The biggest Marvel Studios production featuring the biggest roster of Avengers ever seen on screen together doesn’t let moviegoers down in also delivering the appropriate amount of biggest and best scenes and sequences. Building off of the events and relationships established and developed over the dozen films forming Phases 1 and 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War brings it all together, adds a few more elements, and launches the next chapter.
Needless to say, a story that can break apart Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and pit them against one another must have some incredible things happen, and it does. Throw in Spider-Man and Black Panther, and the third Captain America is the event movie of all Marvel event movies.
So without further do, let’s reflect on and geek out about the 20 best scenes of Captain America: Civil War…
Marvel Comics readers looking for Steve Rogers to pass the shield to a new star-spangled Avengers will be sorely disappointed. Despite the setup and big teases in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and again in Captain America: Civil War, Rogers remains the one and only current “Cap”.
That being said, while characters including Bucky and Spider-Man both wield the shield at one point or another, Falcon does not. Instead, his upgraded suit first seen in Ant-Man and the post-credits of Age of Ultron, now features strengthened wings which can deflect/absorb weapons fire. It allows him to block shots in the air and to use it as a larger mobile cover that’s more effective for protection than even Cap’s round shield. Falcon can shoot over it while using his optic sensors to accurately detect, target, and attack enemy combatants.
Throw in the addition of the Redwing drone (big nod to the actual pet falcon known as Redwing from the comics) and Falcon is exponentially more formidable as he’s presented in Civil War as a lethal and powerful member of The Avengers roster.
Young Tony Stark
As a smart way to tie-in the events of the past – and to bring back actor John Slattery who played Howard Stark in Iron Man 2 and Ant-Man – to the story arc of The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War de-ages franchise poster boy Robert Downey Jr. to tease what he was like as a younger man, a student “studying abroad.”
The effect is as impressive as it was when used on Michael Douglas in Ant-Man and gives the studio some potentially interesting options down the road, but for this story, it’s a cool introduction to modern day Tony Stark and what he’s up to, but more importantly how much guilt he feels.
One of The Vision’s most notable powers is how he can shift his mass to the point where he can phase through objects as well as float. This aspect of his power set was barely teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron where in the final act battle he destroys multiple Ultron drones using this power, but it isn’t emphasized. He was too busy impressing the other Avengers and the audience with his use of Mjolnir instead.
In Captain America: Civil War, the Russos hold nothing back on this front however and Vision’s introduction sees him phase right into Wanda’s (Scarlet Witch) room during a conversation she’s having with team leader Steve Rogers. And not only does he make a surprising entrance through the wall (something Wanda points out he’s done frequently in the past), but he does so wearing “normal” Paul Bettany style clothing over his android body.
Black Panther Steps Up
T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is introduced alongside his father, King T’Chaka (John Kani), during the United Nations gathering in Vienna where representatives and politicians from 117 countries are meeting to approve the Sokovia Accords – the documents that will restrict and govern the Avengers organization going forward. T’Chaka, who lost several of his Wakanda people during the opening act battle in Lagos, Nigeria, is giving the opening speech before Zemo’s bomb goes off.
T’Chaka dies, and T’Challa must put on the ring and now serve as King, his first duty to avenge his father. He promises to Black Widow that he’ll kill Bucky Barnes who’s framed for the attack.
While brief in the grand scheme of the overall movie, the few scenes very clealry emphasize the type of relationship Wakanda’s royal family had, and the type of honorable characters they really are. Loyalty to family and his nation, a sense of tradition and pride, an uncompromising moral compass go a long way to make Black Panther an awesome character. This entire chapter of the film is the first time Black Panther’s Xhosa accent is presented, an African dialect that Boseman trained for by acting in the indie film Message from the King where he plays a South African character, and he also had the help of actor John Kani who plays T’Chaka who speaks Xhosa as well.
Winter Soldier Breakout
Zemo’s plan to turn the Avengers against themselves centers on framing Bucky Barnes. First, he manages to have Barnes located and captured after framing him for the bombing of the United Nations building and killing King T’Chaka. Second, he acquires the Hydra brainwashing notes used to command The Winter Soldier and after finding a way to de-power the German CIA headquarters, manages to issue the magic words to Bucky – where he breaks out of captivity.
Falcon is unable to stop him, and as Bucky hits the main level, he goes up against Agent 13, Black Widow and Tony Stark (who uses a super cool wrist watch that converts to a gauntlet – one of RDJ’s personal favorite scenes in the movie). We get to see all the characters show their strengths and bravery, and just as Black Widow is getting strangled, T’Challa steps up and gives Bucky his greatest challenge yet.
