Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

The sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War is the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first film of Phase 3.

Opening a few months after Ultron, the Avengers' increasing collateral damage has resulted in poor PR polling leading the UN to pass the Super Registration Act as a way of keeping the peace. As the Avengers, divided into two factions, one led by Iron Man, the other by Cap, debate how to approach this law, Steve's old friend, the Winter Soldier finds himself caught in the midst.

One of, if not the, most important films in the MCU, Civil War would have long-lasting consequences that carried all the way into Avengers: Endgame and possibly beyond.

Captain America will return in Avengers: Infinity War.

Tropes used in Captain America: Civil War include:
  • Adaptation Species Change: Redwing is now a drone instead of a falcon.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • For a given value than heroism, but Zemo has no ties to HYDRA, openly expressing disgust towards them.
    • In the original comic story, Tony essentially became a tyrant, gleefully supporting a draconian act, and not blinking at looking up his teammates. Here he supports the Accords primarily out of his guilt for Ultron's actions and is horrified to see his friends locked up.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Zemo lacks his fighting prowess, outright saying that he could never fight the Avengers physically.
      • Adaptational Badass: But he does manage to divide the Avengers. Something he could never do in the comics.
    • In the comics, both Cap and Bucky can match Iron Man's strength. In the climax, even with Worf Had the Flu and Iron Man holding back, the two only beat him by the skin of their teeth.
  • Adapted Out: Quite a lot of characters.
    • Maria Hill. As she'd already undergone Adaptational Heroism, most of her role is given to Secretary Ross.
    • Kate Bishop. Clint Barton is Hawkeye here.
    • All the characters with Netflix shows and Thor (well a cyborg copy of him).
    • All the characters whom Marvel Studios does not own the rights to, most notably the Fantastic Four.
    • And those who hadn't been introduced yet, such as Doctor Strange.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Bucky tries his hand at attacking Iron Man's chest reactor. He loses that hand seconds later. Steve has more success.
  • Artistic License Law: Very little about the Sokovia Accords, and indeed the United Nations, would fly in the real world.
    • Even their name is an offender. Being ratified in Vienna, they should be called the Vienna Accords.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: FRIDAY can do this, mapping out the entirety of Steve's fight pattern. It takes her four seconds.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: To emphasize how ridiculous this is, Iron Man, the guy in Powered Armor, ends the film with a black eye while Natasha doesn't get even a single scratch.
  • Big Bad: Zemo.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Secretary Ross may have political power but it's clear that the real threat is Zemo's international terrorism. Even Steve Rogers' own insubordination amounts to a bigger threat than Ross.
  • Bigger Bad: Ultron. His attack pushed the UN to make the Sokovia Accords, hence the name, and started Zemo's feud against the Avengers.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: On the Pro-Reg side, the Avengers's PR numbers are in free-fall and signing the Super Registration Act would go a long way towards dissuading the public's fears about them. On the Anti-Reg side, government intervention is likely to hamper their response time.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • In the comics, whoever holds the title of Black Panther is the king of Wakanda. Here, the Black Panther is the protector of Wakanda, not necessarily its king.
    • Bucky is the sole Winter Soldier in the comics. Here, he's one of six.
    • As said under Demoted to Extra, Spider-Man has very little to do in the film. Most of his role from the comic is given to Black Widow.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • The Super Registration Act was the driving force of the plot in the comic. Bucky is the driving force here. By the climax, the Accords are a distant memory.
    • Spider-Man was a major player in the story but here he's just doing an extended cameo.
  • Didn't Think This Through: As Tony lampshades, Clint willfully chose to become a criminal. Where did he expect to end up but prison?
  • Exact Words: After a Noodle Incident, Wanda told Vision that he can only come into her room when the door is open. It didn't occur to Vision that this meant "Use the open door to come in."
  • Failed a Spot Check: 117 countries agreed to and signed the Sokovia Accords. The Avengers somehow only learn of them three days before they were due to be ratified.
  • Five-Man Band: Team Cap
  • Forgot About His Powers: Wanda's telepathy, which drove the plot of Age of Ultron, is forgotten about here. It could have been very useful in proving Bucky's innocence.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Remember Quicksilver? The film certainly doesn't.
  • Gambit Roulette: Zemo's plan is quite simple. Get proof that Bucky killed Howard and Maria Stark and use that to have Iron Man turn on Cap. In practice, there are several ways it could have gone wrong:
    • Tony's mental state was so frayed, not only because of the Accords, but because of his breakup with Pepper, things Zemo had no control over.
    • Had Cap not been able to escape with Bucky, or had his team been captured at the airport, no one would have come to Siberia.
    • If Black Panther had killed Bucky, the plan would have fallen apart.
    • Had Tony been just five or so minutes late in coming to Siberia, then it's very possible that Bucky and Cap could have captured Zemo.
    • If anyone else had come with Iron Man to Siberia, they'd likely have been able to peacefully talk him down. Or if only Iron Man, not Cap or Bucky had come, Tony would have likely taken the news a lot better. And all that assumes that Iron Man figured out where they were going at all.
