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Fridge Brilliance:

  • Cap's shield is a perfect metaphor for the Avengers' arc in this movie. During the airport battle, it is damaged by Black Panther's vibranium claws, and the claw marks divide the top part of the shield right down the middle. As Zemo elaborates on at the end of the third act, the Avengers were such a strong team that the only thing that could tear them apart was each other.
  • When Tony goes to the Winter Soldier base to help Steve, Bucky acts extremely aggressive towards him, keeping his gun trained on Tony even as it appears that Tony and Steve are trying to patch things up. Bucky remembers everything he did as the Winter Soldier, so he may have assumed, before it was revealed to the viewers, that Tony had showed up to confront him about the murder of Tony's parents.
  • Punch catch:
    • Bucky is the victim of three punch catches in total throughout the film. As we saw with the end of his fight against Steve in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the murder of Howard Stark, Bucky's fighting style at times boils down to "punch target repeatedly until dead". As probably the most dangerous, feared man on the face of the Earth for the second half of the 20th century, he likely didn't need much more strategy than that, and maybe could have gotten away with throwing sloppy/telegraphed punches. Against superpowered opponents, though, that's not gonna work. It would also explain how Spider-Man effortlessly twists Bucky's metal arm, which was designed to be super strong relative to the strongest people who existed in the 1940s, before the influx of superheroes in the developed world.
    • Alternatively, this could be due to the limitations of Bucky's cyborg arm. Do note that all three instances occurred with Bucky's left arm, a prosthetic which has been established to be stronger but less dexterous than his flesh-and-blood body parts. In his years of experience, the arm's raw power would have likely been enough to defeat most of his targets, and the few that could withstand it, he could kill with his weapons, so he never trained to overcome this flaw in his fighting style. Now that he is up against combatants who can match the arm's strength and he is also actively holding back to prevent casualties, the flaw is now much easier to exploit.
  • Tony and registration:
    • One of the most heavily criticized aspects of the film before it was released was the fact that Iron Man is in favor of the Sokovia Accords, even though he had resisted prior attempts at government control. However, way back in the first Iron Man movie, one of his major reasons for shutting down Stark Industries' weapons department was the lack of accountability in the system he was a part of. He may not be pro-government, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's 100 percent in favor of acting without any sort of accountability or oversight.
    • The events of Age of Ultron. Tony's directly responsible for that one, and this is his way of owning up to it.
    • Tony's realization (after Ross blows him off when he says he has evidence to suggest Bucky's innocence) that signing may have not been such a good thing is also in keeping with his character; he does things incredibly rashly and without fully thinking them through, be it declaring he is Iron Man, telling the Mandarin to bring it on, and developing Ultron.
    • Another reason that Tony is so gung-ho for the Accords: to protect the only family he has left. His parents are gone; Pepper, the only other constant in his life, is gone. The only family he has left are under threat from something they can't fight their way out of: politics, public pressure, and the world in general. Like Natasha, he wants to keep them together. After all he has lost, his desperation and strong arm tactics are seen less as someone trying to be a realist in a changing world, but more as a man trying to keep the only family he has left safe and compromising himself to do it and due in part to his own actions, that family ends up shattered and broken.
    • As a perfect parallel, Steve's efforts to protect Bucky seem single-minded to the point of obsession, especially once it's revealed that Bucky personally murdered Howard and Maria Stark while under compulsion. But look at Steve's mental state: he's already lost Bucky once, as well as all his buddies in the Howling Commandos, Howard Stark, Agent Coulson (boy, won't that bombshell be fun!), Fury (for a time, anyway), and contact with Thor, Banner, possibly even Maria Hill. He's had to watch his new ally Wanda grieve her brother, he's now grieving over Peggy and his team has been utterly fractured. Bucky, even if he's a brainwashed assassin, is his best friend and only living link to his life before the ice, and now another good friend (who arguably caused half the turmoil his team is going through) is out for his blood. Even if Steve was in the wrong for keeping Tony in the dark about his parents, he'd gone through entirely too much for and because of Bucky to lose him again.
    • One of the reasons why Tony is so opposed to Steve's insistence on the freedom to be able to act when the Avengers think that they need to: Tony made a very similar argument in Iron Man 2 about not being under government regulation. This was before he started seeing the ugly results of his own mistakes and arrogance. When Tony hears Steve's arguments that they can't be under government control, he's hearing himself in Steve's words, and he doesn't want Steve to make the same horrible mistakes that Tony has made.
  • The previously established characters who are Anti-Accords and Pro-Accords make sublime sense:
    • Anti-Accord: Every one of them received their powers in response to an external threat; Villains Act, Heroes React, and have thus developed Chronic Hero Syndrome. Of course they wouldn't trust the Accords; to them, the Accords are just something else to react to, specifically because they know from extensive experience that calamity can befall anyone at any time and more often than not, the Powers That Be will not be prepared, if not the cause of the calamity in the first place.
      • Captain America - "I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies. I don't care where they're from." Having received his powers specifically to counter an abuser of power, Steve saw what out-of-control government oversight can do in both his solo movies(fun fact; Hitler was elected 100% democratically and legally!) and saw how "trying to win a war before it starts" can go wrong in Age of Ultron. This is not the sort of thing he'd be in favor of. He also notes that if they sign the Accords, they "surrender [their] right to choose." Freedom as a soldier likely means a lot to Steve; he was an enthusiastic volunteer, while his best friend was forced into servitude by HYDRA. He even tells Bucky during the film that he shouldn't feel guilty for the things he did as the Winter Soldier, because he "didn't have a choice." By signing the Accords, Steve fears that the Avengers will be forced to do things that are wrong, but be unable to oppose them because the Accords will make whatever the UN tells them to do the law. Also, while Steve elected to undergo Erskine's treatment specifically so he could join the Army and fight a war, a lot of people with powers didn't ask for them, and he likely wants to spare his comrades the pain of war if they didn't choose it for themselves.
      • Falcon - "I do what he does, only slower." Like Steve, Sam knows what happens when the government oversteps its bounds. As a pararescueman, his job was to patch people up who were shot up by others. Also, as someone who deals with soldiers suffering from PTSD, it's possible that he sees the Accords as something that could inflict physical/mental trauma on superheroes who are forced into government service, much like how soldiers drafted into war tend to suffer a great deal when they come home.
      • Scarlet Witch - "I don't see the big picture. I have a little picture. I take it out and look at it, every day." Though she has elements of atoning for past sins, it's stated that her origins are disturbingly similar to Cap's. "What kind of monster would let a German scientist experiment on them to protect their country?" That her empowerers abused and manipulated her trust is besides the point; she gained power to oppose the abuse of power. Steve eagerly took her into his new team after Age of Ultron, when she had nowhere to go. Not only does Wanda know what it's like to live in a developing nation torn apart by war ignored by developed countries, she would never allow herself to be governed and directed by a World Council that decides where she could direct her gifts, who may choose to ignore places like Sokovia or any countries like it just because it would be too inconvenient or not cost-effective to intervene.
      • Hawkeye - "Have you ever had someone pick your brain and play? Pull you out, stuff something else in. Do you know what it's like to be unmade?" He would have nothing but sympathy for Barnes, and after their heart-to-heart in Age of Ultron he's connected with Wanda as well. Given that he chose to turn Widow rather than terminate her, he's been second-guessing authority for years and been proven right often enough he's one of Nick Fury's most trusted agents for exactly that reason. In Age of Ultron, we learn that Clint has a family and that part of his deal with Nick Fury was that he'd work for S.H.I.E.L.D., so long as his wife and children get to remain hidden. It seems the Accords could change all that. Added to that, he probably feels sympathy for Bucky, since he also was brainwashed into doing bad things.