The scene hints that T’Challa might just be a super-soldier in his own right, since even without his vibranium Black Panther suit, he can land from a high-fall and can stand up to super-strong Bucky while wearing just casual clothing.
That Apartment in Queens
There are over half a dozen title cards that display during the first half of Captain America: Civil War, notifying moviegoers of where the film’s story is jumping to around the globe, and the final one of these – and easily the most exciting – is when nearly half-way through the movie “Queens” pops up.
We see Peter Parker (Tom Holland) return to his apartment home where he lives with Aunt May (Merisa Tomei) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is sitting there, his exotic car parked outside. The chemistry between the three players in this simple scene is undeniable, and there’s no shortage of witty wordplay and meta jokes about the reality that this is the very first time we meet Aunt May and Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It begins with stating the obvious, when Tomei – who plays a much younger May compared to previous iterations – proclaims aunts coming in different shapes and sizes.
MCU Spider-Man Explained
The followup scene is within Parker’s bedroom where Tony calls out Parker for being Spiderling/Spider-Boy/Spider-Man using some viral YouTube videos, and learns about his suit and web-shooters, offering him a complete upgrade in exchange for joining Team Stark (and presumably, the Avengers). There’s very little screen time in the movie available to over-explain the power sets, current lifestyles, and happenings of a dozen Avengers (literally that many) so writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely rely on a little exposition to get viewers up to speed on Tom Holland’s version of the character. This only works successfully because of the writing, direction and acting skills of Holland and Downey Jr. who have great on-screen chemistry.
We learn the why of it as to Parker’s reasoning for saving people in need in New York, and never taking down criminals lethally. We see his strength, speed, and homemade suit (Stark’s already done his research), and we learn through that research that Parker crafted his own super-strong webbing (proving he’s also a genius scientist).
The entire Queens sequence we consider a best moment because of how the characters command the screen and make viewers want to see more. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) also wins our hearts when explaining why he’s helping the “little guy” and the importance of him keeping his identity secret from everyone.
Three Captain Americas Sitting in a Bug
If Marvel’s in need of Phase 4 movie ideas, just put Bucky, Falcon, and Cap back in an under-sized car and send them off… anywhere. Some of the most fun moments in Civil War come early in act 2 when these three muscly Avengers – all of whom served as the “Captain America” at one point or another in Marvel Comics – briefly travel around Germany in an old school Volkswagen Beetle, sharing little bits of dialogue and facial expressions. They’re loyal to each other but that doesn’t mean Sam has to love Bucky as much as Steve does.
This becomes a bit of a running gag between Falcon and Bucky throughout the movie as the three get their equipment from Sharon Carter and as those two watch Steve and Sharon finally kiss (setting up their relationship for later) before meeting Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch and heading off to the airport.
Hawkeye Frees The Witch
A tactician and a marksman, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sets off explosions outside Avengers HQ to distract The Vision (Paul Bettany) who leaves Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) alone inside. After Vision phases through the wall to explore the grounds, Hawkeye (who must also have bypassed the base’s security/proximity detection), lays a little trip designed just for Vision knowing he doesn’t have much time to escape.
As a nice followup to his motivating speech to Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye reiterates that she can stay inside and “sit on her ass” or that she can suit up and help answer the call of Captain America. But just as they try to rush out, Vision returns and Hawkeye, ever fearless, attempts to fight him solo, knowing that Scarlet Witch will stand up to him and side with Hawkeye.
Ant-Man vs. Iron Man
Before Ant-Man’s big scene (more on this later), we see Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang pull a familiar maneuver against Tony Stark when Hawkeye launches him with an arrow into the sky allowing Ant-Man to get inside the Iron Man armor and start disabling weapon systems. As witty as Spider-Man, Ant-Man jokes to Stark that he’s his “conscience” and that they’ve not spoke in a while.
Stark, always the quick-thinker, flushes out the armor with coolant forcing Ant-Man out, but not before he damaged some of the suit’s systems similar to how he took down Falcon in the Ant-Man solo movie.
Everybody’s Got A Gimmick
A thread of jokes carrying all the way through the movie thanks to Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon is that of the animal-like costumes of certain characters. It began with Falcon quipping that Black Widow should pet and thank Redwing (Falcon’s drone) in the opening action sequence. Later, when Falcon, Captain America, and Black Panther are detained alongside The Winter Soldier, Falcon asks T’Challa if he has a thing for cats because of his costume.
Right after that, when back at Avengers HQ, Cap’s and Falcon’s gear are taken away from them, reclaimed by the government and Stark, and on the receipt of the gear it describes the Falcon flight suit as a “bird costume,” sparking a response of “c’mon” from Wilson. But it doesn’t end there.
