This story contains MASSIVE spoilers for Civil War. If you clicked in here by accident, please back away. The rest of you, enjoy!
It’s very difficult, though not quite impossible, to keep a secret intact in a superhero property these days. And it’s not really because of fans, though social media and comments sections do spoil a great deal of the fun. But studios also share far too much in the marketing materials of major movies like Captain America: Civil War or X-Men: Apocalypse, meaning that true surprises are few and far between when we’re actually sitting in a theater.
And yet, even with the media onslaught that preceded Civil War, Joe and Anthony Russo managed to protect a few surprises from the general public, creating a few smiles and had nods from the geek community as the movie barreled through theaters this weekend. Which ones caught our eye? These are the five things we saw in Captain America: Civil War that we sort of expected, but weren’t 100% certain we’d see, and then were delighted when they showed up.
This made sense. Growing large has always been a power in Ant-Man’s arsenal. But we kind of thought director Peyton Reed would have fought to make the amazing visual trick part of his upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, due in theaters in 2018 (if Reed in fact directs, as we suspect he eventually will). Instead, with Paul Rudd on loan, the Russos decided to trigger Scott Lang’s fantastic power to help catch Team Iron Man by surprise… and limit the progress of War Machine, Vision and Tony Stark, himself.
What did we learn about Giant-Man in the process? He’s not nimble when he’s the size of a skyscraper. And thanks to the movie-watching habits of young Spider-Man (Tom Holland), opponents now know one way to topple Ant-Man when he has grown to incredible heights. Also, Scott needs to keep orange slices on standby. Those are two issues that will have to be addressed when the Ant-Man sequel works its way into the MCU.
This, also, was a bit of misdirection, as Chadwick Boseman told us specifically, on the set of Captain America: Civil War, that we would NOT see Black Panther’s home nation of Wakanda in this movie. At the time, I believe it was being saved for the Black Panther movie in 2018. But plans change, and it you stuck around for the mid-credits sequence, you saw Wakanda in all of its glory.
Sadly, it was but a tease. After Cap and T’Challa put Bucky under, the camera pans the landscape, and we see the jungle environment, landing on the famed Black Panther statue. It’s a delicious promise of what’s to come, and we cannot wait to explore the African nation of Wakanda further.
This goes along with the introduction of Wakanda into the plot of Captain America: Civil War. Because we know that a Black Panther movie is coming, we wondered how much of the hero’s backstory would be included in Civil War. Would T’Challa already have lost his father in this Cap story? Would we spend a significant amount of time with T’Chaka, the father, in flashbacks?
It turns out, we briefly meet King T’Chaka (John Kani), after the crime-fighting actions of the Avengers leads to the death of a handful of Wakandans. T’Chaka supports the Sokovia Accords, and his interactions with his son educate us on the nation’s foreign policy… and also give T’Challa a vengeance mission that carries him through Civil War. We may still get more with John Kani in Black Panther, because he was a welcome presence, and Marvel would be wise to use him in flashbacks to fill in T’Challa’s story.
Marvel spoiled Spider-Man’s contribution to Civil War when the hero stole Cap’s shield and greeted the MCU with "Hey, everyone." But how much Spidey would we get prior to Spider-Man: Homecoming? A decent amount, it turns out. Captain America: Civil War sent Tony Stark to Queens, where he recruited Peter Parker for the battle in Germany. But before their little conversation, we got an Only You reunion between Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei!
As I mentioned in my guide to Spider-Man: Homecoming, you can’t do a Spidey movie without Aunt May. I’m still getting used to such a young Aunt May, but it comes with the territory of having a young Spider-Man. Seeing the doting aunt fret over Peter with Tony Stark in their apartment was adorable. And if you stayed for the end credits, you got one more taste of the relationship between May and Peter, and it has us primed and ready for Homecoming to hit in 2017.
More Winter Soldiers
With each new Marvel movie that arrives after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we better understand the reach of Hydra, and the ways that they infiltrated our government, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain America: Civil War shows us that Bucky wasn’t the lone assassin in the program (though that much we knew), and it reveals where these highly trained and deadly killers were kept.
The reveal was part of Zemo’s (Daniel Bruhl) overall plot to plant a seed of anger and distrust between The Avengers, specifically between Steve (Chris Evans) and Tony (Robert Downey Jr.). But in the process, he showed how much farther the reach of Hydra’s tentacles had extended, and we actually don’t think that we’re done seeing the impact of Hydra in the MCU. Yes, we always say that Marvel has a villain problem, and Zemo did a pretty good job of rectifying that. But maybe if we view Hydra as one, long villain in the MCU, that issue becomes a little less of a problem?
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