If you a Marvel fan or, really, a fan of comic books in general, you have no doubt been waiting for a Civil War movie ever since the original series hit comic book stands back in 2006. While this weekend’s release, Captain America: Civil War, largely deviated from the source material, should you want to refer to the comic book storyline as such, there is no question that Marvel has created another masterpiece. From beginning to end, the film is one of the best superhero movies audiences have witnessed on screen. Then again, some would argue that the Captain America movies are the finest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s stable, so it really is no surprise that the latest installment of the series should surpass those before it. If you were part of this weekend’s audience in seeing the film, there are plenty of scenes that you likely recall with fondness and wonder if others shared in your excitement for these scenes. Well, here is your chance to relive and even debate some of the finest moments in Captain America: Civil War.
Before we even get a line into this list (while there should really be no need, considering the title above), let’s go ahead and throw down the Almighty SPOILER ALERT. If you have not seen Captain America: Civil War, just walk away. Really. The movie is a wonderful accomplishment with so many moments that are better lived while watching the movie first, then reliving by perusing this list, than simply spoiling it for yourself. So, again:
Still here? Good. Either you saw the film and want to be reminded of the moments throughout the film that made you cheer, or, you refuse to heed the above advice, in which case, whatever, you’ve been warned and we are not your mom. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The Return of Thunderbolt Ross
The Incredible Hulk still ranks as the MCU’s lowest grossing film but many would still consider the film a success. While not everyone was ecstatic with Ed Norton’s portrayal of Bruce Banner, there are few that would argue the casting of General Ross, played by William Hurt. Eight years later, Marvel reminds fans of this perfection in casting by bringing Ross back to the story, this time as Secretary of State. As Ross commends The Avengers, he is also the one who reminds them that the word some would use to describe the heroes is “vigilantes”. He proves this point by displaying video of the damage caused by the team throughout the past four years, since the first Avengers film hit screens. Actually watching the destruction that the superheroes have caused truly puts things in perspective and, really, this is the first opportunity for the audience to pick a side: Team Cap or Team Iron Man. Ross presents The Avengers with the Sakovia Accords; a document which leashes the team and demands that they become a government sanctioned force to be called upon a panel’s wishes. Sure, those regulations seem a bit stiff but after seeing the dead child lying in the rubble in Nigeria, it was pretty easy to see the government’s point of view.
Black Widow Comforts Cap
The moment Cap gets the text that the woman he never had a chance to dance with has passed away in her sleep, the audience knew there were going to be some tough moments coming. The funeral of Peggy Carter was imminent, anyone who has tracked the film since production knew it was coming, yet it was still a bit of a tear jerk scene as Cap learned a few things about the people around him: Sharon Carter’s identity and connection to Peggy was revealed, surprising Steve and offering him a bit of a different perspective on the woman who had been living across the hall from him, and he learned just how much he meant to Natasha. While Sam attended the service alongside Steve, the rest of The Avengers were still considering their support of the Accords. Naturally, as Natasha approaches him after the funeral, Cap assumes her presence is to encourage him to sign the documents and asserts that he just can’t sign. Natasha simply looks at him, let’s him know that she knows he won’t sign, and, more importantly, the reason she is there is simply that she didn’t want her friend to be alone on such a tough day. As they hug, the audience is forced to consider just what this document will be dividing – this isn’t just a group of superheroes out to do good without boundaries: it’s a group of friends that truly love each other, which makes what comes next all the more heartbreaking.
Bucky in Bucharest
After it is announced that Cap’s old friend, Bucky aka Winter Soldier, was behind the bombing at the signing of the Accords, killing Wakanda’s King T’Chaka among others, the entire world is on the lookout for the assassin. Knowing that Steve would insist on joining the search, effectively making Cap a criminal, Black Widow pleads for him to just stay out of this one. Yeah, right. Cap is the first to find Bucky, hiding out in Romania under the radar. The old friends have about 30 seconds to themselves before all hell breaks loose and in those 30 seconds, Cap makes the biggest decision of his life. Once the authorities bust in, Cap goes all in, fighting the authorities, himself, and doing what he can to minimize the damage he and Bucky are leaving behind. Eventually, the escape results in the audience’s first glimpse of Black Panther, as the new King of Wakanda, T’Challa, attempts to avenge his father’s death by taking out Winter Soldier on his own. The next ten minutes of the film are ten minutes of beautifully choreographed chaos. Falcon joins the fight, distracting Black Panther just long enough for Bucky to jump down to the street below and pull off one of the coolest looking (if completely impossible) motorcycle jacks of all time. As the chase scene progresses, it takes the fighters through a tunnel, where the fight continues in traffic, leaving even more destruction in its wake. As the entrance to the tunnel collapses, just in time for Cap to make a very snazzy looking exit from the chase vehicle he had commandeered, the authorities close in, aided by War Machine. The only problem with this scene at all comes with the absolutely absurd line spoken by War Machine, “Congratulations, Cap. You’re a criminal.” This line may be one of the very few missteps made by the Russos in creating the film but considering the sheer awesomeness of the previous ten minutes, it can be forgiven.
