Civil War- A Marvel Comics Event. That’s what it says on the cover of the comic. We can all agree that “event” is the only way to describe Captain America Civil War. The way the Russo brothers handled all of the characters, story elements, and action scenes in this movie was masterful. Everyone felt like it was ripped right out of the comic books. But was it? Overall, yes. I’m going to compare the two, and highlight some key moments I think the movie missed out on. There are also some characters that needed to be in this movie, but couldn’t for certain reasons (yeah I’m looking at you Fox.)
ADULTS VS. KIDS
The Civil War comic starts off with a bunch of raggedy wannabe superheroes filming some type of reality show. This is a genius move by the writers, given our society’s obsession and fascination with reality television. The overall purpose of this reality show is for these young heroes to showcase their talents to the world. One of the villains they’re fighting decides to show the young heroes that they don’t know everything. He commits suicide and blows himself up. There’s only one problem. It was directly next to a school. An elementary school at that. The panel of the explosion coming towards the children gave me chills. Now, compared to the movie, we see that it was Cap’s team that caused the incident. This was the right move because no one has time to throw in random characters that no one knows about. For avid comic readers, we can put the pieces together quickly, even if we’re confused at first. But movie fans would’ve been annoyed by not seeing Cap or Iron Man for the first 15 or so minutes into the movie. Now where I think Civil War should have stayed true to the source material was with who died. As far as we know, only adults who were working in Lagos died. The effect of it was real enough for everybody, but not enough to me. The previous events in the MCU (New York, Washington, Sokovia) seemed to have had more impact than the accident in Lagos did. If it would have happened on US soil, I’m not so sure the world would have freaked out. The fact that it was children in the comics, made everyone stop in their tracks and go “Enough is enough.” We see news channels covering the event in the comic and so on. In the movie, it felt as if the “government” was the only ones who cared about what happened. If the movie took the risk to kill children or blow up a nearby school, then the emotion of what happened would have been amplified. Still, I completely understand why they went with what they did.
Yeah, I’m looking at you FOX!
Everything we see in the comic and the movie after the accident is pretty much the same. There’s the meeting Tony Stark has with the mother, there’s the meeting/conference with the superheroes, and then there’s an event leading up to Captain America becoming a fugitive. In the comics, SHIELD tries to apprehend him after he says he won’t hunt his own kind. In the movie, it’s Bucky. The Russos did a great job tying in Civil War to Winter Soldier. Where the story starts to take a different appearance, is when the heroes meet in the comics. The Fantastic Four play a huge part in this story. I’m not in the movie industry, so I don’t know or really know or care how these contracts work. But Fox owns the rights right now to the Fantastic Four. Now there is no need to retread the nonsense that was that film, but what if it was successful? What if critics had hailed it as the greatest superhero film since Dark Knight? Would we have seen them in Civil War because of their role in the comic? Maybe not, but the conversation might have been there. I think the conversation might have been cut short though because of the attitudes and agendas that movie studios have. Wolverine decides to sit the conflict out in the comics. The X-Men, led by Emma Frost, remain neutral as well. For those who don’t know, The Fantastic Four’s role in the comic is as followed. Reed Richards, being the big brain that he is, is very pragmatic in his way of thinking. He believes that the idea of superheroes registering with the government is a reasonable one considering the events. He’s on Iron Man’s side. Thing is on their side as well at first but soon switches. Invisible Woman is undecided at first, but then eventually decides to side with Cap when a clone of Thor created by Hank Pym, Reed, and Tony Stark, kills Goliath in a fight (Glad they didn’t do any of that. That type of stuff strictly remains in the comics.) Johnny Storm, The Human Torch, plays a different role. When he is out one night going to a party, he is attacked by civilians and severely injured. The split of Sue and Reed was gut wrenching honestly. It added so much emotion to the story. The greatest family in Marvel was completely divided during Civil War. Maybe if Marvel Studios had possession of The Fantastic Four, not only would they have been in Civil War, but we would have seen an origin film by now that was fun, intelligent, powerful, and insightful, which is everything the Fantastic Four represents.
Daredevil was in the comic as well. He was one of the main people on Cap’s side. I wish the Netflix series shows mixed with the movies (maybe they will by Infinity War, they’re going to need all the help they can get) but it’s understandable why Daredevil wasn’t expected to show up in the movie.
