Warning: Consider this entire story a huge spoiler if you haven’t seen Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War is about to blitz the North American box office, and has been earning rave reviews from both critics (check out our non-spoiler thoughts here) and audiences alike. As the culmination of multiple storylines of numerous characters told over more than a dozen films, Civil War shows the Marvel movie making machine running at peak efficiency, delivering plenty of thrills, spectacles, and laughs.
But while Civil War easily joins the ranks of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the best Marvel films to date, it doesn’t mean that the movie was perfect. In did, in fact, leave several key questions unanswered, and got us wondering about how logical some of the story’s key beats were. Did Zemo’s plan actually make sense? How irresponsible was Stark in bringing a teenager to a full-fledged battle? And just how did Captain America manage to break people out of a super-secret prison? Read on to see what other huge questions we had after seeing Civil War.
Randolph Ramsay: Tony, before we start, what do you think of the movie?
Tony Guerrero: I loved it. I always said that Winter Soldier was my favorite Marvel Studios movie. I think I have to say that this one has taken its place. I think the (directors) Russo’s handled it very well. They had a lot of characters to deal with. Different set ups. Different locations. I think it was all handled perfectly. This should’ve been an Avengers movie.
Randolph: I think it was much better than Age of Ultron. The fact that they came out with a coherent story despite having so many narratives and characters to service, I think it was an outstanding achievement. I think everyone’s already read about how great the action is in this. Hands down, this movie has the best superhero fight that has been shown on film, and it’s that big airport battle. That was a great scene, but it was just one of plenty of really amazing action sequences.
We both loved it, but that doesn’t mean that there were some big question marks that the film left. I wanna kick off with one of the biggest ones, and the one had me thinking the most afterwards. In the end, it was revealed that Zemo was actually the guy pulling all the strings, manipulating the various Avengers teams into hating each other. Do you think his whole master plan actually made sense?
Tony: It seems kinda crazy. His basic rationale was that his wife, kid, and father were killed in Sokovia when the Avengers fought Ultron. Yes, to lose your family would be horrible, but here he was killing all these other people, innocent people. It seemed a little far-fetched to go to this extreme. The fact that he was able to set all the pieces up so perfectly, even if he had a year to plan. He was able to swing all of this together in just a year.
Randolph: Let’s try and summarize his plot. He is distraught over what the Avengers did. He wants to break them up. After Black Widow released all the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. files after the events of Winter Soldier, Zemo managed to find out all the details about the Winter Soldier, right? Winter Soldier’s campaign of basically killing and being involved in every important assassination in the …
Tony: Plus, they were encrypted files.
Randolph: Right. He found that out. Zemo wanted to get the actual final details on what the Winter Soldier did to Tony Stark’s parents so that he could present that evidence to Tony Stark. And that would be the thing that would ultimately break the Avengers apart. Is that a fair summary of his plan?
Randolph: Do you think that was a really convoluted way to try and get to them? Like, okay, in the end, he required Iron Man, Winter Soldier, and Captain America essentially to be at the same place at the same time so he could do his big reveal. Do you think that is stretching believability too much?
Tony: I think his other alternative would’ve been to get that footage just to Tony. If Tony sees the footage, then he’s gonna go after Winter Soldier regardless, so that part of the the plan could’ve worked. Zemo got lucky that it was the three of them there at the secret base.
Randolph: Okay, so it was luck, do you think? Not planning?
Randolph: Zemo’s whole plot was, “Okay, let’s blow up that UN building and frame Bucky.” He could then get to Bucky disguised as that psychologist, right? He wanted to get to Bucky so he could find out those Stark details. How did Zemo know that Bucky wouldn’t be killed in the whole drama? Because the world government’s basically put a kill order on the Winter Soldier. It was just thanks to Captain America’s intervention that they brought Bucky in alive. How did Zemo know that something horrible wouldn’t have gone wrong for him to even get to Bucky as a fake psychologist in the first place?
