life in a cocoon, and of course, he’s already the most philosophical Avenger. Could Vision’s long-term arc play out in a way that makes Adam Warlock – who many fans have requested as an important addition to the MCU – obsolete?
MAN DOWN10 of 12James Rhodes took probably the worst hit of Civil War, winding up basically paralyzed and trying to walk with a Stark-built exo-suit. Fortunately for Rhodey, he’s got a lot of experience with Stark-built exo-suits in the form of his War Machine armor.
But what’s his future? Would he rejoin the fight with a new, walking suit? Could he get a giant, mech-like version of his armor, like what he wore for a brief time in his own solo comic book? After the popularity of Avengers: Age of Ultron’s Hulkbuster scene, putting Rhodey in giant mech-armor might be a way to recapture that beat.
Either way, this being a comic book and all, Rhodey may have gotten a "bad beat", but there is no good reason to think his Avenging War Machine days are over. Tony needs all the Avengers he can get.
STARK SERUM11 of 12There’s a secret history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve seen bits and pieces of it in Ant-Man, Iron Man 2, and several other films. Most of it seems to be centered around the old school super geniuses like Howard Stark trying to design super weapons (some of which are based on the Infinity Stones), duplicating the Pym Particles, and recreating the Super Soldier Serum that gave Captain America his strength.
In Civil War, we see that Stark was actually successful in creating a new serum that powered other other Winter Soldiers even more powerful than Bucky. This could even be a throwback reference to the version of the serum seen in The Incredible Hulk. And, you can bet it won’t be the last time this idea plays a role in the MCU.
Again, more on that another time...
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