    • Or if Steve had told Tony about Bucky killing Howard and Maria Stark.
  • Happy Ending Override:
  • Hypocrite:
    • Falcon looks down on Black Panther and Spider-Man for invoking Animal-Themed Superbeing.
    • Zemo expresses distaste for the Avengers causing so much collateral damage. Doesn't stop him from creating more in his quest for revenge.
    • Captain America spent the last film giving Tony hell for keeping Ultron's creation a secret. The climax reveals that Cap, for the past two years, has been hiding that Bucky killed Howard and Maria Stark. Tony is understandably pissed.
  • Insane Troll Logic: When faced with the threat of the other Winter Soldiers, Falcon says that there's not even enough time to ask Iron Man for help. There is however, enough time to call Hawkeye in the American Midwest, have him get Wanda on the East Coast, then get Scott on the West Coast then come to Germany. For reference, Hawkeye's trip would have taken about a day.
  • Living MacGuffin: Bucky. He completely replaces the Accords as the Apple of Discord.
  • Mythology Gag: When trying to figure out Peter's superhero codename, Tony guesses "Spider-Boy".
  • Never My Fault:
    • Natasha point blank refuses to own up to shooting Black Panther and allowing Steve to escape, which ultimately resulted in Rhodes' injuries, putting the blame on Tony's ego.
    • Hawkeye takes offence to being labelled a criminal. Apparently breaking and entering, illegally crossing borders, attacking officers of the law, and blowing up an airport aren't criminal acts in his mind.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The Winter Soldier was one the deadliest assassins in the world... when facing Muggles at any rate. Team Iron Man can overpower him with ease and the climax shows that Iron Man is completely out of his league.
  • Oh Crap: Steve when Tony pulls a Punch Catch.
  • Poor Communication Kills: While everyone is guilty of this to an extent, Steve is the real offender. If he'd been more open about Bucky's brainwashing, it's very likely that the JSOC would have been more lenient, Black Panther might have stood down and the entire second half of the film could have been avoided.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers have been a NGO Superpower acting with no oversight or accountability. While the people are grateful to have the world saved, they are getting a bit annoyed at all the collateral damage that's happening without so much as a "by your leave."
    • Bucky may have been Brainwashed and Crazy as well as Easily Forgiven by Steve, but he's still a dangerous assassin that the rest of the world wants to see locked up.
    • As Tony spells out to Steve, Wanda is not an American citizen and the government wouldn't be very eager to grant a visa to an ex-HYDRA agent.
    • In a more mundane example, Tony and Peter note that since Peter was a Sickly Neurotic Geek who couldn't play football before he got his powers, signing onto the football team now would raise a few eyebrows.
    • Steve chewed out Tony for keeping secrets in Age of Ultron. When Tony discovers that Steve has been doing the same, namely covering up that Bucky killed Howard and Maria Stark, after everything else that's happened in the film, it serves as the Rage Breaking Point for Tony.
  • Shout-Out: Peter's plan to bring down Giant Man is inspired by Luke bringing down the AT-AT in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Super Registration Act: The Sokovia Accords.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Falcon clearly does not like working Bucky.
  • Trigger Phrase: With nine words "Longing. Rusted. Seventeen. Daybreak. Furnace. Nine. Benign. Homecoming. One.", Bucky turns back into the Winter Soldier.
  • Unknown Rival:
    • Tony Stark to Scott Lang "Who are you?"
    • Zemo to the Avengers. Most have no idea who he is or that he even exists but he manages to use this anonymity to fracture the Avengers. For a time anyway.
    • Secretary Ross and Captain America function as an odd version of this to each other. Both know who the other is and their goals but vastly overestimate their own importance in the other's agenda. To Steve, Ross is every Corrupt Politician who wants to kill Bucky. In practice, Ross barely seems to care about Bucky and is only interested in Cap because he's proving Ross' point about Enhanced needing regulation. To Ross, Cap is trying to subvert the Sokovia Accords and keep the Avengers an NGO Superpower. In practice, Cap doesn't know enough about politics to understand what any of that means and is more focused on preventing the other five Winter Soldiers from being released.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Played with with regards to Zemo. On the one hand, by dividing the Avengers, he's left the world more vulnerable for when Thanos comes for the Mind Stone. On the other, as four out of six Infinity Stones (Space, Power, Reality, and Soul) were off Earth, Thanos would have gotten them, and likely still pulled off his Badass Finger-Snap, with or without the Accords dividing the Avengers.
  • We Have Become Complacent: On both sides. The Avengers seem to have forgotten that they need public support and the public that the Avengers are the ones constantly saving the world.
  • Willfully Weak: Barring T'Challa, everyone in the airport fight.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The final fight traps Tony in an enclosed area that limits how freely he can use his missiles and laser, forcing him to use his repulsors and fists.
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony claims that Steve was pulling his punches against Peter, and would have trounced Peter in a fair fight.
  • You Killed My Father: In 1991, Bucky killed Howard and Maria Stark. His nerves already frayed by having to deal with the fallout of Cap's actions, Tony goes ballistic against Bucky and Cap.
  • You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: Not nothing, but Cap really does need his shield to fight at his peak. Without it, he only holds Tony down for about five seconds before Iron Man turns the tide.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.