Seriously, if you need me to say it….there are spoilers.
Let’s Start At The Beginning
The Civil War technically started the same way, but there was one small change that has a dramatic effect on the long run. In the movie the catalyst is when Captain America and Scarlet Witch accidentally bomb a building. Somehow this specific building had more meaning than the dozens of other buildings all the heroes blew up and led people to question their authority.
In the comics things were a bit bigger. The event takes place when some younger “B-list” style heroes decide to take on a foe without calling for backup. Their inexperience proves costly when the villain, Nitro, blows himself up and takes out most of a city, and more importantly a school. The fact that children were harmed leads to a character named Miriam becoming the face of people questioning the superheroes (In the movie she simply confronts Stark quietly as her son was killed in a previous movie incident).
The reason this is a huge deal to me is because of the build it creates. At this point there has been heavy destruction in many places, and now a Wakadan building blowing up is the step it takes to look back at it all? That doesn’t work. The Civil War started because the public pressured the team into it and the movie never goes to extremes to showcase this at all. Instead a specific group gets targeted, the Wakadan peace keepers, and they suddenly have way more power than entire cities. Stark also talks to one stranger and becomes the Sheriff and ultimately a villain in a superhero costume. There was no reason to really pick a side because you always felt Captain America was right, there was no purpose to think otherwise. This is why the victims needed to be more in your face, so you feel bad for them and take Stark’s side.
Which Leads Us To Government Issues
In the comics the overreach by the government was much more severe than that of the movie. In the film the team was basically just signing their names so that someone has control over them as to when to act and how. It honestly didn’t seem like a huge deal. In the comics it included not only giving up that control, but registering themselves as weapons of mass destruction and revealing their identities. For some reason the Marvel films are not very protective of identities so that wasn’t an option, but they could have expanded the law to be something a little more questionable, and perhaps the more Captain A looks into the more severe it becomes. Simply suggesting that they are just becoming a “society” of heroes (and then Stark saying “yeah, we will just blow it off”) didn’t really help. This issue needed to be a big deal, with public outcry making it worse. Instead what we got was a few secret meetings with Stark, and then Stark going bonkers for government control for no real reason.
The Battle Is Supposed To Make Things Worse
In the comics the Civil War between heroes actually makes the public opinion shift against Captain America. His team is taking the brunt of the blame for numerous things, and an ultimate fight between teams is teleported into New York by Cloak. This of course causes more mayhem than it should and makes Captain America’s team the bad guy.
In the film we instead got random bombings of buildings and Captain America is seen with a fugitive. The film instead utilizes battles from previous movies as excuses to push forward the registration and completely avoids the fact that the heroes tried to evacuate cities. Instead they act as though certain characters were killed in battle and the heroes didn’t care.
Speaking Of Impact, Ant Man Could Have Had Giant Size Circumstances
In the comics Ant Man is played by different character(s), the original Ant Man and Goliath have a huge “gigantic” brawl. There is a lot more to this, but let’s just jump to the point that Goliath was on Team Cap and happens to die in a battle. This death actually triggers a huge turning point in the war and showcases that Stark may have actually dove clear off the deep end. Several of his teammates switch sides and begin to support Cap instead.
In the movie this kind of staggers all over the place and has no real purpose. Ant Man gets huge, but there was no real reason for it. He was simply bypassed and then eventually thrown in a cell. And for that turning point, there is no major death. Instead War Machine gets taken out of the air and Stark somehow forgot to install a parachute in case of emergencies, so he tumbles to the ground and gets severely hurt. For a split second there was some sympathy towards the fight and second of “maybe we should stop,” and then Stark immediately ruins it. So no empathy choices to switch sides were made.
Speaking Of Heroes With Big Purpose, Let’s Talk Spider-Man
I could rant all day about how I wish they just found a way to tie in Garfield’s Spider-Man, but I won’t. Instead I will just show my dismay in how a very vital part of the Civil War was simply brushed over. Spider-Man in the comics has the biggest part of the entire Civil War when he reveals his identity (again, a huge deal in the comics, but not in the movies) and takes sides with Stark. Not only that, but he also gets one of my favorite suits of all time when Stark gives him the Iron Spider suit since Stark notices that Parker’s suit isn’t that great.