      • Ant-Man - "It’s not about saving our world, it’s about saving theirs." Scott is pretty anti-establishment as evident by the fact that he spent years in prison due to stealing from a corrupt corporation, but he also received his powers to counter another abuser of power and authority; Cross. He likely wants to honor Hank Pym's wishes and not let his technology get into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s/Stark's hands and saw firsthand what might happen if the wrong person received Pym tech. Scott is also a family man, like Hawkeye, and is more than willing to break the law the protect his daughter.
    • Pro-Accord: Are all The Atoner. They became heroes to counter the malice brought about by villains,but they did so irresponsibility. The Accords are thus an extrapolation of their own desires to negate their troubled past.
      • Iron Man - "I shouldn't be alive, unless it's for a reason." He built his first miniaturized Arc Reactor to save his own life after catching shrapnel from one of his own bombs, and went on his first missions to destroy his own smuggled weapons. though insistent on doing things his own way, Tony is not above being held accountable and is always the first to admit that he's a selfish, short-sighted and hedonistic piece of work who's trying to atone for his past as "The Merchant of Death." He is the major force behind the Accords, and perfectly willing to take part as long as the government plays by his rules. Also, lest we forget, he is still suffering from PTSD brought on by the Chitauri invasion, and sees the Accords as a way to fight against a second invasion, which he seems to believe will happen very soon.
      • War Machine - "This lone gunslinger act is unnecessary, you don't have to do this alone!" Rhodes has been trying to get Tony to play ball with the government ever since he stopped making weapons. He stole his first suit because Tony was drunk-driving one. He is probably happy to see Tony finally coming around. He respects the military, the chain of command, and the function of government to help others and sees superheroes as just another avenue to do just that.
      • Vision - "Maybe I am a monster. I don't think I'd know if I were one. I'm not what you are, and not what you intended." He was created to counter Ultron's creation, which was the worst screw-up of Stark's entire life. He told Ultron he sees humans as chaotic and self-destructive. For someone like him, he probably feels it is logical to have accountability in place so that something like Ultron cannot happen again.
      • Black Widow - “I've got red in my ledger; I'd like to wipe it out.” She has been trying to atone for her past crimes ever since she realized they were crimes. She joined SHIELD to atone for her childhood as a Russian assassin. In Iron Man 2, Natasha was in charge of "babysitting" Tony, and was ready to lay the smack down on him for his selfish ways. When SHIELD turned out to be corrupt, she was the first to oppose them. Her whole life has been an ongoing attempt to wash the blood from her hands... only to find she's washing it with more blood because she has "a very specific skill set" - her S.O.P. is to give in until she wins; she does it twice in the first Avengers movie alone. Hell, even this time she realizes that her current employers are more focused on victory than solving problems; the Pro-Accords team refused to listen to Cap's claims of five more Winter Soldiers, and when she sees the opportunity to aid them, she switches sides again mid-fight.
      • Spider-Man - Say it with me; With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Every iteration of Parker is trying to atone for a moment of apathy and this one is no different, as well as very young and new to his powers. Peter's overawed by Tony Stark and goes along with him simply because Stark recruited him first. He treats the whole fight like an adventure, showing no animosity toward his opponents, and displays little understanding about what they're actually fighting about. If Captain America had arrived first and delivered a similar pep-talk, Spider-Man might have been fighting for him.
  • Vision, when stating why he supports the accords, brings up how the Avengers presence invites challenge and that threats may escalate with stronger or more powerful antagonists. However, who is it that is able to drive a wedge between the Avengers, some thing which no other antagonist has been able to do? Some one with no Powers or Super Suits, just a normal Human with a lot of skills and a lot of time.
  • Cap's costume is predominantly blue, Iron Man's is predominantly red. Spider-Man's is a balance of both, which symbolizes his conflicted status. He ultimately sides with Iron Man, but his stated rationale is a rehash of Cap's earlier line about not ignoring a situation that looks bad. This also reflects Spidey's Heel–Face Turn in the comics.
  • Here's a light example — when Cap asks Spider-Man where he's from, he smiles when the young hero responds "Queens". There is a reason for this. Another noble and sarcastic soul he knew hailed from Queens: Dr. Abraham Erskine, the man who made Steve Rogers the super soldier he is.
  • It could also be seen as our dear Captain seeing another young idiot form a suburban area in over his head, plus Queens and Brooklyn have a rivalry in some sports.
  • It seemed like a hasty decision for Clint to breakout Wanda on his own, considering the risk of imprisonment and having to get past the Vision. However, during the events of Age of Ultron, he was the one who told her that if she chose to fight, she was one of them, and now she's being held captive by people she called teammates. Clint feels some responsibility in reminding her that at least some of her teammates are still there to help her. Plus her brother Pietro gave his life to save Clint, as Clint mentions when Steve thanks him for showing up.
  • In the second trailer, Stark calls Spider-Man "Underoos". Of course he does: Spidey is the only MCU super we've seen who actually does wear a traditional colorful, skintight superhero costume!
  • At the end of the Civil War comic, Captain America dies. While in this movie Cap doesn't die, he left his shield at Tony's hands. Steve Rogers lives, but the Captain America persona is dead.
  • In the comics, it was Spidey who switched sides from Iron Man's to Captain America's. While in this movie it was Black Widow who switched sides, both have a similar element. Namely, they're both spider-themed superheroes who spilled their secrets in a public confession.
  • Spider-Man mentions The Empire Strikes Back during the airport fight. What other movie has the villains achieving a good amount of their goals, one hero losing the use of one or more of his limbs, another hero frozen, yet another hero finding out the Awful Truth about his father's fate, and a group of rebels on the run?
  • Peter Parker's strong devotion to Tony Stark makes even more sense when you consider that with Aunt May's Age Lift in the MCU, it's likely Uncle Ben was around Tony's age when he died. This makes it that much easier for Peter to view Tony as a mentor figure, possibly even with shades of Parental Substitute. And, on the other side of the relation, it should not be surprising that Tony would want to give his full support to that teenager. Yes, he has super powers and can help in the big fight, but there's more: he created a weird fluid that works like a super glue. And he did it on his own, with just the junk available in the Queens apartment of a woman and a teenager; it's not quite a cave and a box of scraps, but you can see how Tony'd identify a little bit.
    • Her Age Lift is also Fridge Brilliance in and of itself. It's highly unlikely that Peter, who is 15, would have an aunt in her late 60's or early 70's.
  • Treating Black Panther as an Early-Bird Cameo in the marketing when he's really at least the 3rd most important character, if not the most important if you look at Steve and Tony as Decoy Protagonists was an absolutely brilliant way to introduce him because people who would have otherwise dismissed a black superhero movie went in not knowing how involved he would be. So when it comes time for his own outing, he'll already be an established character and at far less risk of being passed over as a comic book hero who, up until recently, has had relatively far less exposure in media and merchandise. Not only is that good for him, but should ease studio concerns that a non-white lead won't be as successful at the box office.
  • Who exactly is the "hero" of the movie? Is it the Wakandan King with a thirst for revenge; the living legend trying to protect a mass murderer; or the guilt ridden billionaire philanthropist who wants to create world peace by stamping out dissent with the party line? Tony is most definitely shined as the "Nominal Hero", with his team fighting on behalf of the government, but he is still the guy who created a robot killing machine that annihilated an entire city. Cap meanwhile is treated as an Anti-Villain, trying to do the the right thing given his past experiences and wants to help his friend escape, knowing full well his friend is a wanted criminal and assassin. As for T'Challa, the king is effectively immune to being arrested for his vigilantism, but his country could be under fire by proxy for it. All in all, the movie fully plays for drama what being a 'hero' means; you can try to do the right thing, but it may cost you the people you care about.
