Captain America Civil War: Why Are Good Guys Fighting Each Other?

By on April 18, 2016

A long, long time ago… 2006… a small print shop known simply as “Marvel” released a seven-issue, limited series crossover special in which teams of virtuous heroes took time away from fighting the evils of the world so they could fight each other. Marvel Civil War became a momentous entry into the printer’s catalog of work, but only to readers. In those times, legendary comics came and went without the mainstream even batting an eye.

Marvel Civil War 1

Then, many, many years later… the 2010s… a boom time of comic book movies revived all the old, forgotten characters and story lines of Marvel. These moving pictures brought joy to new fans, old fans, and stockholders.

Consequently, the young Marvel fans don’t know the classic stories. So how can the studio cram decades of character history into a series of 2-hour films over years?

The answer, as always, is nerds on the Internet.

Here’s everything you need to know about the story before you see Captain America Civil War:

Original Plotline

The original series started when a D-team group of superheroes, think the Avengers of Stamford, CT, screw the pooch and let a supervillain blow up a chunk of the city, including an elementary school, and on live TV, because they were filming a superhero-themed reality show.

Not wanting to condone the murder of children, the general populace turned against superheroes, urging the U.S. government to implement the Superhero Registration Act. Basically, superheroes had to register their secret identities to the government, which got a lot of them butt-hurt because they hide their personal lives for a reason.

So, the cool superheroes starting resisting the registration, while the nerdy ones stuck by the government they loved so much. S.H.I.E.L.D., under Agent Maria Hill, began enforcing the law and asked Captain America to hunt down all his friends, but he obviously refused and they obviously ordered him to be taken down.

Iron Man really spear-headed the pro-registration league, since the mother of one of the killed children told him Iron Man was his favorite. Captain America, meanwhile, lead the rebels, in their cool underground lairs with all the badasses. I mean, come on: who cheers for the establishment?

While things were getting heated, Iron Man pulled a nice publicity stunt where Spider-Man admitted his secret identity on live TV to show support for registration. This was a big deal, since Spider-Man was the most popular superhero with a secret identity. It was also useless, since Spider-Man later switched sides.

Spider-Man Unmasked

The supervillains also started joining sides, since they were required to register, too. Some fought for the rebels to keep their privacy, while others fought for the pro-registration for the chance to hunt down their superhero nemeses.

Anyway, Iron Man and Cap strategically try to one-up the other, until Iron Man sets a trap by exploiting the rebel heroes’ weakness of wanting to help people. Faking a chemical fire, Iron Man lured out the underground superheroes and an epic fight ensued. Then Thor appeared, but not the real Thor, a clone Thor (this is a comic, after all: they love their clones). The Thor clone brutally killed a low-level hero named Goliath, and everyone was like “WTF!?”

Goliath’s death shook things up, and a bunch of heroes changed sides. All told, though, the pro-registration side became less popular, and the rebel team mounted a counter-attack against the pro-registration jail.

The climax was another epic battle, which led outside right into Time Square. Cap was about to finish off Iron Man, when he had a corny “Martha” moment and looked around at all the damage their battle was doing to innocent people. Cap surrendered and everyone was like “WTF!?”

Marvel Civil War 2

But in the epilogue — and this part might come in the movie — as Captain America was walking up the steps to his trial, a sniper presumed to be Crossbones killed the Cap, acting under the orders of the Red Skull. It turned out to actually be a brain-washed Sharon Carter. This is the last Captain America movie scheduled…


  • Baron Zemo
  • Beast
  • Beta Ray Bill
  • Bishop
  • Black Widow
  • Blade
  • Bullseye
  • Captain Marvel
  • Deadpool
  • Doctor Octopus
  • Green Goblin
  • Iron Man
  • J. Jonah Jameson
  • James Rhodes
  • Lady Deathstrike
  • Maria Hill
  • Mister Fantastic
  • Molten Man
  • Morbius
  • Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)
  • Nighthawk
  • Piledriver
  • Radioactive Man
  • Sasquatch
  • Sentry
  • She-Hulk
  • Silverclaw
  • Skyhawk
  • Squirrel Girl
  • Taskmaster
  • Tigra
  • Thaddeus Dugan
  • Thor clone
  • U. S. Agent
  • Venom
  • Vulture
  • Wasp
  • Whiplash
  • Wonder Man
  • Wrecker
  • Yellowjacket


  • Ant-Man
  • Archangel
  • Ben Urich
  • Black Panther
  • Cable
  • Captain America
  • Cloak
  • Dagger
  • Daredevil
  • Demolition Man
  • Doctor Strange
  • Domino
  • Falcon
  • Goliath
  • Hercules
  • Howard the Duck
  • Human Torch
  • Invisible Woman
  • Iron Fist
  • Jane Foster
  • Jessica Jones
  • Luke Cage
  • Magneto
  • Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura)
  • Multiple Man
  • Nick Fury
  • Night Nurse (Linda Carter)
  • Night Nurse (Unrevealed)
  • Punisher
  • Quicksilver
  • Sharon Carter
  • Shatterstar
  • Spider-Man
  • Spider-Woman
  • Sub-Mariner
  • Thunderclap
  • Vision
  • Winter Soldier
  • Wolverine

What We Know So Far About Captain America Civil War

We know the film starts with Captain America leading the Avengers on a mission, where a catastrophe happens much like in the comics. The loose plot seems to follow along the comics, with a much, much smaller cast.

Captain America Civil War

A few of the team-members changed sides, like Black Panther, partly because the Marvel Cinematic Universe only has the rights to so few of their characters. We also find characters that weren’t that involved in the comic taking mainstream roles in the movie. Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye weren’t in the comic at all.

What to Expect

One of the main reasons we’re excited about Captain America Civil War is because it brings together a wide range of characters from the MCU, including new ones and some introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. These are all characters with deep backstories in the comics, so here are some things you might want to look out for.

1. Love Story Between Vision and the Scarlet Witch

She’s a quirky girl who doesn’t quite fit in. He’s an experimental robot with a space gem for a brain. Yep, that old rom-com cliche.

Vision and the Scarlet Witch

The two are long-time members of the Avengers in the comics, so it makes sense that they’d fall in love (well, as much sense as a human loving a robot can make). Their affair was tarnished by their teammates’ opposition: Quicksilver because he didn’t want his sister dating a robot, and Hawkeye because he was in love with the Scarlet Witch herself. But, since in the MCU one is dead and the other married, things are looking up for the couple of the future.

2. Black Panther

One of the lesser known Marvel heroes is also one of the most interesting. This prince of a fictional African country Wakanda has more wealth than even Tony Stark, thanks to the highly valuable source of Vibranium. Martin Freeman, who recently played the lead in the Hobbit trilogy, will play the prince’s diplomatic aid in his voyage to the U.S.

3. Iron Man Pissed at Winter Soldier

There’s some speculation that part of the main rivalry results from the Winter Solider having played a part in the death of Iron Man’s father. In the previous Captain America movie, Hydra took credit for the death of Howard Stark.

4. Baron Zemo and Crossbones

It’s already been revealed that two central Captain America villains, Baron Zemo and Crossbones, will be present.

Baron Zemo

Crossbones was set-up in the previous film, when the Hydra agent Brock Rumlow was maimed in the final battle with Falcon. Baron Zemo is brand new — all we know is that he’s played by Inglorious Bastards actor Daniel Bruhl.

About Matt Ellis

Freelance web writer. I like science, comics, and long walks on the beach. I write and draw this webcomic in crayon.

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