In the film we get everything that leads up to that point, and then Stark just simply gives him a standard Spider-Man suit…. Why?! Another major point in the war is when Spider-Man switches sides (due to the previous incident we talked about) and he ditches the Iron Spider suit for his normal uniform. Spider-Man then becomes a fugitive on the run as other fellow Spider-Men built by Stark (Scarlet Spiders) hunt him down. Okay that is a lot to ask for in one movie, and Spider-Man wasn’t developed yet, so we didn’t get the entire storyline. Yet at the same time we got none of it either.
During the Civil War, Parker is a well-established adult. He plays a vital role in everything, and he has a lot of enemies built up. He can also take care of himself. In the movie he makes a quick mostly meaningless appearance. Stark goes out of his way to recruit him, only to send him home after one battle. He also has to constantly ask Stark what to do at every turn…. He was legitimately a kid wondering what to do at every turn, yet had enough experience for Stark to single him out for his team. (Over Daredevil, none the less.) It just doesn’t add up and it has to do with the fact Marvel Studios wanted nothing to do with the Amazing Spider-Man movies, which sucks. (Yeah, I said it. Marvel Studios made a mistake.)
Instead Let’s Give All That Importance To Secondary Character
In the comics, Winter Soldier doesn’t play a vital part in anything until after the war has ended. Spoiler, Captain America dies and Winter Soldier takes over for obvious reasons. In the comics he played almost no part in the war, and he only really had a small spin off story tied to it.
In the movie it seems like all the loose ends we talked about above were tied up in him instead. He seems to be the turning point, the focus, and the heart of Cap’s team. He also gets, shall I say, put away instead of Captain A. This to me was one of the positive changes for the film to make because Winter Soldier is actually one of the best recently developed characters Marvel has done. Him getting more importance in the films and becoming a vital character with a rich backstory is a fun and interesting move.
Which Leads Us To The Aftermath
A big event that shook the industry in Civil War was at the end of the war Captain America simply forfeits. He wasn’t losing the battle, in fact his team was totally annihilating team Iron Man, but at that point Captain America said enough is enough. He did it to show the world that even though his team is winning, they did the honorable thing and can be trusted. And yet he gets shot.
The movie showcases the brainwashing mechanics taking place and how certain subjects can simply be triggered, and that is what happens in the comics. The only difference is Captain A gets shot by his own girlfriend which was brainwashed into doing so. This changes the whole dynamic of everything and a huge swing of events take place after, but the film crew didn’t want to take this route. They noted before production that they were not going to kill Captain America, and they didn’t. It didn’t even lead up to this point.
However they threw in slight hints to some aftermath with Captain America hiding from Stark, and sending him a letter. They also injured a few heroes, and locked them up in a high profile facility. That being said, the Civil War has so much happening near the end that it could have potentially been a whole “phase” of Marvel movies. I’m not sure why they decided to simply brush over it with one film, it was a huge deal with a big epic grand finale. If Marvel decides to turn their heads back to Thanos right after, I’m not sure where it will go from here.
Being truthfully honest, the film set itself up more like the “Beyond” series than it did the Civil War. In that spin off series, heroes are taking to a place and put up against each other. They of course begin fighting, but then a bigger enemy arises and they decide to work together to take it on. In my opinion this is where the film is heading with Thanos, a bigger foe than each other will make them come together. It doesn’t seem like the film set anything up for Stark/Iron Man to actually win the registration war and head down that route.
The Simple Fact Changes Had To Be Made.
There is of course the fact that changes had to be made. For one, a lot of the science fiction isn’t acceptable in movie form. Don’t blame me, I’m not the one that said portals and other things can’t be in a “down to earth” superhero movie… There is also the fact of character exclusions. Many people are upset that the X-Men can’t take part in this battle, yet could Marvel afford it? Having a huge cast is both costly and hard to write. Marvel has rights to dozens of other characters that played a vital part in the comics Civil War, but none of them appeared. At all.
So overall these changes may have had to be made, but I just wanted to highlight how it changes the whole dynamic of the Civil War from the comics. In my opinion you are getting two very different takes on the war, with a whole new dynamic. It is very similar to how the videogame Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 changed things up quite a bit to create their own version too.