  • A likely driving force behind Cap and Tony's anger at each other: their journeys have led them in opposite directions, so they both aspire to be what the other used to be (whether they'd ever admit it or not), and they both see the other becoming the people they used to be. Cap is angry that Tony would become the loyal soldier persona he abandoned due to the events of The Winter Soldier, and Tony sees Cap becoming the man who tried to "privatize World Peace" and ended up creating Ultron.
  • During Tony's speech at MIT, the virtual simulator of him and his parents back in 1991 features them playing themselves and him as a CG creation. While his parents are the actors portraying him, Tony looks a little more pristine due to him being CG. Obviously, back then he wasn't that perfect looking, but this is the way he remembers himself back then. Alternatively, he remembers what his parents looked like easily, but it's a lot harder to remember what exactly he himself looked like back then.
  • Some people cry Fridge Logic in how convoluted Zemo's plan was, and how unlikely it was to pull it off. But here's the thing: it wasn't. His plan, the parts he explicitly did, were: get the location of the Winter Soldier compound out of Karpov, find the evidence implicating Bucky in the murder of Howard and Maria Stark, get everyone chasing Bucky, then bring them to the compound and show them the evidence to drive a wedge between them. The airport fight was if anything, ahead of schedule, and arguably nearly messed everything up by splitting the team apart.
    • Ironically, if Zemo had been able to use his original, far simpler plan, he likely would have done far less damage. While it would certainly be a major scandal, Bucky would still be at large and thus safe from any immediate reprisals from Tony, plus no UN Bombing means no international manhunt and no T'Challa on a warpath, and with Bucky not in immediate danger, Steve would likely be more focused on making amends to Tony (as he freely admits that he was wrong to keep that information from Tony), which may very well have led to him accepting the Accords. On its own, the revelation that Steve's brainwashed best friend murdered Tony's parents might drive a further wedge between them, but it wouldn't make them try to kill each other and certainly wouldn't cause the Avengers as a whole to fracture. He even lampshades this to Karpov, pointing out that if Karpov doesn't help him, he'll still get the same results, just with more blood and chaos.

  • The UN Bombing serves as a double dose of Foreshadowing for Black Panther.
    • While it's pretty easy to miss in all the confusion, when the bomb goes off, T'Challa is seen jumping towards his father, and is caught more or less right in the blast. He survives apparently totally unharmed (though he's Blown Across the Room), which clearly no normal human could do.
    • When T'Challa threatens to kill Bucky himself, Natasha doesn't appear to doubt him at all. In fact, she seems to take the threat to Bucky (and therefore Steve) more seriously after speaking to him, and calls Steve only after T'Challa's threat. Since in Iron Man 2, S.H.I.E.L.D. was shown to be monitoring a superhuman somewhere in Africa — the location on the map almost exactly matches the location given for Wakanda in Civil War — Nat would already know about the tradition of the Black Panther.
  • When one of the Dora Milaje (Black Panther's female bodyguards) threatens Natasha, T'Challa remarks that he would like to see that. Black Panther really wants to see a Cat Fight.
  • Just after the bombing, T'Challa mentions how in his culture, Bast and Sekhmet are prominent goddesses. Bast is the Egyptian cat goddess; Sekhmet is a lioness.
  • Bucky buying plums seems like just another strangely endearing moment. But knowing the health benefits of eating plums— particularly that they help boost learning and memory functions— actually befits him and shows that he really does want to remember his past life.
  • In the Airport scene, Spider-Man was able to kick Falcon and Bucky's ass with no problem, but when he fights Steve, he has trouble. It doesn't make sense at first unless you look at the way the characters fight. Spider-Man is a teenager with no experience in combat whatsoever and relies on his Spider-Sense to do most of the fighting. Winter Soldier and Falcon are aggressive fighters, so Spider-Man can simply rely on his Spider-Sense to easily counter every attack they make. Captain America is a defensive fighter, meaning Spider-Man is the one who has to do the attacking. The fight ends as predictably as a teenager with only six months of superheroing against ordinary street crime versus the First Avenger who regularly fights super humans.
  • Hulk's lack of mentions:
    • Why there are no any spoken references to The Incredible Hulk (i.e., Betty Ross or Harlem), despite how you have Thunderbolt Ross as part of the cast. This could be justified by Civil War being a Cap movie, not a Hulk one. However, in The Incredible Hulk, Betty chews out her father for hunting the Hulk, and tells him that he has no right to call her his daughter. It's likely that Thaddeus was so shocked by this he probably had that heart attack he talked about, since he mentioned it occurred 5 years before Civil War. What else took place five years before the events of Civil War? The events of The Incredible Hulk. In other words, the Russos did have a Call-Back to the film, just going on about it in a very different direction. In addition, let's consider the events that has transpired for Thaddeus: he not only burnt bridges between himself and his daughter, he also saw years of Hulk hunting go to ruin by seeing the Hulk become a hero, he got tricked by Tony Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. into keeping the Abomination in custody, and his favorite bar was demolished. Do you REALLY think he would want to talk about that day?
    • As mentioned elsewhere, there's also a bit of hypocrisy in not showing footage of Harlem: Ross himself was responsible for all the damage, and directly had a hand in creating the guy so awful his best bet was to let Bruce Hulk out and fight him in the middle of a densely-populated area. It also explains why Ross is so adamant about the Accords: he knows exactly how bad superpowers can get when there's no one looking over your shoulder and telling you back the hell off.
  • Ever since the first Iron Man, Tony Stark has been all about keeping his tech out of the hands of people he can't trust. In Age of Ultron, we see almost all the Avengers kitted out with new high-tech toys: Steve has electromagnets for greater control of his shield, Widow has her Tron Lines outfit, which presumably increases the output of her hand-to-hand taser devices, Hawkeye has a sleek new quiver for his arrows, Bruce Banner has new Magic Pants, Falcon's heavily damaged wingsuit is rebuilt and improved. Now, in Civil War, people Tony thought he could trust with his tech have turned against him. Is it any surprise he sounds pissed at Cap well before the shocking revelation?
  • It's just a little funny that Spider-Man's first big fight is against someone with a flying apparatus and someone with a robotic arm - are we talking about Falcon and Winter Soldier, or Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus?
  • After J. Jonah Jameson mentions the name Doctor Strange being "taken" in the Raimiverse, it's funny that that very guy will enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Spider-Man does.
  • We don't know exactly when Peggy came out with his speech, or when she said it to Sharon, however we do know what inspired it: the events of the first season of Agent Carter.
  • When Falcon goes to save War Machine after Vision accidentally shot him, and later shows concern for Rhodey, I figured it was just Falcon being concerned for his friend and trying to save his life. Then we remember that Sam's best friend and war buddy, Riley, was shot down during a mission, and he couldn't do anything to save him. Sam didn't want to lose another friend to the same circumstances, even if he was his enemy at the time.
  • Tony being amused by Pete's "onesie" is just a funny scene right? Oh, wait, when they first get to talking after the secret's out, what does Tony say? He's notices that Pete is building tech out of "junk" THEN he begins trying to figure out how Pete could stick to walls - he throws out some suggestions to see how close he is. He doesn't immediately realize that Pete's powers are biological. He sees this kid has ownership of an amazing polymer, THEN he finds out he made it himself from scratch, so he naturally assumes that this kid found some crazy, but cheap path to create amazing mobility altering tech.
  • That Peter is making his gadgets out of scraps probably goes a long way towards explaining Tony's respect for him.To a man that buit a suit in a cave, from scraps, Peter seems like a kindred spirit.