Spider-Man’s role was completely different in the comic as well. He is completely on Iron Man’s side and is sporting a slick red and gold suit powered by Stark’s technology. He then reveals himself to the world later on in the comic. The world finds out that Spider-Man is in fact, Peter Parker! This reveal was pretty cool. The movie obviously didn’t have time for that because this was our very first time seeing Spidey in the MCU. Everyone felt it was long overdue, but we have it now. In the comic, he actually switches sides. He’s an older Spidey in the comic. He’s not really a “yes sir” kind of hero like he was in the movie. Spidey begins to question his role in everything after Goliath’s death. He’s almost killed later on by a group of villains, but Punisher saves him. He then goes back to his classic red and blue to join Cap. I loved the way they incorporated him into the movie. It makes sense to make him so young. It was so early in his career as Spider-Man. As smart as he is, everyone is pretty impressionable at 15 years old. It was apparent that Peter looked up to Tony Stark in the movie. His introduction into the MCU couldn’t have been done any better.
The difference in the fights don’t concern me when it comes to comparing the two different mediums. Fights have to be done differently in movies for obvious reasons. Where I think the movie could have ascended into legendary status is the venue of the fight and the ending. Man of Steel took a lot of flak for the amount of destruction that took place. I wasn’t too fond of it either, but it’s hard to make a superhero movie without it appearing that innocents got hurt. Civil War took that completely out of the conversation with their venue for the big showdowns in the movie. The one between all of the superheroes takes place at an abandoned, emphasis on the word abandoned, airport. Not a single soul is there to witness the fight. This works, because it allowed the Russo brothers to let their imaginations run wild. The entertainment factor was off the charts but it didn’t take away from the emotion or story of the fight. Now, the comic venue was smack dab right in the middle of a city. Cap’s forces had grown since the first fight, where Iron Man completely obliterated him. The panels waste no time in showing the destruction the heroes are doing to the city. People see them fighting each other, and people are fearful. Towards the end of the fight, Cap completely overpowers Iron Man. Tony’s mask is shattered and he has nothing left. Just as Iron Man says “What are you waiting for Steve? Finish it,” civilians, yes you read right, civilians grab Cap because they are at an end with the first Avenger. They try to take him down. Cap says “I don’t want to hurt you!” One of the civilians replies, “It’s a little late for that.” A panel then shows the pure chaos that has been brought upon the city. Cap has an epiphany and says “They’re right. We’re not fighting for the people anymore Falcon. Look at us, we’re just fighting.” The lines were powerful. That’s what makes Cap such a powerful character. No matter how far he may stray away from his beliefs, he always manages a way to find his way back into the right train of thought. Tears stream down his face as he removes his mask. He gives himself up and gets arrested soon after, tears still streaming down his face. The moment is beyond powerful. After the battle, Reed decides to write a letter to Sue apologizing for his behavior. He begs her to understand his position. It is revealed that a new initiative has been started to establish a superhero team in all fifty states. Each of these teams will be their states officially registered team. Cap is in jail and any heroes who were caught, are sent to the negative zone. There are a secret group of Avengers, led by Luke Cage, that are still underground after the battle. This moment could have been in the movie if The Fantastic Four were developed in the MCU.
Overall, both mediums this story was told through are great. Both show why movies and comics will never die in our culture. Like I said earlier, overall, the Russo brothers captured the best interpretation of Civil War they could. It was the MCU Civil War. Which I think that is what they were going for in the first place. But I think the addition of children in the opening scene would have made this movie feel that much more powerful. The ending felt a little weird as well. Cap ends up showing up at the prison the others are in and more than likely, breaks them out. If Cap would have gotten arrested for what he did, or even surrendered, the movie would have felt like the end of Cap’s story. Their ending makes it seem as if some things still need to be answered. The Accords weren’t signed and Iron Man’s beliefs began to sway towards the end. It was all just a little messy in terms of ending a story (since a Cap 4 isn’t planned, who knows when we’ll see him next.) If the Fantastic Four were in the MCU the story would have been better, but that’s a matter of opinion. Overall, both were great and if you haven’t read Civil War, or any comics or graphic novels for example, I highly encourage you too. Comics waste no time diving down into a story. Setup is key in every story but movies can pace themselves at a slower rate, especially if there are multiple movies in a universe. Comics don’t have that luxury if the run is just a couple of issues. They have to get into it right away, but still pace themselves reasonably. Both are great, and both are a fantastic way to delve deep into the world of superheroes.
Hope you enjoyed this review. As always, remember to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review to get updates on future reviews. Until next time!!!