Civil War: Comic to Movie
Civil War: Comic to Movie
Seeing the Civil War storyline play out on screen for the first time was a delight and I had a smile on my face for the entire 2.5 hour running time. After watching the movie I went back and read the Civil War graphic novel to remind of the beats of the comic and the similarities between the mediums. There are many differences but I have picked out some of the ones I noticed. Be warned, this article will contain SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War so if you have not seen the movie stop reading now… but come back after you have watched it to check out some of the differences between the civil war movie and the comic.
No Fantastic Four in the MCU means that we didn’t get that Reed Richards / Sue Storm conflict that worked so well. In the comic Reed Richards is very much on the side of Tony Stark and Superhero Registration but when Goliath is killed by the cloned Thor Sue Storm decides that she can no longer be a part of the government objective and leaves Reed Richards and their children to join Captain America. By now we all know that Fox and Marvel do not share their characters but given that Sony and Marvel managed to come up with a mutually beneficial deal to include Spider-Man in the MCU, I still hold hope that one day Fox and Marvel will be able to join forces in a similar way. That’s not to say that I think we need any FF movies, ever. It would be interesting if Marvel used some of their villains though a la Silver Surfer… I digress. For now the MCU is unable to include the Fantastic Four and we won’t get to see Reed Richards being a douche with Tony Stark… Shame
Tony Stark’s motivation for backing the Accords in the movie is slightly different. In the graphic novel a C-list Superhero team called the New Warriors decide to go up against a team of Super villains as a way of chasing ratings for their reality TV show. When things go wrong villain Nitro explodes near a school in Stamford resulting in a tragic loss of life. Miriam Sharpe, the mother of one of the children killed in the blast, confronts Tony Stark, and blames him for letting Superhero’s run riot. This brings home the reality for Stark becomes his motivation for backing Superhero Registration.
In the movie, Nitro is replaced with Crossbones, whose attempt to kill Captain America in a Kamakaze explosion is thwarted by Scarlet Witch who diverts Crossbones away from Cap and un-intentionally towards civilians which results in casualties. The movie plays on the events in previous films and in a parallel with the comic the explosion is the straw that breaks the camels back. Actress Alfre Woodard is credited on IMDB as 'Miriam' in a nice wink to the comics. The MCU Miriam Sharpe approaches Stark and proceeds to let him know that he had inadvertently caused the death of her son after the Sokovia battle in Age of Ultron. The scenarios in each medium are slightly different but both result in a grieving mother confronting Tony stark which convinces him to accept and back the new legislation.
There is no unmasking of Spider-Man in the movie. Makes sense that this was not included. Secret identities are a comic book trope that didn’t really transmit to the MCU so it would have been an odd scene if this was included in Captain America: Civil War. I think it would have had little impact, especially to those not familiar with the source material. Plus where would you fit that in? Peter Parker in the comic is much older than the MCU Spider-Man and has been a fully-fledged Avenger for some time so the character from the story is quite different from comic book to screen. In the movie we got a teenage Spider-Man with quips galore, the comic book was a much darker affair.
A notable absence was the Punisher. The character has appeared on the small screen and is a comic book character that is just as dark as the source material. In the comic Punisher enters the storyline and helps Cap break into the Super-human prison to free his fallen comrades. Other heroes are wary of Frank Castle and regard him as a psychopath. In the end Cap takes him down for mercilessly gunning down some Super-villains who want in on Cap’s fight against registration. As much as I would have gone crazy for this scene in the MCU I know this will never happen. I love the movies but they are much broader and family friendly. I can’t imagine many parents would want their child to see Punisher taking out bag guys left, right and centre.
In Captain America: Civil War, the Accords backer Thaddeus Ross attempts to bring the Avengers on board. The first character to accept the legislation is Tony Stark. In the comics Stark is the driving force and has an ally in Maria Hill who ends up being the most ruthless backer of the Superhuman Registration Act. I was excited to see Ross back in the MCU having not seen the character on screen since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk but I would have preferred Maria Hill to take the role on. The character has been somewhat under-used in the MCU and I think Marvel missed an opportunity to use one of their strong female characters as a ruthless enforcer. I am not one of these fans who insist the movies must stick to the source material but for me, Maria Hill could have filled the Thaddeus Ross role in Civil War quite nicely. I can’t help but think Ross will play a larger role going forward and maybe we will even get Red Hulk? That to me, would explain why Marvel decided to include Thunderbolt Ross in the MCU again
In the movie Bucky is framed for the bombing of a government building. We also learn that while under the control of Hydra, Bucky murdered Tony Stark’s parents. The character is not in the comic books at all but this change is something I completely welcomed and enjoyed. He had to be in the movie as after all, Civil War is a sequel to the Winter Soldier.
The climax of the graphic novel sees the anti-registration team on the brink of victory. We see Captain America beat Iron Man to a pulp but when Cap realises the devastation caused by their conflict, he drops his shield and surrenders. Stark, along with Hank Pym and Reed Richards proceed with their plan to protect each American State with a Superhero team, giving Superhero amnesty to some, while others operate from underground. However, in the movie the final battle is a low-key affair, taking place in a bunker between Bucky, Cap and Iron Man. In both comic book and movie Cap wins the fight but in the movie and unlike the comic book, Steve Rogers does not turn himself in and is presumed to be on the run. Tony Stark’s destiny in the MCU is much different to the comic book.
Captain America: Civil War, just like any comic book movie was vastly different to the comic. It was nevertheless a fantastic movie which takes the number one spot of best comic book movies to many fans. Check out this excellent and comedic podcast review of Captain America: Civil War by Moviesaurus Rex.
These are just some of the differences that I could think of. I am sure there are many more so I would like to hear what you noticed. Would you like to have seen Wolverine and the Sentinels in the MCU? Did you miss the chance to see a live action fight between Mister Fantastic and Spider-Man? How did you feel about the movie and how it changed the storyline?
Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner,Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen & Tom Holland to name but a few.
What did you think of this article? Were you satisfied with this adaptation? Let me know here in the comments or on Twitter.
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