Tony: Yeah, I got nothing. He just got lucky. The fact that he was able to get in, replace a psychologist. What if someone else knew the psychologist and he’s like, “You’re not this guy.” It just, like, it worked out.
Randolph: I know we’re picking on his plan but, to be honest, I think Zemo was one of the best Marvel villains so far. I think Daniel Bruhl completely killed it in the role. That that last scene he had with Black Panther absolutely sold me on his motivations and I felt his anger and his angst. His final line about questioning whether he actually lost, I think, was a really nice chilling moment as well.
Tony: The other nice thing is that they didn’t kill him off. You got Ultron, he’s gone. You got Red Skull, he’s gone. Normally, a lot of the big bad guys in the Marvel movies, they tend to die or get killed and then you move on to the next one. He’s still there. He’s gonna be locked up but he could escape and cause more problems later.
Randolph: We’re gonna move on to our next thing now. This one is something that bugged me personally and it’s about Spider-Man. Spider-Man is great. He is amazing. He’s as good as you’ve heard in this film. I loved him but I can’t shake the feeling that Spider-Man’s whole appearance in this thing just felt too shoehorned in. Like if you took out Spider-Man in his entirety, it would not have made any difference at all to the plot of Civil War. What do you think?
Tony: In some ways, he was brought it to make the numbers even. If you wanna look at it that way.
Randolph: I mean, in the comic books, he was on team Iron Man so …
Tony: He was Tony’s secret weapon because the Avengers, they knew each other. They train together. They work together. Because Tony’s not dumb so he knew if he’s going up against Steve, who’s a great strategist, that he needs some sort of secret weapon. Here, you got some guy in a red and blue outfit, you’re not really sure what to expect and it worked. Steve’s big, big secret was Ant-Man. When Ant-Man turned into Giant Man, Spider-Man came up with the idea how to take him down.
Randolph: Which was a great scene, by the way. I love that scene.
Tony: My bigger problem here is Tony. He’s bringing in a 15-year-old? You know, don’t tell your aunt. Don’t tell your guardian but I’m gonna take you to another country, have you fight all these people and hope that you don’t get hurt.
Randolph: It is completely irresponsible of Tony Stark. On the flip side, another new character that was introduced in Civil War was Black Panther, but his actual storyline, I thought, was much more naturally integrated into the plot. I can’t see how Black Panther would’ve been taken out of this movie without changing it significantly. But if you take out Spider-Man completely that would not have changed one thing for Civil War.
This leads me to our next point and this is more of a quibble than a massive disappointment in the film. Tony Stark has obviously been monitoring super-powered beings because he knew about Spider-Man. He knew he was around. He researched the YouTube footage. He knew exactly who he was, his secret identity, he knew where he lived. So how come we didn’t get any mention at all about any of the other super-powered folks in the Marvel Universe? I’m talking specifically about the folks we’ve heard of in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Netflix shows, right? Obviously, if you’re watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. over the last couple of seasons, they’ve gotten a huge in Inhumans angle. There are lots of super powered individuals running around the world now. It’s a shared universe, right? They’re all in the same reality. How come it was never actually brought up that, you know, “Hey, maybe we could call in Daisy/Quake to help us out or maybe let’s call in Daredevil to the fight?”
Tony: Since Winter Soldier with the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. the general population doesn’t know that S.H.I.E.L.D. still exists. Coulson and his team, they’re operating off the records. No one knows about them. I don’t even think the Avengers know that Coulson is alive. Even though Maria Hill knows and she worked for Stark after S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, I don’t know if she bothered to tell Tony about that. He may not know about them. With someone like Spider-Man, if he’s putting out that he was out there on YouTube, that could raise more red flags than the Inhumans which could be covered up because most Inhumans in Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they wanted to be separate. They were in their haven. They’re staying out of the public eye. The few that we’re seeing in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they’re trying to keep it quiet as much as they can. I think there’s less of a chance that he would find out about Inhumans than a kid, irresponsible kid being out there not worrying about … not realizing that he’s secret identity could be discovered because …
Randolph: I still think that Tony Stark being Tony Stark … I mean, he hacked into S.H.I.E.L.D. mainframes within a few hours in Avengers. If he wants to know something, he will find a way to know it.
