“Are we still friends?” “Depends on how hard you hit me.”

Captain America: Civil War

A turning point in the MCU and it acts more like an Avengers movie since most of the other characters appear in this film.  While we don’t have Thor or Bruce Banner, Clint and Scott Lang show up.  And T’Challa (played by the late Chadwick Boseman) and Peter Parker (played in this universe by Tom Holland) are introduced.  Martin Freeman (Watson in BBC’s Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit trilogy) appears as Everett Ross.

The prologue of the film takes place in 1991 Russia, with the Winter Solider program, revealing a red book with a black star that holds information on the program, including the coded phrase that…activates, I guess you’d say, the solider.  Poor Bucky is screaming at one point, then chillingly responds in Russian to the phrase, “ready to comply,” showing that he’s no longer in control.  He carries out a mission involving a car crash and stealing a case.

Now, we’re in present day Lagos, and Steve’s team is on a mission to hunt down Rumlow.  They’ve brought Wanda with them, working on her training.  Rumlow’s after a biological weapon (and Sam gets to show off his new drone bird “Red Wing,” and some other tech).  [By the way, the guy holding the vial looked a bit familiar; because he’s played by Damion Poitier (who was the Incapacitator villain in the Lab Rats, Mighty Med crossover episode.]  When Rumlow faces off against Steve, he mentions Bucky as a way to distract Steve.  But Wanda is there to help get a bomb away, but it doesn’t work the best and the bomb takes out a corner of a building.  It is revealed that many of the ones killed were Wakandans and the king is unhappy and is now speaking to the UN.  Both Wanda and Steve blame themselves (and Vision decides to walk through a wall instead of an open door).

Tony’s speaking at MIT, demonstrating a project that can help people clear traumatic memories, using it to say goodbye to his parents like he never did.  And this is just a precursor to funding all the students’ projects.  But when it’s time to bring the head of the foundation out, Pepper is not there.  A mother confronts Tony in a hallway; her son was brilliant, but won’t get the funding because he was killed in Sokovia; and she holds Tony responsible.

Tony meets up with the rest of the team, inviting along the new Secretary of State, Ross (that guy who hates the Hulk).  Ross admits that the world owes the Avengers an unpayable debt, but now people are disagreeing with the destruction the Avengers leave in their wake, and taking battles into other countries.  So, 117 countries of the United Nations have put together the Sokovia Accords, to restrict the Avengers’ powers and supervision.   A panel will decide when and where the Avengers deploy.  The team has three days to sign; if not, they will be forced to retire.  The team begins splitting.  Tony and Rhodey are all for signing; agreeing they need to be held accountable, while Steve feels that they are giving up their right to choose.  Vision points out there may be a causality going on; since Tony revealed himself as Iron Man, there has been an uptick in enhanced individuals coming on the scene and major disasters happening.  While Tony argues they need put in check, Steve argues that the safest hands for this situation are their own.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the old Winter Soldier handler is attacked, by Zemo, and asked about the December 1991 mission.  Zemo claims the red book.

The Avengers’ argument is interrupted by Steve getting notified that Peggy Carter has passed away.  He’s a casket bearer at the funeral in London, accompanied by Sam.  Even Nat comes to pay her respects and comfort Steve.  They also find out that his apartment neighbor, Kate, is actually Peggy’s niece, Sharon Carter.  Peggy was a huge role model to live up to, so Sharon never revealed her relation.  She also gives a pointed eulogy that Peggy cautioned “compromise where you can.  Where you can’t don’t.  Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is right.  Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye and say No, you move.”

Natasha informs Steve that Tony, Rhodey, and Vision have all signed the Accords.  Clint is retired, and Nat will sign to keep everyone together.  Steve tells her he can’t.  Natasha attends the meeting at the UN in Vienna, meeting King T’Chaka and Prince T’Challa of Wakanda.  There’s an explosion while T’Chaka is speaking and T’Challa tries to get to his father, but he is killed.  The news reports that James Barnes is a suspect.  T’Challa intends to find Bucky, but Steve wants to find him first.  Sharon Carter helps out and Sam follows Steve.  They find Bucky in Bucharest [Sebastian Stan spoke his native Romanian language in the market scene] and Steve helps out when the special forces invade Bucky’s apartment.  Bucky insists he’s not going to kill anyone; he doesn’t do that anymore.  The Black Panther shows up on the roof of his apartment, and they take the fight to the streets, chasing each other, eventually causing an explosion and getting caught by Rhodey and the police and arrested.