When the film’s big fight sequence begins and Bucky and Sam are running through the evacuated German airport, Spider-Man is seen crawling along the glass exterior, prompting Bucky to shout “what the hell is that?” before Sam retorts “everyone’s got a gimmick.” From birds to cats to spiders, there’s definitely a theme of character designs that are easy to poke fun at in live-action.
Of all the Marvel Comics characters (aside from Deadpool), Peter Parker may talk the most during combat to the point of using his wit as a weapon against his opponents. This was very evident in the airport battle where we see Spider-Man bouncing dialogue off of Team Iron Man when he’s introduced after stealing Cap’s shield, to the point of Iron Man telling him to stop talking. Right after that, when Spidey takes on The Winter Soldier and Falcon, he’s called out again for talking too much by Falcon.
Later in the battle, Spider-Man goes one-on-one with Captain America, and Rogers learns what exactly Stark said about him. They end up relating as both being New York boys and Cap even gives Spidey his approval by proclaiming he has a good heart. It’s a ‘welcome to the family’ sort of moment that comes from both teams of Avengers in the movie.
Giant Man vs. Everyone
Since the events of 2015’s Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) have clearly been at work modernizing the old Ant-Man outfit. Now with a new helmet, more streamlined suit, and built-in touchscreen tech and additional features operated via an arm panel, we can see Ant-Man has more precise control over his size-shifting abilities. We always knew Ant-Man could shrink, and shrink again into the Quantum Realm, but the hint at the end of Ant-Man where an ant and a toy train are super-sized pays off in a big way during the second act IMAX sequence of Captain America: Civil War.
Team Cap needs to get to Team Stark’s Quinjet after their helicopter is disabled on a German airport and to do so they need a “big” distraction. Here, we see Scott Lang do something he’s only tested once before, and he becomes Giant Man, treating War Machine and other Team Stark Avengers as if they’re Hasbro toys (meta marketing at its best!). It’s a wonderfully realized sequence, featuring action we’ve never seen before in a Marvel movie, and filled all sorts of appropriate humor from Rudd himself, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, and more.
It’s an important nod to the comics that builds off the first solo Ant-Man movie and paves the way for some interesting possibilities in 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. And the best part about this entire sequence is that none of it was spoiled in the trailers and TV commercials!
Why the Avengers fight each other is ultimately because they care. All 12 of them featured in Captain America: Civil War are justifiably goodhearted heroes, but like any “family” (which the cast refers to themselves as) there are naturally going to be disagreements. But even if someone on the opposite end of that debate gets hurt, you still care.
For that reason when Scarlet Witch is hit with War Machine’s sonic blast as she tries to clear a path for Steve and Bucky to reach Team Iron Man’s Quinjet, Vision immediately comes to her aid. His feelings for her, despite his allegiances during Civil War, deeply affect him and distract him when he attempts to shoot into the sky to stop the escaping Quinjet. Whether it’s a reaction out of frustration we don’t know, but he attempts to shoot Falcon, misses, and knocks out War Machine instead.
Don Cheadle’s Rhodey falls lifelessly out of the sky with no power left to operate his suit, and Iron Man and Falcon immediately dive in to attempt to save him. Falcon, even though he was fighting against Iron Man and War Machine, doesn’t hesitate for a second to try and help them.
Stark Goes to Prison
After Bucky and Steve escape the German airport and the act two battle wraps up, Tony Stark visits the U.S. government’s modern Alcatraz-esque prison known as The Raft which we’re assuming is specifically designed to detain enhanced criminals. At the moment, it’s used for Team Cap members who sacrificed themselves out of sheer loyalty to help Cap escape.
It’s not a great scene because it’s an exciting/happy moment. It’s not that at all – it’s because it’s the opposite. It’s shocking and should give fans a sense of unease that the Avengers, heroes who’s repeatedly put their lives on the line to protect the planet, are being imprisoned in the most secure prison on the planet – and it’s because of the people Stark sided with based on events that were actually the fault of Zemo.
Hawkeye, who has a wife and three kids waiting on him at home on the ranch, calling out Stark here as the “Futurist” might be the best representation of the Avengers being disassembled in the entire film.
I Can Do This All Day
Among the multiple callbacks to the first two Captain America movies in Civil War (like Steve pulling Bucky out of the water after the helicopter crashed being a reverse of Bucky saving Steve after the Helicarrier crashed in The Winter Soldier), the most touching is near the conclusion of the film’s final fight. When Bucky is down, missing his arm, and it’s just Steve vs. Tony – Iron Man is taking the lead after his suit analyzes Cap’s fighting style.