  • One of the more inexplicable things about Spider-Man's outfit has always been his Expressive Mask with "eyes" that go from taking up most of his face to squinting narrowly. This movie actually gives a justification for that, along with an explanation for Peter's "spider sense". His senses are all dialed Up to Eleven and his first costume had dark goggles specifically to restrict his vision and help him focus. Now he has eye-shutters from Tony that do the same thing and also serve to let the character emote in costume.
  • Ross compares the Avengers not knowing where the Hulk is to misplacing a nuke, and says that he would face serious consequences if he ever did such a thing. Considering that Ross also lost and could not find the Hulk for years, this seems like Ross is just being a hypocrite. But it's also very likely that Ross did face punishment for losing Banner, and his comment could come from a feeling of unfairness when the Avengers are allowed to do the same with no trouble. That being said, whenever Ross did manage to find Banner, he always ended up triggering his transformation into the Hulk and causing massive collateral damage in his attempts to get away from Ross.
  • Ross asks Cap if he knows where Thor is at the same time as he inquires about Banner, and Steve has no response - despite him and Tony being the ones who saw Thor bifrost-ing off to Asgard. It's not mentioned if Cap and the other Avengers ever got the details about the other realms, but either one has an answer:
    • If he hasn't given an explanation, Steve just knows that "Thor is not on Earth" - and Ross won't be satisfied with that answer.
    • If he has given a full explanation, there's eight other realms that he could be on, so Steve just knows that "Thor is not on Midgard" - and Ross won't be satisfied with that answer.
  • Dr. Erskine was right all along. In The First Avenger, he mentions that the super soldier serum not only affects the body, it affects the mind. Used on someone as upstanding as Steve Rogers, you get Captain America. When Howard Stark successfully re-created the serum, and it got used on HYDRA fanatics, it resulted in a bunch of raving-mad berserkers.
    • Look again. The other Soldiers only get mad when the guard starts beating one of them. They'll take a few knocks in training, but wanton cruelty? That's just not cricket. And remember, that sort of loyalty is something HYDRA tries to beat out of people. Sometimes literally. The serum enhanced their loyalty - not to HYDRA, but to each other.
  • The Fantastic Four aren't in the movie because 20th Century Fox has the rights to them but Reed Richards' (Mr. Fantastic) reason in the comics for joining the pro-Registration side is still represented. In the comic book, Richards is for Superhuman Registration because his calculations predict a future disaster unless people with superpowers are kept in check. In the movie, Vision says he has an equation that states since Tony debuted as Iron Man, the number of enhanced individuals has grown exponentially and the number of potentially world ending events has increased so "the Accords can not be dismissed out of hand". The Vision's position and actions are understandable because he is a one-year old android whose brain is based on an A.I. and who's only beginning to develop human emotions. Reed Richards however was an actual human who came off like a complete douchebag during the comics Civil War, alienating his wife, sending friends and allies to a prison he built inside the Negative Zone and helping create a clone of Thor that killed a superhero.
  • Many people have pointed how Ross' lecture to the Avengers about civilian casualties is hypocritical on Ross' part, given how he caused the destruction of Harlem in The Incredible Hulk. However, when you think about it, the lecture can be used to validate either side's argument: the pro-Reg team sees this lecture to ensure public safety, while the anti-Reg team sees this lecture to proof that governments can't be trusted. Furthermore, Ross is probably using this lecture to vindicate his own reputation. In other words, he's basically saying "there is a very unfair double-standard here. I caused the destruction of one neighborhood in one part of Manhattan, and I'm treated as Public Enemy Number One. Their actions lead to massive destruction in two major American cities and two other countries, and they get called heroes." (It must be noted that this too is deeply hypocritical, as, unlike Ross's actions with the Abomination, the Avengers did not cause a Chitauri army to come and destroy New York, and in fact by forming a perimeter and focusing the fight on themselves, arguably prevented far more damage being caused, and while the Ultron thing is squarely Tony's fault, it isn't the responsibility of anyone on the anti-Accords side.)
    • Also, while many point out that Ross seems to be blaming the Avengers for events they didn't actually cause (with the exception of Ultron's existence), Ross never explicitly states that the Avengers caused all that damage. Rather, his point is that, in the course of defending a large group of people, smaller groups have been injured or killed. Perhaps the Avengers did they best they could. Perhaps they could do better. Certainly, at least Wanda having a firmer grasp of situational awareness and basic physics could have mitigated/prevented the tragedy in Lagos.
  • For Tony, there's a morbidly-karmic aspect to Rhodes' spinal injury: back in Iron Man 2, Tony had made light of Hammer Industries' attempt to engineer a power-armor suit similar to his own, showing footage J.A.R.V.I.S. had pirated of their botched test-run during the congressional hearing. Stark snarked about their failure on live national television, never even stopping to consider that the Hammer test pilot whose torso was twisted nearly all the way around probably had to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But now his own refusal to believe Rogers has put his oldest friend in a similar state. The fact that the test pilot, like Rhodes, was probably Air Force-trained makes it read almost like foreshadowing.
  • One of the subtly implied aspects of the anti-Reg stance is the potential for abuse that the Accords have. From what's been said of the Accords, they give power to the UN over the Avengers to keep them in check and accountable. The question is what keeps the UN in check? It'd be hypocritical to state that the Avengers aren't capable of making the right call but the government is, considering how the last Captain America movie revealed that the world's greatest intelligence organization turned out to be a front for Nazi terrorists for the last seventy years with no one realizing it. Not to mention how, despite its primary purpose being to foster international cooperation, the UN is still a political institution and anyone could use the Avengers to help advance a political agenda that's detrimental to the people the Avengers are suppose to be protecting. While the Avengers might be dangerously arrogant in assuming that they know how to use the power they have in their hands better than anyone else, it'd be ignorant to assume that the government does because they're the government.
    • Also, keep in mind something often mentioned by critics of the UN; the majority of its signatories are not democracies, and few of them have an enlightened stance on important issues like government transparency, the rule of law, general human welfare, human rights in general, etc. Their stated goal is the prevention of war, and all those things waaay behind that goal. One could even say they're Not So Different from HYDRA; believing that humanity can not be trusted with its own freedom.
  • This Spidey has been criticized for not knowing the names of Hoth or the AT-AT, seeming like less of a nerd. However, he is likely very aware of their names, but omits them in front of the other superheroes. He is trying to play down his nerdiness in front of the cool guys. Or it could be a nod to the fact that, in the comics, Peter isn't much of a Star Wars fan.
    • The later films show he is a fan of Star Wars, so the former is the most likely explanation.
    • Also, since he doesn't know, how much Tony and Rhodey are familiar with Star Wars, using the description instead of names is both polite and practical, allowing them to easily grasp his point without needing further explanation.
    • There's also the fact that he was swinging around the legs of a giant man. It was probably difficult to focus.
    • On the subject of Spider-Man thinking about Empire Strikes Back, during the airport battle, how did he get the idea to use the AT-AT Method on Giant-Man? As he explains to Cap earlier, Tony told him to "Go for (the) legs"!
  • Tony is clearly very fond of Peter in this movie. While that is probably down to the fact he respects him as a fellow inventor and science geek, there may be another factor. If you listen to Peter when Tony asks him why he decided to be a superhero, he says something along the lines of "When something bad happens, and you could have stopped it, but didn't, that means you're responsible." Now who does that sound like? It sounds just like what Steve said earlier about not being able to ignore when something bad was happening. When he heard that and managed to bring Peter around to his side, there was almost certainly some part of Tony thinking that maybe, if he could convince Peter, then it wouldn't be crazy to think he could sway Steve either. It's also bears some resemblance to Tony's speech in the first Iron Man film:
    Tony: I saw young men and women killed by the very weapons I'd designed to keep them safe. I saw I'd become part of a system comfortable with zero accountability.
