Are you guys tired of watching super heroes fight each other instead of the bad guys? Didn’t think so. Well, if Daredevil facing off with The Punisher in season two of Netflix’s Daredevil wasn’t enough, and Batman V Superman didn’t have enough Batman V(ersus) Superman for you, then Captain America : Civil War may satisfy your appetite for watching costumed comrades pound the snot out of each other. To be fair, Daredevil and Punisher weren’t homies when they first fought, but after a few good rounds of trading punches and rants about morals and what not, they became chums. But I digress. As much as I am getting tired of watching heroes fight, I am REALLY excited for Civil War. But I know what some of you may be thinking. Why the hell are these guys even fighting in the first place? They’ve been friends for eleventeen movies now, why is there beef?
I’ll tell you why. Money. That’s why. Captain America is tired of standing up for and being the symbol of a nation that’s become a corporation instead of a country. Just kidding. What’s really happening is this: due to the damage and threats that have occurred either on behalf of or because of the actions of the Avengers, the governments of the world want to pass a law that would require all “super people” to register and work with/for the government. Tony Stark thinks that’s a good idea. Steve Rogers doesn’t. As their disagreements turn into full on battles between former comrades, other heroes get involved and take sides depending on how they feel about the potential law.
My goal with this list is to give you a breakdown of the two “teams”—who’s on whose side—and talk about why they may have ended up on the side they’re on. If you haven’t read the Civil War comics then A) You should, B) Don’t worry. The character discussion will be based on the movies with minor comic info for reference. For those that are curious, I’m Team Cap all day, every day.
Captain America aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)
Captain America, in case you’re unaware, is the result of a WW2-era super soldier experiment that left him with ultra-enhanced physical abilities and out of this world good looks. After defeating Red Skull and punching Donald Trump—I mean Hitler—in the face (look it up), he was frozen in ice to be woken many years later, in modern times. He’s not the brains behind the Avengers operation, but you wouldn’t be either after being asleep for sixty-something years.
Cap, aka Steve Rogers, is the spiritual leader of The Avengers, the glue that holds them together. His moral standing is unwavering and his dedication to what’s right is unshakable. That’s why he and Tony Stark butt heads. Stark thinks the Avengers being a government sanctioned team frees them of accountability and makes their job easier for them, while also being safer for the public. Cap doesn’t see it that way. He knows what the military and government are capable of and he doesn’t want to be a mindless puppet playing out the world’s problems on a super powered scale. His steadfastness leads to an unwanted conflict, but he’s willing to fight for his right to fight.
The Winter Soldier aka Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
Bucky Barnes is Steve Rogers’s oldest friend (literally). They grew up in Brooklyn together. They joined the army and went to war (WW2) with each other. Once Steve became Captain America, Bucky was there by his side on their special ops unit, the Howling Commandos. During a mission, Bucky went MIA and was never seen again.
Years later (many years later), he surfaced as the Winter Soldier, a high-powered Hydra operative who wasn’t the same friend Cap lost years ago in the war. Bucky had been brainwashed by Hydra and was being used to commit terrorist attacks around the globe while Hydra infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. In Civil War, expect him to be part of the reason why tensions are high. When the dust settles and the Avengers are torn apart, his long-running friendship with Steve is the reason he’s siding with #TeamCap.
Falcon aka Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)
Sam Wilson is a former paratrooper who befriended Steve Rogers in Captain America : Winter Soldier. Wilson and Rogers became fast friends and allies, working together to stop the Hydra-overrun S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, he uses his jetpack and mechanical wings to fight evil with The Avengers.
Once the divide occurs, his military connection and friendship to Cap makes him an easy candidate to be on Cap’s side of the fight. Like Cap, Falcon feels like the team will only end up as tools for the government’s crooked machinations. Random note, in the comics he can telepathically speak to birds. I don’t know how to turn that last statement into a joke.
Scarlet Witch aka Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)
Introduced in Avengers : Age of Ultron, Wanda Maximoff is a powerful sorceress with telepathic and telekinetic abilities. She became an Avenger after working with the team during the events of Age of Ultron, where her home country of Sokovia was destroyed and her brother was killed. She’s been deemed a threat by the government which leads her to siding with the rebellious Team Cap. I don’t have any jokes to make about this character. She’s capable of altering/manipulating reality, so I’m not going to risk it.
Ant-Man aka Scott Lang (Paul Rudd)
Scott Lang made his MCU debut in the Ant-Man solo film. He’s a former thief who turned superhero at the behest of Hank Pym, a scientist who developed the science behind the Ant-Man suit. In Civil War he’s recruited to even the technological odds. As far as superpowers go, Lang doesn’t have any, but the Ant-Man suit allows him to shrink himself to the size of an insect (sometimes smaller). In his shrunken state, his physical abilities are enhanced, leading to hilarious fight scenes of bad guys getting beat up by a hero we can’t see.