Bucky remains a prisoner, and Sam and Steve have to turn in their weapons and suits, but manage to stay out of a jail cell.  On their drive, T’Challa explained that the Black Panther is the guardian of Wakanda.  They’re introduced to Everett Ross.  Tony tries to convince Steve again to sign the Accords (after confirming that he and Pepper are taking a break; to Steve’s disappointment, he was hoping Tony was going to announce her pregnancy).  Tony insists they need Steve; he doesn’t want to see him gone.  And Tony feels that he is doing what has to be done in order to stave off worse.  Both men cannot stop being who they are.  Steve still won’t sign.

Zemo, masquerading at the psychologist, beings to ask Bucky questions.  When the lights go out (thanks to an EMP he planted elsewhere in the city), he rattles off the code words to activate Bucky.  Then he escapes and Bucky fights the Avengers, without their suits.  Even T’Challa goes after him (and they all show off how well they fight even without their suits.)  Bucky makes it to a helicopter, but Steve pulls it back down.  It falls and takes them both into the water.  This time, Steve pulls Bucky out.  Zemo heads to Moscow.  When Bucky wakes up, he remembers old Steve; then tells them that Zemo wanted to know about Siberia.  And bombshell, Bucky is not the only Winter Soldier.  Sam and Steve realize that with the split in the Avengers, they have less help than normal; they don’t think they can go to Tony, or even if we wanted to help if he could, with the Accords controlling his actions.  But, Sam knows a guy (remember the stinger to Ant-Man?)

Secretary Ross goes to Tony and Tony insists that he brings in Bucky and Steve.  Ross gives him 36 hours.  Nat and Tony both have ideas on who can help.  Nat’s idea is downstairs.  Tony’s in in Queens.  A teenage kid that Tony has figured out is Spider-Man.  He intends to upgrade Peter’s suit and convinces him to come to Germany with Tony, though they can’t tell Aunt May why.  Peter protests because he has homework, but Tony just rolls his eyes [and Robert’s comment in the scene, “I’m going to sit here, move your leg,” was because Tom forgot the blocking, but it worked well in the scene, so they kept it.]

Next, Clint enters the Avengers compound to retrieve Wanda, who has been instructed to remain inside by Tony, watched over by Vision.  Wanda and Vision have created a friendship, so they don’t want to hurt each other, but Clint has to hold him off in order to get Wanda out, making a crack about coming out of retirement for this.  Then Wanda stops Vision so she can leave and they can help Steve.  She’s decided that while she can’t control other people’s fear, she can control hers.  So the teams both head to an airport and lineups are revealed.  Scott Lang joins Clint, Wanda, Sam, and Bucky with Steve.  While Vision, Rhodey, Natasha, T’Challa, and Peter side with Tony.  Steve tries to explain, and Nat quips “do you really want to punch your way out?”  Tony accuses Steve of tearing the Avengers apart.  The fight starts (and yes, it is pretty cool, even though we wish they really weren’t fighting.)  Ultimately, Steve’s goal is to get him and Bucky out of there, and Clint agrees that the rest of them won’t get out.  Scott grows gargantuan at one point, grabbing Rhodey, to which Tony says “give me back my Rhodey.”  It is also hilarious that Peter’s idea is to treat him like an AT-AT from Hoth in Empire Strikes Back (and of course, the teenager calls this all old).  And hey, it works.  Peter also gets to face off against Steve and there’s a little New York rivalry going on.  Nat holds off T’Challa to let Steve and Bucky through, then Sam dodges a shot from Vision, which then hits Rhodey.  Rhodey crashes to the ground, Tony landing shortly after him, followed by Sam, who is concerned for the other man.  Steve and Bucky fly off.