  • People claim that Steve only beat Peter because he is not experienced in actual fighting, but this might not be the only reason. When fighting Sam and Bucky, Peter had the home field advantage: Sam didn't have enough room to fly properly and Bucky can't fly at all, while Peter could swing. On the other hand, when he was fighting Steve, it was in an open area so he couldn't use his webs to maneuver during the fight. Moreover Sam isn't used to fighting superhumans and neither is Bucky (he can hold his own against the likes of Black Panther and Captain America but stops there) while Steve is (he's fought Thor, Iron Man, and Ultron, and had no problem fighting War Machine and Panther at the same time).
  • The events of the war surround Bucky, full name James Buchanan Barnes. James Buchanan was also the name of a U.S. President, whose term ended with the start of, you guessed it, the U.S. Civil War.
  • Steve brings up the concern of changing agendas as motivation for not signing the Accords. This plays out in a few ways:
    • It provides a distinction between him and Tony, as Tony's motivations go from The Atoner trying to make up for what he sees as his fault to Well-Intentioned Extremist that tries his best but still makes missteps right back to The Atoner when that blows up in his face to psychotically homicidal upon discovering Bucky killed his parents. Tony's motivations continually shift throughout the film while Steve remains unfailingly dedicated to his duty of keeping others safe at all costs.
    • The Accords are meant to grant authority to the UN to manage the Avengers in the interest of preventing damage but when Ross ignores Tony having discovered that Bucky has been framed, it becomes clear that the agenda of those who are enforcing the Accords has moved from ensuring protection to appearing efficient.
    • At the end, T'Challa goes from revenge-focused antagonist to repentant ally after the truth of Bucky's innocence is revealed to him. This however serves to highlight Steve's own flaws as he only spoke of agendas changing in a negative manner, rather than for the better. However this is debatable as in T'challa it was a person's agenda changing for the better. Not a government or government's agenda. So Steve's fears and doubts about Government integrity remain intact and unchallenged.
  • When he needed reinforcements, Tony Stark asked for help from a naive teenager without experience, and completely ignored Daredevil, an adult with some experience in all this. But, besides the real-world reasons for that, it makes perfect sense. Peter was easy to convince, but Matt Murdock would have hardly accepted to aid Tony. He is a vigilante that works in the shadows, trying to get as minimal notice as possible. Joining Tony in a very public fight at an airport is definitely below the last thing Matt would ever accept to do. Also, after seeing how Wilson Fisk had numerous cops and politicians in his pocket, Matt probably is not one to trust authority, knowing full well that authority can be corrupted by those with an agenda. Signing the Accords would be like giving himself over to people like Fisk, Samantha Reyes or Mariah Dillard on a silver plate. And besides, his powers would have hardly been useful in that fight: he's just a Badass Normal. He may be effective against basic thugs and Hand ninjas, but what can Matt hope to do against super soldiers, witches, size-shifters and the like? His radar sense give him an edge in the darkness, but that power would be useless in a fight in broad daylight.
    • For that matter, none of the Defendersnote  would be all that useful against Team Cap, and given their backstories, it's a fair bet that they'd all be on Cap's side anyway.
    • More to the point it wasn't simple back up, he picked Spidey because in his eyes he was confronting friends at assumed at most a mild fight, so someone who's MO is to quickly restrain his foes was useful, the Defenders, like most heroes, just beat their enemies until they pass out. He was expecting at most an argument not an outright battle.
  • The film implies that Vision feels like an outcast from the others due to not being a true human. So he constantly tries to "fit in" with his fellow Avengers by doing "human" activities e.g. wearing clothes, cooking, using doors, etc. However, he obviously has feelings for Wanda, and his love for her distracts him long enough for him to fire an abnormally powerful blast which almost kills Rhodes. And so, by falling in love and making his first mistake, the Vision has finally learned what it is to be human.
  • Meta-Example: The big hero showdown takes place on an airport tarmac, far from civilians and causing minimal collateral damage. Even though this is incidental to the real reason they were therenote , it's still a far cry from the comics where the two sides get it on in the middle of Manhattan even though reckless superheroing is what caused the Civil War in the first place.
    • Even so, the "minimal" collateral damage will likely be in the billions due to all the jet airliners and airport infrastructure that were damaged or destroyed. This goes to highlight how even a superhero battle that doesn't kill anyone, could still end up being Pyrrhic.
  • The argument between James Rhodes and Sam Wilson about the Accords mirrors more than just their positions as the right hands of Tony and Cap, it also reflects their personal experiences. Rhodes is a career military officer, who's long since learned to trust the system and defer to the judgment of superiors, whereas Wilson enlisted for a short period of time and saw friends of his get killed due to poor decision-making by their leaders.
  • One important point, often overlooked with the Accords? Support. The Airport Fight has a bit line in there to justify why no civilians are in danger for the super-awesome action scene, but it's part of the argument: Stark could tell the airport "Things are going down, clear the area". One element of the accords is undoubtedly Crowd Control, getting civilians out of the line of fire. Compare that to Lagos, where we see, constantly, civilians around the fight scenes, in danger all the time, one mistake from the heroes away from dying. And then some do. It wasn't brought up enough, but there's a reason why the Accords aren't as horrible as they might seem.
  • The reference to Finding Nemo by Scott may not just be a shout out to fellow Disney owned properties: Scott's a father with a young daughter. As he's been shown to be a pretty good parent, he may have watched the movie with her at some point.
  • Another reason why Steve and Tony take their respective positions is due to their own experience with the law in general. As a billionaire, Tony has never really had to deal with the negative consequences of the law due to him using his lawyers and resources to make those problems go away or hamper others like he had done with the U.S. government in Iron Man 2. On the other hand, Steve, having grown up in the 20's and 30's, got to witness Jim Crow laws and discrimination toward other minorities and how the law was used against them. Plus Steve saw that the system was rigged against women in the workplace, based upon his interactions with Peggy. Also it's more than likely that Jim Morita would've told Steve about the Japanese internment camps (as his line "I'm from Fresno, ace" indicates). When Steve is arguing with Tony over Wanda, he specifically uses the word internment. Steve has seen first hand that the law can be used as a weapon against those who're powerless and saw the Accords as history repeating itself.
  • When Cap, Bucky and Tony find out that Zemo killed the other Winter Soldiers, he says "if it's any comfort, they died in their sleep.". When hearing the message from his deceased wife, she says "I'm going to bed", this presumably being just before she and the rest of Zemo's family were killed during the battle. It's very likely one of the rescue aid workers had to tell Zemo the same thing when he found their bodies, and Zemo thinks of this as an Ironic Echo.
  • At the end of the movie, Cap keeps using his shield to break off Tony's face plate when Tony's armor is damaged from their fight. After the face plate comes off, Tony immediately covers his face because he believes Rogers is about to kill him. But then Steve destroys the arc reactor, which is the Iron Man armor's power source. This makes sense because Steve would know that Tony's armor is hermetically sealed and the air intake is strictly regulated (this is for when Tony flies sky high where the air is too thin, or the rare times he goes underwater) which means if Tony had the mask on when his armor is totally shut down, he would suffocate to death. Steve knew this which means that even when he was beating on Tony, he was making sure he wouldn't really hurt him.
    • On a similar note, after Rhodes falls, Tony's first action is to rip his mask off before checking for vitals.
  • When you think about it, everybody lost something during the course of the movie:
    • Cap lost his status as a hero.
    • Tony lost most of the people he cared about.
    • The Winter Soldier lost his metal arm.
    • War Machine lost the ability to walk.
    • Falcon lost his freedom.