Rogers and Stark Have a Heart to Heart
As Rogers and Wilson are brought in after leaving Romania in ruins, Stark is almost positive that Rogers will finally see his side of things. As one of the very last time the audience sees the two of them as friends, it was important that the Russos truly demonstrate just how hard Stark is trying to compromise, how hard he is trying to keep the team together. In a completely uncharacteristic move, Tony attempts to extend an olive branch and reveals that part of his motivation for signing the Accords is to win back Pepper Potts, who has walked away from the dangers and pitfalls of dating a superhero. Somehow, this revelation does more to move Steve than the fact that 119 countries agree that The Avengers need to be put in check. Knowing that his friend is trying to mend a heartache manages to make Cap budge in a way that seeing all of the death and destruction never could. And, for a moment, it seems that the divide could be stopped in its tracks, as Cap has a pen in hand, ready to sign the Accords, provided that parts could be changed later. Stark, excited by the progress, makes the mistake of mentioning that he has Scarlet Witch being held on his very comfortable compound by Vision, making Steve rethink things (again), and leading him to storm out of the room, leaving his olive branch on the table, much to Tony’s disappointment. The scene is both enlightening and heartbreaking, and both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. brilliantly demonstrate the tension and hope and loss that come along with the scene.
The authorities finally have Winter Soldier in custody, housed in what seems to be an inescapable mobile jail cell, complete with hand and leg restraints and a Disney easter egg, specifically placed there for the D23 Expo crowd last year. The good guys call in a psychiatrist to evaluate Bucky but, of course, while the bad guy’s plans seem to fall into place every single time throughout the film, the good guys can’t stop making mistakes. The man they bring in to evaluate Bucky is actually none other than Helmut Zemo, the movie’s big baddie. Zemo’s plan to release Bucky and set him off on a mission to escape leads to a brilliant fight scene between Captain America and Winter Soldier, which leads Captain America to be thrown through an elevator door, falling to the bottom of the chute, taking him out of commission for a while. As Bucky makes his way through the compound, he takes on anything thrown his way. Stark, without a suit, uses some new tech which is basically just the Iron Man suit hand, complete with weaponry. He manages to basically distract Bucky long enough for Natasha, Sharon Carter, and King T’Challa to get a piece of Bucky before he manages to escape to the roof, where a helicopter waits. As he tries to take off, Cap makes it to the roof and holds the helicopter down with his Superman-Would-Envy muscles, eventually bringing the chopper down, and he and Bucky crash into a body of water. The entire scene is full of some of the most brilliant fighting seen in any Marvel thus far and watching Sharon and Natasha have their chance to get in on the action together truly inspires a desire to see Sharon show up future installments of the MCU. Plus, the look of surprise on Tony’s face after catching a bullet and disassembling Bucky’s gun is so out of character that you can’t help but appreciate just how well Robert Downey Jr. continues to play the role, even when the character steps outside his element.