Those who opposed Tony are locked up on a prison in the middle of the ocean, Clint and Scott very angry, and Sam still shows concern about Rhodey.  Tony has found out that Steve’s story of Bucky’s innocence holds some ground (they found the murdered phycologist’s body), and he wants to help.  So Sam gives him an idea where to go.  He finds Steve and Bucky in the bunker, and the dead soldiers.  But Zemo has loaded a video for Tony to watch.  That mission that Bucky took in December of 1991, that caused a car crash?  That was Howard and Maria Stark and the video shows Bucky killing them.  Which understandably gets Tony angry and Steve of course tries to defend his friend, but he also reveals that he had found out before Tony and never told him.  While Tony goes after Steve and Bucky, T’Challa stalks Zemo.  Zemo confirms that he wanted to destroy the Avengers and figured the best way was to pit them against each other.  T’Challa stops the other man from committing suicide; while T’Challa will not allow himself to be ruled by vengeance any longer, he will not let Zemo get away so easily: “the living are not done with you yet.”

There’s a pause in the fight between Steve, Tony, and Bucky, and Steve cautions Tony that this fight won’t change what happened.  Tony doesn’t care, Bucky killed his mom [note that he’s more upset over his mom’s death; but we know that Tony has a complicated relationship with Howard; he even admitted to Steve earlier that because of Howard’s obsession with Captain America, Tony grew up hating him.]  Tony attacks again.  When Bucky sees Steve in trouble, he picks up the shield and attacks Tony.  The two trade off on the shield until Bucky goes for Tony’s arc reactor.  Tony blasts off Bucky’s metal arm.  Steve’s furious now and trades blows with Tony.  He kneels in front of Bucky, telling Tony “he’s my friend.”  He won’t abandon him.  Well, Tony though he was Steve’s friend as well.  Tony tells Steve to stay down.  Of course, Steve’s not the person to stay down.  He gets back up, quipping “I can do this all day.”  Tony lines up a shot, but Bucky distracts him, which then allows Steve to grab Tony, then pummel him, grabbing his shield, smashing the arc reactor (at least instead of Tony’s unprotected head).  Tony yells for Steve to drop the shield.  Steve complies and helps Bucky out, leaving Tony behind.

Tony returns to the compound to help Rhodey with leg braces, and receives a package from Steve [delivered by Stan Lee, calling Tony “Stank”], containing a letter and phone in case Tony ever needs him.  The Avengers are more Tony’s family and Steve’s going to stick with Bucky.  Steve also retrieves his teammates from the Raft prison, then is allowed sanctuary in Wakanda (probably because T’Challa is making up for going after Bucky, who he knows is now innocent.)  Bucky also allows the Wakandans to put him back in cyro until they can get the Winter Soldier training out of his head.  The final stinger in the credits is May bringing Peter some ice due to the bruise from getting hit by Steve, a guy from Brooklyn, Peter admits.  And, he’s got some new tech.

I am not going to dissect the argument over the Accords between the two sides because I feel they should have found a third alternative.  They should have tried to figure out how to keep the team together.  If Steve and Tony were better at communicating with each other, they may have not gotten in a fight.  Of course Steve is going to protect Bucky; Bucky had his back all those years when Steve was a weaker man, he’s going to return the favor.  And yes, Steve should have told Tony about the attack on his parents; because keeping quiet on that stuff in order to “protect” someone never works out.  And all parties involved are lucky that the worst that happened during that big face off was Rhodey getting injured (most likely paralyzed to a degree); someone could have gotten killed.  Tony, Steve, and Bucky were certainly going for the jugular in their last fight.  Yes, they’re humans and have emotions and reactions, but they’re also grown-ups and heroes, and we just end up disappointed in them by the end of the film.

On a more positive note, I enjoyed the new characters who were introduced (who later get spectacular solo films).  Peter is adorable, chatting through his fight, because he’s supposed to be this nerdy teenager who’s just pumped to be around all these heroes.  And the airport fight sequence is admittedly cool.

Up Next: Doctor Strange

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