    • Black Panther lost his father.
    • Scarlet Witch lost her confidence.
    • Hawkeye lost his family for what he felt was right.
    • Vision lost his first love.
    • Spider-Man lost his low profile.
    • Ant-Man lost his time with his daughter.
      • The beginning of Ant-Man and the Wasp proves this to be untrue, as Scott still gets visitation with Cassie while he is on house arrest, but he has still lost something, as the Pym-Van Dynes hate him for putting their tech and reputations in jeopardy over a fight he had no stakes in.
    • Widow lost her chance at staying legit.
  • When Tony first talks to Cap at the beginning of the airport scene, he refers to their old teammates by their first names (Clint, Wanda). When the fighting starts, he refers to them by their last names. Tony tries invoking First-Name Basis when he's trying to talk Cap down, then switches to Last-Name Basis to show that things are getting serious and possibly to desensitize himself from the fact that he's fighting his friends.
  • Captain America drives a Volkswagen Beetle. Upon seeing it, Agent 13 says that she's "Not sure you understand the concept of a getaway car." He replies that it's "low profile", but it's also a period-appropriate car for him. While it may be ironic that Captain America drives a vehicle designed and built for Nazi Germany, that design essentially remained unchanged since the 1940s. Steve doesn't have to spend time adjusting to modern car features such as power steering, ABS, electric windows, etc. On top of that, it's much easier to steal an older car than one made with modern anti-theft systems.
  • Common people's resentment towards super heroes, who act as Destructive Saviours, and the government (the representatives of the common people, after all) attempt to keep them under control. It is far from coming from out of the blue, or being just Zemo and that woman. The TV series provide plenty of antecedents.
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced the Inhumans, random people who suddenly get super powers from exposure to the Terrigen Mist. We have Daisy Johnson as the strong advocate of Inhuman rights, the ATCU as the law enforcement trying to keep the Inhumans in line, and the watchdogs as the human supremacist organization. The issue is raised one way or the other basically Once per Episode.
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • People are divided on the activities of the "Devil of Hell's Kitchen", some support him, and others do not. With the main characters working at Nelson & Murdock, we get a lot of legal overview of superhero activity. Although they are not mentioned directly, Matt is somewhat torn between the perspectives of Iron Man and Captain America: like Tony, he supports the idea that the state must hold the ultimate authority, but like Cap, he can not trust the police or many formal institutions because they are actually staffed by many double agents that work for Wilson Fisk. Things got even more radical in the second season with Frank Castle, a vigilante that kills criminals, instead of just stopping them. His trial shows off the two opposing demonstrations: some people want to hang him, the others to praise him. Incidentally, in red carpet interviews at the season 2 premiere, both Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock) and Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page) said they were both "Team Cap". Karen would be a Team Cap supporter, especially since she got framed up and almost killed multiple times as a result of Fisk's rampant corrupting of the legal system.
      • In an early season 2 episode, Sgt. Brett Mahoney mentions that the NYPD rank and file are divided, with roughly half of them being "Team Iron Man", people who think the Devil of Hell's Kitchen and Frank Castle make things worse, while the other half are "Team Cap", people who think the vigilantes in Hell's Kitchen make the job a whole lot easier.
    • Jessica Jones (2015) is mostly a self-contained story of Jessica going after Kilgrave, but an episode featured instead Audrey Eastman, whose mother died during the Chitauri attack and blamed all supers for that (even Jessica, even if she was not there). Jessica herself caused a lot of trouble and property damage, and Jeri Hogarth had to work overtime to keep her out of prison. Kilgrave traumatized the people that he mind-controlled, who started a self-help meeting.
    • Luke Cage (2016): In the third episode, Misty Knight and Rafael Scarfe have a conversation over whether vigilantes like Luke Cage are a benefit for the NYPD or not. Scarfe and Misty's perspectives are similar to the respective viewpoints that Steve and Tony have: Although Scarfe is a Dirty Cop on Cottonmouth's payroll, he celebrates a Vigilante Man helping cops out when years of investigation have no payoff. Meanwhile, at this point in time, Misty is a By-the-Book Cop who says that vigilantism unchecked leads to a breakdown of the legal system, since the vigilantes have no training compared to the cops that have to go through lengthy academies before they can hit the streets. The show goes to great lengths to show that both sides make good cases: the NYPD are sometimes in way over their heads and gifted vigilantes can really be a boon for them. However, since Luke Cage has a code against killing, at some point he's going to need the system again or else the criminals he beats up will just come back. This is best highlighted in the final episode: thanks to Luke's vigilantism, Diamondback is taken off the streets, but Misty's only witness against Mariah Dillard got killed by Shades because no one trusted the legal system enough to make sure she was protected.
    • Agent Carter is Cap's girl, and it shows. She discovers a conspiracy, but the government wants her to back off. She does not, and stops Whitney Frost by herself, against her given orders.
  • BlackPanther's armor:
    • Throughout the film, T'Challa seems totally unfazed by just about every attack on him. During the airport battle, he even appears unworried at the prospect of being hit by a bus, which is odd considering the fact that he's supposed to have approximately the same abilities as Cap. Although he braces for the impact, Vision intercepts it. However, although T'Challa is physically similar to Cap or Bucky, the Black Panther is not: the Panther armor is made of vibranium, the same material which makes up Vision's body. T'Challa also seems to be less affected by attacks than he should be: Panther is unaffected by Hawkeye's explosive arrows (which blast Tony back significantly), and is considerably less affected by Bucky's punches than Cap or even T'Challa without armor. This would indicate that kinetic impacts (including the bus) have almost no effect while wearing the Panther armor, which is exactly what vibranium is supposed to do.
    • During the freeway chase, both Bucky and Cap make noise when they hit the ground after jumping. Panther makes none. While this can be interpreted as a nod to the fact that cats always land on their feet, it's also an early hint that Panther's armor is vibranium (Panther No Selling machine gun bullets is of course another). Vibranium absorbs not just kinetic energy, but all vibrations (hence the name). And what is sound, but vibrations?
  • There's a reason why Cap kept the knowledge from Tony of HYDRA's involvement of his parents' murder: while he didn't know at the time that Bucky killed them, he suspected HYDRA sent him after learning about the Winter Solder project in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So he was really hoping he was wrong.
    • Another reason why he tried not to think about it is because there was actually a decent possibility that it wasn't Bucky who killed them. As displayed with the other Winter Soliders, Bucky was hardly HYDRA's only assassin, just their best one. Considering that Howard was one of the few people who could’ve possibly broken through Bucky's programming if given the time and opportunity, it actually would've been in HYDRA's best interest not to send Bucky due to that risk. Unfortunately, the super soldier serum that was in Howard's possession made that risk one they were willing to take if it meant they could have five more like Bucky and Cap.
  • There are two more foreshadowings about the final battle that aren't covered in the film:
    • The second trailer shows Bucky raising his gun, and then it cuts to when War Machine was shot down and lying on the ground, with the implication that Bucky shot and killed him. While it didn't happen in the movie proper, it foreshadows the fact that Bucky killed someone close to Tony.
    • The announcement event of Phase 3. After this movie's announcement, the actors showed up on stage. While in character, Chris Evans extended his hand for a handshake, and RDJ swatted it away. While this could be seen as playing up the "civil war", it also foreshadows how the final battle starts and what triggers it.
  • Does Stan Lee get Tony Stark's name wrong as "Tony Stank" by accident, or is he getting back at him for mistaking him for Hugh Hefner and Larry King in the first two Iron Man movies?
    • Or is he Anti-Accords?