Iron Man gives Steve the “final warning” to demand him to stay down, but just like we saw scrawny young Steve Rogers pre-super-soldier-serum in WWII, he stands right back up and says “I can do this all day.” It’s not only a recognizable callback during the Captain America: Civil War’s most heated confrontation, it’s yet another role reversal since it was Bucky who saved Steve from the bully in the ’40s, and now it’s Steve standing up to Stark to save Bucky.
The Shield is Not Yours
After the epic act two battle featuring everyone, the third act is much more intimate and focuses on the root of the Civil War conflict, of why Iron Man and Captain America are at odds with one another for personal reasons. Iron Man learns that Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier assassinated his parents while brainwashed, and after watching a video of the brutal killings, Iron Man can’t hold back his emotions any longer and wants to kill Bucky.
As the fight winds down, and as Cap disables Iron Man’s armor which a shield blow to its arc reactor, Steve is about to carry Bucky away before Iron Man says the vibranium shield doesn’t belong to Steve. As a symbolic gesture, solidifying his refusal to sign-up with a government-run Avengers team, Cap drops the shield and leaves. He’s no longer Captain America.
Black Panther’s Wisdom
T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda and the current Black Panther warrior of the high-tech, secretive nation, was added to Captain America: Civil War to serve as the third-party of the central conflict. But in every possible way, he’s above the conflict, bound by loyalty, tradition and honor for his people and his family.
He’s a warrior who doesn’t hide from his people, he’s a monarch, and he doesn’t care for the political and personal conflicts the other Avengers are dealing with. But where he suits up in the Black Panther vibranium armor first based on the motivation of avenging his father, it doesn’t take long for him to discover the truth of the situation, and to do what’s right. Instead of killing Zemo when he learns that he’s responsible for the death of his father, he saves Zemo’s life to make sure he goes to prison, and then decides to fly Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers to safety – offering them a place to stay in Wakanda as a safe house from the rest of the world.
Still A Family
As Stark and what’s left of the Avengers, if anything at all, recoup in Avengers HQ a package is delivered by none other than Stan Lee for Stark. It’s a touching letter from Steve Rogers explaining that despite what happened, they (the Rogers and his allies who he’s breaking out of The Raft prison at this time) will always be there to do what’s right, to step up in the next time of need.
It’s foreshadowing Avengers: Infinity War obviously, since it’s the next project of this creative team and the next time all of the Avengers will assemble, but it also hammers home the point Evans has been emphasizing in multiple interviews during the Captain America: Civil War press tour – that they’re a family, and this is a fight between loved ones.
The highly advanced, highly secretive nation of Wakanda was namedropped in Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and for the latter, served indirectly as part of the main plot thanks to the nation’s exclusive access to the rare super metal known as Vibranium. That metal is what Captain America’s shield is comprised of and it’s what Ultron sought out from Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaue in order to upgrade his own body, and build a device to lift Sokovia into the skies.
In Captain America: Civil War, moviegoers finally meet some of the people from Wakanda, including its former King and prince, so it’s a fitting teaser at the end of the movie during the mid-credits scene that we finally see what Wakanda looks from the inside. It’s only a glimpse, but it’s very evident that not only is Wakanda secluded and secretive, but it might just be the most technologically advanced place on Earth. Its labs, full of interesting tech and displays, now house a frozen Bucky and presumably will work on a cure to his Hydra brainwashing.
The brief look at Wakanda, its jungle exteriors highlighted with a massive and symbolic Black Panther statue, are made even cooler by T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) challenging the world to try and find and stop Wakanda from protecting Captain America and his allies. It might just be the home base of the Secret Avengers going forward, and this epic scene might be revealing that 2018’s Black Panther movie could feature Steve, Bucky, and others.
Spider-Man Is In
The final post-credits scene of Captain America: Civil War reminds fans that Peter Parker not only successfully passes Tony Stark’s audition/field test by helping fight against Team Cap in a nonlethal way but teases “Spider-Man will return” – that Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. will share the screen again in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But that little high-tech display emitting from Parker’s wrist-mounted web-shooter also all but confirms that Spider-Man is a full-fledged Avenger and while it’s not shown in the movie, we can assume he signed the Sokovia Accords. This might very well be the beginning of the New Avengers.
What’s Your Favorite Captain America: Civil War Moment?
Civil War is not only the third Captain America movie, it’s simultaneously the culmination of events and relationships developed and experienced throughout the first dozen movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the launch platform for what comes next in Phase 3.
It ends the Avengers as we know them, forcing most of them to be on the run; it introduces a pair of major players into the MCU (Black Panther and Spider-Man), and creates and opening for plenty of new characters to be introduced. What are your favorite characters, scenes, and moments from the film? Let us know in the comments!