Peter Parker Intro
After Bucky escapes, Tony and Nat are left trying to figure out the best course of action. The Hulk is, obviously, out of the question (“do you really think he’d be on our side?”, asks Nat with a smirk), but Stark has another idea. There really is no need to spend much time on this particular topic because there is not a wordsmith on the planet that could adequately convey the excitement that the audience felt as the word “QUEENS” popped up on the big screen. Tobey Maguire didn’t play a horrible Peter, Andrew Garfield was a bit better; Tom Holland, on the other hand, is the MCU’s Peter Parker and, god DAMN, is he ever! Every awkward moment as Stark meets Parker for the first time is absolute perfection. After getting some time alone with Parker, Stark reveals that he knows that the kid is the webslinger that people have been posting on YouTube. Of course, Parker tries to deny it but, c’mon. Once the two finally get to the point of talking superpowers, Stark needs to know why Peter fights. The Russos were very careful not to have Peter utter the words “with great power come great responsibility” but their “if you can do what I can do and don’t, the bad things that happen are your fault” (ok, that’s probably more of a paraphrase than direct quote, but close enough) really tiptoed on the border of the line. Holland was perfection and to see Tony Stark and Peter Parker on the same screen after so many years of wishing for that moment, well, it damn well deserves to be on this list.
Scott Meets Cap
The moment that Scott Lang meets Captain America and the rest of Cap’s team has been teased ever since D23 Expo last year and has been one of the favorite moment in the trailers and tv spots that were released ahead of the film. Still, somehow, seeing that entire scene play out on the big screen managed to entertain and still feel fresh. Paul Rudd is the perfect addition to the MCU and his outing in Ant-Man very obviously gave him the perfect perspective from which to play the would-be thief. For a movie that is full of so much drama, Scott’s humor and just unabashed adoration for his idols is the perfect amount of levity needed.
The First Civil War Fight
Cap and Falcon are on the run from the law, now that they have decided to protect Bucky, and in their final opportunity to just come back with Team Iron Man, Team Cap is absolutely unwavering in their commitment. As Tony pleads with Steve to just come back with them, Steve asserts that Stark broke up the team the moment he signed the Accords. Finally understanding that there will be no compromise, Iron Man calls Spidey into the fight to restrain Cap. Let’s stop here for a second, shall we? Just as Peter Parker, the MCU’s Spider-Man is absolutely brilliant. Each line, each quip, even every movement is exactly what Spidey fans have been hoping to see for years. As he swings in and takes Cap’s shield, his introduction to the rest of The Avengers is awkward and cute and everything a teenage Spider-Man should be. Back to the list. The first REAL Civil War fight managed to completely destroy an airport, as the divided team go head to head. The fight is well planned and every bit as tough to watch as intended. Watching Cap and Iron Man go toe to toe, neither one of them too concerned for the other’s well-being, it was made abundantly clear that no matter how the battle ends, the team is fundamentally broken and things will never be the same again. Not to mention, GIANT-MAN!!!!
After hours of trying to figure out Zemo’s true plan, things finally become clear to the audience, and to Stark, as Stark (now on Cap’s side, after learning that Bucky wasn’t the one behind the bombing in Vienna, after all), Cap, and Bucky make their way through a Siberian compound used to house other super soldiers. They are finally face to face with the villain of the piece, who, of course, reveals all. In probably the most dick move on screen since Seven’s what’s-in-the-box scene, Zemo plays a video showing Bucky murdering Stark’s parents. As Tony watches his parents die, any hope for reconciliation fades from Steve’s face. Once Steve makes it clear that not only is he intent on protecting Bucky but that he actually knew all of this before he chose Bucky over Stark, that same hope for reconciliation is completely obliterated for Stark, and he goes for blood. The fight that ensues is brutal and painful to watch. These are two friends that were almost brothers, now trying to kill each other. And, really, how could Cap not understand? “None of this changes anything.”, Steve insists. “I don’t give a shit. He killed my mom.”, is Tony’s response and, really, how the hell could Steve not get that? Still, things get to the point where Cap eventually delivers what would have been a death blow to anyone but Stark, or, even Stark before the end of Iron Man 3. As he walks away, carrying Bucky along with him, Tony makes it clear that the shield doesn’t belong to Steve, that he doesn’t deserve his father’s creation. As Cap drops his shield, as in the comics, Captain America is effectively gone. For now.
Spidey After Scene
Again, there really is no need to spend much time on this one. Suffice to say that Marvel is taking the path of The Spectacular Spider-Man and seeing the Spider-Symbol on the screen, well, it’s a moment that’s worth waiting through all of those credits to see.
The fact of the matter is that there are very few moments in the movie that could not be considered “the best”. Sure, the Spidey scenes likely stole the show but in the end, the Russos should be damn proud of what they have accomplished while trying to adapt a very beloved storyline without the benefit of the full cast of characters involved in the original storyline.
What was your favorite scene?