  • Look at the apartment scene again. Steve asks Bucky if the latter remembers him. Bucky says "You're Steve. I read about you in a museum." That's true. But he's implying that he doesn't remember Steve from personal acquaintance, and doesn't look him in the eye. Steve calls him out on the lie. The next time he lies, ("You pulled me from the river! Why?" "I don't know.") he looks Steve in the eye. That doesn't work either.
  • I always thought that the airport battle was a bit disconnected to the Accords conflict - instead, it was about people believing and supporting Steve going to fight the other super soldiers and people believing and supporting Tony trying to stop the formers from doing that. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you remember what impact the accords would have on the Avengers: they would only be allowed to go to situations the government felt they were needed, and otherwise wouldn't be. This is exactly what's happening here: a situation where the Avengers are needed; those who distrust the accords will go to it, while those who support the accords will remain stationary. The same argument that's been going on for the whole film is still represented here: this isn't a case of Steve Rogers against Tony Stark - it never was up until the finale - it's still a case of those who can't ignore it when a situation goes south and those who believe the Avengers need to be put in check.
  • One thing that annoys me is people keep saying that working with Ross is proof that Tony is betraying his friends. Ross is Secretary of State! Tony, a private citizen, cannot control who the government assign to negotiations for the accords. It's no different to anyone who has to work with a colleague who they don't like, it's nothing to do with choosing to work with them, he doesn't have a choice. If I were to get a job working for the government at the end of the day I'm working for the Tories, doesn't mean I, in any way, support or even like them, but I wouldn't have that choice unilaterally. Tony wanted accountability, he joined the accords, it's not his choice who the government put on there.
    • ...though there's an odd coincidence there. Stark turns because a woman comes up to him, shoves a photograph in his hands and blames him for her son's death. Said woman is Miram Sharpe, a human resources worker... at the United States State Department. Ross is her boss. Why not write her as working for the Salvation Army, or Roxxon, or literally anyone — unless the Russos wanted to at least imply that Ross sent her to Stark to screw with his head.

    Fridge Horror 

Fridge Horror:

  • Something chilling about the tagline "Divided We Fall". Picture this: there is a purple alien warlord coming to Earth, and the Avengers have something he wants. The Avengers don't realize this because they're too busy fighting over a piece of paper. Fitting, as the original arc did have something along these lines with the Annihilation event taking the cosmic Marvel universe heroes fighting against a bigger threat than the Superhuman Registration Act. It gets worse once you see the movie: Tony is a broken man, Rhodes has injured his legs, half the senior Avengers (Cap, Hawkeye, and possibly Nat) are fugitives as are the new recruits (Wanda, Scott, and Sam), Hulk and Thor are in different dimensions, and Vision — the holder of the Mind Stone — is left at the Avengers compound. Earth is now Thanos' for the taking.
  • Iron Man (apparently) recruits Spider-Man, a fifteen-year-old kid. In other words, it's exactly what some of the anti-Reg side claimed would happen in the comics.
    • I'd say recruiting Peter, and the fact that only Team Cap use lethal force, shows that while he was expecting some resistance, Tony didn't expect or WANT a fight.
    • More the point, look at it from Tony's point of view: All he knows is that Steve and Sam ran off with the Winter Soldier. Tony goes in trying to talk, at worst intimidate, Steve's group(two fellow Avengers and Steve's old friend BTW) into giving themselves up peacefully. He'd already had his eye on Peter as a possible future Avenger, so why not get him started on what seems to be a milk run, and even if it comes to blows, he knows the other side will go easy on him. He didn't know that A:) Cap was on A Mission, and all that implies, and B:) He would call up some help. Now all of a sudden it's a battle, and the kid winds up fighting against two highly-trained soldiers(moreover the two exact people Tony wanted him to avoid engaging) and a rampaging giant.
  • Pepper and Tony:
    • Pepper and Tony are no longer together. However, during the team's party, Tony talks as though they are still together. What else has Ultron cost him? Recall his promise to Pepper at the end of Iron Man 3: Tony destroys all of his old Iron Man suits to represent his desire to dedicate more time to her. The ending very much implied that he would have retired right there and then from heroics altogether. However, he eventually returned to the Avengers to search for Loki's Scepter and with Ultron's creation, he inadvertently caused the destruction of Sokovia. Considering that Tony would have done everything in his power to atone for his actions, he would refocus his efforts on being Iron Man again - the primary source of conflict between the couple from Iron Man 3. In a sense, he has gone back on his word and Pepper had enough.
    • Tony outright says that while he "retired", he just loves being Iron Man and being a hero too much to give it up. Ultimately, he's screwed no matter what. He feels Pepper gives him the emotional balance he needs to be a functional person and enjoy life, which this movie could prove considering how easily triggered he becomes multiple times where Pepper could've talked him down. However, Iron Man is his way of doing good for the world, to save all the lives that he believe he's ruined either through his weapons or through Sokovia. No matter what, he will be incomplete and by the end of the movie, Iron Man ends up being all he really has left.
  • Out of all the main heroes and the villain, Spider-Man is the only character who does not have anything tragic happen to him (at least that we see in this movie). Let that sink in. Spider-Man, who is usually one of the biggest emotional punching bags in comics history, is one of the least tragic characters in this movie. That's how tragic it gets. Keep in mind he's only been doing this for six months, so he's dealing with getting accustomed to his powers, but all the horror he's gonna have to deal with just hasn't happened yet... and you feel pretty bad knowing it's coming. Also, the details of the Sokovia Accords aren't clear yet, but if they interfere with Peter's ability to go out and help people, he may come to deeply regret his actions in this film.
  • Remember how in Ant-Man it was a big deal Hank was making that his technology doesn't belong in the government or the wrong hands? If the government took Scott's suit when he was arrested, let's hope Steve helped him get it back when he broke him and the others out. Otherwise, who is to say the government won't try to tamper with and replicate the Ant-Man suit? They could very well be another Yellowjacket.
    • Less fridge horror and more fridge depressing: If the government gave/outsourced the suit to Tony to fix it, it means that a Stark would be in control of the Pym particles; something Hank Pym has spent the better part of his adult life trying to prevent from happening.
    • Both points have been clarified as of Ant-Man and the Wasp; Scott told the feds he destroyed the Ant-Man suit before they could confiscate it — but instead, shrunk it and had it shipped home, hidden in his apartment.
  • Consider what happened with the woman in the beginning telling off Tony. Then consider how Zemo was able to break the Avengers. How many other people are out there who might want to still take revenge on the Avengers, especially if they feel the Avengers haven't suffered enough?
  • Captain America destroys Iron Man's Arc Reactor in order to keep him out of commission during their climactic battle; now just imagine what would've happened if Tony had not removed the shrapnel in his heart, and was still running his suits off the Arc Reactor in his chest?
    • Tony started making Arc Reactors for individual suits after his battle with Iron Monger and retrofitted Marks II and III with their own Reactors, so if he still had the shrapnel in his chest it only would have been a problem if Cap’s shield ‘overpenetrated’ and damaged the Reactor in his chest.
  • Tony's decision to confine Wanda to the Avengers Compound seems dickish at first, especially when it's framed as him trying to prevent Wanda from causing another public fiasco. However, if you remember how things went in the comics, one important incident that occurred during the Civil War arc was Johnny Storm being beaten into a coma by every patron inside and outside a nightclub because sentiments against super humans or "enhanced" individuals were boiling up. Tony's decision to confine Wanda is an effort to prevent that kind of incident from occurring here.