Tony: He might not know where to look. If he doesn’t know that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s still operating then he wouldn’t be able to hack in to anywhere to find out.
Randolph: Obviously, we’re just talking about this from the narrative point of view. I think the real world situation is Marvel TV and Marvel movies don’t always talk to each other, don’t always cooperate, so that’s why they seem to be in completely different places. What about someone like Daredevil, for example? If Tony can monitor New York well enough to know about Spider-Man, he’d surely know about Daredevil.
Tony: I think the difference could be Tony knew he could manipulate Spider-Man. He can manipulate this kid. He can wow this kid. Drive to his place in a big fancy car. He knew that the kid was smart that he would know who he is. If he goes up to Matt Murdock, if he knows … figured out his identity or Jessica Jones, who hates everyone, he’s not gonna be able to convince them to join his fight.
Randolph: Okay, so let’s talk about the end of the film then. Cap miraculously breaks everyone out from a secret underwater prison. Does that bug you? Do you think that can be explained?
Tony: I mean, I love Captain America. He’s a brilliant strategist but, even in Winter Soldier, we know he’s not current and up to date on all modern technology and everything. To break into a super high security secret prison is far-fetched, but if he did get help from Black Panther, then yeah, that could be more reasonable because. When Iron Man went to go after Zemo, Black Panther followed him, so obviously Black Panther knew about the prison. He probably could figure out how to get in and out. It may not be obvious from the movie but Wakanda is highly technologically advanced. Black Panther could probably figure out a way to hack into there.
Randolph: That’s the most logical explanation, that he got help from the Wakandans, right? I think one of the big mysteries, the big questions we have at the end of this film is what it the status of everyone. We know Captain America broke out everyone that was imprisoned so that was Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, and Falcon. What happens to those four? Does Hawkeye just got back to his home life? I mean, now one knew where he lived, right?
Tony: But Tony knows. He knows about the farm. And I don’t think Tony would be that much of a jerk that he would give that up. If he knows that Clint escaped, he might be, “Okay, he’s going back home. That’s fine. He just had a kid. Just leave it be as long as he doesn’t cause any more problems.” Maybe Steve and the others, they’re gonna hang out there too or somewhere else. We don’t know what’s gonna happen.
Randolph: You think Falcon and Scarlet Witch are staying with Cap right now in Wakanda? Because we know the Winter Soldier is there with them and he’s gone back into the deep freeze.
Tony: I don’t think they’re gonna stay in Wakanda that long because one of the things that Steve said, he’s like, “If they find out, they’re gonna come after you.” Black Panther’s like, “Let them.” I think Steve would leave Bucky there. Go somewhere else and then say, “Okay, we’re gonna go somewhere else to hide.” I don’t think he’s gonna hang out there.
With Ant-Man it could just be a matter of, is it worth their time to try to go after him? I mean, I could see Ross wanting to keep tabs on him to see if he shows back up. He probably knows, at this point, that Scott has a daughter so they maybe watching them to see. Because if they get Scott, maybe that could lead them to Cap and the others. It’s just gonna be a matter of where should they put their resources. Should they go after Steve and the others? Or is there gonna be another problem to deal with?
Randolph: What about on team Iron Man? Are we assuming that Tony Stark is now back as the leader of the Avengers? He signed up to Sokovia Accords and so he’s now leading a smaller team. Is that right?
Tony: He has to do what the UN asks them to do. So we have Tony. We have Vision. Rhodey’s in rehab but he could still put on a suit. He doesn’t need his legs to be War Machine. Natasha, I think she signed the Accord. She may get her hand slapped for helping but at the same they know she’s dangerous. They don’t want her on their bad side.
What burning questions do you have after seeing Civil War? Do any of our arguments stack up? Let us know in the comments below!