His distaste for authority cements his allegiance to Cap’s side. When “thief” and “conman” are on your resume, you usually don’t back the side who’s down to be controlled by the suits. Just saying.
Hawkeye aka Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner)
A former S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Hawkeye knows what it’s like to be manipulated by a shady government. He also knows what it’s like to be manipulated by Loki. He probably gets taken advantage of a lot because he’s just a regular human who’s really good at shooting arrows. His skill set is a bit outdated (and underpowered).
He comes out of Avengers retirement to side with Cap’s team, believing the Avengers being controlled by the government probably won’t lead to much good. In choosing Cap’s side, he places himself in direct conflict with his friend Black Widow, but he believes in Cap and that kind of belief is what made America great, right? Right.
Iron Man aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
Tony Stark is one of the Marvel Universe’s most intelligent humans. Most times, that genius level intellect leads to world-changing inventions and positive results. Sometimes, it leads to an arrogance and stubbornness that puts him at odds with those closest to him. That’s kind of the setup here. Many governments of the world want to register The Avengers as a government run group.
Tony is down because he believes that will free them of the accountability of collateral damage when the team is utilized. He thinks working for the man will be beneficial for everyone involved—at the very least, safer. This line of thinking pits him against his friend, Captain America. Tony thinks he’s always right and when he’s wrong, he’s too bullheaded to admit it. We’ll see where that takes him.
War Machine aka James Rhodes (Don Cheadle)
James Rhodes is the Falcon to Iron Man’s Cap. Not because he’s a friend/sidekick, but because he’s a friend/sidekick who’s an expertly-trained military pilot turned tech-soldier. He rocks the War Machine (which is a WAY cooler name than Iron Man) suit, and flies or dies with his red and gold counterpart, for better or worse. Rhodes has worked for the U.S. government for years, so he sees nothing different or negative about The Avengers being under government control. His former job and his friendship with Stark firmly plant him on the #TeamIronMan side of the fight. Not to mention, without Tony, he wouldn’t have a badass, wearable weapon.
The Vision (Paul Bettany)
Vision was created FUBU (For Ultron By Ultron) as a stronger replacement vessel, but the process of his creation was interrupted and Ultron didn’t get his new body. Tony Stark then repurposed the powerful creation by embedding J.A.R.V.I.S.—Stark’s AI assistant—into it. Now, with thoughts and a body all his own, Vision has become a powerful Avenger.
Being created by Tony Stark kind of means he was destined to end up on Tony’s side of the battle, but it’s also due in part to his overly-logical thinking. Vision is still learning how to “be human,” so most of his thoughts are run by equations. His analytical view of the world affects his decision as much as his link to Tony.
Black Widow aka Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson)
The wild card in this whole clash of Civil War titans, Black Widow, is used to choosing sides. Sometimes, she’s even chosen multiple sides. As a secret agent and sometimes secret DOUBLE agent, she’s done a bunch of dirty work for Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. She has friends on both sides of the battle. She has mixed emotions about the government’s involvement in Avengers’ business. She seems like she could go either way or both ways, but ends up on Team Iron Man. Or does she?
Black Panther aka T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)
Let me start this off by saying I’m so fucking hyped to see this character in a movie. I’m not a longtime fan of Black Panther, but from the stuff I’ve read, he’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. T’Challa is from an ancient bloodline of kings who run the fictional African country Wakanda. Not only that, but the ruler of the country also holds the title of the Black Panther, so T’Challa is a super-powered warrior king.
We don’t know why T’Challa ends up embroiled in the fight between Cap and Iron Man, but you can bet it won’t be over anything petty. T’Challa is another one of the Marvel Universe’s geniuses. He’s also an incredibly skilled martial artist with enhanced physical capabilities and a suit made of woven vibranium. What places him on Iron Man’s side? I don’t know, but it doesn’t bode well for Team Cap.
Spider-Man aka Peter Parker (Tom Holland)
You know who Peter Parker is. He’s had three too many movies over at Sony, and now he’s making his MCU debut in Civil War. Spidey teams up with Iron Man because Peter is a next level science nerd and fan of Tony and Stark Industries. Tony offers him a good time with lots of learning opportunities, and Peter can’t say no. Peter is another big brain on Iron Man’s team, (noticing a trend?) and working with Tony Stark isn’t something you pass up when you’re a sixteen year old kid. Fighting Captain America isn’t exactly something I’d want to do when I was sixteen, but Spidey clearly has his reasons for being #TeamIronMan.