    • More to the point Wanda is considerably less... stable with her ability to control her powers than Johnny. If she was attacked by civilians it's likely that, intentionally or not, she would attack back
  • The Sokovia Accords don't actually do that much to deal with civilian casualties, the issue they have supposedly been put together to combat. They restrict when and where the Avengers can intervene, which sounds good... right up until you remember the role S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers played in the evacuation in Sokovia, saving hundreds of people in the marketplace at Lagos, even at the cost of the lives of the Wakandan diplomatic party, from a HYDRA attack that would have happened regardless, and both helping organize the evacuation of civilians in New York and preventing the city from being nuked by the World Security Council. It's entirely possible that Tony's well-intentioned attempts to limit the damage to innocent people might lead to even greater civilian casualties in future.
    • From there, it only gets worse. "Bucky" is identified at the scene of the UN bombing, and the very first thing the World Security Council does after signing the Accords is put out a kill order on a man based on a single blurry photo. No due process, no attempt at live capture, just an instant death warrant (although possibly somewhat understandable, as Bucky is probably regarded as the most dangerous man on the planet, in a world of super humans and physical gods no less, and is known to have worked for HYDRA — the government had possibly been looking for an excuse to assassinate Bucky for a while).
  • Ultron told Scarlet Witch that she would tear the Avengers apart from the inside... the incident that essentially pushes the Sokovia Accords into creation is (partially) her fault.
  • James Rhodes' new suit, it's not a weapon, it's a prosthetic.
  • Stark nonchalantly blasting Falcon - a Pararescueman - when he approached to help Rhodes. Dammit, Tony! You shot the only medical professional within miles!
    • In fairness to Stark, they has just been involved in a serious battle that came very very close to seriously injuring everyone involved. Falcon was fighting on the other side of the battle and had purposely ducked out of the way of the very blast that is the reason Rhodey is unconscious on the ground. Falcon definitely landed to trying and help, but Stark is in the middle of an adrenaline come-down, and his closest friend may be dying, and now a guy Stark knows has just been attacking them is a few feet away. Stark isn't thinking that Falcon might be trying to help, he's thinking 'Get rid of the threat'.
  • Bucky's memories:
    • Tony asks Bucky if he even remembers killing Howard and Maria. His answer? "I remember them all." Think about that for a second. Tortured, genetically modified and turned into an assassin against his will, forced to kill for anyone who got their hands on his activation codes, and even now that he's nominally free, he has to live with the memories of everything he was forced to do. No wonder he chose to be put back in stasis rather than try to keep going.
    • Even worse when one realizes Howard and he were friends in their youth. And chances are high he also had to kill innocents including children as part of his mission as well.
    • The Winter Soldier's theme, the one with the distorted mechanical grinding, One-Woman Wail, and the engine sounds, suddenly takes on a horrifying new meaning in this film. It's a musical retelling of Mission Report: December 16, 1991. The mechanical grinding and engine noises? That's Howard and Maria's car crashing. The One-Woman Wail? That's Maria's horrified reaction as Bucky is carrying out his mission.
  • The Airport Fight. It's a big, awesome, exciting fight scene, with Ant-Man and Spider-Man to provide comic relief, and it's just a nice, popcorn-munching summer-blockbuster action set piece. Until Vision accidentally shoots Rhodey out of the sky, nearly killing him, the entire anti-Accords side is arrested and thrown in a high-tech Alcatraz, Black Widow betrays her comrades and has to go on the run, Black Panther is still out for Bucky's blood, and the whole airport has been demolished. The first act of the film shows that all the big, impressive, awesome superhero fights you tuned in for have real, personal, painful consequences. This one is no different.
    • The Airport Fight is arguably even worse, once you realize that, if not for the fact that these characters are superheroes and this is a movie, every third action taken in the scene is one that could KILL a person - Wanda throws cars at Tony, a regular guy in special armor, leaving him with "multiple contusions". Scott throws an exploding truck at Rhodey, who is in the same situation as Tony. Scott also pitches a bus at T'Challa. Wanda throws Natasha into shipping crates: strong, sturdy, sharp wood (or metal), with probably enough force to break her neck. Team Iron Man was just trying to bring in Team Cap, so that Ross wouldn't send in a team without the compunctions or care that Team Cap's friends had, or worse, a kill squad. Arguably, intentional or not, Team Cap was throwing hits that could kill.
  • The entire Siberia fight from Tony's POV, when one considers Tony's probable mindset at the time. While Captain America probably had perfectly understandable reasons for his actions, it's easy to see why they didn't do much to pacify Tony...
    • First, Tony watches his parents get butchered by a guy standing right next to him, and in the same instance, hears his comrade admit, with no visible emotion (which he might have reasons for), that he knew. What Cap says during the ensuing fight, and the way he says it, would likely send all the wrong signals and hit all the wrong buttons to someone in Tony's current state.
    • By the same token, poor Bucky's flat, strangled "I remember them all" could easily be misheard in Tony's state as a hitman boasting his kills.
    • The Arc Reactor kept Tony alive for half a decade. In high-adrenaline moments, he probably forgets he doesn't need it anymore. So imagine what it was like in the final fight when Bucky and Steve both make shots to destroy it, and Steve actually does. For a few seconds there, Tony likely genuinely believed that both of them were actively trying to kill him.
    • Aaaand then Cap punches Tony repeatedly in the head, which is exactly how Bucky killed Tony's father, in the video that set off this breakdown in the first place.
    • The letter the Cap sends afterwards barely mentions the parents' murder issue, and gives no genuine explanation for why Cap kept that secret from Tony; instead, the bulk of the letter is spent on Steve's own past troubles, and beliefs—which Cap may have a perfectly understandable reason for, like not being brave enough to address the real issue yet and trying to approach Tony slowly, but could possibly come off the wrong way to Tony, making it little surprise that Tony still isn't speaking to Cap two years later.
  • The fact the whole "divided we fall" plan worked because of really good timing on the part of the bad guys. Think about it, if Pepper and Tony hadn't broken up, Pepper would probably be able to reason with Tony and let him know that he's letting his need to be right overrule his judgement. Peggy's death and Steve's fresh grief are knocking his judgment off-balance, all the better to play the Bucky card. If Thor and Bruce were there and not stuck off-planet, they probably would literally be knocking some sense into everyone. And then there's Coulson and Fury being unable to intervene; if they could, all they would have to do is walk in the room and remark how "disappointed" they are with this nonsense — it would likely shame them all like naughty school kids sent to the principal.
  • Vision's shot accidentally hitting War Machine, leading Rhodey to fall and suffering a crippling injury. Vision himself says that he was distracted, and this affected his aim, and this may be true... but what if it wasn't solely because of this? The very energy beam he used was generated by the Mind Stone, which much like the others is implied (then later confirmed) to be alive in some fashion. Whatever reason it had, to have his energy beam hit Rhodey — a friend/comrade on his side, rather than Falcon on the 'opposing' side - it can't be good...
  • Up if fridge brilliant it's stated that Steve 'saves' Tony by tearing the mask off the suit before disabling it, this ignores A. any wounds he will have suffered from the impacts Steve and Bucky inflicted, including the impact of the vibranium shield to his chest and B. that he was trapped in a motionless metal suit in frigid Siberia, did Steve save Tony, or just allow himself the illusion of that to make himself feel better about abandoning him to die.
  • There is an uncomfortable parallel between Steve and Obadiah's relationship with Tony. Both became friends with Tony because of a pre-existing relationship with Howard. The relationship ends up similar to the one they shared with Howard but different (Howard was Obadiah's CEO and lead of R&D, Tony became the same, but was also somewhat of a protogee to him. Howard was Steve's weapon smith and supporter, Tony took the same role for the Avengers post 2014 but he was also an ally on the battle field). They also kept a secret from Tony (Obadiah: the dealing under the table, Steve: the truth of Howard and Maria's death) and, upon that secret being exposed, assaulted Tony, and during that assault, they attacked the Arc Reactor.
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